With Jillian hitting the three-month mark during the big girls’ Fall Break from school, we decided a few weeks ago that it would be the perfect time to get out of town and head just a few hours north to Indianapolis to see some of Jamie’s closest relatives. This would be our first road trip with three kids in tow.
Road Trip Logistics
Jamie took off work Thursday and Friday, so we packed up Wednesday evening and pulled out of the driveway at 4:10 a.m. Thursday morning for the fairly short 400 mile trip.
Jillian is still not the biggest fan of her car seat, so we knew we needed to do a chunk of the drive during the early morning hours or late at night when she’d be more likely to sleep the most. Jamie and I have obviously taken a zillion road trips together, and we both know that we do way better driving after a good night’s sleep rather than into the night after a full day, so we made sure we were in bed by 9 p.m. and set our alarms for 3:30 a.m.
If you’re curious, here’s how we do a morning like this.
- We bathe the girls the night before and put them to sleep in clean, comfy clothes (think athleisure!) that they’ll wear the next day (socks included). (My parents did this with us growing up, and I have always thought it was genius.) We change them into clean clothes when we get to our destination, but at least this way they are presentable when we stop to eat, use the restroom, etc.
- We set their tennis shoes by the garage door so that that’s the only thing they have to grab.
- I put a hair brush and their toothbrushes/toothpaste in a bag in my purse.
- We wake them up five minutes before we leave, help them go to the restroom (since they’re basically sleep walking, ha!), and then buckle them up. We leave Kindles off until the sun comes up so that they go back to sleep if they can.
- With Jillian, we woke her up about 15 minutes before we left. I changed her diaper and nursed her while Jamie packed up her sound machine and bassinet.
- Then into the car she goes and we roll! It’s honestly so easy.
- We pack everything in the car the night before except for one small suitcase, where we throw in all of the things we needed that morning to get ready, like Jamie’s and my toiletries and Jillian’s sound machine and swaddle.
- Jamie made french press cold brew coffee the night before, so he made our iced coffees before we left, so we were good to go in that area. (ESSENTIALS, RIGHT???)
- We always have two bags of snacks too – one bag with pantry items (that we put in the car the night before) and one small insulated bag that we keep in the refrigerator until it’s time to go.
Anyway! Onto the trip recap. 🙂
Jillian rocked the trip, and traveling in our new minivan was MONEEYYYY. So great.
She fussed a little bit here and there the last hour or so, but I stayed in the back seat during that time and tried to entertain her the best I could. We were so proud of her, and the big kids too.
Jamie’s grandmother’s house is a place that we can go and truly rest. She is one of my top 10 favorite people in the whole wide world; Her entire family counts themselves extremely fortunate to be loved by her. So we knew we’d have a great weekend without big plans, and taking each day as it came.
Thursday afternoon, I found myself on the couch with Hadley stroking her back as she fell asleep watching TV. I can’t remember the last time I held her like this as she napped. It’s been years, and it was glorious.
If we were home, I bet I would have been tempted to get up and do laundry or some other chore, but this is the beauty of getting out of town: your normal obligations aren’t staring you in the face, and you can enjoy a different change of pace. Amen.
The girls love love love their Mamaw (great-grandmother). She is so special to them.
Also, Sadie’s new thing is rolling her pant legs up as far as they’ll go. You do you, girl.
The one thing I wanted to do during our trip was browse IKEA without kids. Since Thursday afternoon was quiet, I decided to go ahead and knock this out. Jamie spontaneously decided to go with me, and it was weirdly the most fun date. We walked around exploring all of their quirky things for nearly 2.5 hours, stopping half way through to sip some coffee in their cafeteria. We walked out with a whole load of junk (and awesomeness) for $71. Their insanely cheap prices kill me!
We ate dinner at home that night and then walked the half mile to Dairy Queen, the girls’ favorite thing to do when we visit Mamaw!
Friday was rainy and cool, so we had a nice morning relaxing at home easing into the day. Jamie was thoughtful and asked his family to babysit so that he could take me to Carmel for a lunch date. We ate at Bub’s Burgers (a place he’d seen on Food Network or something!) and then we walked around a handful of their little shops. We finished up the date swinging into a grocery store to buy diapers and grab a Starbucks. 🙂 We fancy.
We arrived back to Mamaw’s house to three happy girls who had fun with their grandparents! Did I mention Jamie’s parents traveled to Indianapolis too? I’m not sure I did! They had driven up the night before we did, so it was a big DeSpain family weekend.
We rested for a bit, ordered a pizza for dinner, and then went over to Jamie’s aunt and uncle’s home. They invited their two sons and their families over to roast marshmallows and make s’mores, but a cold front and rain pushed us indoors. No big deal though! Uncle Jim is smart (and thoughtful) and we all improvised and had lots of fun. 🙂 There were eight kids ages six and under, and they had a total ball together. Fun evening for sure.
I had researched Orangetheory gym locations before the trip to see if there were any nearby, and when I found one a couple miles from Mamaw’s house, I scheduled a 6:45 a.m. class for Saturday. I didn’t know what our plans would be that day, so I planned to just knock the workout out early. After staying up pretty late Friday evening though hanging with Jamie’s cousin Scott and his wife Holly, I decided to switch the class to an 8 a.m. one.
The Nickel-Plate location was great! I really like this aspect of Orangetheory that allows members to attend classes at locations around the world. Makes it easy to get your money’s worth out of your membership, even when you’re traveling.
We all went out to lunch on Saturday and then watched football and napped the entire Saturday afternoon away. Ha! I really do think the entire house, except for Jamie’s dad and grandmother, rested that afternoon. It was WONDERFUL. Jamie grilled a steak dinner that night, and before we knew it we were packing up to hit the road at 4 a.m. Sunday.
Before we put Jillian to bed, I realized that I’d never taken a picture of her and her mamaw, so this is why she’s in her swaddle wrapped up like a baby burrito. 🙂
While we were packing, Jamie found a pair of shorts that needed some mending that he’d brought specifically to have his Mamaw tackle. She has done a ton of stitching for us over the years. Ha! She is just that kind of special lady that her grandson can throw a pair of shorts at her at 8 p.m. and she’ll spend an hour making them look perfect again.
Also, it was super funny to see how amazed the girls were by Mamaw’s sewing box. My sewing skills are minimal, and I sure as heck don’t have a sewing box like this, so it was cute to see how into it Hadley and Sadie were. Or maybe they were just stalling bedtime. Who knows. 🙂
Also, note Sadie’s pant legs rolled up AGAIN.
We ended up rolling out on Sunday morning around 4 a.m. Eastern time and drove four hours straight with Jillian and Sadie fast asleep. THREE FREAKING CHEERS! We stopped in Nashville when they woke up to gas up, use the restroom, hand out breakfast (granola bars and apples),and nurse Jillian, and then we finished up the last two hours of the trip.
We were home right around 9 a.m. Central time (six hour drive) (my neighbor said she was so confused when she saw our cars at our house on her way to church, haha!), and absolutely loved having the whole day in front of us. Leaving before the sun comes up is the WAY TO GO in our books. 🙂 Kids sleep, ZERO traffic, and the trip just generally feels shorter when you’ve already got 200 miles under your belt when the sun comes up.
We piddled around the house that day before heading to a spontaneous little birthday party with family that my sister threw for my brother-in-law.
Lots of family, a gorgeous fall evening, pizza, cake, and a great playground = a really enjoyable time.
Y’all know I’m bananas about my nephew Luke. Good grief, he has a big, big chunk of this aunt’s heart! He is the most precious one year old. I love this picture of him and my dad.
Josh left Alabama the next day to get a head start on getting settled at their next location (and start his civilian job) while my sister is staying back a couple weeks to let the kids finish up the month at school. This party was a good little send-off for him as well. Our girls already miss their Uncle Josh. 🙁
Sadie and Carly pair off often since they’re so close in age, but it’s funny to see how these two below often pair off too. I think Luke loves the attention of a bigger kid like Hadley, and Hadley just loves that Luke loves her. 🙂
‘Twas a great few days and conclusion to Fall Break!
What do your road trip routines look like? Would you prefer to get up early and knock out the trip, drive throughout the day, or drive through the night?
Hi! I’m Erica, and I absolutely adore sharing my life on this website with you! I come here almost daily to blab about all of the things related to being a regular wife and mother in today’s ever-evolving society. I share about our new home, what’s on our kitchen table, what we’re hanging in our closets, where we’re traveling to next, my crazy 5 a.m. work outs, how I make time for girlfriends, our faith, and much more. We always have a lot of balls in the air and somewhat thrive on the chaos. I believe in the power of story-telling as a form of inspiration and entertainment, so I’m here to do both! I was born and raised in north Alabama and recently re-planted roots here again after my husband transitioned out of the Army (he is now in the Reserve and it’s going so well!) I’m a super proud mom to three little girls (ages 7, 4, and 1) who seem to be the stars of the show around here (for good reason – they’re pretty great!) I’m so glad you found me and are here reading! I hope we can get to know each other here on the blog as well as Facebook and/or Instagram. xoxo