Thursday, March 27, 2014

Mommy/Daughter Road Trip

One of my very favorite people lives 6 hours away from me, near Baltimore. She has two adorable boys, aged 4 and (nearly) 2. She's smart, kind, funny, and sometimes as lost as I am in this world, though I think she's come a long way in finding herself over the past few years. She comes back to Ohio to visit fairly regularly, but she has a large family and understandably does not always have time for lengthy visits with friends. I figured it was time for us to make a trip out to see her, so we planned a three day roadtrip for me and Addy - our first solo adventure!
We hit the road on a Sunday morning, leaving the house earlier than Addy usually wakes up. She's still talking about getting up early: "Remember last time, you woke me up and said it was morning? But, it was still dark out." She totally doesn't believe me that it was morning when we left. Anyhow, being this was my first solo roadtrip with a tiny human in tow, I made sure I was well prepared for any car catastrophes that might arise. And by catastrophes, I mean the incessant whining of "Are we there yet?????" and such phrases. I found an old toiletries travel bag that I only use for lengthy trips that I thought would be the perfect organizer for Addy's stuff, and could hang by her carseat to easily be within arms reach for her. I loaded it was snacks, a book of mazes, a couple dry-erase crayons, a number-tracing dry erase book, her tablet, and some travel felt boards that I made (which, by the way, I think I have found my new hobby: making felt boards and pieces!)

I'm glad I was prepared, but now I know for next time that eating snacks is the only thing my daughter is interested in doing to occupy herself on a car trip. If I had a piece of wood and told her it was a snack, she probably would have tried to eat it. Here's a rundown of how the drive to Baltimore went:
7:35am - Bye-bye house! We're off!
7:50am - Addy has consumed all her snacks within reach. 5 items, gone in 15 minutes.
8:30am - Addy finally digs in to the activities in her bag, starting with the felt boards.
8:41am - Felt boards and lap tray (a cookie sheet) fall to the ground.
8:42am - Addy exclaims, "I don't want to go!!!!!!!!"
8:48am - Addy wants the music turned off.
9:09am - I get my first "Are we there yet?" Amazingly, it was also my last!
9:13am - My bladder begins to tell me to stop soon. And here I was worried about Addy's bladder.
9:27am - Addy proceeds to sing just about every cartoon theme song she could possibly know.
9:46am - My bladder is screaming; we stop at a rest stop. I have to force Addy to try to pee; she does.
10:00am - Addy starts up her tablet.
10:20am - Addy puts her tablet away.
11:47am - Addy drops her blanket between her seat and the door. Somehow, she manages to get it with her foot. Catastrophe avoided.
12:30pm - We stop to refuel and eat lunch. After a potty break in McDonald's, we sit in the back of the car and eat the lunch items we packed.
2:15pm - Hello Katie!!!! We arrive safely at our destination.
Yes, I did jot down the above occurances while driving - in extreme shorthand. I missed a few happenings because I chose safety over keeping a thorough log of the trip. Overall, Addy turned out to be a most excellent traveling partner. I truly had a lot of fun heading out on a road trip with her!
When I planned the trip, I assumed we'd get to enjoy the warmer, milder weather Baltimore has to offer this time of year. But guess what? I brought the craptastic Ohio winter with me!!! This is what we woke up to the morning after arriving:
It was warmer in Ohio by double digits. Curses.
Once we realized that it was St. Patrick's Day, we decided to have the kids make a craft. We searched Pinterest, and Katie rounded up the supplies she had on hand. This is what we came up with:

Addy and Luke making shamrock handprint crafts. It turned out great!
Later that day, we took the kids to a crazy awesome section of the library called Storyville. It's a wing of the building closed off by a gate and an attendant, there for children 5 years old and under to enjoy, completely free. It's a collection of different themed rooms, each with activities and books relating to the theme, that inspire imaginative play and creativity. Here's a sampling of the rooms:

Top: A pint-sized full kitchen (my head nearly hit the ceiling) and a "library" with a giant
rocking chair that seats 2-3. Bottom: A post office with actual mail that can be delivered
to the mailboxes at each themed room, and a grocery store.
Top: Addy rockin' the boat in the ocean room, and Addy constructing a tunnel path to get the
ball from top to bottom (in the construction room). Bottom: Owen working as a cashier at
the grocery store, ringing up Addy's items, and Addy playing with the toys in the playroom
above the kids kitchen.
There was also a theater room, where the kids put on a brief puppet show and Addy worked as the ticket collector. We mostly had the entire place to ourselves, save two or three other kids, the entire time. It was a wonderful place to play and interact with each other. I really wish we had something similar here!
On Tuesday, we had a lazy day at home, staying inside to play all day. All three kids really played well together. There were very few fights over toys, and in fact, Addy was usually the instigator if there was one. Owen and Lucas were more than happy to let Addy come into their house and play with all of their toys. That evening, we thought it would be fun to get the kids ready for bed and then have a fun movie night! Katie's husband, Jon, brought home Disney's Frozen, freshly released on DVD. We set the kids up on the futon in the basement, turned out the lights, and put on the movie. Jon made some REAL popcorn on the stovetop, and each kid got a bowl of their own.
Movie time!
Addy settled right in, and I thought she'd have no problem making it through the movie. Yeah, I was dead wrong. She lasted about 10 minutes before she got up, danced around, stood directly in front of the TV blocking everyone's view, etc. She refused to sit down and enjoy the movie, so I had to take her upstairs. The futon the kids were on also happened to be our bed while we were there, and all Addy wanted to do was go to bed. She was beginning to turn into a holy terror upstairs, so the movie was relocated to the living room, and Addy and I went to bed.
After getting Addy to sleep each night, I joined Katie in the living room for some adult wind-down time. Though we didn't drink nearly as much wine as I thought we would, and on night three I was too tired to hang out, I am very happy I got to spend some quality time with Katie.
Our first Mommy/Daughter road trip was definitely a success. I hope we can plan another trip to Baltimore when skies are sunny and the air is warm, so we can explore the harbor and other sights of the city. I think Addy will really dig that, and I'm already looking forward to my next glass of wine with my dear friend.

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