July 5, 2015

What We Learned On Our First Family Road Trip (with 1 Year Old Twins)!

We had two extended family gatherings this week! Papa T's Birthday and 4th of July at Grandma's which is 2.5 hours away. While neither of these were as hard as our extended trip will be in 2 weeks, it was great practice for me!

In just these two experiences I have learned so much about accommodating 1 year old twins when they are out of routine and on extended car rides. I also realized how it differs from when they were newborns like last summer. In case you were wondering - it's harder. I miss when I could just set them somewhere and not worry about them taking off or when they would actually want to go to "strangers"(ie: family they just haven't seen yet this week), so I could eat or get a drink or pee.

Happy Birthday Papa T!
Here's what I learned:


Plan to leave the house 1.5 hours before you actually need to leave. Don't forget add in time to stop and feed them if you need to - especially if you still feed on demand!

I thought I had timed it perfectly so they would eat when we got there. We planned to leave at 930 but didn't absolutely have to leave until 11. We left at 1035. It was perfect until they woke up early and got hungry when we were 15 minutes from Grandma's. Obviously you should not nurse in a moving car so we were glad we gave ourselves a little extra time.


Bring Portable Chairs for Them to Eat In

Most people don't just have extra have high chairs in their homes. It seems like no big deal, the kids can just eat on your lap, right? Wrong. First, have you ever tried to get two wild toddlers to sit on your lap at a table and eat? Maybe while you're trying to eat too? It's actually impossible. So lay a blanket on the floor or grass, you say. Nope, yet again. I've tried this several times since we started eating solids and the ratio of food offered to food eaten is like 100 to 5.  Especially when there are so many cool new things to see and people to talk to. The last thing these kids want to do is sit and eat their BBQ chicken or corn on the cob. Until we strap them in their chairs and they have no choice. We registered for and are in love with these Boppy Chairs (affiliate link). They fold up and travel well, are super easy to keep clean and have plenty of room to grow.

When you bring their portable high chairs make sure you bring the trays too.

Especially when you know you'll be eating outside (hello, it's a BBQ). This lovely lunch I packed for them ended up all over the blanket and living room floor because we grabbed the chairs but not the trays. Impromptu picnics are awesome, sometimes. This time it was a huge mess but worse they were starving on the way home because most of their food got sat on or thrown away. We will never forget those damn trays again!

You will forget something. Don't try to avoid it. 

I made lists. I counted everything and double checked. It was our first road trip, I was determined. We were good! See above.

Bring novel, open-ended toys that will keep their attention for when you want to eat. 

I actually did this one right finally and I'm glad I put some thought into it. They ate as soon as we got there so they weren't hungry by the time my food was ready. I put letters and tops in the puffs containers for them to find after they shook and rolled them. Once they got them open and dumped I gave them buckets to fill and empty. I put parchment paper and blocks in a wipes box but they didn't even get to those. They were occupied and happy for a while and I was able to eat quickly before they started crawling up me again.

Ask people if they want to hold your kids and don't forget to take pictures.

Once they relaxed a bit I was able to pass them off to some very eager relatives.  I got a lot of great pictures with their GG and cousins who we don't see very often. If they are happy, I take some pics then sneak away for some grown up conversation. I learned to take advantage of these crazy family parties where everyone just wants to love on the babies to capture memories and also have a little more fun myself! Bonus because it seems to be helping them get used to other people when they spend every single moment of their lives with mom.

If your kids are creatures of habit plan on being home before bedtime, staying the night or learning how to help them cope with a late(r) night. 

This was a rookie mistake I made at both family events this week. Nights are crazy if they don't sleep well during the day or miss their bedtime. We knew this and planned accordingly but things happen and again, we did not count on having to stop and feed them on the way home. Aside from trying to make sure we're home by 7:30 all summer I'm learning ways to handle it because I don't want them to be up all night when we can't control being home late.

Definitely try to not get home the exact moment when there's a billion fireworks going off on your street. 

Happy 4th everyone! I love fireworks. It was awesome to see them on the way home. It was less awesome to come home to every person on our block outside putting on their own personal show. Just getting into the house was like walking through a war zone with two overtired and hungry babies. Vivienne was absolutely losing her mind and CJ went into a rage over it and almost killed the neighbors (instead he cleaned the house while I got the girls "settled" - he is awesome). It was a rough hour or so but they're finally sleeping!

All in all it was a great week full of laughs and new memories. I'm so glad my girls are old enough to really enjoy their first real summer! And I'm super happy for the road trip trial run before our trip next weekend to the Pocono's! Here's hoping it all goes smoothly! I hope you all had a great 4th of July!


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