I don’t know anyone who does not like fall. The crisp air and sun you don’t mind sitting in because it isn’t 100 degrees out. This is the time of year I get all sorts of energy – I think it is still a hold over from school days. Yesterday I got SO much done during one of Fiona’s naps that I felt nearly domestic. Today with all the kids we went out to a kids/mom club meeting and they had a great time playing and I got a massage (double win). I finally feel like there is nothing looming over me anymore; the exit interview is over, travel is done for a while, we are not committed to anything more strenuous then pumpkin picking for the next month. **not that weddings and traveling weren’t great, but, they do get tiring after a while.
Here is the condensed soup of my trip, it went way too fast but we were away so long the first morning waking up in my own room was odd because I had to really think about where I was (and where the bathroom was).
We left MN on the same saturday then I went to this bridal shower for the wedding we were all in on Sept 15 making those two events the bookends to our trip. I don’t recall ever going to another bridal shower other then my own, it was cool to see all the midwest style games. Lars took the bigger girls swimming so they would be out of my way for packing and I packed basically everything for the 4 weeks in about an hour and a half including getting it all into the car. I wanted to take a picture because I figured out how to nest our double stroller with my frame stroller AND the bouncy chair. Those 3 items took up about half my trunk space – the other half was 2 big suitcases of clothing, and, a tote half full of toys and half full of ‘stuff’ I wanted to bring. We also had 2 carry on bags, one was for the overnights at hotels and the other was actually full of shoes – I technically didn’t need that other bag but Lars was going to need it to travel back and I still wanted one for my return trip so we had two. The logistics of this trip were multi dimensional but I do like that sort of planning. To round out the luggage list, we had 2 backpacks with laptops and electronics, 2 kid backpacks and one extra tote bag that had the swimming stuff in it and I figured that it fit and you never know when you will need an extra bag. We had no trouble fitting all the people and things into the car and we left about 7pm on Saturday.
The trip did not have a good start – 35 south was closed and we had to wend our way around with no detour signs driving directly into the sun. We made it out of the cities and other that some squawks from the children it was smooth sailing for the next 6 hours. I’ve already discussed the disaster of a night and the rest of the trip there including a really neat stop in Hoboken NJ
where we ate pizza, looked at the city view from Lars’s campus and even visited his old frat house. The girls declared the frat house ‘sticky’ and they refused to use the bathroom there (good call) but it was where Lars and I hung out for the first months we were dating and it holds a special place in our heart, and, it was where Lars lived for 4 years.
The rest of the trip there was a wonderful blend of family and friends and lounging and busy. I gave the kids far more baths then normal because every night I had do extract the sand from their bodies and hair, including the baby, but it was worth it.
In the middle of the trip we took a mini trip to Tenn to go to a friends wedding. Our flight got us there pretty early in the morning and there were no wedding festivities that day so I asked another blogger who has kids similar ages to mine who lives in Alabama (they are the same right?) what to do in town and she was TOTALLY right about the awesome splash pad fountain. It was only a few blocks from our hotel and we went 2 times. The first time we intended to just look at it but then they wanted to just put a hand in… then a foot… then they were soaked and who cares, its hot out and they won’t melt. The second time we actually had bathing suits and Lars was with us and we had a great time. There is also a playground across the street and while it isn’t anything super awesome it was fun enough for half an hour of playing. We didn’t have much unscheduled time so we didn’t get to do any of the other stuff in the area but if you are in Knoxville with kids, go to the splash pad by the big state fair disco ball in the sky.
The wedding was fun, the girls did very well as flower girls and I’m super glad I was not in the wedding because it was such a hectic schedule there would have been chaos if I had to be getting hair etc done while 3 kids were running around etc. It worked out but it was a busy sort of fun. We also found out that Zoe loves to dance and she would not leave the dance floor until she fell asleep – she danced to all the theme dances whether the them applied to her or not (like the one for people from TN…).
When we left TN we left Lars – he flew back to MN and we went back to NY. The remainder of the time in NY was a bit more hectic since I was without husband, but, my dad took morning duty and I got to sleep a little more each morning and by the end of our time there he had their tricks down and had perfected how they took their tea.
The way back to MN was also fairly uneventful. We left after dinner after a nice day of playing with cousins (so I could pack) and Fiona cried some but we got off Long Island and about a third of PA that night. Sleeping was not so bad once I resigned myself to sleeping with both big girls and Fiona got the tent. We met up with Josh’s mom on the way at a rest stop totally random ally – or as random as can be when your both on the same road heading toward the same wedding. The second overnight was better then the first and we woke up fresh and ready to just blast though the last 6 hours. We didn’t even stop for lunch, I had enough snacks that nobody was hungry and we just wanted to be done with the driving. The only traffic we hit the entire way home was on 35, 10 miles from my house so in a 2000 mile trip including two major cities that isn’t too bad at all. Mom did 90% of the driving because I’m better at appeasing the natives. The big win for travel was the grabber, I was able to pass things to the way back. The other win was electronics, they might be fussy to set up but they kept all three kids nicely entertained. They did color and play and sleep too but I’m glad we had movies and games on the Kindle Fire, Laptop, iPhone trio that we tossed back there.
Wedding #2 was great and needs its own post since I want to add pictures and they are still trapped in memory cards. Looking back it is amazing all the things we crammed into one month but I figure this might be the last year I can do this long a trip since next year I’ll have a kid starting kindergarten but I suppose we can just shift the trip earlier. Driving with mom worked, driving with Lars worked and while I don’t want to do this drive often or for a vacation any less then 3 weeks now I know I can do it. If you think I’m good my sister holds the record for driving, she has made the trip at least 4 times round trip…
That is all the time I have for this today. Back to the fall cleaning spree, I think its time to attack the playroom!
For any that could not tell by the pictures, we are safely in NY. We ventured through WI on the first night and had a horrid hotel stay in Illinois. I don’t blame IL per say… but, the woman at the check in desk took SO LONG making change in cash that the kids all woke up and were UP from midnight to 2 am with a variety of silly in retrospect (very annoying at the time) antics. We vowed after that night that we would not stop again and actually had a great driving day through Indiana and Ohio and into PA with projections of arriving at 3am we thought we could make it…. PA route 80 was not cooperating. We spent 2 hours standing still and creeping forward occasionally and the only reason we moved at all was because people were bailing out onto the first exit possible. We followed suit and found a strangely nice hotel near state college in PA. This time we moved all necessities into the room without touching children and moved them in fast and last and they all stayed asleep. It ended up working out nicely that we hit Hoboken at around lunch so we could tour Lars’s old school and got awesome pizza. We technically did not break into his frat house since as a brother he is always allowed in but we did enter in a nontraditional manner…. The 3 brothers at home (at noon on a Monday) were surprised to hear children’s voices in the house and emerged after a few minutes, thankfully wearing pants, to see what was up. We timed things nicely that we got though the city with no trouble and arrived in Sayville just after naps.
The next day was a decompression day and since then we have spent a lot of time seeing friends, swimming, playing in the sand and generally hanging out. We got to go to Josie’s baby shower and help her move into her apartment and meet her boyfriend and it is so nice to just be part of regular life. We are settling into a routine just in time to take our mid vacation – vacation to Knoxville to a friends wedding. Our timing is odd because we originally thought we would drive so we planned on leaving on Thursday but then we regained our sanity and got airplane tickets but still for Thursday so we have an extra day in Knoxville that is completely unplanned. Any suggestions for what to do? We have transportation and hotel but nothing to do in-between. I’ve never been to TN at all so its one more state on my list but I want to make it count. Friday and Saturday are all wedding festivities but Thursday is open to suggestions.
I’ll be back from the wedding in TN for another week in NY and then driving back with my Mom (Lars back already) so we will see how that goes and then we have another wedding on September 15th and then after that official stay at home mom life since I resigned my position officially. That drama needs its own post and I’ll not have it infect my nice vacation time.
(PS. For those who have been following the picture only posts, I went back and edited them with a tad more description so if you want to go back and read there is new content.)