5 Tips to Survive Road Trippin’ with Tiny Humans

We’ve taken more road trips with tiny humans than I care to recollect at times. Some of those road trips have been stellar. Others have been…well, let’s just not talk about those.

Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way to help insure more successes than fails. It’s not full proof though, because two out of three of my small people loathe the car; although the 6 year old has (mostly) outgrown the consistent screaming for the entire duration (and yes, we’ve taken multiple 24 hour road trips…), but it’s still pretty solid.

1.) Stop frequently.  We aim to stop every two hours with our kids. And now that we’ve got an infant again, we stop every hour. I know it sounds like a lot, and it is, but with frequent stops they get less antsy and it makes everyone happy. Plus, Sweet M hates the car like his sister. After 30 minutes of crying, we pull over. So that can even mean pulling over every 30 minutes for a few hours. But it’s better for everyone’s nerves.

2.) Make it special. Road trips are when I pull out the lollipops and movies. My kids don’t get much TV at home, unless it’s the middle of winter. And they get even less candy. So it’s a big deal for them, and can keep them happy for several, several hours. Sometimes we have to urge them out of the car at breaks, because they’d be willing to keep going! Find their currency; your kids’ might be different than mine. Maybe it’s a new Nintendo DS game, or new glitter crayons. Whatever it is, don’t question it. It’s worth your sanity.

3.) Help them understand the distance. My kids don’t fully grasp time yet. But they do know how long it takes to get to Target, the zoo, etc, or how long a Wild Kratts episode lasts. So we will often explain it’s like driving to the zoo and back home (2 hours) six times. So along the way, when she asks how much longer, I can answer, “We just need to drive back home, and then to the zoo and back two more times” or “Two more Wild Kratts episodes” and she can grasp that.

4.) Set yourself up for success. It may sound obvious, but seriously. It’s astounding how often I get overly ambitious and that gets me mentally depleted when things aren’t going smoothly. So instead, it’s far better to assume you’ll need more time, more wipes, more changes of clothes, more movies, more patience, and more potty breaks than you account for. Don’t go in with an expectation of knocking the whole trip out in a certain time because that will just stress you and your tiny humans out when the inevitable happens. I also split the big kids up so that they can’t antagonize one another as easily. I’m assuming when we have a 4th this will mean there will be baby in the back: likely more cumbersome for me, but I anticipate completely worth it. I also really like to think of things in absolute worst case scenario, such as: We are stranded 20 miles from a gas station with no cell service, a flat tire, and all the kids have explosive diarrhea. Then I mentally walk myself through how I’d handle that. After that, any little bumps that actually do occur, are no big deal. I know it could be worse, and that I could calmly handle worse.

5.) Enjoy it! J and I prefer driving at night when we are together and able. This typically means the kids are asleep and it gives us literally hours of unadulterated conversation with little to no interruptions, which we obviously don’t get much of at home these days. We also really enjoy finding fun, off the road little places to eat. Maybe you’d have fun visiting new parks during your breaks, making a pit stop at a zoo or museum. Whatever it is, remember that a fun drive to your destination and back home, really is a huge part of your trips entirety; you should enjoy it!

But really, just know that you can do it! I made my first 12 hour drive sans J when H and B were 22 months and 6 months old respectively. We survived well enough that I’ve been doing it ever since without much thought. It’s not always perfect or luxurious, but thus far, it’s always been worth it!

Aruba, Aruba!

We finally went on a much needed family vacation. It has been too long.

The kids were gems on the long flights. I had purchased some clearance out aquadoodles a few months ago which turned out to be the right pick for H. She is really into spelling, so she’d have me tell her a random word and sound it out and spell it. And she’s getting pretty damn at spelling!

We were super fortunate that my parents were able to go with us to Aruba. The kids (and J and I, of course!) adore them, and always have a great time with them! J and I would chuckle during the times when my dad and step-mom would have one kid with them, leaving us with only one child, about how easy one kid is. Oh, how quickly that is forgotten. Ha!

Most of our time was spent on the beach or in the pool, or feeding the iguanas. But we did venture around the island and see and so much! We also took the Jolly Pirate out for snorkeling the Antilla and rope swinging off the ship. They were so impressed that H and B even tried to snorkel, let alone were completely successful at doing so. They said they had children come along often, but none as young as them ever attempted to snorkel.

The week went by far too quickly. H was not impressed with cold we met once home. They’re both itchin’ to go back. And I am too. Though truthfully, I have zero desire to ever fly again, which is surprising. But I’d rather drive any given day than fly. The kids are awesome travelers, but I just have a hard time being surrounded by that many rude people. It gets harder and harder to deal with stupidity the older I get. Alas, for some sun and family fun, I’d do just about anything!

I have over 1500 photos, but don’t worry, I’m not going to post that many! But here is a peek at our adventure (and still way too many photos!).

My brave girl swinging off the ship into the ocean!

 Ready to snorkel!


 Always a ham!


 I almost didn’t post this because you know, I’m not a tiny person exactly, but then realized if ever my kids read this blog some day I don’t want them to think I was even a tiny bit uncomfortable with the amazing body that created them.

 This boy was ALWAYS covered in sand. He’d plop right down and do “snow angels”!


Oh, how I love him!

My little tiger

Feeding iguanas.

Making sandcastles!

The way B looks at H always melts my heart.

B sharing the sand with Grandpa S.

My beautiful step-mom.

Feeding animals.

Oh, he kills me!

Those two monkeys make my heart so full!

Always the adventurous girl.

He stacked his own good luck rocks.

I’m still not sure how such a beautiful girl, inside and out, came from J and I.

Water guns are not just for kids!

B took this picture and it cracks me up!!


Oh, man, I feel like time is flying by so quickly and we are just so busy I never get a chance to sit down and breathe.

And breathing is good.

Last week was the kiddos spring break. Right before leaving we received “The Letter” that stated Miss H did not win the lottery for our charter school. Admittedly, I was initially a little bummed because the school is just so great, but I’ve come to see it as God or Fate or whatever telling me that we are supposed to homeschool and we just need to follow our kids’ lead. They know. They just know.

That being said, the application for St. C is still sitting on my desk. As much as I fully believe in homeschooling, as much as I, without any doubts, know in my heart it is the right thing for my family, it’s still absolutely terrifying. It’s such a responsibility and it’s excruciatingly daunting as I don’t really know anyone who has chosen this route or grew up this way. But then I remind myself that we also chose a way of parenting that I also hadn’t known anyone who had chosen to parent the way we did (when we first decided we wanted to be gentle, non-punitive parents – now we know many!), and that’s been working out freaking stellar for us. We have such sweet, fun, empathetic, polite kids! And there didn’t have to be any tears or punishments or harsh words for us to get these lovely kids. So I know their education will be the same. We’ll work together and educate them just as we parent them – with endless love and understanding, countless second chances, more mistakes then I’ll ever be able to count, so much talking, and lots of fun and togetherness – they’ll end up on top of the world no doubt.

Anyway, back to spring break.

J had a class in Atlanta so we ventured down with him. It was pretty exciting as we’d never really been to Atlanta. We left Monday morning and returned Friday night, making it a super quick trip – for us.

Our first night there the kids were excited they got ice cream. Really, other than the fact that Miss H knew a ferris wheel existed and was very insistent upon that – we could have just fed them ice cream daily and I think the trip would have been a win.

On Tuesday the kids and I ventured to the zoo per my aunt’s suggestion and it was amazing! The kids are definitely animal people and zoo-lovers, so it was an easy success.

Wednesday we headed to the Fernbank Natural History museum on a whim, which turned out to be a fantastic find! The kids loved the dinosaurs, and learned all about different poisons, and then played for hours in their amazing play area.

The kids also went to their first IMAX movie while at the Fernbank Museum. It was about humpback whales so we were all sold. I have, much to my delight, spawned some whale-lovers. I think I’ll keep them!

And that evening we finally made it to the ferris wheel to Miss H’s absolute delight.

And Thursday we headed to the aquarium. H was all excited about this because the Atlanta aquarium is the only aquarium in the US with whale sharks, and she can still vividly remember the ones we saw in Okinawa two years ago. In fact, when she saw the whale sharks here she proclaimed, “Oh, they’re babies! They’re so much smaller than in Okinawa!” And she was right! Who’d have thunkit?

He begged me to take his picture here, just like this. Who can say no to this insane cuteness?

That evening we had dinner with my lovely cousin and her husband, which was much overdue. I really, really need to work on staying in touch and having better communication with my family. And friends. And really, just everyone, because Lord knows I’m terrible at it. But I was very happy we were able to catch her while we were there.

B was pooped out by the time we made it back to the hotel from dinner.

I must admit, Atlanta was probably one of the very best vacations we’ve had in a long time. I mean, obviously we missed J during the days, but overall. The drive there and back was easy and drama-free. The kids were so exceptionally well-behaved I had to double check they weren’t Moor children. There were no fits, no fussing, no bickering…nada. It was just so ridiculously easy, I was amazed. I mean, they’re typically pretty good and easy, but long car rides and being out of sync some place new can throw even the best of the best off. But they were absolute gems.

Tomorrow we go back to the routine of life, but last week will definitely be cherished forever. So many smiles, giggles, sticky hands, and sticky kisses. What about it wouldn’t be?


In this season of life we travel. A lot.

Okay, so the entire time J and I have been together we’ve travelled a lot. But I still do recognize that it is simply a season. And it likely will not last forever.

There are so many pros and cons to it that I’m not sure, if forced to choose, I’d rather the life in which we aren’t gone so much, or the one where we are.

For every trip the kids and I take, J takes five more. At least. Probably more. And since we all actually like him, that’s not our first choice, obviously. But since he’s on the road so frequently, he acquires miles like a bandit, which allow us to go places with him that we otherwise would never be able to afford to go because plane tickets are a killer – like going to Oahu.

But us being gone a lot makes things a little chaotic and discombobulated. H is such an active little extrovert and is insistent on participating in activities. But that means she also misses a lot, too.

It’s also another huge factor in educating them. They’ve missed over 6 weeks of school this year – they cannot do that in “real” school. And the kiddos need to be with their papa. Sometimes, even if it isn’t some place “fun,” they just need to be with him. Because he’s their papa and they’re his babies and that’s just how it works.

But there are so many perks to travelling. All the new places, new people; always learning new things hands-on. I’m not sure the kids would know what to do with themselves if we stayed put for too long.

I know I wouldn’t. I’m nomadic at heart. An ever-moving gypsy. Planting roots too deeply in any one place is actually a bit daunting to me. And travelling helps prevent those roots from becoming too deeply seeded.

So when J said he was off to Hawai’i for two weeks, the kids and I were eager to go. Mostly because, well, beach. I’d been to Oahu twice before, and admittedly there are a lot of other places I’d rather go, but I’ve got water babies and who in the world is going to pass up an opportunity to Oahu (especially when the alternative is Indiana, ha)?

The kids were stoked. They’re such awesome little travelers. J flew out a few days before us so it was just the kids and I, our carry-ons, and two car seats making the trek (seriously, if you fly with kids who still are in a 5 point harness seat, it’s worth the pain in the ass to take that seat onto the plane with you. Trust me. So worth it. Not mention safer, but that’s for another day. It’s just genuinely an easier flight when they’re in their car seats).

In Oahy, they got to go on several hikes. B was so proud of himself for hiking up one 570 foot mountain all by himself. H perfected her back float. They both couldn’t get enough of the ocean. Or the pool. They met a sweet little boy who eagerly helped teach them to surf. They were pretty bad-ass, not gonna lie. They snorkeled their little hearts out. They hiked some more up mountains, volcanoes, and waterfalls. They enjoyed the Honolulu Zoo. They held crabs and sea urchins at the Waikiki Aquarium, and learned about sea-cucumbers and other aquatic life by pushing the correct numbers on their audio devices as we walked around the aquarium. They played real-life I Spy in an aquarium full of the some of the world’s tiniest sea-life, including itsy bitsy seahorses. They learned how pineapple is grown at the Dole Plantation (and indulged in a dole whip!), and navigated themselves through a giant maze using a map! They made new friends every where they went. They ate their weight in fish tacos (and maybe J and I did too!). They chased feral chickens and swung on tree vines and stood their ground in some pretty fierce wind on a mountain top. They had so, so much fun. And my heart only swelled a little bigger watching them in all the wonders, always in awe that I could possibly love these tiny people and their papa more than I did the day before. But I will end this now before it becomes a mushy love story about my stellar family and leave you with a bazillion photos of these great people!

Never mind it was past 1am their time; they insisted on playing on the beach our first night there. And were absolute soaked by the end of it. It was lovely!

 Sometimes, you just need a papa to give your tired tiny legs a break.


 He braved the dole whip, even though it was outside his chocolate ice cream comfort zone. And he loved it!


 They had a pamphlet of the different birds found in Oahu and were diligently searching for them all.


 B’s “stop taking pictures all ready” face, and Miss H trying to smile but definitely not into it, ha.


 A coffee farm? With free coffee tastings? This might just be better than a winery!


Some pretty serious wind at the top of the Pali.

 Totally stoked to find some brightly colored popsicles that were made with natural dye!


4th of July in St. Louis

We kicked off July by spending a long weekend in St. Louis with my dad and step mom. We’ve kinda created a new tradition over the past few years of taking a mini-vacay together some place within fairly easy driving distance. And they’re always a blast.

Before we even made it out of town Wednesday, B displayed a little cousinly empathy when his cousin O was terrified of the little chipmunk we were re-locating from our back yard. Despite him being in a cage, she was still pretty frightened. So B offered to hold her hand to keep her safe. Needless to say, my heart melted. There is a little chivalry yet in that sweet, terrible baby dinosaur of mine.

Our first evening there it was a unanimous vote to eat at Joe’s Crab Shack. Mr. B immediately decided on the kids’ crab pot and, truth be told, if I had someone to shell all of my crab for me, I might have chosen it too!

The next day we took the train into the heart of the museum. To be honest, we likely could have just rode the train for hours and had perfectly happy kids. But we decided to let them have some lunch and excitement, too.

We came across some live music and a bunch of food trucks as we made the trek to City Museum and we all were happy with that fine dining cuisine. J and the kids boogied like crazy to the music. I have some great photos of that, but my camera battery died and I currently cannot find my charger in order to upload those. Whoops. Just don’t tell J, I’m trying desperately to convince him that I still have my brain, ha. I’ll offer ice cream for a good camera charger hunt here in a little bit.

The City Museum might have been the single most coolest place I’ve ever been. I wish we had something remotely similar around here. Think human gerbil maze. And then throw and overzealous, helicoptering J into the mix who was too big to fit through most of the tunnels. Oh, good times! Plus huge giant slides, a Ferris wheel on top of the building. Dad even got conned into going down one of the giant slides and got a good bump on the top of his head for it. That’s true Grandpa love right there.

 Because he’s a big kid at heart!


B was completely tuckered out by the end of the day. Tula for the win!

Somehow I don’t have any photos from the inside giant maze and tunnel part. B was pooped out by the end of the day and completely slept through dinner. He’s really got a thing for sleeping in pizza joints, I’m learning. But hey – I don’t judge. One less kid to occupy.

The next day we headed to the St. Louis zoo. It was huge and a lot of fun. We didn’t even make it through the whole thing.

 He’s such a pro!


 We ran into some really great friends from home. It was a pleasant surprise!


I’m fairly certain H would have stayed with the guinea pigs all day.



 Or the goats. H really loved the goats.


 I’ll eat you up, I love you so!


 B and O before the 4D dinosaur movie.


 Hitching a ride back to the car because eating your kettle corn while walking can be tricky!


And this is how one small, precious boy can take up an entire bed!


We spent the 4th of July at Grant’s Farm, which was really cool. Other than when the goat started eating my dress. No joke. I apologize to all the poor bystanders who saw more than they were hoping for that day. B got a bite taken out of his clothes, too. Hungry goats!


And we finished the day off at a nice restaurant a bit too fancy for us to be at, but we made it work.

No fireworks this year. I figure eventually we will in fact get to see them some day. But right now they just cannot stay awake that late and good sleep is just more important than watching some fireworks. Because I will pay for bad sleep. For days. Ha.


We had such a fantastic time. As always, we are glad to be home though. And are eagerly anticipating our next few trips that are going to make the rest of summer and then autumn fly by and BAM! The next thing we will know, we’ll be in the heart of winter.

D.C., Philly, Lititz, Oh My!

We’ve had an awesome whirlwind of a week.

A really great trip to the East Coast.

We saw a lot of people we love and didn’t get to spend enough time with any of them. Ah, as is life, I suppose. I’m so thankful for the time we did get though!

We started out last Tuesday. The kids and I left around noon after their soccer was over to join J who was having meetings all week a little over an hour south of D.C. We arrived around midnight, despite all the “terrible blizzards and snow” I was warned about. The roads were perfect. We had less than an hour of very, very light snow. That didn’t stick to the roads, ground, or windshield. So we were good.

Wednesday morning the kids and I moseyed around, had breakfast, and then headed to the nearest park and ride to catch the metro into D.C. They were super excited about the train for about two minutes. Then the thrill wore off.

We met up in D.C. with one of my dearest friends, Kate, and had lunch with her (well, the kids had chocolate croissants – that counts right?). Kate is gorgeous and glamorous and fun as always. I almost apologized for having not done my hair or make-up, but then I didn’t, because fortunately you don’t have to apologize about that kind of stuff with some people.

Then we ventured over to the Natural History Museum. I think the kids liked it. Especially the caterpillars and butterflies.

Then we brilliantly decided to walk to the Lincoln Memorial.

An easy walk when you’re not lugging around two small children, for sure! And they weren’t eager to walk themselves.

We wised up and took a cab back to Kate’s apartment. One little somebody passed out cold during the very short drive. Another little somebody fought it hard, and managed to stay awake until 9p.m. that night!!

Thursday I had wanted to return to D.C. for more sightseeing, because you know, looking at monuments is fun. Even if you’ve seen them like 40 times all ready. Okay, if you’re me, it is. The kids weren’t keen on that idea so instead I took them to a nearby historical plantation. I didn’t win any points with that one either. But it was gorgeous. I just wish my real camera hadn’t died on me, or I could have gotten some good photos there!

H was so sweet and polite, despite her obvious lack of enthusiasm. I would explain something historical to her like the smokehouse or the blacksmith and she’d muster up a smile and say in monotone, “Oh, wow.” B didn’t even pretend to be having fun.

Yeah, guess they didn’t get my history gene.

So we went back to the hotel and swam and watched Disney Jr. for 3 hours. The kids were fairly certain they’d gone to heaven, ha.

Friday morning J was done with meetings, so we hightailed it up to Philadelphia where my dad, step-mom, brother sister-in-law, niece, mom, and mom’s boyfriend all were for the commissioning of the ship my brother is currently on – Somerset.

After a few plunders and mishaps, we finally met up with everyone at the ship in order for my brother to take us on a tour.

Miss H could not have been more excited to see her cousin, O! Before we’d headed out East we had gone to our local kids boutique because H had her own money to spend and wanted nail polish (and I’m a freak and only buy her “safe” nail polish). Well, she found a Hello Kitty necklace and wanted to buy that for her cousin instead with her money. It absolutely melted my heart (and I went ahead and bought her the nail polish myself, don’t worry!). H promptly gave O the necklace and then they held hands and sang “Let It Go!” as we walked to the ship.

We were given an excellent tour of the ship by my brother.

Afterwards we headed for dinner and then passed out in the hotel room my mom so kindly got for us. I was out solid until 12:30 until the Bogans next door decided it was great time to have a spat. The dude yelled incoherently. The girl would randomly scream, “I f*cking hate you!” or “Don’t f*cking touch me!” I was all about calling down the lobby, but Mr. B had unplugged the phone and was sleeping on top of me. Since it didn’t disturb the kids or J I listened to the carrying-on until nearly 3am. Awesome fun, of course.

The next morning we headed out to the commissioning ceremony.

That’s my brother!


The kids were all pretty awesome throughout the ceremony. I was impressed anyway.

 Ignore the fact that I have three pairs of mittens stuffed into my coat pockets. I try to keep things real.



We met up with everyone and went out for lunch at the City Tavern. It was a grand time and my sister-in-law got me a gift while we were there…


And then we walked back to where we were parked. The girls immediately broke into the cannoli chips and dip on the walk over. Never mind we’d just had a 3 hour lunch, ha.

And then we made the 2 hour drive west to J’s sister’s house in Lititz to spend the night. B cozied right up with J. Melt my heart.

And then we spent the morning visiting before finally heading off to return home.

We had an incredibly good time. It didn’t last long enough with any of our family or friends. But we are so glad we got to see everyone.

And the kids and are happy to be home again!

For a few weeks anyway. 😉