Leigha and the Triplets

Monday, June 16, 2008

Graffiti- It's What You Do While Sitting on the Toilet!

Last Saturday my mom flew in from North Carolina to make our annual drive cross-country. Every year we think it will get easier. Every year we have less stuff to pack. I remember the first year when Matthew was still on oxygen. We had to pack the HUGE oxygen concentrator, spare oxygen tanks, 3 pack-n-plays, etc. We had a roof top carrier where we kept the pack-n-plays and diapers. The Runabout stroller sat on a carrier attached to the back of my van. My boys were still on bottles and some baby food. There was no such thing as a fast rest stop, so we thought.

The next year we were oxygen free, although we had some tanks in case of emergency. Since we didn't have the concentrator, we were able to put the pack-n-plays inside the back of the van. Unfortunately, that stroller still sat on the back. The drawback? Well, other than looking like a freak show, every time you need to get something out of the back of the van, you have to undo the stroller. Talk about a pain! We thought the rest stops would be so much faster because only Matthew was still on a bottle and baby food (due to food aversions). WRONG! Food stops took on a whole new meaning with picky eating toddlers. We still made our trip in 4 days (3 hotel stays). That consists of unpacking the ENTIRE van, and reloading it the following morning, three times! There is nothing like waking up at 5 a.m. and never making it on the road until 8:30 a.m. at the earliest.

BUT- This year was going to be different! We were going to try to make it in three days (2 hotel stays). The plan was to feed the kids in the car more often and just let them out to run at rest stops. This time they are all on regular food, although the pickiness has gotten worse now that they have deemed themselves OPINIONATED! I also purchased PeaPod Plus Travel Beds for the boys. Noe did not want me to do it, he thought it was ridiculous to spend more money on beds. Well, I won for two reasons. First, he is not the one who has to unpack the entire trunk to get the three 28 lb pack-n-plays out. Second, seriously, what is he going to do from Japan? HA! These beds weigh 8 lbs each and can be at the TOP of the trunk. Easily accessible when we get to the hotel.

The only drawback seemed to be that darned stroller hanging off the back of my van (in addition to those pesky gas prices that won't stop rising). As I was starting to gather things to pack, the night before of course, I got a hair-brained idea. Do I really need to have a stroller? They are three now. HECK NO! There is no way, my boys have just recently started to experience a bit of freedom while we are out. They are not trained and still do most of their outtings SEATBELTED into their Choo Choo Wagon. That was just out of the question, especially with Matthew. He gets very tired when he walks and still needs to rest frequently. What about taking an umbrella stroller? No, what if we go somewhere where there is a lot of walking. My boys are way too big for me to carry them, I proudly wear the title of "WHIMP!" Then I wondered if I could take the first two cars of the wagon and then have the umbrella stroller. Surely I had enough room for that!

It was at that time that I started thinking about what all I had to pack. I figured out that I was either forgetting some major things OR I might just have enough room to take my entire wagon and leave the monstrosity of a stroller home!? Last year we were able to get 25.5 mph on the highway when my van dropped to economy level (I love the Honda Odyssey for this reason). Could you imagine what it would do without a stroller hanging off the back? Could you imagine what it would do for my reputation? I couldn't believe that I was able to pack the entire wagon and everything else we needed. See, this trip WAS going to be easier!

The boys did remarkably well the first day. We made it to Tucumcari, New Mexico the first day. Unpacking the van was a breeze, comparatively. Unfortunately the boys got a bit wound up while we were getting everything together. We were faced with a bit of resistance, especially from Matthew, when it came time for them to actually SLEEP in those tents. However, they quickly settled down and fell asleep.

The next morning we learned an important lesson. Do not take advantage of the free breakfast buffet when you are trying to get out fast. I went down to pick up food for everyone. However, eating eggs, sausage, bagels and cream cheese, waffles, etc. is not the fastest thing in the world. We had room for improvement the next day.

On our way to Little Rock, Arkansas, we stopped at a Stucky's gas station. My mom and I took turns using the restroom so we could leave the kids in the car. When I got in there, I could see why it took my mom so long to use the restroom. They had the neatest idea there. In all of the bathroom stalls, and on the walls by the sink, there were butcher sheets of paper taped up. They ENCOURAGED you to write on the walls while in the bathroom! How smart is that?! Do you notice the nice white walls around those sheets?

The lady that runs the place said that she was so sick of having to repaint the bathrooms all of the time that she decided to put up the paper to encourage people to write about the trips they were on. She said in the past four years she has only had to repaint the bathroom once! Obviously I thought it was pretty neat, but it didn't come without embarrassment. I was in the restroom alone when I was actually USING the restroom. When I was finished, I ran back to the car to grab my camera. Unfortunately, a girl in her twenties entered the restroom just before me. She entered her stall and closed her door. I then took three pictures. I really wanted to know how freaked out she was as she heard my camera going off. Who takes pictures in a bathroom? A BLOGGER, that's who! Blogging material can't be passed up!! When she came out I felt the need to explain what I was doing. Then I quickly departed through the guys who were waiting for her, hoping to get to the car and pull out before they came out.

To be continued...


susan said...

Wow, there are a lot of logistics to consider when travelling with triplets! And I laughed aloud at the thought of bathroom stall shutterbugism. ;)

Kei said...

Whew!!!! Just imagine what the trip will be like when you won't have to pack little beds for the kids!

What a great idea about encouraging people to write while in the stalls!!!! But I'm LOL-ing about what the young woman must have thought, hearing the camera going off!
Great blog post!!!

winnie said...

You're my hero traveling with kids by car on such a long adventure! I'm dreading our long car ride to Ohio and Niagara Falls with just 2 kids. I remember taking road trips as a child w/ my family and stopping at Stuckey's for their pecan log roll was a must. Too funny about the bathroom walls! Happy Travels and enjoy your trip!

Janel said...

oh you crack me up with your only a blogger comment....lol..