We just returned from a whirlwind tour of Austin, Texas, where we witnessed the marriage between Sam's sister, Kelly, and her new husband, Steven. It was a Big Trip. Molly's first plane ride...
|I'm holding on for dear life.|
First time traveling as a Family of Five...
First time to Texas... When he looked out the window from our 24th floor hotel room, Evan said, "Hmmm, there sure aren't any longhorn cattle around this city." No, there weren't. But we were able to watch an active work site from our room, so that was cool.
And the view of the city at night was stunning.
...witnessed history (although we didn't see the legend himself, we did see Willie Nelson's statue that was dedicated while we were there. And we were proud to be the out-of-towners who were NOT the ones to look at the statue and wonder, loudly, aloud: "Who's that guy?")...
...and Evan conversed with the locals.
There was time spent in the hotel, too...playing with a new souvenir (a hippie van purchased at the Children's Museum) while waiting for our lunch to be ready...
...we even had time to sneak in a Two Months Old Photo Shoot...
In order to keep the troops happy during our late-night adventures, afternoon naps were an absolute must.
And when it was time, we dressed to the nines....
And it was a wonderful trip.
As is always the case, First Times are Learning Experiences. And this, our first Big Trip (on a plane, staying in a hotel, Big, Fancy Affairs to Attend) was full of them. For example:
1) Send a box of snacks and diapers ahead of time. We also included a container of Evan's hemp milk, and single-serve, shelf-stable boxes of Max's milk, as well as a jar of sunbutter and breakfast bars. It saves money at the airport when you don't exceed the 50 lb. weight limit per checked bag, and it saves your sanity during the trip when snacks are readily available to stave off hunger-induced meltdowns while waiting for late dinners. We also asked Sam's sister to run by the store and pick up bread, bananas, and apples. This allowed us to give the kids breakfast and lunch in the room just about every day.
2) Plan your trip after a birthday or holiday. For that birthday or holiday, give your child a Leap Pad. Bring that Leap Pad on the plane. Breathe a sigh of relief when your child is happily entertained for the entire flight(s). (If you have two children, you should also bring along an iPad.)
3) Be prepared for people who are strangers (but who already feel as though they are family) to touch and kiss your children. Prepare the older ones ahead of time for this so they don't think strange women are just approaching them and hugging and kissing them, while their mother stands helplessly across the room. (I've never seen Max's eyes get so huge and teary. He was NOT expecting that At. All. He held it together, though. And then promptly ran and hid behind my leg.)
4) Smile brightly when you tell the (more than one) person that, no, you didn't have to pack a Port-a-Crib for Molly to sleep in because she sleeps in your bed and are met with a look of shock and judgement. And, if you feel the need to elaborate and say that it's where she sleeps at home, too, just continue to smile and say, "Well, it works for us!" when those people raise their eyebrows and say, "Really? Wow. I just...."
5) Rent a suite at the hotel. Not only will the second room be nice for having a post-bedtime beer with your husband, but you may need it to ensure that everyone sleeps. Molly and I were in the second room just about every night so that the boys wouldn't wake when she woke in the middle of the night to eat. One night, though, Max had a horrible cough. He and Sam moved to the pull-out couch (and tried to get a little sleep between coughing fits) and Molly and I moved in to the bedroom with Evan. If we had all been in one room, we would have all been up all night. And we would have all been miserable the next day. And we probably would have ruined the rehearsal dinner boat ride. But we weren't, so we weren't, and we didn't. Phew.
6) Bring diapers. Everywhere you go. ESPECIALLY when you're going for a two-and-a-half hour long boat ride. And you have two kids in diapers. And one of those kids is a 2-year old who hasn't pooped in two days. And the other one is a newborn who has been known to poop three times in 20 minutes. True Story. While changing Molly's blowout diaper less than an hour into the boat ride, I realize that, except for one Max-sized diaper, the diaper bag is Completely Diaperless. Somehow, the size 5 (lined with napkins to make it a double-duty diaper) works and there isn't a single other poop the entire ride. It was some kind of Diaper Miracle.
7) Look at your children through the eyes of the people complimenting them. Even though they might pitch fits and throw tantrums and suffer meltdowns behind the closed doors of the hotel room, they, somehow, hold it together and act Just Beautifully when they need to. Despite schedules and routines being tossed to the wind. Despite late dinners and lots of day and night activity. Despite meeting lots of new people and being expected to wear ties and belts, of all things. Despite it all...They are well-behaved and charming. They are engaging and sociable. They are adorable and sweet. And EVERYone notices. Accept the compliments on their behalf and brag about them so they can hear you. And, when you return to the hotel room at 10 o'clock at night and the over-tired, over-stimulated meltdowns begin, tuck them in and kiss them and tell them how proud you are of them. (And don't let on to them how shocked you are that they held it together as well as they did.)
But when all is really said and done, the Truth remains: All you really need is Love.
And diapers. For god's sake, Do Not forget the diapers.