As I mentioned in the last post, we have some traveling to do this spring and summer. I've been looking forward to it, while at the same time dreading it because of all the preparation and energy that go into traveling with kids. Well, Operation Coast to Coast is officially underway since last Sunday when Matilda, Serafina, and I piled into our Mazda5 with all sorts of luggage, snacks, and toys to drive from Illinois to Connecticut. Did you get that? It was just the girls and me; no other adults. I honestly wasn't nervous about it. My mom has been pretty worried about it, and Sean said that he was nervous, but if I felt comfortable, then he was sure it would be fine. So plans were made for the roughly 1,000 mile journey.
*Note: as usual, this post is way longer than I intended. I wrote it all down because it was significant for me and I want to remember it. Will it be interesting to you? Meh, maybe not. If you don't like wordy posts, you may skip to the recap at the end.
As I said, I really wasn't nervous. That is, until it was actually time to leave. Once all of the craziness of packing bags, loading the car, and getting a variety of snacks ready was over and it was actually time to drive away from Sean, I got really nervous. For a moment, my heart pounded and my head reeled as I imagined what the next two days could possibly entail. Non-stop screaming from my toddler and preschooler. Matilda vomiting because of carsickness, which has happened twice before. Fatigue. Backache. Car troubles. And of course, no one to help me with any of it. I decidedly pushed those thoughts out of my mind and hit the road. I wanted to see my sisters (Allison lives in Connecticut and Lesli flew out a few days later), plus we timed this trip so that Sean would have an empty house in which to study for finals for 11 days.
Luckily, that first day was a dream! I couldn't have asked for it to go any better. We drove to Cleveland, where we stayed the night with some BYU friends of mine, Holly and Mark. It took about eight hours and we only stopped once for food and gas. Unfortunately, the luck didn't extend into the night. I had had a Dr. Pepper while driving and since I very rarely drink caffeine, I was pretty wired until 1 AM. I finally fell asleep, only to be awakened an hour later by Serafina, who normally sleeps 13 hours at night without waking up. She decided that the pack n play was not the place for her, and that the only thing that could tempt her to sleep again was laying on my chest. That does not mesh well with me being a stomach sleeper. So she was in and out of sleep on my chest until 6:30, when I was finally able to transfer her to the pack n play. And then Matilda woke up at 7:30.
At this point, I was thinking there was no way I could risk the lives of 3/4 of the Murphy family by driving approximately 9.5 hours on only 2 hours of sleep. I spent the morning hanging out with Holly and getting our stuff packed up, trying to decide what to do. I decided to go for it. I was feeling alert and awake, and figured that we could drive until that changed. About 90 miles into the trip, the weather changed. It started to rain right after we crossed the Pennsylvania border. And then it started to snow. When we entered New York, it was really snowing. Really REALLY snowing. Before it got too bad, I called Allison and asked her to look at the forecast and let me know how long I would be driving in snow. She told me that she looked at the radar map and told me that the whole country was sunny and warm, except for this tiny part in Pennsylvania and New York where there was this snow storm. Lucky me, right? It kept getting worse and worse, until there were a few inches on the road and it was a near white-out. My tires kept pretty good traction and it wasn't too icy, so I was able to go 30-35 MPH. But of course, that was our speed for over an hour, which is not what I was hoping for. Just as I had decided to stop at a hotel in the next town, the snow let up a bit and it was sticking less and less on the road, until there was none on the road at all. I was extremely grateful. Although it was still snowing for about 2 more hours, the roads were clear and we were able to pick up our speed. The 9.5 hour trip ended up taking 11 hours, which still wasn't too bad!
Are you wondering how the girls did on this second day of being stuck upright in their carseats all day? Once again, they were absolutely perfect. They stayed mostly happy. They fell asleep when they were tired. The only incident we had was a leaky diaper for Serafina because we drove so long before making our (once again) only stop. I promised myself and Sean and everyone else that I love that I would take as many breaks and naps that I needed in order to get us to Connecticut on only two hours of sleep, but amazingly enough, we only needed one stop! A prayer and 2/3 of a bottle of Dr. Pepper was all that I needed to keep me clear-headed.
Recap: 1000 miles over two days + one 3 year old + one 16 month old + only 1 stop each day + 2 hours of sleep + 1 snow storm = one of the most fun road trips I have ever had. Let's hope the return trip next week is just as fun, if not a bit less eventful.