Summer SoDak Trip 2013

After a flurry of posts in the first three weeks of July, the blog has been pretty quite for the last week. The thing is, when you embark on a grand adventure that involves crossing state lines with three small children, there just doesn’t seem to be much time for blogging. The good news is, if you survive such an adventure, there are plenty of stories to tell upon returning home which is exactly what we managed to do yesterday morning.

If you’ve seen the photos on Facebook, you already know that we took a trip to visit my family in South Dakota. You’ll also know already that the kids had a blast playing at various parks and the hotel pool and had a great time just being their normal balls-of-energy-and-cute-rolled-into-one selves with everyone we saw along the way. The overall consensus after we got back to Hastings? Our first vacation as a family of five was a HUGE success, but let’s break it down in Maiasaura (the good, the mother, the lizard) pieces.

Since you already know that the trip was an overall Win, let’s start with the trip’s Lizard Story. Thankfully it did not involve any real lizards (or creatures of any sort). It involved, of course, the unexpected. Ben and I planned this excursion as carefully as we could knowing full well that traveling with a 4-yr-old, and 1 1/2-yr-old, and a 3-wk-old would pretty much leave everything out of our control, but hey, it’s what we do. And thanks to my awesome packing skills and our basic acceptance of our early risers, we were able to break our travel portions into 4 mornings of driving for about 4-4 1/2 hours each, including time for a nursing stop; this got us to my parents’ and then my grandpa’s and then back again. I did all of the driving because I did not want to deal with the gymnastics/yoga required for the job of Person Stuck in Passenger Seat, Responsible for Handing ALL Snacks and Books to Children (Including and Mostly Meaning the Shrieking Toddler Who Keeps Dropping EVERYTHING). Seriously. The children were remarkable travelers overall, but I heard Raegan shriek the words, “BOOK!” and “SNACK!” and “CUP” at numbers and volumes I’d rather soon forget. But as the driver, at least all I had to do was listen to it…

Shrieking aside, it was our second morning of travel (on a day that started at 4:40 a.m., which is ungodly early, even for my kids) that gave us our low point of the whole trip. Because of the extremely early start time, we were headed down the road shortly after 6:00 and at our first pit stop, a Cabela’s in Mitchell, SD, before the store even opened! Ben took the older kids and I stayed with Lincoln in the van to nurse. Even though I was exhausted, I was proud of us and thinking we were pretty awesome because we were doing this and we weren’t even freaking out and we were going to get to Pierre so early and all would be well!!

Flash forward about 30 minutes, past the nursing and diaper changes and bathroom stops and Cabela’s purchase of a new hoodie for Mama (it was unseasonably cool during our stay!), and we were all back in the van, ready to go. Except the van was not because our battery was dead. Now, in high school, I had an album by the band Live and it included a song called “Shit Town”. Long story short, because folks from Yankton aren’t real fond of Mitchell, my friends and I took to calling Mitchell “Shit Town”. Guess what lyrics jumped into my head the minute I realized the van was not going to turn over and that my parents (who were also headed to Pierre that day) were still at the farm, too far away to be of any immediate help to us?!

But then Mitchell redeemed itself because a nice man from Cabela’s came out to try to jump our van with their little box thingy and when that didn’t work, he retrieved his own vehicle to do the trick instead which thankfully did work. And all together, the whole hiccup really only took about 35 minutes which was unfortunate for LT’s nursing schedule and RL’s napping schedule, but ultimately was not the end of the world.

As for the Mother Story of the trip, I’ll go with a Kids Say the Darndest Things shorty because part of being a mother, I’ve learned, is being mortified by what can come out of your child’s mouth at any given moment. On our first night away we were spending time at my parent’s house, Harrison and Raegan were playing and I think maybe we were trying to get them to start getting ready for bed. My memory of the lead in is foggy because the actual words were so distracting and memory-burning. Totally excited, HD ran for the stairs, shouting “C’mon, Everybody! Let’s all get naked!!” And the way he said it and the way my parents both raised their eyebrows as they tried really hard not to laugh made it all seem like he was repeating something he’d heard often. I assure you, it is NOT!

The Good Story from Summer SoDak Trip 2013 came from how our children slept like rock stars in the hotel. Actually, they were the opposite of rock stars in that they actually slept and didn’t tear the room apart, but that is beside the point. Even Lincoln, who nursed like a maniac both evenings, went for 7+ hours of straight through sleep both nights we stayed in Pierre. Unbelievable and oh-so-very nice. Honestly, if it meant I’d get that much sleep every night, I probably wouldn’t mind if most of my evenings were spent cluster feeding him!

Of course the other Good that came from the trip was seeing family. We got to introduce Lincoln to some very special family members over the course of the weekend, and all of us got to help my grandpa (and namesake) celebrate his 85th birthday. Raegan started saying the words “Grandpa” and “Grandma” by the end of the trip and Harrison got some extended birthday love and presents which is always fun. Thanks to helping hands with all three kids, Ben and I did not run ourselves totally ragged, and got to have some time in the evenings having adult conversations. Like I said, HUGE success!

Success aside, it will probably be some time before we take another grand adventure such as this. The van, I think, is content to be a snack and book free zone again and even though we certainly conquered this road trip, we’re not going to get overly-confident or cocky and suddenly start zig-zagging cross country in an RV. No, sir. Homebodies we shall be – myself, my hubby, and our babies, three.

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