Thursday, November 11, 2010

Taking the Plunge: Our First Family Road Trip

Travel with young kiddos is tricky. Very tricky. Especially if you're structured (like me), and have sleep trained and scheduled and prioritized baby rhythms and cycles above the planning of anything, road trip or otherwise. It's also tricky because the general public is not very forgiving when it comes to travel-weary toddlers, and no one wants to be "that family."

This week, after deliberation and discussion, we decided to break the seal and take our little three-unit family on a short 36-hour trial road trip down to the San Antonio area. Mama and baby packed up and tagged along with Daddy, who was headed down south for a one night stay on business.

Looking back, we both agree: the trip wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, and it wasn't as easy as Daddy thought it would be. A good middle ground, I guess. It wasn't totally smooth sailing, but the fusses and protestations were fewer than what I had anticipated. Overall, the excitement of the new surroundings and the fun of stepping outside of routine and familiarity far outweighed the harder stuff, and it was a good first road trip.

Headed down the old dusty trail

Audrey's favorite distraction

A patch of fog

Getting in to Hill Country

We arrived at Kyle's job site after right at 4 hours on the road. Audrey fell asleep- no exaggeration- ten minutes before we arrived, but she awoke from her cat nap in a happy mood, and we set out to explore Daddy's current project...

We took a look around the job trailer, then played on the "stairs table" that Audrey found outside while Daddy tended to pre-lunch business.

Beginnings of Church

After lunch, we left Daddy at the job site and headed down into San Antonio to check in to our hotel. We unloaded the gobs of gear that goes with traveling with a toddler, took a short nap, then checked out the indoor pool once Daddy was back for the evening. They say it was heated, but I totally disagree. Audrey was the only one who seemed interested in putting more than her toes in the water...

The pool room was heated, anyway

Warning: 5 1/2 months preggo belly in mom bathing suit alert

Cautiously slipping in

It didn't take long for Audrey to get chilly and blue in the lips, so we ended up heading up to the room after only a short visit to the pool, where we showered off and dressed for an adventure on the Riverwalk!

Three weary travelers leave their mark

The Riverwalk

View from our table at dinner

Waiting for dinner bites

Hard working Daddy

We wandered up and down the Riverwalk, had a nice dinner, some old-fashioned ice cream, and a bag of popcorn for the road, and then called it a night and headed back to the hotel. Our ultra-modern room didn't have a bathtub, so Audrey got to take a shower like a big girl. By bed time, she was a tired little lady, and we read a couple of bedtime books and tucked her in to her pack-n-play.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star book

Audrey's sleepin' nook the next morning

Waiting on Mama and Daddy to get ready for breakfast

Our sleepin' nook

We had a light breakfast, courtesy of our hotel, then packed the car and headed back to the job site for the extent of a meeting. We enjoyed the perfect weather and multiple deer sightings as we waited on Daddy...

The church playground

Counting rocks

Audrey's first see-saw experience
Investigating moss and playing in "leaps" aka leaves

Well-loved swings

Audrey goes Goldilocks on the swings, and tries them all until she finds that the blue one is juuuust riight

Playing on the job site, waiting on Daddy

Gathering treasures

We packed up and headed home around 10:30am, stopped at the famous Bluebonnet Cafe for lunch, and had a peaceful drive the rest of the way, pulling in to our driveway just before 4pm. We were tired and road-weary, but happy to see familiar things and to stretch our legs. Overall, the trip was a success, and because of it we won't be quite as intimidated to do it again sometime in the near distant future.

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