Last year at this time Randy and I were completely at each others throats after a very long and stressful drive to Pensacola, Florida for our annual family vacation. With a 1 year old and 2 1/2 year old the trip did not go anything as planned. This year, with a 2 year old and 3 1/2 year old it was a completely different story. We planned to leave in the afternoon as soon as we had finished work and packed up the car. Thanks to a lot of preparation work, we had the car packed and left earlier than we had even thought possible. The kids were happily playing with the toys from the activity packs that I had made for them from a variety of Dollar Store and other bargain priced toys that were all new to them.
We had reserved a room about 4 hours away, but after driving for a while, Randy decided it would be better to try to book a room another 2 hours away. I was upset at his choice to drive further when we stopped for dinner and a restroom break and he was stressing about sticking to a time schedule. That was exactly what we were trying to avoid! He apologized for rushing us and things went pretty smoothly from then on. We broke out the DVD player after dark, which entertained the kids up until we arrived at the hotel around 11:30pm.
The kids were pretty wound up and didn't go to sleep until about 1:30, but at least they went to sleep! Last year I walked them around a parking lot for 2 hours in the stroller hoping they would fall asleep, but they never did! When they awoke at 5am the next morning we just got up and got back on the road. Aidan was so tired that he fell asleep around 9am after a nice long stop for breakfast and playing.
Meanwhile, Reese played nicely by herself, allowing me time to actually read the book I had brought along!
We made another pit stop to use the restroom a few hours later. Randy made a phone call, which allowed them several minutes to dig in the dirt and run around freely. When we got back in the car the kids watched movies.
We had some fun when we crossed the border into Florida and rolled down all the windows.
The lack of sleep finally caught up to her and Reese was down for the count!
We stopped for a few groceries and food when we were about 20 minutes from the hotel and beach and had to wake Sleeping Beauty. Fortunately, she woke up refreshed and not crabby at all. The kids were still eating as we pulled up to the hotel an hour later. They handed over the rest of their fries and jumped out of the car, ecstatic to finally be at our hotel. After checking into our room, we quickly changed into our suits and finally hit the pool! A few hours later as we returned to our room, Randy joked with the kids that vacation was over and it was time to get back in the car. Both kids immediately responded, "No way!"