Thursday, April 26, 2012

Utah Trip: The Road There

IHOP Breakfast in Ft. Stockton

We had a great time in Utah---and there and back!  Since it was such a big journey, the tale will be told in multiple posts.  The first is our trip up.  This was Tuesday/Wednesday of our big trip.

Prepping & Early Departure
Before we even started our journey, Greg and I wanted to make sure the kids (and us) would enjoy and survive the trip.  Because of {Houston} the couple weeks before, we could see what worked, and didn't work in just a three hour car-ride (like Annabelle + real crayons = colored on door or dollar store stamps do not work well with toddler.. .those kind of things).  In the days leading up to the trip, the kids helped me pack their car caddies ($3 green and pink containers from Hobby Lobby) with things that would 'attempt' to entertain them.  Since the {Houston} trip, we decided to invest in {tray tables} for their playing/eating needs.  SO SO worth it.

Jared had laminated alphabet book he could write on with dry-erase crayons, a bag of his Star Wars toys, dinosaur or two, and a book or two.  Annabelle had color-wonder princess book and markers (so the door wouldn't be marked), a bag of her Princess dolls, Princess puzzle & book.  We also packed the DVD player and portable case with PLENTY of options, the V-Reader plus its cartridges and car, and travel Perfection & Hungry Hungry Hippos.  We tried to use the movies and V-Reader as rewards for good behavior, which worked pretty well... most of the time.

We hoped this would be enough, and set out in the early hours before sunrise so we could get to Santa Fe (our stopping point for day one) at a decent time for dinner.

Fort Stockton Breakfast
From home to Ft. Stockton, the kids were in their jammies and told to try and sleep more.  I think they were just too excited for all of the excitement ahead on our trip because they only stayed quiet until the sun started to rise; I'm pretty sure I dosed more than they did.  Then, they wanted to play with all of their bucket toys.  Jared actually zipped through his whole bucket in a few minutes and said, "I'm done, can we watch a movie?"  Nice try, buddy.  I was actually really worried that this would be a trend of the days to come, but this was the only time he said that... whew!  Dodge THAT bullet.

Our place in Santa Fe
Because of our early start, the kids didn't nap at the same time.  They overlapped maybe 30 minutes or so, but the rest of the time we had to teach them the art of playing quietly while their sibling slept only inches away. 

Our first big stop came in Fort Stockton which happened to be right around breakfast time.  After a quick change of clothes for the kiddos, we sat down to our yummy pregnancy-craving infested breakfast.. what?  Since they were good on the first leg of the trip, they were able to watch a movie while digesting their pancakes and eggs.

Snacks = Happy Kiddos (and parents)
Another key to the success in our journey came because of the amounts of kiddo/car friendly snacks we had.  The kids each had their own water bottles and we had a supply of gatorade and water.  Food-wise we had: string cheese, Cuties, and go-gurts in the cooler.  We also had a bag of shelled pistachios, small cup of goldfish per kiddo, cheez-its for us, trail mix, and fruit leather.  Because of the kids age, all of these worked SO well--- Annabelle didn't even squeeze any go-gurt out on her.  The cuties were probably the most difficult because of the peel, but that's what improved plastic trash bags are for AND we all enjoyed those a lot.

Roswell & Annabelle needs a bathroom
Around lunch time we hit the tourist trap known as Roswell.  Holy Moly have they taken that whole 'aliens landed here' to another level.  Driving down the main strip, it seemed as though every single business had a small green alien perched outside to welcome weary tourists in.  Jared even noticed the aliens; there were THAT many of them.  Since it was lunch time and we already had a lot of snacks, we stopped at the local Wal-Mart, let the kids pick out a Lunchable to round out their meals and got back on the road (yes, we even bought a magnet with an alien on it) Seriously, they're everywhere... even at the gas stations.

After nap time, while in the middle-of-nowhere New Mexico, Annabelle decided she needed to go two-sies.  This is exactly the situation we were afraid of with her starting potty-training a week before our trip; not trying to hinder any of her progress, we kept her in pull-ups during the trip, but encouraged her to use the potty and not her big-girl panties.  SO--- going against all of the rules of a potty-training parent, we tried to gently tell her it's okay to use her pull-up.  She would not have it.

Park Play in Santa Fe
Since we were in the middle of nowhere, I started imagining us trying to convince our 2 1/2 year old to do her business on the side of the road, then we saw a gas station.  However, it wasn't a very modern gas station.  I volun-told my wonderful husband that he could help her out with this one while Jared and I manned the car and waited outside.  The stories I heard from Greg were not pretty (what gas station bathroom is--- I'm trying to forget all of the new ones I saw on this trip).  He was actually so worried about it that he had Annabelle squat-hover above the toilet seat and they both washed their hands a couple times.  Yucky and memorable all at the same time.

Beautiful Santa Fe
A couple hours after that incident, we arrived at our day one destination: Santa Fe.  What a beautiful little capital.  Greg found this incredible condo complex, {Fort Marcy Suites} for half the price of the hotels.  It was on the hill, full kitchen, two full baths, two bedrooms.  AND beautiful.  When looking for the complex, we passed this rather LARGE playground and both kids started saying "playground, playground!"  So, after we unloaded the car, we found our way back to the playground.  While we all played, we found a restaurant near a grocery store (breakfast for the next morning) in our 'Enjoy Santa Fe' brochures.  We really did enjoy it.  The park, restaurant and grocery store were all really nice.  I still think about the yummy salad I had for dinner, but that could have something to do with my crazy amounts of hormones.

Arriving in Utah
The next day of travel was less eventful than the first.  Jared kept pointing out SNOW when we drove through Colorado, Annabelle did and re-did her puzzle I don't know how many times, and we passed a few cars on a bunch of two-lane highways (that's what I get for having a hubs who likes to take the scenic route--- an adventure).  We really enjoyed the views of central Utah, the kids actually napped at the same time and there were no potty incidents.  When we finally hit the Wasatch Front, we contacted my parents and realized we were going to arrive at Granni & Grandad's house around the same time.  It literally ended up being us arriving and the folks arriving five minutes later.  We had a quick late dinner at Crown Burger... nom nom nom... and got everyone to bed for the graduation adventure to start the next day...

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