We just got back from a trip to New Jersey where we visited Scott's mom. It was a wonderful trip- we did some fun things with the girls, it was great to see Scott's mom and have the girls spend some quality time with her, and she was so sweet to watch the girls on a number of occasions so that Scott and I could do some things together as well. I feel rested and rejuvenated from having been away from the day to day grind of life and from having had some one on one time with Scott.
All that said, the car rides to and from New Jersey, well, they were not so fun. Painful at times if I must be honest.
When women tell you that the years go so fast and that these are the best years and to cherish every moment, well blah, blah, blah...I get what they are saying BUT they CANNOT be talking about a 6 hour each way, 12 hour total ride in the car with toddlers. This part of life has GOT to get easier.
I won't go into long tedious details here, but to summarize-- on the trip there I don't think Ava stopped talking for more than 22 minutes total and let's see, if the trip took 7 hours total (with stops) that is 22 out of 420 minutes! That means there were approximately 398 minutes of constant requests, complaints, shrieking, whining and, when we were lucky, some plain old questions and conversation.
There were the "are we there yet?" "are we closer?" "does Nanner live at the end of this street?" questions.
And then there were the "what do you have for me?", "can I watch a movie?" "can you read me a book?" "can you play with me?""can I have a snack?" "can I have some candy?" "can I have ANYTHING?" questions.
And then the "I have to pee", "the sun is in my eyes" "my legs hurt" "i want to get out of the car" requests.
And the "No Ella! You can't do that" statements. Yes, poor Ella gets bossed around, even in the car!
I did not photograph the 1/2 of box (literally) of Cherrioes that dumped on the floor behind the passenger seat, or the gooey carmel mess left in Ava's cup holder from her McDonald's apple dippers, or the smashed orange cheese cracker, raisin conncoction stuck in and around the back seats. Nor did I photograph the random toys, books, crayons, marker tops and stickers thrown to the floor.
If you have small kids I'm sure you've seen versions of this very scenario yourself.
I think some people are lucky. While I can't claim that all other kids are good in the car at all other times (I swear, I'm not having a "Woe is me moment!") I do know that, for example, when I drove with my girlfriend Sarah to Michigan in April, an 8+ hour car ride each way, her girls slept for a couple of hours each offering some nice, quiet, downtime.
Not ours. Oh no. That would be a waste of time. I mean, who wants to sleep in the car when you can shriek and whine and eat peanut butter sandwiches and raisins?
And if you had seen our car, well, you would have thought that perhaps we were the Beverly Hillbillies...our 2000 Passat wagon has seen better days internally and externally. The trunk was jammed to the top with bikes and clothes and food and toys and the car top carrier that held the rest of the food and clothing and toys necessary for 2 adults and 2 children is actually cracked so besides looking pretty crappy we're lucky it didn't rain!
As a matter of fact Scott got pulled over on the way home for momentarily crossing over a double yellow line while trying to fix the portable DVD player for Ava. I am convinced that the reason the officer didn't give Scott a ticket is that he felt so bad for this poor guy with two kids in the backseat, and so much crap brimming over and out of every nook and cranny, that we looked like a traveling yard sale, that he just let him off with a lecture about his responsiblities as a driver, especially as a dad, and a warning to keep a better eye on the road!
I did manage to snap a few shots on our way back.
(The girls were actually MUCH better on the way home...a moment where they are both entertained!)
(I recently bought this clipboard for Ava and would recommend one for EVERY traveling toddler. It is a GREAT surface for coloring, stickers, etc. You can see her cupholder became the marker holder!)
(Ella is a little small for a clipboard and when I turned around and saw THIS and almost yelled and took the marker away Scott so calmly said, "Lis, she's happy. Leave her alone." And so I did. And so we took a bath later. I mean, hey, they're called "washable" for a reason right?!)
(Ella is trying to figure out how to smile. When you say, "Ella, Smile for the camera!" you get the funniest darned faces!)
(Scott. After 5 hours in the car!)
(A blurry picture of NYC taken from my i-phone the night we went into the city by ourselves!)
(a blurry i-phone photo of the DELICIOUS Caprese salad we had for dinner in NYC. This dinner momentarily wooed me away from my diet without ANY regrets! That is homemade stinkin' pesto on top...mmmmm....yummy!)
So, all in all, a good trip. Trying to get back into the swing of things over here. The car is unpacked but our bags are not...one day, one task at a time!