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The unknown

I went out on a limb, took a leap of faith, felt a little adventurous, grabbed life by the horns... whatever you want to call it. I went on multiple road trips with my multiple children. My road trip travel itinerary:

July 30th to July 31st:
made a three and a half hour drive to a friends' house with the boys and our dog, stayed overnight

July 31st to August 2nd:
made a four hour drive to my parents' house with the boys and our dog, stayed two nights

August 2nd to August 3rd:
made a one and a half hour drive to a friends' house with the twins (leaving the dog and my oldest at my parents' house), stayed overnight

August 3rd to August 10th:
made the one and a half hour drive back to my parents' house. Stayed at my parents' house for the rest of the trip. My husband joined us on August 9th and drove back to North Carolina with us (thank goodness).

Virginia July 2012

This past week, we went on another adventure! This time my husband was with us from start to finish (including packing, unloading when we arrived, reloading to leave, and unpacking when we got home). From August 13th to August 15th we went to the beach. It was fabulous in a we-went-to-the-beach-with-three-kids kind of way, but fabulous nonetheless.

On our drive home, my husband and I were chatting about the trip, especially dinner last night (I had a seafood platter with fried shrimp, grilled oysters, and grilled scallops and key lime pie for dessert; he had the salmon with a goat cheese fondue, grilled asparagus, and garlic mashed potatoes and chocolate cake for dessert). The trip wasn't exactly at the best time for us, only in the sense of when is a recreational trip ever at a good time with a four-year old and one-year old twins? We had to find someone to watch our dog last minute, figure out what we were going to do with the cat, and rearrange some of our scheduled plans (such as a doctor's appointment for the toddlers and a class my husband is taking). We had the daunting task of looking around our home and thinking, "What exactly do we need at the beach with all these kids?" We wondered how baby proof the beach house would be... if our 16-month old twins would like the beach... if we would be able to provide enough sun protection... and attempt to pack for any possible surprises (diaper blow-outs en route, etc).

The big road trip at the beginning of August also faced many challenges. I have never stayed overnight at someone's house before with the children: all three boys and the dog without my husband to help. Baby proofing was my chief concern. What if our friends make us dinner and I'm chasing toddlers the whole time? What if we have epic twin toddler meltdowns at someone's house? What if the night I'm at their house is the night my preschooler wakes up with a bloody nose (something he is prone to)? I had an entire list of what-ifs and reasons to postpone. The closer the travel dates came, the more doubts I had.

In both cases my desire to get out of the house won out over my concerns. I wanted to see my friends who live far-away. I wanted to go to the beach. And so, we went.

Get this: we had a great time.

On July 30th, my husband waved good-bye to us on the driveway and off we went! The dog got carsick, as he always does. We had to stop multiple times for bathroom and snack breaks. We stretched legs. We got stuck in traffic. We listened to the Jake and the Neverland Pirates CD approximately one hundred million times. And we arrived at my friend's house ready to get out of the van. The boys were a little unsure about their new surroundings at first. Seeing the familiar face of a family friend, they quickly warmed up and started exploring. My friend's teenage sons helped wrangle babies. My snack bag supplemented the dinner that the toddlers threw on the ground. The trip was an "unknown." I think moms in general dislike unknowns. I know moms of twins try to avoid unknowns at all costs. It was an unknown that led to great conversation and delicious dinner, a late night laugh session while watching the Olympics, and warm see-you-soon's the next day as we said good-bye.

 Heading to my parents' house, I knew what to expect, which makes it easier to travel there. I know what to pack and what they already have on hand. I know the nearby stores and my family's schedule. Heading to the next friend's house on August 2nd was much more of an unknown. Not only would I be staying overnight, we would be visiting her and her toddler at her parents' house, three toddlers visiting "the grandparents." I knew I wanted to be a good houseguest. How to convey this to two toddlers? (My oldest stayed at my parents' house for a little grandparent and great-grandparent time.) But, grandmothers have a way of softening even the wildest of toddler hearts. My boys had no problem going "up" to my friend's parents and even shared with my friend's toddler. They had a lot of fun moving from room to room, exploring new toys and playing with a new friend and new dogs. This unknown led to more great conversation and another delicious dinner, another late night with the Olympics, and warm hope-to-see-you-soon's the next day (this friend actually lives across the United States and I'm not sure when I will see her next). The toddlers, I think, were happy to say good-bye to each other. My boys were done sharing and her son was tired of the intruders... Oh, toddlers!

North Carolina August 2012

The beach trip was a great unknown. This time we would be going somewhere unknown with friends of ours who have triplets. Would there be ample room for all of us at the beach house? And how will five one-year olds feel about the beach? What shops are nearby? Will our schedules work well together? This trip was smooth sailing from start to finish. I think I felt the most relaxed heading out on this one. I had already dealt with two overnight trips with the boys that went great. This time, my husband would be there. Easy peasy. We packed the van great, the drive was great, the beach house was beautiful, and two of our boys (D, the oldest, and O, one of the twins) loved the beach. We had breakfast at this delicious little place that had a shop attached. I bought the boys t-shirts. We left to go spend hours at the beach. While C was not fond of the ocean, he loved the sand! Both toddlers played so hard at the beach that they fell asleep while we were packing up. We went back to the beach house to meet up with our friends, whose girls were napping. We fed babies and showered, then headed off to a restaurant. The boys were antsy at the end so I took them outside to play cornhole on the patio. That evening I went on a walk on the beach with D while my husband put the one-year olds to bed. We talked on the patio while the kids finally drifted off to sleep before opening up the bottles of wine and playing board games.

There were times on all these trips that things didn't go as planned. I held C most of the time we were at the beach. A four-year old sometimes would rather argue than obey. Our 16-month olds were so tired after the beach that they screamed all the way through bathtime. While visiting our friends earlier in the month, the boys refused most of the food offered to them. At one point-- so dramatically refusing food-- they wouldn't eat bananas, a favorite at our house. Sometimes they snacked instead of eating a formal lunch. Sometimes I gave them things that would make them happy so I could socialize (I may or may not have offered licorice during dinnertime at one point...). The toddlers occasionally became fixated on something they shouldn't (a flight of stairs, a dog dish, my glass of wine). Why kids can't just say, "Hey, I know what we are doing is out of the ordinary, so I'm going to make things easy for you," I don't know.

 The unknown is scary when heading out with kids, especially when toddlers are involved. Every once in awhile it is fun to exercise your adventurous side. You may be pleasantly surprised.


Cheryl Lage said…
What a great documentation of your experience! In our experiences traveling when our two were young, we had much of the same, without the carsick dog challenge!

Funny, as time has passed, some of those "challenges" at the time become most loved memories.

Good for you for embarking on the "adventures!"
Kimber said…
Thank you! I've probably said this more times than I can count, but I'm constantly shocked that our oldest if FOUR. It feels like time flew by... I remember when he was this age and I would think to myself, "Well, things will be easier when he is at the next stage..." and I would say this at each stage. Until, now, things are much easier with him (easier than the toddler years) and I miss him being a baby!! This time around my husband and I are trying to enjoy each stage for what it offers instead of looking too far forward. I will say that the pre-walking phase-- when our twins wanted to walk and couldn't-- really had me looking forward to when they could walk on their own. Haha! ;) I'm not normally one to jump into "unknowns." I'm thankful it worked out!
The Ishum Quads said…
Wow! You have a whole lot of courage to travel with such little ones! We briefly considered a road trip with our four this summer, but decided that taking four 17 month olds on the road might not work so well. But hearing that you trips went so well means that there is hope for us! :)

Btw, I'm a visitor through Multiples and More. I've been looking through your site for the last couple of days. I love that you are so verbal about your faith in the Lord! It is inspiring and challenging, so thank you!

Kimber said…
Rebecca, thank you!! There were definitely trying times on each of our trips this August. But I've kind of come to the mindset that this is our life... I am not really sure when would be a "good time" for us. My husband and I have really been working on enjoying the moment. Our faith plays a major role in that. For instance, Philippians 1:27 a, "Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ." I am not saying we have this amazing marriage and never argue or that we never feel irritated with the kids... What is important to us to step back, take a deep breath, say a little prayer, and let God work through us. We found ourselves too often running on "Empty" that first year with twins. Turning to God with all our concerns was a turning point for us. I know that, for myself, I really only spent time praying at the end of the day instead of praying all day for all things. Ephesians 6:18a, "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests." Handing things over to God takes a lot of the pressure off! Loving our children with the fullness of God is so rewarding and makes those trying times (you know, the times your children are screaming at their top of the lungs when company is over) less stressful. It also allows you to love your children exactly for who they are in that moment instead of the idea you have for them (like when our preschooler feels arguementative or one of our one-year olds is trying to run away mid-diaper change). If you want a great resource on praying for your children, check out Cheri Fuller's book, "When Mothers Pray: Bringing God's Power and Blessing to Your Children's Lives."
Thanks for stopping by my blog! I will check yours out too! :)

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