Wednesday, June 27, 2012

because i'm nicer than your friends

so, team stratton embarked on our first ever family vacation.
i've taken the twins to my dad's beach condo which is just a couple hours away a few times.
we went when stella was two months old.
each time i said i would never do it again.
traveling with three, one and a half and under sucked.
and then i got brave and took all three to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law's house for my nephew's birthday last month.
it should have taken three hours.
it took five and a half.

it was a disaster.
but i paid close attention because in a few short weeks i knew we would be driving eleven hours to tennessee.

i am a routine nazi so i kept them in their undies.
big mistake.
they learned quickly if they said the word poo poo that i would fly off the interstate and they would get to get out of their car seat.
they're liars.
big fat liars.
so this game continued for
i don't know
two and a half extra hours worth of driving.
i wasn't giving in.
so dumb.
we left during nap time.
they didn't sleep.

for tennessee we resolved to leave at 11:00 p.m.
the kids would go down at normal bed time.
business as usual.
matt would sleep from 5:30 - 10:30 and drive.
i would wake him up,
we would transfer them.
they would sleep all night.
and so would i.
nahhh so much.

see the cute snack bags?
i slaved over having every detail planned out for when they woke up the next morning.

they didn't sleep.
the whole way.
actually, stella was nice enough to give in at 5:00 a.m.
for an hour.
who are these people?

and the twins didn't nap the next day.
they were up for almost twenty four hours.
i wanted to confront them letting them know that i was fully aware that they had a drug problem
but, matt told me i was crazy.
he insisted that they were too young.
but really? what does he know?

but, we made it!
and really, would i expect anything less than an insane trip?
we're the stratton's.
and things are never normal.


because i'm nicer than all of your friends i am going to tell you the real secrets to make traveling with kids easier.

+ car seats
upon entering my cousins car with my sister and another cousin, i was taken aback by look of her car seats.
i questioned her as to why they were so reclined.
all three of them looked at me as if i had said something along the lines of
"i'm supposed to diaper my newborn?"
my car seats weren't reclined.
they were shocked.
and then it all came together.
no wonder they didn't sleep.
their bobbly little heads couldn't get comfy!
how was i supposed to know?
so, on the trip home? car seats were reclined and they slept for a whole hour!
and hour out of eleven!
i still think they are doing drugs, fyi.

when you think you have enough, double it, then triple it. then you should be good.
put them in individual bags so you can chuck them at them from the front seat to shut them up quickly.
you don't want to wake the baby that doesn't do drugs.
the one that is sleeping like a normal person.
multiple varieties of snack options are a must.
ones that take a long time to eat.
think clean snacks so you are not hurriedly giving them a white trash, wipe bath three minutes prior to meeting family members that they have never met.
oh, and also know that it is good to pack healthy stuff too if your children are used to eating that way.
i went the unhealthy route in hopes of maximizing the happiness potential.
not smart.
note that if your children aren't used to eating like that, it may result in throwing up.
this happened to 2/3 of our children.

have one wipe container per kid.
make sure they are within reach at all times.

+travel bags
my mom made thee cutest travel bags packed full with things to keep them distracted.
i got them a mickey pad with some invisible marker. three minutes in and they were done.
we still had ten hours and fifty seven minutes to go.
thank god my mom gave us these bags. they were our saving grace.
they had stickers, a dry erase board, drawing pads and snacks.
waste all of your money in the dollar bins at target to keep them busy.

+give up control
i'm not good at this.
it's imperative.
relinquish all parenting rights to your children.
don't have a time table.
stop when you need to stop.
let them color on themselves if it keeps them from screaming.
but, make sure the markers aren't permanent. i am a road trip rookie. my markers were permanent.
this makes the white trash wipe bath a lot harder than it needs to be.

let them drink juice! through a twizzler!
pacis all day, every day for everyone!
let them watch as much t.v. as they want.
fruit snacks are your new best friend.
whatever they want.
deal with the repercussions later.
although, i will tell you, re-training vacation kids back into normal kids sucks.
i am currently explaining to the twins every 40 seconds why doughnuts, french fries and candy is a thing of the past.

**but, you're not home yet! so don't think about that.
stay in the now.
and the now is getting to wherever you are going while maintaining the greatest level of sanity.

bring 4 pacis, per kid, per hour.
for example, we were traveling for eleven hours, so each kid needed 44 pacis total.
that, times three equals a total of 132 pacis.
we were short. big mistake.

plan ahead.
find every drive through starbucks prior to leaving.
stop at every one that is within 2 miles of an exit.
alternate between a doppio espresso and a venti red eye.

+staying calm
make a promise for one parent to be sane at all times.
never lose your minds together.
this is non-negotiable ya'll.
it must happen.
if two parents lose their minds at the same time, all children do as well.
and that situation can be unrepairable.

+car choice
get a mini-van.
i know
i just threw up in my mouth realizing that i said that out loud.
we have the twins in the back and stella in the middle.
we have the other seat folded down.
that is where i sat.
i am ready to admit the mini-van is right for our family.
i'm not happy about it but, know that traveling with three small babes is so much better with a mini.

+grocery bags
bring 736.
use them as trash bags.
i needed 736 more.
lesson learned.

put them on.
you will save an extraordinary amount of valuable time.
we didn't have to re-potty train. at all. and they have only been potty trained for three months.

when in doubt, feed them.
baby included.
and bring formula and a bottle. even if you nurse exclusively.
it's too hard to pull over to nurse. and we all know a bottle or a boob typically quiets a babe.
i can scratch nursing a baby strapped in a car seat going 80 mph down the interstate off my bucket list.
that takes a ridiculous amount of talent, agility and flexibility my friends.
i apologize, but i'm truthin' it around here.
i'm here to make your lives easier, not paint pretty pictures.

don't have any.
that's all.
just don't have any.

follow all of these rules and you are on your way to stress free travel, my friends.

you're welcome.
but really,
the car seat recline is a necessity.


  1. Most of these rules apply to 4, 5, and 6 year olds too... minus the putting them in diapers and the pacifiers. Travelling with 3 kids close in age is always a challenge- Beverly

  2. we took our 3 & 6 year old to Disney when they were younger - a 2 day car trip. The car broke down & had to be towed & fixed b4 we could move forward. It was 3pm on a FRIDAY!
    We made goodie bags, but I gave them a different item to occupy them at different mileage intervals so that when they were bored with one, it was like they got a brand new toy!
    We survived, our boys (now 22 & 24) still talk about the wrecker ride they got on their way to Disney. I think that was more of a highlight than seeing the Big Mouse!

  3. I took notes. We are taking a 6 hr plunge to Panama city in Aug. fingers crossed. Hopefully, because of these tips, I'll blog a pleasant road experience. :)

  4. i love your blog. you are quite possibly the funniest person i don't really know! we have three kiddos (under three, but still) and i think your tips are right on! the minivan thing sucks, but is true. i don't know how we would make it without one. i can't tell you how much i was laughing while reading this! thank you!