Traveling with small kids. Jesus, take the wheel. 

Traveling with small children is not for the faint of heart. Carrie Underwood would’ve asked Jesus to take the wheel MUCH sooner if she’d been driving four small kids across six states.

However, sometimes the sheer need to get away overrules the small voice in your head that is screaming, “DON’T do it. Stay put. Remember what it’s like to be in a confined space with your immediate family? Remember? If not, you can be refreshed by reading the multiple blog posts you wrote from last summer’s vacation. Here and here, Emily. Read these and remember.”

Life’s too short so I squelched the logical voice and began packing. My sister had thrown out what I’m sure was a sarcastic offer for us to come visit her on the east coast. She should’ve known better than to offer…..

Minute 1: The van is loaded down with every bit of loot available for children ages one through nine. Snacks, electronic devices, clothing, swimsuits, various size strollers, cooler, etc.

Minute 2: Realization that we had forgotten three things.

Minute 10: The very first “How much longer do we have?” rings from the backseat.

Hour 2: Potty break and lunch after cries of “We’re staaaaarrrrrving!”  It is two hours after breakfast. Two.

Hour 3: Back in the car for 30 minutes when three of the four beg to stop because they have to potty.

Hour 3.5: Everyone is back in the van, bathroom needs have been taken care of and drinks are all refilled so we can be sure to stop at every rest stop from here to North Carolina.

Hour 4:  These kids assure me they are not tired. No naps needed. They are too old for naps.

Hour 4.25:

Hour 6: I realize I failed to pack any shoes for my child. With exception of his water shoes for the beach, he will remain barefoot for the trip.

Those of you laughing at my oversight, the joke is on you. This one, small error is a major success given the fact that two years ago we got all the way to North Carolina before I realized I left two suitcases (fully packed) on the beds at home. I remembered the children. I did not remember the children’s clothing.

My sister did NOT live in what I would call a metropolitan area. However, there was a general store at the one stoplight in town so I was able to purchase some interesting clothes for the week. Nothing matched and the sizes were a tad bit off…but we spent 90% of the time in swimwear so it all worked out.

On the positive side of things, I will gently pat myself on the back for a traveling success. I take pride in what will forever be known in our home as the ‘vacation mulligan.’ When leaving our hometown and dealing with lots of opinions, I told the kids there was a surprise during the trip. Each child would be granted a “vacation mulligan/wildcard.” This would allow them each one chance during the trip to get the final vote or a do-over. They knew this would come into play if they wanted to have the final say in what movie we selected or if they were on their way to losing a privilege for less than stellar behavior. It was quite telling to see which kids were interested in the do-over versus the wild card.

The rest of the trip was rather uneventful minus the pulsing screaming our youngest shared with us from 10:45 -11:45 PM. He gets increasingly wild when tired. Rather than succumbing to sleep he fights it like a rabid dog. Cue Carrie Underwood.

The rest of the kids spent their 15 hours pondering when and how to use their mulligan. They were so engrossed in the gift of this do-over that none of them actually used it. Score!

We finally arrived in North Carolina and had a wonderful four days with my sister and her family. The sand and surf soothed the grievances from the 15 hour drive. Fortunately, the four days passed faster than the drive out to North Carolina. Too soon we were packing up to head home.

We are now enduring the drive back. Mulligans have been thrown out the window and candy has been thrown out parade style just to quiet the unruly passengers. Attitudes are bad because no one wanted to leave. People are fussy and crying. Even the kids.

Soul II Soul said it best… back to life, back to reality.

E

*Have you signed up for TickingTimeMom emails yet? You should! I promise to pass along all my super travel tips directly to you. Tip #1: Don’t forget your suitcases. See, I’m already helping!*

Good Will Wednesday (Part 2)

It appears the last week got the best of me and my crew. Two cases of strep throat. Three infected ears. An upper respiratory infection. And a partridge in a pear tree.


I won’t lie… I’ve been a bit absorbed in my own pity party over here. Even I can only handle myself in this emotional state for so long. (Not to mention my poor husband and kids who are likely ready to ship me off to Gratitude Camp.) So, in another attempt to regain some perspective (why does it seem I need to self-correct so often?!?!) I’m focusing on Good Will Wednesdays again today! Continue reading

Family vacation. Same chaos, pricier location.

“I’m going on vacation. I’ll bring you back a souvenir suitcase. It’ll be full of love, but otherwise appear to be empty.”- Jarod Kintz

6:00AM

The six o’clock hour seems much more civilized than its five o’clock predecessor. I am awake and soaking in the quiet of the morning. The calm before the storm of the eight tiny feet.

In these early moments I will have a cup of tea and enjoy my morning devotional. It’s coveted time where I am able to read scripture, connect with God and set my mood for the day.

Peaceful. Purposeful.

Then I will search for a weapon to kill the bird in the tree outside my bedroom window.

Perhaps I need another devotional…… Continue reading

Treat Yourself. Forget the treat bags!

Dear Moms,

For the love of all that is right and good about motherhood, can we please call a truce? I am raising my white flag. Watch as I wave it wildly.

Can we please agree, as a collective group of mothers who love our children but also love our sanity, to abolish the guilt laden obligation to make treat bags?

Forever.

To put it simply, let’s bag the bags, ladies. Please. Continue reading

The The Mom I’m not. Thankfully.

Let me just start by saying I was an awesome mom in 2006. I mean, I had it down. I was chock full of ‘my kid won’t……’

  • -throw ridiculous fits
  • -disrespect me
  • -act like a spoiled brat
  • -look unkempt in public
  • -have bizarre injuries
  • -be late for events
  • -be messy
  • -cause me to be messy messier

I was such a good mom.

Then I had kids.

Continue reading

Parrots and Parenting

We recently became zoo members. In watching our kids’ enjoyment on our last few visits, I wish we had become members years ago! It’s not uncommon for us to leave church on Sunday, grab a quick lunch and head to the zoo for an afternoon stroll.  We’ve done this a handful of times in recent months and try to enjoy different parts of the zoo each visit.

It’s a rather perfect environment for our wild and crazy family because the kids can run relatively free and we don’t have to worry about them running away, being abducted or fret over potential mass casualties from their routine destruction. It’s educational, keeps their interest and sometimes keeps them occupied enough to allow me to have a conversation with my husband.

The zoo can be a magical place. Continue reading

Monday Mom Prayer

Dear Lord,

Thank you for the unknown mom who loves the slow moving child who stalled the bus just enough to show up a few minutes late at our stop to allow my slow moving child to catch her ride to school. Barely.

Thank you for my slow moving girl and her confidence in wearing pumpkin orange polka dotted knee socks with pink shorts. And for her desire to talk to me, at length, about how much she loves these socks, which further slowed down the slow moving girl. Thank you for shutting my mouth and letting her wear the socks. Continue reading

On the road again. Again. Family Vacation our style.

We were fortunate enough to get a little more beach time this summer. In a grand attempt at welcoming my newest nephew into the family, my parents, brother’s family and my family descended upon North Carolina like a plague. In visualizing which plague, I’d have to say we would be the swarm of locusts.  Loud.  And everywhere.

All in all, we had a great week. There were the usual hiccups. And some unusual hiccups.

Whoever said that “half the fun is getting there” didn’t have 13 straight hours of requests for more drinks, snacks, movies, tech time, less shade, more shade, cooler temp, warmer temp, and on and on…..

Here are a few things I learned on vacation, as well as some random thoughts. And let’s be honest, most of my thoughts are random. Continue reading

Fireworks, frat boys and freedom.

10:44 p.m. July 4th.

I adore fireworks. Always have. I love the patriotism they summon. I love the fact that they are typically accompanied by good weather. I love the split second delay between stunning visual and heart thumping audio.

I. Love. Fireworks.

So, suffice it to say that laying, sardine style, in a 150 square foot hotel room with five of my dearest is not my idea of a great way to spend the Fourth of July. Continue reading

The Big V and Surprise C. How a vasectomy and a c-section changed my family forever.

Friday morning….

I am crying.

Quietly.

In public.

The kind of cry that only increases as you try to stop it. The runny nose, gulping kind. The ’tissue pressed to the eyes to stop the flow’ kind. Dare I say it’s bordering on….

The ugly cry.

Thank goodness the crying is silent at the moment. Onlookers have not identified me as the emotionally unglued woman I am.

Yet. Continue reading