Sunday, July 5, 2009

"Mommy, is a road trip fun?"...."Well, now, that depends on your definition of fun"

One thing to know about me is that I'm not a very spontaneous person. I have no problem admitting that I'm a total type-A, must-have-everything-planned-down-to-the-second kinda person. I've always been this way.

However, on Friday morning, Tim and I got up with the kids and decided "hey, let's take a road trip somewhere". Just like that....out of the blue. So totally NOT me. Where would we go? Tim said, "How about the beach?" and the kids went nuts...."Yeah, we want to go to the beach!!". Okay, problem is we don't live anywhere near a beach.

Tim suggested we drive to Santa Cruz, which is 3 hours away. I laughed....and I laughed....and then I laughed some more. I said, "Oh, were you serious??" and he said, "Yeah, I'm serious....why not?". I replied, "You want to know why NOT? I'll give you FOUR reasons...." and I pointed at the kids.

I couldn't believe that he wanted to pack up the kids and drive 3 hours just to go to the beach for the DAY. I wouldn't have minded making a weekend out of it but that would take some planning....hotel reservations, luggage, some research on the best beach to visit with kids.....oh, and a huge refill on my Wellbutrin prescription. Not to mention it was already 10:30 am....on a holiday weekend.

Tim started gathering the beach towels, the kids' bathing suits and I said, "Uh, so we're really doing this? A road trip with the kids? A THREE-HOUR long road trip with two 2-yr olds and two 4 yr olds???!!!" He looked at me and said, "Yes". Bella asked me, "Mommy, is a road trip fun?" and I answered her, "Well, that depends on your definition of fun". With that, I quickly excused myself and retreated to the laundry room, where I spent a good 5 minutes having a one-sided conversation with God that went something like this....

"Hey God, it's me....yes, again....for the 6th time in the last 24 hours. So you probably know that Tim wants to go on a road trip and I'm just asking you to bestow upon me all the patience and strength you can possibly spare a person. I know, I know....I'm always asking for patience and strength and I have this bad habit of always making it sound like a do-or-die situation. I'm a drama queen this way but you already know that. Okay, so I'm just gonna sit here and wait for an infinite amount of calmness to take me over....thanks in advance. And in case I haven't mentioned it in awhile....you totally rock!"

A whole 2 minutes later, I felt calm....I felt serene....I felt like I could take on the world. Alright, perhaps that's overstating it....a lot. At any rate, I felt like I could do this without completely falling apart (and without hyperventilating as we got the kids locked into their carseats). And because I'm such a planner, I knew we'd be on the road during lunchtime and God forbid my kids go hungry so I quickly threw together some PB&J sandwiches and some snacks in a cooler.

Tim announced that we were ready to go. I asked, "Did you pack a blanket for the beach? What about baby powder to help get the sand off the kids?" and he met my eyes with a blank stare. I just shook my head and said, "Gosh, you have NO beach etiquette, do you?". Having grown up in South Florida, my parents took us to the beach almost every Sunday so if anyone knows how to pack for a trip to the beach, it's me (and every other person who's ever gone to the beach more than 5 times in their life).

Finally, we were all packed up and ready to go....I failed to hear the nicely-packed cooler still sitting on the kitchen counter screaming out, "Hey...what about ME? Aren't I going too?". As we pulled into the gas station, I looked around the mini-van and said to Tim, "Are you sure we have everything?" and he rolled his eyes and said, "YES....oh wait, where's the cooler?". We had the "I thought you grabbed it" conversation as we realized we had left the house without it.

As we pulled up to the house, I said to the kids, "So how did you like the road trip? Wasn't that fun?" and Cole looked confused and said, "What?! We didn't go anywhere". It boggles my mind that MY kids don't have a sense of humor...now how did that happen?

At some point, and I'm not sure why, I found myself saying, "Well, it's already 11:30....if we're gonna drive 3 hours, maybe we should just stay the night". Tim said, "Yeah, that makes sense" so we quickly gathered some things we'd need to stay the night. I couldn't believe this was ME....being spontaneous, throwing caution to the wind....for a minute, I considered taking off my bra and really throwing caution to the wind but I stopped myself there because I figured the world wasn't ready to witness the two fried eggs hanging by nails on my chest my boobs flopping about....well, that and I didn't want to embarass Tim.

By now, the kids were starting to lose control....and we hadn't even left our driveway yet. But we set out on our adventure of a road trip anyway. For part of the ride, the kids watched a DVD....for the other part of the ride, they were determined to see how far they could go before I opened the car door and threw myself into oncoming traffic. I distracted them by pointing out cows, encouraging them to wave to other people in their cars (those of whom were also crazy enough to set out on a road trip with their children), yelling "hey, check out that huge truck" everytime I saw anything resembling a truck....and every 20 minutes, Cole would ask, "Are we there yet?".

In the meantime, when the kids were actually distracted by something, I was calling around to various hotels to see if they had any rooms available. Unfortunately, those that did still have rooms were charging an arm and a leg because, after all, it was the 4th of July weekend. We decided to just make a day of it and then leave later that night. Also, at some point, as we were driving we changed our destination and decided to go to Monterey (which is an extra 30 minutes further down the coast) instead of Santa Cruz. Spontaneous....yes. Insane....most definitely yes. I'll just add here that I had told the kids, "Only 20 more minutes and then we'll be there".....and then we sat in traffic for a good 45 minutes...because isn't that typically how things go? As the kids accused me of being the world's biggest liar, I drowned out their whining by losing myself in "Off the Wall" by Michael Jackson on my iPod...."gotta leave that 9-to-5 up on the shelf...and just enjoy yourself....come on, groove...yeah".

At last, we ended up driving into downtown Monterey, only to realize that we had passed the beach we actually wanted to go to. By now, the kids were practically clawing their way out of their carseats. Landon was crying, "Out....out". Garrett was laughing hysterically at nothing in particular, just completely out of touch with reality. Cole and Bella were yelling and slapping each other. Tim finally yelled, "Everyone....SHUT-UP". Cole started to protest, "Daddy, you said a bad...." and he stopped right there, knowing that now was not the best time to point out that Daddy had said an inappropriate word.

We finally arrived at the right beach and managed to find a great parking spot....we dragged the kids and all our crap with us as we found an awesome spot on the sand, in front of the waves rolling in. The kids immediately wanted to get in the water....they were without fear.




Yet, I was having panic attacks every time a wave would come crashing to shore, knocking them down in the process and threatening to drag my beloved children out into the open sea. Even though they were shivering, they insisted on staying in the water....laughing each time a wave would come barreling towards them.

We stayed for about 2 hours and then we had had enough. It was starting to get super cold and the kids were getting hungry so we packed up and headed back up the beach to a spot where we could change the kids back into their clothes. An older couple happened to be sitting near us as we wrangled the kids and we got into the "oh, you have TWO sets of twins? What are the chances of that happening? Isn't that rare? What do you think of the Gosselin's getting a divorce?" conversation with them.

We ate dinner at one of my favorite restaurants....well, we attempted to eat dinner. One minute, Tim had a huge prime rib on his plate and then the next minute, it was gone. I said, "What happened to your prime rib?" and he pointed to his stomach and said, "I ate it". I looked astonished, "Really? You must have swallowed it whole...was it good?" and he shrugged and said, "I don't know....I guess....I don't remember actually tasting it".

As we left (while Tim signed the receipt and left our very much relieved waiter the biggest tip ever), I apologized to the couple sitting next to us who, for some odd reason, seemed completely unaffected by all the noise and chaos our kids had created. The wife said, "Oh, don't worry about it....we totally get it. We left our kids home with the grandparents" and the husband said, "I just tuned them out....they didn't bother me at all".

On our way back to the car, we stopped at a candy store...one of those stores that has barrels galore filled with every kind of candy one can imagine. All the kids picked out what they wanted except Cole. Instead of candy, he wanted a $20 stuffed shark. I told him "No, I'm not spending $20 on a shark that you'll just end up tearing to shreds....now pick out a couple pieces of candy and let's get going". He refused and started crying, "I want the shark....". As I stood at the register and paid for the candy that the other kids had picked out, he stood next to me sobbing,"Mommy, you're so mean....". A few people stopped what they were doing to stare at us, as one guy said, "Wait a minute....there's something wrong with this picture. You're telling him he can have any candy he wants and he's crying??". I said, "Yeah, I'm SO mean, aren't I?" The other people just shook their heads in disbelief...it's a rare opportunity to see a child crying in a candy store, while his mother is telling him he can pick out whatever candy he wants.

Cole cried all the way back to the mini-van. We changed the kids into their pajamas right there in the van, while they all joined in on the crying. People who were walking by were staring at us and some even had the audacity to giggle. I figured those people must not have children yet....and I found pleasure in the fact that their time would come. And when it did, those kids would rock their world ten times over....I felt a deep sense of satisfaction with that.

Within the first 3 minutes of the ride, the kids were asleep and Tim and I were actually able to have some conversations without being interrupted. The day had been a success, even with a few anxiety-provoking moments. I'm kinda digging my newfound spontaneity.....but, trust me, I'm in no hurry to do another road trip anytime soon.

48 comments:

Kristina P. said...

I need to take a cue from you! Spontanaeity is a great thing!

Buckeroomama said...

Woo-hoo! There's hope for us, then, if you survived. :) I'm nervous about road trips and I only have a 4-yr old and a 2-yr old.

Baby powder to get the sand off --what a great idea!!

Yaya said...

I can't believe you drove that far with 4 kids to go to the beach. You are very daring.

HarryJack's Mom said...

Yay for letting your A take a rest - so glad you guys had some conversation time, too. Great call, Tim! Those are some cute kids you have there :wub:

Tami said...

*Pats you on the back!
I'm NOT into being Spontaneous! NO..NO.. I have anxiety! I'd have wigged LOL.

All in all it was a wonderful trip.. you did a marvelous job!

HuGZ

Laura said...

Good for you on the spontenaity thing! However, I just knew you were about to write that the kiddos were so hyped up on the new candy that they didn't sleep all the way home! Lucky you!!

The Mother said...

NO, a road trip with four kids is NOT fun. Especially when it takes longer to get started than the whole trip takes.

By total coincidence, I have a road trip post going up on Wednesday. Not quite as successful as yours (the trip, not the post--well, I hope).

Jenn said...

Wow. Just wow. YOU are a rock star.

Booklover1212 said...

Helene -

First - way to go for stepping out of the comfort zone! I, like you, am a big planner -- so when we take our big road trip back East -- everything is planned TO THE MINUTE!! Spontaneous road trips are nice. Just yesterday, we took one ourselves - a 2-hr. drive into the mountains. (I wrote about it on my blog last night too! Yes, the spontaneous road trips are fun -- but you never know what you're going to get when you get started!

You did great!

~ Jennifer
http://thetoyboxyears.blogspot.com/

Amy said...

What a fun day and trip. I want a shark.... NOt Candy...
I bet they were laughing because the grandparent's had their children.

Creative Junkie said...

I think we were at that same candy store! We went to Monterey to go to the acquarium and stopped at a candy shop that had barrels and barrels of candy!

I followed Helena around and kept stuffing things into her basket. I think we walked out of there with over $20 worth of candy.

Christina said...

You probably don't know me, but I found your blog and LOVE IT. I have 1 set of twins, and you my lady are my inspiration. :))

Kathy B! said...

You are a saint. I ran out of patience just reading this. I would have lost it on the car trip there...

Nikki B. said...

you're an inspiration...

and i'd like to give a shout out to wellbutrin...keeping mothers all across america from killing their children!! wuh-waaaaaaa!!!

Heather said...

I love the pictures! The trip sounds totally stressful but worth it! It's so hard for us Type-A's to let go and be spontaneous, but you did it : )

newlyweds said...

Ok I so need to learn from you, my hubs wanted to take a 1 hour trip and I totally dug my heels in no way! Sounds like it was a success!

Jen said...

this may sound cheesy, but I am so proud of you! The pictures are awesome and I know that your kids had an awesome time. What great memories you just made.

Meaghan said...

Love spontaneity


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Stop by and get in on the fun & maybe even become a Spirit Jumper :)

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Morgan said...

I wish we lived 3 hours from the beach- I would LOVE to see the ocean again!!!

I can imagine it would be pretty scary, though with 4 kids! I'm glad you guys survived it!

Another "what are the chances of having 2 sets of twins" conversation, huh? At least you had the statistics for them this time. ; )

Jennifer said...

Oh, you guys are brave. VERY brave. This past weekend, my husband and I took the baby to the mall, and I purposely left his milk at home, just to test the waters.

I. Will. Not. Be. Doing. That. Again.

Amy W said...

Hooray for spontaneity! And you even remembered the camera! I grew up in KS, no where near the beach so I've never heard the baby powder trick. Might have helped us on our last trip to Florida...

Happy 4th!

Nickel Pickle said...

That's so funny, we did the same thing. Only our beach was 6 hours away and we stayed 2 nights...Entertaining an 18 month old for 6 hours really gets to you!

Robyn Jones said...

That is an awesome post! GOod for you for taking a spontaneous trip...we did that this weekend too, but it was only a 45 minute trip...LOL
Sometimes those trips are the ones that leave you with the best memories of all....

Robyn Jones said...

ps...I am going to have to try the baby powder trick...

pss...it really was a freakin funny story...and I hate to tell you but after five kids..I probably would have been one of the gigglers outside the van....

Mamatoosi said...

You are so brave! But I'd have done the same thing for Monterey (or Santa Cruz). I used to live there. I only live 15 minutes from a beach right now, but it's not the same.

Christy said...

We just returned from a NOT spontaneous 2,000-mile road trip with our 9-month-old triplets and our three-year-old. It went pretty well, but I, too, will be staying close to home for some time...at least until I quit waking up in the middle of the night screaming.

Semi-Slacker Mom said...

4 reasons! I've got 3, but that's enough for me. And 2 fried eggs hanging on nails? You just described my boobies.

I'm glad you had fun, but your Wellbutrin must be stronger than mine. :)

blueviolet said...

I love that you just took off!

The Depews said...

Good for you guys! It sounds like you guys had a great time! I am most impressed with the fact that you were behind the camera snapping pics with 4 children in the ocean at the same time. We ventured to the beach 3 hours a away on a whim a couple of months back with our 14 month old twins and I think I got 3 pics of them near the water before I decided that if I didn't go get them they were both going to drown while Daddy was "in charge."

Anonymous said...

I am fairly new to your blog and I just want you to know how very much I enjoy it!! You are so funny...thanks for always making my day:)

jungletwins said...

Awwww, what great pics! I think it's wonderful you went on a spontaneous day trip. Very cool! Very BRAVE, no doubt about it, but busting out of the routine can be liberating, eh? And in your case, it makes for excellent blog posts :)

MamaHen Em said...

Oh heck NO!

No. No spontinaity here. Nope. I plan for vacations MONTHS in advance. A weekend day trip? I start planning two weeks minimum before hand.

The hives I already have because of our weekend trip and my baby starting school this week? Just started itching again.

Alicia said...

LOLOLOLOLOL! Oh, Helene..I just get a kick out of your stories!!

Oh my gosh, we totally got married in Monterey!!!!! I love going over there! You were probably better off going there than to Santa Cruz. It would have been way crazy!!!

We're planning on visiting the in-laws soon. They live 30 minutes past Reno!! So, it's about a 5 hour drive (including our normal stops). I just love driving through that mountain! NOT!

Veronica Lee said...

I salute you!! That is sooooo BRAVE!!

Melinda said...

I love this post, Helene ... I'm not real spontaneous either, but when I allow God to nudge (kick, pull) me out of my comfort zone, I'm nearly always glad I did! Love your humor ... I think ours is similar.;0)

Karen said...

Spontaneity keeps your brain going!

Good for you!

Although I understand the whole road-trip-with-kiddos thing. You're very brave for attempting it!

3 Bay B Chicks said...

Your posts keep getting better and better, my friend. Or maybe it is the longer that I read your blog, the more I feel like I am getting to "know you." Either way, everyday is a new adventure that I can totally relate to. From your Type A personality, to sense of humor, to your fear of your kids getting swept out to sea, you are my kind of people.

xoxo

Francesca

Robyn Jones said...

Thanks so much for sharing about the blog book with me...I will definately be checking that out as an option....Great idea! BTW...it takes ALOT of pics to use up your space...My family likes their pics...some of them would document every living breathing moment...so I don't think you have to worry for a while...LOL!

wife.mom.nurse said...

That sounds like quite a success. The pictures are wonderful!

Zeemaid said...

wow. Kudos to you! I am not exactly the spontaneous type either but to actually drive 3 hours, last minute to go to the beach.. that goes way beyond spontanaiety. That's nothing short of amazing. Especially with 4 kids. I don't like driving 1 hour to where hubby works.

One thing I do though when they get really loud like that.. I turn up the music really loud and just start singing along. It's amazing how once they realize you're not listening they stop crying. ;)

Meg said...

OMGosh! How freaking hysterical is that. I only have 2 kids and i absolutely refuse to do road trips!

Fearless Mom said...

Going to the beach is like going camping. Which is why I avoid it.

Tracy said...

What a great story! I kept waiting for you to get to the part where the kids all fell asleep in the car. Nothing like a day at the beach (or pool) to knock the kiddos out, right?

We LOVE road trips, and have started breaking in our duo early. I tell them every time we go, "get used to our ramblin' ways!" :)

Elle said...

I can't believe you survived that day with your sanity intact! I love the pictures. It looks like you guys did have fun.

Lana@The Kids Did WHAT?! said...

Wait a minute.. Your husband doesn't bat an eye at a spontaneous 2 day road trip with 4 kids, but doesn't want to take them ice skating for an hour or two? (I'm hoping you recall that conversation from the winter time, or you'll think I'm looney!)

Men!! SHEESH!!!

I'm the same way. I need time to mentally prepare myself for ANY outing, even if it's to dash out to the store for a loaf of bread.

Glad your day was a success!!

MommyAmy said...

Ok, you guys are BRAVE!

Although I must say that our 16 hour road trip with the girls went much smoother than we anticipated. We drove through the night, and they slept nearly the entire way! HALLELUJAH!

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