Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Trip

Yesterday, we took a trip to my folks' house in Pensacola for Thanksgiving dinner. Before that, the furthest we had been from home is two hours to Heather's parents' house. We've made that trip a few times, and it's been fine.

My parents live about four hours from us. I figured it would be a little harder, but the kids are pretty laid back, so I didn't think it would be that bad. I was mistaken. We left home after an early lunch, and at the two hour mark the kids woke up and flipped out. They didn't stop for the rest of the ride. If they would have started yelling before the half-way mark, I think we may have been eating take-out turkey from the Cracker Barrel at home.

We braved the storm of rage and made it to Pensacola to have some quality time with my parents and my sister's family. Then dinner and off to our hotel. My parents had a house full with my sisters' family, and I like my own space.

The space I chose on this trip was the Residence Inn. I picked it because it had a kitchen if we needed it and it was a suite. The other option close to my parents was the Crowne Plaza, which I think is nicer, but it's just one room. What I didn't know when I made our reservation is that Heather would want to put the kids in the bedroom with us, and because the Residence Inn has to cram in a kitchen and a living room, the bedroom was really small. That information would have come in handy when we passed up the other hotel for a suite.

Once you put three of these little tents around a bed in a smallish hotel room, it doesn't leave a lot of space.

The pea-pod tents are new adds to the baby gear portfolio. The good part about them is that they pack up to the size of a small pillow - including the little self-inflating mattress. The bad part is that when you put a toddler in there for the first time, they don't know they are in a cute little tent called a "pea-pod," and think they're in a cage. It took a little time to warm up to the tents, but once they settled in, the kids slept fine.

I slept horribly. Those kids are loud. I don't know how they sleep with each other. At home, they have a volume knob through the baby monitor. I should have argued the "put the kids in the other room" point a little bit. I was just worn down; I would have agreed to just about anything last night.

After we woke up this morning, we headed to the beach so the kids could see it for the first time. (Heather took some pictures). The weather was perfect for it. After the beach, we hit my parents' house again and then ate at McGuire's Irish Pub on the way out of town.

McGuire's has always been one of my favorite places to eat back home. It's pretty touristy, but I think I've been gone from Pensacola long enough to fall into that category anyway.

The poor light in the restaurant makes for poor quality pictures, but it's good for hiding the mess we can leave behind.

The drive back today was pretty much the same as the drive down. The first two hours were fine; then they let us have it. At least the group freak-outs are rare enough that we aren't used to them. We are very fortunate in that. We have easy kids - just as long as they aren't in a car seat for over 120 minutes.


  1. i never realized you were from pendsacola, i live here and have been kinda following your blog from the o'brien bunch blog, glad we had beautiful weather for the babies first time on beach!

  2. It's all worthwhile to see the family though, isn't it? Those little peapod tents are adorable, I think mine would love them because they have crib tents at home anyway and they LOVE those.
    P.S. don't forget to email me your posts/ pictures for your shout out post on M& M!

  3. Do overnight trips. We did that until they were forward facing. Get up in the middle of the night and time it so you get to your destination about the time the kids normally get up. Once they are forward facing, get a DVD player and you can travel during the day again.

  4. Do I detect a tad bit of grumpiness in that there post, Gary?!!

    Welcome to my world of SCREAMING car babies.

    Baby Mae is a screamer EACH AND EVERY TIME we go ANYWHERE. ANY. WHERE.

    I cry alot in the car.

    I'm glad this was just a one time experience for you, though. I like the happy, funny---"I will so trip you up and cause you to have an accident", Gary the best!!!

  5. Overnight is a great idea - until you actually do it. This summer we took our then twin 1 y/o and 5 y/o on vacation - 500 miles each way - so we decided to leave at 7 pm (bedtime) and drive through the night while everyone slept. Well, the babies slept for the first few hours then woke up and melted down for the next God knows how long. The 5 y/o never did go to sleep and frequently complained that her butt was asleep and her back hurt and ... I have video of a pit stop at 3 am when all should be dreaming and they are just sitting there in our car looking at us like "why the heck would you ever think this was a good idea? (did I mention we thought it would be a great plan to do this in a Hyundai Elantra?) I think they fell asleep around 5 am.

    The drive home we left at 10 am because at least they'd be ready for bed when we got home.

    Oh, and this was the first trip since the oldest was 2 because I was so badly traumatized by that vacation drive (13 hours). That one ended in a bag of reeses pieces being thrown out the window on the highway because please daddy I just want a few more for the 5000th time. Good times :)