12+ hours in the car. A child who has never traveled more than 100 miles. And a dog. Are we crazy?!?! June has arrived and that means the summer travel season. As I look ahead to the coming months, I’m excited and extremely nervous. For the first time in two years, we will be taking a family trip. Ryan’s family lives in Western Nebraska, along the Oregon Trail. Ever since I was pregnant with the triplets, Mr. Skry and I agreed that the first trip we would make as a family would be to Nebraska. Ryan has one living grandparent, who is in her late 90’s and going strong. We want Peyton to spend time with her great-grandma and we can’t wait for them to meet! Plus, P has a cousin exactly one year younger, so it will be a blast getting them together for a week of playdates.
There really is no good way to get to the panhandle of Nebraska from Illinois. It’s a rural area with a very tiny airport. If we were to fly, it would be extremely expensive and take the entire day with layovers. So, the easiest solution is to drive. We’re very well-versed when it comes to cross country traveling. Mr. Skry and I have lived in many states, so we are used to hopping in the car and entertaining each other for hours, or even days. And Riley is a cross-country veteran, too! He loves laying on his bed, watching out the window as the scene changes from mountains to farmland and back to the mountains. So I guess that’s one positive–at least three out of the four are used to long car rides!
Peyton, on the other hand, is new to any sort of travel. Because of her extreme prematurity, she has spent most of her life confined to our home in Central Illinois. For much of her first year, she only left the house for doctor appointments. With an extremely weak immune system and weak lungs, we didn’t want to risk her getting ill. Thank goodness her health has improved from her early days! She stayed in Springfield up until this spring, when we finally took her to visit family in St. Louis. That’s only 1 1/2 hours away, and she slept the majority of the way. But on the few occasions that we traveled to my old work stomping grounds in Decatur, she screamed for the 45 minute drive. We tried singing songs and talking to Miss P, but she just didn’t want to sit still in a car. Needless to say, I’ve had plenty of nightmares about our summer travel!
A lot has changed in the three decades since I used to travel as a child. I remember driving back and forth from Phoenix to San Diego and thinking the 6 hour driving took forever! But, we always had fun. My parents had a slew of activities for my brother and me, things like making balloon animals, listening to oldies on the cassette player and playing license plate bingo. With no computers or iPads, you had to be creative to pass the time. Well, boy things have changed since the 1980’s! This week, I asked for advice on my Facebook page and got some great ideas. Of course, everyone said to have a DVD player or iPad loaded with Peyton’s favorite videos. So Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and some Signing Time videos will be taking over our car. A few people told me to have little toys wrapped up for P, and dole them out along the drive. And one of the funnier ideas: give Peyton a tin of band aids! My cousin mentioned this to me and then a viewer wrote the same thing. Their children all loved to unwrap the band aids and stick them on their clothing. There were so many great tidbits, I plan on using most of them…especially everyone who said to have several clothing changes ready for Miss P!
I think my anxiety will calm down once we get through our first family trip. Peyton has lived in a bubble for so long. And I think because I have lost two children, I am overly protective of P (rightfully so!). But I can’t be like that forever! Mr. Skry and I are hoping for smooth travels. If we make it through our first vacation in one piece (and without 100 Peyton meltdowns), we’ll start planning our next trip for later this year–to visit my family and friends in California! While it’s not a long drive to deal with, Ryan is freaked out at the thought of taking a 4-5 hour flight with our little diva. I can only imagine the evil stares from passengers as Peyton is wailing because she can’t stand up! Thanks for all of the great advice–if you have any other travel tips, send them my way!
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