Our first trip with the twins to the Midwest happened when the twins were 9 months old. It was a disaster. We were exhausted. They didn't know what the hell was going on. We swore we would not travel again for a LOOONG time. Well, we've made several trips back since the initial trip. Every time we have said 'what the hell were we thinking?' The kids went through a terrible stranger danger phase and screamed at everyone who wanted to see them. They have NEVER slept on these trips. We have needed 2 weeks to get back home, get everything in order and feel somewhat recovered in the past. Despite all of this, we agreed to meet up with family in Wisconsin Dells in early March at a water park hotel. Yes, apparently I'm a glutton for punishment.
I packed everything for the kids and myself. We ended up easily fitting in the Subaru. Typically we are bursting at the seams to fit everything in (we NEED a van!!!). We have traveled at night (most people tell me their kids sleep when they travel at night thus making night travel the easiest), but our kids did not sleep at night when we have travelled. We have found that leaving by 4 am works best for us. The Duo goes to sleep for a while in the car and we can get a good 4 hours of driving in before needing to stop for breakfast. That's what we did on this latest trip.
I was up at 3 and showered. The husband showered next. We grabbed the kids, changed diapers and put them in the car with confused looks on their faces. They went to bed healthy, but I swear the minute we put Ella in her car seat she started coughing. I think she coughed all the way to the Kentucky boarder before finally falling asleep. We stopped for breakfast as planned around 8. We stopped at a Burger King; I had brought bagels, juice and fruit along for the Duo. They were in great moods and ate a decent amount. Ella hit the cream cheese a little hard, but I figured as long as she was eating I didn't care what her cream cheese to bagel ratio was. We hit the road again after breakfast and about 15 min down the road Ella started coughing and whining. Collin turned around to see what he could do to make her happy (I was driving) and he told me Ella was puking. I swore (I don't remember really, but I'm sure I did). About 30 seconds later, Evan started puking. The husband was in a panic. I told him to grab some wipes and clean it as best as he could until I could pull over. I swore a lot at that point. We were in the middle of nowhere Kentucky. I hit the gas and pulled off at the next exit. There was NOTHING at this exit. Just some snow and roads. I pulled over and Ella puked again. We cleaned up the best we could with wipes. We got the kids out and laid them on the front seat where we changed them. It was freezing cold out. The kids were crying. I remember saying over and over 'we need a van.' Collin sat up front with the kids while I finished cleaning as best I could. Ella's vomit made me gag. Let's just say there is no way anyone in this house is eating strawberry cream cheese anytime soon! We must have looked desperate because a car that had pulled off stopped and asked us if we needed help. I only had one plastic shopping bag in the car so I tossed the puked covered clothes in the bag. I was a terrible person an littered the puke covered baby wipes on the side of the road. I had no where to put them. I feel terrible about this, but I didn't know what to do!
After this disaster, we started wondering if they were sick and we should turn around and head home. No one had a fever. No one seemed ill. They were in good spirits post puke and warm up so we kept driving.
The drive was uneventful until we stopped for lunch. We pulled into a parking spot, got out of the car and Ella puked again! We did the whole clean up thing again!! I had to dig through the suitcase in the bag because I was not prepared to have to change clothes TWICE. We went in and they ate lunch fine. They were both kind of a hot mess from needing a nap, but they seemed ok. We stopped at a pharmacy and grabbed some Dramamine after lunch because we thought they had car sickness. My husband had horrible car sickness as a kid. We also picked up some air freshener because the car STUNK!!! Ugh. You know the smell. Vomit. It hangs in your nostrils. It's unavoidable. It sticks with you.
After that extended stop we hit the road again only to go by a Indiana State Trooper 5 min down the road and have him pull us over. There was more cursing at this point. He came to the passenger side of the car and asked for a license. I of course, appologized for any puke smell coming from the back and told him our twins had been puking all morning. I figured I may as well use the puking twins as a possible way to get out of the ticket perhaps. Feel sorry for me!! Our car smells like puke! We are on a loooong road trip with 2 year olds! The officer looked at my husband's license and asked how we like Knoxville. Um. What? We were both confused by the question and responded with some generalized answers of liking the town. He asked where we were from and where we were going. He then told us he went to the University of Tennessee and since we lived in Knox he would let us off with a warning. We had stopped in Lafayette for lunch and apparently the speed limit goes down to 65 as you pass through the town instead of 70 like the rest of IN. So, we had gotten on the interstate and the husband thought the speed limit was 70 and set the cruise at 76. It was an honest mistake, but thankfully the guy was very kind and let us off with a warning. When we went back to the car to issue the warning all I could do was laugh hysterically. Puking kids. Pulled over. What next?! He came back and did tell us he was very pleased to see kids properly secured in car seats. He told us we were responsible parents. At least we had that going for us.
We made it to our destination (my parents house) in WI without anything else out of the ordinary occurring. We celebrated my Grandpa's 81st birthday that night with my brother, SIL, their two kids, my parents and grandparents. It was fun having the kids play together. Evan got into a wrestling match with his 4 year old cousin Ezra. Evan can sure hold his own against a 4 year old...
Bedtime is typically the biggest concern for us when traveling. Getting the kids to go to sleep can be a nightmare. Although I am very strict with their schedules, I decided to be more lax on this trip. Everyone slept okay the first night, but Ella was up for almost 2 hours coughing in the middle of the night. We each slept with one of the kids. I had Ella so I was off to an exhausting start to the trip.
We went to the Dells the next day and the kids had a lot of fun playing in the water and going on slides. I was worried about how they would react to the water since we have not been in a pool since September. They were awesome though! They loved the kids areas and splashed in the waves of the wave pool. By that evening Ella spiked a fever. No one slept much the second night and by the 3rd day they were sick, exhausted and over the water park. They were clingy toward us and cranky. When my kids are cranky it is very difficult for me to be in a good mood. Both had fevers, were coughing and had a constant flow of snot dripping. Ella was coughing so much she made herself vomit a few times. I started remembering why we should not travel with twins....
One story I don't want to forget about the water park: one of the slides was busy at one point and Ella was in line to go down it. This was on the second day at the water park and she was not feeling well at all. She got out of line and just stood there and started to cry. Evan went up on the slide and stood with her. He stuck out his bottom lip and patted her arms. The look of concern on his face was priceless. The moment they had up on the slide together was the best moment I have seen between the two of them. It was beautiful.
Anyway, we packed up to leave the next day only to find our DVD player would not turn on. We stopped by a Walmart only to find they do not sell portable DVD players anymore. We were going to swing by Best Buy in Madison, but were going to be heading by it an hour before the store opened. SO, we stopped in Rockford, IL for a DVD player at Best Buy. A DVD player is a must on long road trips. Plus, every time we gave Ella something to play with that involved looking down, she would puke. SO, looking up at the TV was necessary to avoid car sickness
The drive home was fine all things considered. We had two exhausted kids who had a fever and terrible colds. We didn't make it home until 11:30 at night; it ended up being almost a 14 hour drive because of the extra stops for the DVD player and fussy sick kids. They honestly were champs and barely fussed on the way home though. I started to feel sick toward the end of the drive. We walked in the door at 11:30 exhausted yet happy to be home and see our pets. Ella was petting the dog when she turned started whining and puked all over the floor. Welcome home indeed.
Evan and Ella were sick for a week. We ended up taking them in to the doctor on day 4 of Ella's fever. Evan was up the night before with a cough that bordered on croup. Ella had an ear infection and Evan a sinus infection. We got some steroids to prevent croup and antibiotics. They were sick a full week and barely ate anything that week. I had terrible congestion and a fever and missed a night of work. On day 10 of my sickness I finally went to the doctor to get antibiotics. Both Collin and I were sick for almost 2 weeks.
We are finally home, unpacked and healthy. A 'quick' trip to Wisconsin had lingering affects that kept us all sick and exhausted for a few weeks. I keep trying to figure out why we do these things to ourselves... It was a fun and fantastic trip, but horribly rotten at the same time. I think that's how life tends to go when you have kids.
If you need travel tips, I have some great toys that helped keep everyone entertained! I can share if you want:)
Also, if anyone wants to see pics of the kids, look me up on Instagram. My name is AmberDS. I doubt I will be posting many pics on here.