Happy Friday from the place that makes my heart the happiest.
Over the last several weeks I have been talking with my family about how and when we could make a visit happen. With some restrictions easing in Florida and North Carolina moving into phase one, we made the decision as a family that we were all comfortable with a visit but that we would drive instead of fly. (Of course I also spoke with Finn’s father about the travel too.)
Finn’s second birthday is on Monday so this was the perfect weekend to make the trek down to Florida….and what a trek it is! Five states and 585 miles!!! We started in North Carolina and spent over six hours on I-85 driving through South Carolina, Georgia and into Alabama. Once we got to Montgomery, we hopped on I-65 to head down towards the Florida panhandle and then finished on back roads.
This is actually one the second time that I have ever driven down here in the 6+ years that my parents have been living here. I don’t enjoy long car trips (especially when there’s such an easy direct flight) and I have been leery of making one solo with a small child.
I couldn’t have asked Finn to do any better in the car. He was a total rock star. He slept for the first couple of hours (we left at 10:30a) and then spent the rest of the trip eating snacks, watching shows on a tablet and playing with an Etch-A-Sketch and this pop-up alphabet/numbers/shapes/colors thing that I ordered from Amazon.
I ordered a kid’s Fire tablet from Amazon but it didn’t arrive before we left. Luckily, I was able to borrow one from a friend. It was an absolute life saver with this headrest mount and Finn watched the same Go Buster special on Netflix three times. (I had other options but he just really loves Go Buster right now…haha.) I am not sure my car will ever be clean again after the amount of crumbs were made during the duration of the trip but it was a worthwhile trade to get here with everyone happy and sane.
When we finally turned down the road to get to my parent’s condo development, Finn was laughing and squealing the whole time. He knew exactly where we were and was excited to be here.
We arrived around 7p (the trip took us a little under 9.5 hours…) and my dad had dinner waiting for us. He made enchiladas with ground beef and homemade enchilada sauce. Finn loved these!
He had also tried a new sourdough technique from Peter Reinhart. It was so nice to get here and have a good dinner. Bedtime was a bust for Finn and I let him stay up until after 9p (which is 10p Eastern). He just needed time to visit and run around after being in the car for so long. Luckily, when I did get him down, he went down with no problem and slept hard all night.
I came with three bags full of snacks from Trader Joe’s. You guys might remember that my grandmother loves to fill up her oven with snacks. There is no TJ’s around here and I think we can all agree that they have the best snack options so I stocked her up. Mema turned 90 last month and we missed celebrating her birthday so this was a belated treat for her! 🙂
In closing, I know that many of you are also separated from and missing your family right now. Sending a lot of love to everyone as we navigate these uncertain and unprecedented times. It’s not easy.
What are your favorite ways to keep toddlers entertained on long car trips?
Best/worst road trip stories with kids?
Are you seeing your family now?