My husband and I reached 2 adult milestones this week. First, we finally ordered a newspaper subscription.
Yes, I know–newspapers are soooooo last century. We can get all of our news online for free, why spend $30 a month on a paper?
I’ve tried to read news online and between the overwhelming number of biased newsites and the rise of sensational reporting due to the fast-paced nature of the internet, I just can’t handle it. Likewise, I’ve struggled remember to turn on NPR in the morning to hear the news report. Consequently, a paper option seemed like the best choice to get news. An added bonus is now we’ll have old newspaper on hand in case I decide to make a pinata.
Secondly, we bought a van! My husband’s 2002 Buick Century had served us well over the years but we knew it was one major repair away from scrapping it. Likewise, I didn’t think it would hold up for another 1,200+ miles when we take our family vacation this summer and my husband is extremely uncomfortable driving long distances in our Toyota Corolla (something about 6′ 3″ people not fitting in small cars well). We had money saved up to buy a bigger vehicle and we found a 2009 Toyota Sienna within our price range, so the time was right.
Our van is red, which I think is awesome!
Babykins and I leave for our Advent vacation in a few hours. We’re spending a week with one of my good friends from the seminary as she prepares for her second child’s arrival. The baby may or may not come while we’re there, but I figure I’ll either get to meet the new baby or we’ll just have a giant playdate all week if the baby stays put. It’s a win/win situation!
Additionally, the timing works well. When my friend first asked about us coming to visit in December, I was a bit hesitant. A week in December is a quarter of my Christmas preparation time. However, it turns out that my husband is swamped with sermon writing and a presentation next week, so I probably wouldn’t have gotten much work done beyond keeping our household at a functioning level. This trip allows my husband not to worry about the work/family balance.
The only downside of this trip (aside from the fact that Babykins and I will miss her daddy) is the 4.5 hour drive. I realize it’s not that far, but it’s the farthest I’ve driven without my husband since Babykins was born. Babykins isn’t the greatest car traveler and it’s difficult to drive with her without another adult. However, we had a bit of practice with our Thanksgiving travel and I learned some tips for keeping my 14-month-old somewhat calm in the car.
1. Have a stash of blankies and pacifiers in the front. Babykins loves her blankie and pacifier. Thankfully, we have multiples of both items. That means I can pass back a different blankie or pacifier when she inevitably drops one.
2. Be flexible with snacks. For our trip, I bought Babykins one of those fancy snack holders that helps keep the food from spilling (sort of). I also bought her some fancy baby puffs that quickly dissolve in your mouth. This way she can eat in the car without me worrying about her choking. Usually I would prefer her to eat something like fruit for snack, so the puffs will be her road trip treat (and I’m getting chocolate. Yay!).
3. Plan stops. I’ve looked at my maps and have plotted out several stopping points, including a McDonald’s for lunch (another road trip treat for Babykins). I’ve also planned for these stops to be 30-60 minutes so Babykins can properly stretch her legs. I’m hoping to only need 2 breaks–one for lunch and one before we go through a big city–but I’m also mentally prepared for more if Babykins is having a freak out.
4. Stock up on toys and music. I have a bag of toys and books in the front seat so I can something back if Babykins starts to get bored. I also grabbed all of our kid-friendly music that I can turn up if Babykins starts crying.
Hopefully my preparations make the driving portion of our trip go smoothly. Well, at least as smoothly as a trip can go when you have a toddler in tow.
This past weekend we took our first overnight trip sans your dad. It went surprisingly well. You were a real trooper during your grandpa’s retirement party and you slept decently enough at night that I’m willing to overlook the 5:45 a.m. wake up.
However, we’re going to have to work our car travel. I know that you would prefer if I sat in the back with you but that just isn’t possible when your dad isn’t with us. We will most likely be taking many weekend trips without your dad because he has to work on Sundays and parties are typically on Saturdays or Sundays. So here are some ideas that we can work on to make the car ride less. . . loud and screamy:
1. Stop chucking your toys out of your carseat. I know it’s fun to watch them fall off the side, but I can’t pick them up off the floor when we’re driving 70 m.p.h. and you decide you want them back.
2. Keep your pacifier in your mouth. You prefer to nurse to sleep and you think the pacifier doesn’t cut it (Admittedly, when I put you in your crib after you’ve fallen asleep, I stick the pacifier in. Most of the time you don’t notice). However, I also can’t nurse you while we’re driving 70 m.p.h. Your choice is either the pacifier or nothing at all. Spitting it out and screaming won’t solve anything.
3. Eat when I offer. Gas stations and rest stops are very exciting places with strange sounds and different things to see. However, I promise you won’t miss anything important if you just nurse for 10 minutes. Plus, you won’t get hungry 20 miles later.
4. Just go to sleep. When we are driving during your naptime, it’s okay to fall asleep. I know the car sounds different and the carseat isn’t like your crib, but you eventually fall asleep anyway. If we could forgo the prior 2 hours of yelling, that would be swell.
5. The driver should have caffeine prepared before hitting the road. This one is for me. It’s not a good idea to go through the world’s slowest McDonald’s drive-thru while you are sleeping so I can get some coffee to stay awake (see aforementioned 5:45 a.m. wake up). Since I have to TALK RIDICULOUSLY LOUD when ordering into the microphone, you will wake up and yelling will commence.
I believe if we both follow through on these tips, our road trips will become increasingly happier.
There’s a joke around the seminary that couples return from vicarage with either a new baby or a new-to-them car. So far, my husband and I have not been visited by the stork during our stay in the North. With only two weeks left on vicarage, it seems highly improbable that we will have a baby in tow when we head back to the seminary. That leaves coming back with a new car.
While neither one of our cars seem like they are going to break down at any moment, I’m keeping a careful eye on my husband’s car. Two and a half years ago, I had a serious discussion with it after having 3 costly repairs in a five month period. I told the car we were going to get rid of it if it misbehaved anymore. I know it sounds crazy, but I think it understood me. Since that discussion, we have put very little money into that car besides the usual upkeep payments.
I suppose I should be thankful that the car has caused us so little problems, especially since my old car unexpectedly died on me. However, it caused us so many problems two and a half years ago that I’m suspicious of it. Really, I think the car is biding its time until it can break down at a really inconvenient moment.
I’m envisioning the car breaking down as we try to drive it onto the car carrier on the morning that we begin our move. Of course, that would mean we technically wouldn’t come back from vicarage with a new car; we would just have one less car. Still, it would be annoying.
Did you come back from vicarage with a new car, baby, or neither one?