Thursday, May 14, 2009

How to Drive 600 Miles with Four Kids!

People think I am crazy. I see the looks they give me as I load my four children under five into their car seats to head out on the road again. A ten hour road trip with four kids and just me, takes a tremendous amount of organization, a bladder that can go for hours on end and a unique ability to throw a partially opened bag of goldfish over your right shoulder and land it perfectly in your son's carseat without showering the car with little cheddar guppies.

Last week, Avery's school was closed down for a suspected case of the little piggy flu, so I took an impromptu visit to see my brother and Beth, and Oma and Opa. We love them so much, so the trip was already justified, but the fact that my sweet cousin, LeeAnn (who is largely responsible for introducing me to Caleb), was visiting with her husband from Montana made the drive well worth it.

Now the drive was pretty crazy, the kids were awesome, but stopping for the restroom is a little tricky. Here's how it is done, should you ever find yourself on a 600 mile trip with four children under five.

1)Find a place with clean restrooms, I have found Whataburger and Starbucks to be good places.
2)Circle around the parking lot for 10 minutes, holding your very full bladder, until the space closest to the door opens up.
3)Unload double stroller.
4)Strategically unload children- Reece first, she will stay in the stroller longest without getting impatient. Audrey next, she can be buckled in. Avery next, she will hold on to the stroller without attempting to sprint across the parking lot. McClaine last, give strong orders to keep one hand on the stroller and one hand in your pocket so as to not touch the feminine waste baskets.
5)Cross your legs as Avery opens and holds doors, since no adult in this area can sense the desperation of a mother and hold open a door for her.
6) Go straight to the bathroom, and then do a marathon hand washing of all children as they have inevitably flushed the toilet four times while buckled in the stroller.
7)Exit the building and load up the car (10 minute process).
8)Drive thru for food, at least they are all buckled!
9)Park the car.
10)Distribute food.
11)Unload Reece.
12)Nurse baby.
13)Buckle up baby.
14)Cram Whataburger Jr. down and have just enough Coke to be alert, but not too much to have to stop for the bathroom for another 400 miles.

I did stop one more time before I made it to Ryan and Beth's house in College Station. There is a beautiful park in LaGrange, right next to a library. Last time I made this trip I was pregnant with Reece and Audrey was crawling. So we stopped and Avery and McClaine played and stretched their little bodies while Audrey crawled around and ate grass.

This time was different, I unloaded the kids and started nursing Reece. Which proved to be very challenging as Audrey has NO FEAR and was climbing all over the jungle gym. So as the gusts of wind blew the blanket that was my modesty, I was trying to keep Audrey from running down the 8 foot high slide!

Was it worth it? Oh yeah, you know how I love visiting Ryan & Beth and Oma & Opa...
Aunt Beth with Reecey

Audrey, Avery and cousin Sage
McClaine took a serious fall when we went to Beth's parents' house. He tripped and fell face first into some lava rock!

Rub a Dub Dub, Cousins in a tub

Oma's constantly cookin' up treats... Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Chocolate Cookies
Homemade Strawberry Shortcake, so much for losing that baby weight (me, not Audrey)!
It all makes Reece happy

Jump in the wagon with cousin Wyatt

On the trike with Senorita Avery
Snuggle time with Granny
Aunt Leigh, Tyne, Oma and Granny
Aunt Leigh with Reece

McClaine and Wyatt with Jon and Jeff in the background
It was such a blessing to see LeeAnn!
Jeff and LeeAnn with Reece
Avery and Audrey playing a little tune on the piano
LeeAnn, Leigh, Tyne and Avery
When it came to the return trip home, I was so thankful that Opa drove down with me and flew back so I didn't have to do any crazy restroom breaks again!


Following Him said... just AMAZE me! Glad you were able to spend LOTS of time with family and relax a little in the process. That potty story just made me tired. What a super momma!

Katrina said...

How sweet of Opa, so glad you did not have to do that alone. I loved seeing you and getting to meet all four of your babies.

Next time - Starbucks - just us, no Briar Rose drama.

Myra said...

WOW! Very impressive! I can't do it with ONE! Hahaha!

amanda said...

you are a total rock star friend!!

loving all the pictures - looks like an amazing trip!

Angela said...

I loved your description of going to the bathroom! Also, the picture of Reece by herself is beautiful and adorable! You could totally use that one for your birth announcement if you haven't already gotten one.

Elaine A. said...

Looks like a wonderful time with family. But I have to say you are a brave woman for doing that drive by yourself. Not sure I could do it myself. And you look great Tyne!

Krystyn said...

You are soooo much braver than me. I can't even do 2 kids sometimes.

Glad you got to have fun and good visit with family and friends.

cheryl said...

You definitely inspire me and I am always making mental notes of what to do with more than 2 kids... Thanks for taking the time to write it all out - it's hilarious to read! :)

Lisa@verybusymomwith4 said...

You are a far stronger mommy than I! I cannot believe you did it--I don't think I could do that even now!

Margarita said...

Good post Tyner! I was lovin' all the pics. You be lookin' HoTT in that last photo!

Following Him said...

Just wanted to let you know that I tagged you on my blog!'s time for a new post missy ;o

Melissa said...


Your energy is amazing! I think your next 600 miles trip with 4 kids by yourself should start with a disclaimer "Warning: Do not try this at home! I am insane!! And you will be too should you attempt such a crazy feat!"


Mrs4444 said...

Boy, your life if just overflowing with riches, isn't it? These pics were wonderful.