Monday, October 4, 2010

Do You Know the Way to San Jose?

Random Mommy and family moved last week to San Jose. And I made the drive by myself because Stewart had to drive the other car. This is my top ten list on what to do on the drive to prevent complete meltdown of toddlers in the backseat:

1) Buy or rent a minivan. We bought a minivan right before our move so we could transport a lot of the things we would need initially before the movers would be able to bring our stuff. It gave the boys a sense of continuity to have so many familiar things with them in corporate housing so I'm really glad we did it. It also helped with the drive because they loved being in it.

2) Stop at the McDonald's off I-5 when you pass Castaic. It has a Play Place so the boys were able to run around and burn off some energy.

3) Ration the entertainment. The first two hours we listened to Wiggles and Elmo CDs. Hours 2-5 they watched Blues Clues on the minivan's built-in DVD. Hours 5-7 they alternated took turns playing the small black phone (iTouch) and big black phone (iPad). Yes, it took seven hours!

4) Stop smartly at the Kettleman City fuel/food area. Don't make the mistake like we did in the past of stopping in the McDonald's because it's the first turn off. Go all the way to the Jack in the Box and you will be rewarded with CLEAN bathrooms and functional A/C.

5) Bring cash. The gas station in Kettleman City posted $3.19/gallon. Of course you can't see on the sign from the road that this is a cash price. I didn't even see the credit price until I swiped my credit card and I noticed the price was $3.34/gallon. A big difference but one most people would probably pay since it's just a one time deal during a road trip. I just didn't like the dishonesty of it so I stopped the transaction and went inside and paid cash. Luckily I didn't give the movers as big a tip as I had planned so I had enough to get us to San Jose!

6) Save a secret goody bag for hour 5. My good friend Carmen had given the boys new lunch boxes as good-bye presents. When they started melting down, I passed back the Cars and Spiderman lunch boxes filled with all the things little kids love, namely chocolate chip cookies and fruit snacks. Gracias Carmen!!!

7) Have someone call you every hour. Stewart didn't make the drive on the same day so he was able to call me every hour to keep me alert. Even with a huge iced coffee at the McDonald's stop, I was still fatigued from working all day before with the movers and then running 3 miles that morning to keep up my half-marathon training. Built-in minivan bluetooth--sweeeeet!

8) Pack comfort items. They had their new pillow pets and Aden and Anais swaddle blankets. I had received the blankets at a celebrity mom/blogger event the week before and these blankets were absolutely perfect. They were soft, yet not too hot since they are made of muslin.

9) Everyone wears diapers or at least a towel on their seat. R has just started potty-training but I didn't want any accidents so I had him wear pull-ups all the way up. I also covered H's seat JIC.

10) Freeze juice. If you put some frozen juice boxes or pouches in a hot/cold bag along with some from the fridge, then the frozen ones will melt so that they are still cold during the last phase of the trip.

And one bonus tip that I think is essential:

11) Drive during daylight. Especially if you're driving somewhere unfamiliar, being able to see where you are going is a huge plus!

Hopefully some of this will help you the next time you have to drive long distances with your kids without other adult assistance. Now that we've found our way to San Jose, the big unpack has started. My back is already in pain!

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