Posts tagged car

You call THAT a vacation?

When most people hear the word vacation images of tropical islands, warm beaches and fruity drinks probably fill their minds.  While all of those things sound amazing to me, they’re not what comes to my mind when I think about vacation.  To me vacation is time spent away from home with loved ones doing things that you all love.  So while sitting on a warm, tropical beach sipping fruity drinks would definitely fit into that category, it’s simply not feasible (at least for us) with two small children.

Instead, our vacations involve packing our car full of everything except the kitchen sink, driving for a few hours, and getting comfy in a hotel/friend’s home/mini resort for a few nights.  Here is how it usually unfolds – A few months prior, I’ll suggest to Scott that we should do X.  He’ll agree because I always have fabulous plans.  We’ll arrange for accommodations either in a hotel/resort or with friends (I do most of this planning).  The week of, we confirm all of the reservations, make lists and take multiple trips to Target for necessities.  Two days before, I begin getting things ready.  Laundry is done, bags and suitcases are laid out and items start getting crossed off of the lists.  The day of departure everything is finalized in bags and suitcases.  This includes clothes for Scott, myself and both kids (and plenty of spare outfits for spills/accidents/weather changes), toiletries for all four of us, toys, kids plates/utensils/cups, any special or hard to find food or snacks, extra pillows, air mattress (if necessary), pack and play, etc.. As I said, everything but the kitchen sink.  Scott packs the car.  I refuse to be a part of it other than to request which few items are to go in the back seat within an arms reach for emergencies.  He’s a master at doing it and I’d rather not interrupt.  Somehow he always makes it fit.  Then we all pile in the car, stop at Dunkin’ Donuts (it wouldn’t be a road trip without this important stop) and hit the road.

Our favorite destinations range from an hour and a half to a little over four hour away via car.  So, depending on where we’re going at the time, we decide if we’ll drive straight through or make a stop along the way.  Generally speaking, anything two hours or less is a straight through drive.  If it’s a trip with a stop we try to plan the drive as follows – get in the car just around nap time for Nora.  Stop for “lunch” when she wakes up.  Eat and then finish the drive.  This usually works out quite well but as of late, she hasn’t been a huge fan of sleeping in the car.  In which case, we try to get at least half of the drive under our belts before stopping.

At this point, we’ve already had so much excitement and anticipation about our vacation and we haven’t even gotten there yet!  Once we arrive at our destination it’s time to unload the car.  (I’d like to take a moment to apologize to whomever decided to host our family for one of our vacations.  We bring a shit ton of crap with us.  Thanks!)  After that task, which is usually left up to Scott so I can wrangle the kids, is done, the vacation begins.

I know what you’re probably thinking right about now… That sounds like the furthest thing from a vacation that I could possibly imagine!  But you know what, it really is fun.  Is it stressful?  Yes.  Do we want to rip each others’ heads off at some point?  Yes.  Do we forget things? Yes.  Do we often say we’ll never do it again?  Yes.  Would we change it for the world?  No.  This, my friends, is how memories are made.

Image credit – worldofstock.com

Note:  Though this picture loosely represents what our packed car looks like, we DO NOT drive a mini van. :-)

Three strollers, a potty chair, and a roll of paper towels.

Sometimes when I open the tailgate to my car in a busy parking lot people who are passing by seem shocked about what is in there.  I have a pretty big car with a lot of cargo space and they’re probably wondering why the space is so full.  Well, the simple answer is that I’m a mom and moms never know what they are going to need when they’re on the road with their kids.

The items that occupy the cargo space of my mommy mobile on a pretty regular basis are three strollers, a potty chair, and a roll of paper towels.  Yes, I said three strollers.  You might be thinking, “Why three?  You only have two kids and there is only one of you.  How could you possibly need three strollers?”  Well, obviously I am not using them all at the same time.  But which one I use depends on where I am and who is with me.

First, there’s the big honking double stroller.  (It’s the Graco Quattro Tour Duo if you’re wondering.)  This stroller is great when I have both kids with me and we’re going to be out for a while, like trips to the mall.  It has lots of storage space and the back seat reclines flat.  It has all the bells and whistles one could want in a double stroller.  The thing is a beast though and it’s impossible to steer one handed.  Then there’s the single stroller with all the features (Graco Quattro Tour).  This stroller is great.  It reclines fully to accommodate sleeping children or to provide a place to change a diaper when you’re skeeved out by the public changing stations like I am.  It steers awesome and I have no problem pushing it one handed.  Brinley still loves riding in this stroller.  Lastly is the light, compact umbrella type stroller (Chicco C6).  I rarely used this with Brinley.  I always opted for the Graco with her.  Now having two kids, this stroller has been a life saver.  You can grab it really fast and throw a kid in there for quick trips into stores.  Both Brinley and Nora will ride in it when necessary.  It’s easy to steer one handed but I often kick the wheels when I walk if I’m in a hurry and the hook that you use to lock it shut to store it is a PITA to operate.

You want to know what is really funny though?  Nora hates riding in strollers.  She would much rather be carried.  And Brinley?  Well, she’s almost three and a half and probably looks a little silly riding in the stroller.  Oh and she’s totally capable of walking.  In all honesty, I could probably take all three of the strollers out of my car and gain TONS of cargo space.  But, I’m just not ready to make that step yet.

New Mommy Mobile

I’m happy and excited to report that last week we (I) became the proud owners of a 2008 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring AWD. This was a decision a while in the making. Scott and I both fell in love with this car the first time we saw it. We liked it even more after test driving it and seeing it at the Consumer Car Show in Boston. It was never a matter of whether or not to get the car, it was just a matter of when.

I must admit that it was very hard to say goodbye to my 2004 Toyota Corolla. That car meant a lot to me. It was the first big purchase I made on my own after graduating college. It was also the first brand new car I had owned. At the time I bought it, it suited my needs perfectly. It was stylish, fun, and great on gas. I drove that car for about 67,000 miles and had zero problems with it. The only thing I ever had to do was get the oil changed. It was really the easiest car to own and I will continue to recommend it highly.

However, with a growing child and having to transport more and more paraphernalia the trusty Corolla was no longer practical for us. It wasn’t possible to fit groceries in the trunk when there was a stroller in there. It also got increasingly difficult to lower Brinley into her car seat the heavier she got. I must sadly admit that both Scott and I were guilty of hitting her head on the car in the process.

Though it has only been about a week, life is easier when on the road. We can transport much more “stuff” as we have just proven on our recent trip to Plymouth. We filled the back of the car with Brinley’s stroller, her pack and play, her pink ride on buggy, bags of toys, bags of clothes and her booster seat. There was still room to spare! I also already went grocery shopping and it was so easy to get the bags into the back and then out again when we got home. No cramming things in and worrying about squishing the bread or breaking the eggs.

I’m still getting used to all the new luxuries like heated seats, dual climate control, blind spot monitoring system and the Smart Key but I really LOVE my new car.

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