In case you were wondering what it would be like to "day trip" to Appleton with two kids in tow, here is a replay of our recent adventure to see Mel, Mel, and Amy and their 5 (!!) kids. Thanks to Amy, Drew, and Andy for hosting us! (Left to Right: Audrey, Carter, and Mel Aprahamian; Drew and Amy Gaerthofner; Amelia, Mel, and Maelle Bunkelman; Me, Claire, and Gabe.)
8:47 am: Hit the Road for our 260-mile adventure (one way).
8:50: Gabe complains about a tummy-ache (meaning carsickness has already set in.)
9:08: Get to north side of River Falls, not quite to 94 yet; pull over for some fresh air; turn off DVD player as probable cause for the carsickness.
10:04: Have been on 94 for nearly an hour; get to exits for Eau Claire and realize I've missed the exit for Hwy 29. Call Jesse for a re-route (luckily, I didn't have to backtrack).
10:14: Back on track - reach Hwy 29, which we'll be on for the next 120 miles.
10:20: Pull over on side of 29 (a 4-lane highway) for fresh air and to get out (puking seemed imminent). Gabe is hysterical, which causes Claire to scream through the whole stop as well. Get Gabe calmed down, and we get back in.
10:36: Decide to stop in Cadott for a walk, potty break, etc to put the carsickness behind us once and for all. Stop at the gas station that all 500 post-Country-fest hungover drunks are also at. As we get out of the car, Gabe notices a bear - the first time I've seen one not in a zoo!
11:03: Back on the road; kids fall asleep and the drive becomes enjoyable.
12:47: Gabe wakes up and asks to watch his movie again. Since we're almost there, and he seems to be doing well, I turn it back on.
1:15pm: We are 10 minutes from the restaurant we are meeting everyone at when Gabe feels sick again. End up pulling over a third time.
1:45pm: We made it to Mom & Pop Place!!
3:45pm: Head over to Amy's, where the kids open gifts and play with all of Drew's toys.
6:00pm: Get some dinner. I decide that driving back tonight will probably be easier on me since they will probably sleep most of the way, and I'd be just as tired tomorrow, but they will be awake, and either fighting or carsick. While we wait for our food, Claire has a diaper blowout on my lap.
7:30pm: Hug the Gaerthofner's goodbye and head for home.
8:00pm: After stopping for gas and Starbucks, we are now on Hwy 10, going back to Stevens Point.
8:08pm: Gabe gets carsick - already. As we're pulled over on the side of Hwy 10, a sheriff deputy pulls up behind us to check out the action. Quickly leaves when I mention the possibility of puking. As I hold Gabe in the ditch, Claire once again screams at the injustice of being strapped in while Gabe gets to be outside with Mama.
8:38pm: Back to driving. Gabe falls asleep from all the drama. Claire tries to get her socks off.
9:10pm: Kids are both finally quiet and I pray that it lasts. "You do it to yourself" taunts the Radiohead song I'm listening to.
11:57pm: We make it into the driveway. As I get Claire out of her seat, I feel the start of another blowout. Gabe informs me, "I don't want to go anywhere ever ever again." I second his motion -- at least for tomorrow.
I won't lie, it was a rough journey. But seeing my girls once a year and how much are kids are growing and changing made it worth it. Next time, we're bringing Daddy. :)