We took a trip to Lethbridge, Alberta two weekends ago to visit my dad's family. My cousin is pregnant with her first baby and we wanted to throw a shower for her! We also hadn't all been there in years, so it was nice to all make the trip down. We decided to drive to save some money, but knew we were taking on a 13 hour adventure with an 11 1/2 month old. I was apprehensive to say the least, but did lots of praying and preparation to make our journey the best it could be!
We drove to Brandon the night before to cut 2 hours off the drive on the way there. My sister and Jason's sister live there, so we hung out with them and grabbed dinner. Then the next morning Jason, Everly and I drove with my parents, and my sister and her family drove alongside us in their van. We left at 6am and we stopped 4-5 times for food and pee breaks. We made it there in 11 hours, and it honestly flew by. Everly only napped for just over an hour, but was still so happy the entire drive. We haven't let her watch tv or play on our phones yet, as we are trying to limit her screen time, so movies weren't an option yet. Here are some of the things that kept her occupied and happy:
A bag of small toys. I would give her one at a time to keep her occupied, or sometimes the whole bag to dig through. I brought wood blocks, books, stuffed animals, finger puppets and a vibrating toy. Her favorite thing was probably taking a cup (we grabbed an empty one from Tim Hortons) and taking little toys in and out of it.
I bought one new toy for her before the drive. It was a musical book and she loved it. She would flip the pages and it would sing songs and make music. She loved clapping along with it.
SNACKS. This was the biggest one I think. I bought Organic Puffs, Baby Mum Mums, Puree Squeeze Pouches, Berries and Babybel cheese. The puffs and mum mums don't have much sustenance, but they are time consuming to eat and kept her distracted for a long time. The squeeze pouches I gave her for meals and they filled her up and kept her happy.
Stopping for pee breaks. It let her stretch her legs and walk around, which was her favorite part of the drive. She would get out and play with her cousins and be so happy to not be strapped in.
We also turned on music if she got fussy, clapped and learned how to hi-five.
I brought her favorite blanky and soother, so whenever she needed to nap I gave her that so she would fall asleep easier.
The combination of all of these things made for an uneventful drive. Her car seat is also so comfortable with lots of padding, so I'm sure that helped as well. We have the Mesa infant car seat. Jason and I were also in the back seat with her which was a huge help. Usually she's all alone in the backseat staring at nothing, so having us beside us made it more fun for her (and us!).
We arrived in Lethbridge at 5pm with the time change and visited for a bit before I put her to bed around 7pm. In hindsight I should have kept her up much longer because she wasn't tired after sitting in a car all day, and she didn't nap well during the day which I heard throws off baby's sleep schedules at night. Needless to say she woke up at 11:30, 1:30, 2:30 and then 4:00am for the day. It was the roughest night she has had since she was born! We were both exhausted the next day, but luckily we both had a few naps and slowly started to feel better. The next few nights and days were much better, but she still wasn't totally herself (probably because she was sleeping in our room, which she never does). I was a bit worried about the drive back because we were going 13 hours straight, but she again did so great! She even napped for 3 hours in the car. It was honestly such a blessing.
Overall we had such a fun weekend with my family! My aunt and uncle have built their dream home and we all got to stay there. It was so much fun. We threw a baby shower for my cousin Marlee while the boys went skeet shooting. They loved it. Then we went hiking through the coulees which are right out the back door of their house! It was so beautiful.
It's nice to be back home in our routine and have her back to her normal self again. It'll be awhile before we take another road trip that far, but so glad we decided to do this!