What ARE We thinking?

The time comes in every parent’s life that he/she decides to do the unthinkable…take a road trip with a baby!  Whether it is long or short, there is always at least a little sense of dread that goes along with packing up the car and getting ready to go. Often that dread comes from all of the unknowns.  Will she sleep well in the car? Will she sleep too well and not be tired once we get to our destination? Is she going to scream for hours on end?  How long is it really going to take us to get there?  Is it smarter to pump if she is sleeping or make a stop and wake her? Did I pack enough clothing, diapers, etc.?  Did I pack too much?  I could go on forever.

By the time this is posted, we will have braved the drive to and from Denver.  I have made this trip many times.  The last time was even with a dog with a tendency to get car sick.  Something tells me no trip will compare to this first one with the baby.

Jessa has already proved to be a good traveler when the trip is 2.5 hours or less.  She has both slept the whole time and happily “hung out” awake.  We’ve avoided poopy diapers, needing to stop to eat, and large amounts of crying.  I’m aware this streak is about to end, but it was sure good while it lasted!

Due to work schedules, our trip will begin around dinner time with the intention of staying at a hotel in Lincoln.  We will then drive the rest of the way and arrive in Denver SOMETIME the next day.  We are keeping our options open for the way home and will make plans according to how the trip out goes. I miss the days of knowing that the whole trip could be made in a day with only a few stops to eat, get gas, and use a restroom.  It would be best for Jessa (and us if we were able) to drive through the night.  Maybe that can happen in the future.  One thing is for sure…this will not be a 12 hour trip as usual!

I’m the type of person who truly does not like packing.  I hate the feeling that I’m forgetting something. I am currently in the midst of making sure I have all of Jessa’s things, my necessities, everything for the dog (who will be with us in the car a few hours before going to “grandma’s”), the camera, the computer, some snacks, etc. etc.  All of this while making sure everything at work is done, but that is another story!

While I’m stressed out a bit about making sure everything is done, packed, and ready to go, I’m definitely excited for Jessa to have her first trip to Colorado!  I know that what could be an eventful, stressful roadtrip will be worth it!  Because Jessa’s mother greatly dislikes flying, we are in for plenty of family roadtrips.  I need to remember to relish this time as it is only a matter of time before we hear a little voice in the back saying, “Are we there yet?”

lana colorado 1

As I said before, our short trip will actually be over by the time you read this.  However, I would LOVE to hear any advice to put into use for future trips! What has worked best for you? Do you have any stories of great trips that went smoothly? Any horror stories that we can all learn from? Please share!

Lana Criswell is a born and bred Hawkeye fan who has lived in Iowa City for almost ten years! She came for college and never looked back. Lana has been married to her husband, Tom, for two years and is momma to Jessa (3.5 months) and Charlie, the dog. She finished graduate school nearly four years ago in speech-language pathology and works at Children’s Center for Therapy in Iowa City. She is excited to be able to work 80% time now and have some “girl time” with Jessa each week. Lana loves spending time with family and friends, cooking/baking, going to Hawkeye games, going on walks around the neighborhood with the dog, and reading.


  1. I’m still searching and testing out new ideas for our yearly family road trips to Utah (and yes, my husband “loves” to drive all 1,200 miles in one day rather than spend money on a hotel). I bring DVDs to play on my laptop for the kids but don’t break those out till the coloring books and magnadoodles have been exhausted. This year, I saw an idea on pinterest to use cookie sheets with felt/flannel glued on the back as lapboards. Aside from a flat surface to color on and a lip to keep the crayons from rolling off, I could make magnet games or puzzles to stick on them. We also listen to books on tape/CD (the library sometimes will extend checkout times if you ask, too) and that keeps my husband awake. While I’m driving, we rock out to Bowie or the Monkees and Abba puts my kids to sleep! We pack all sorts of snacks and sandwiches and stop when someone needs a potty break and/or the car needs filling up.

  2. I would love to hear how this goes! My husband and I usually take at least one trip a year to Colorado also. We generally stay with friends in Omaha on the way there but make the entire 12 hour drive in one day on the way back. We are wanting to take our son, Carter this summer sometime. He will be 1 when we want to go. I would love to hear any helpful advice.

  3. I have had to travel solo with my two kiddos several times (under 2) and thankfully it has been successful even if it was only 5 hours. I am a true believer in making the kids comfortable, feeding right before you leave, the parent staying calm and scheduling the drive over nap time (if you are only going 4-5hours) Hope the trip went well Lana!

  4. I’m gearing up for a 9 day vacation with my 2 year old and 6 month old next month! It will require four plane rides, two 2 hour drives, and an 8 hour drive. Yikes! What were we thinking?! Our reasoning was, we aren’t getting good sleep at home anyway…might as well take this circus on the road! 🙂


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