The Traveling Diaries

We made it! We survived the first long road trip with a baby! There were some ups and downs, but in general it was definitely a success.

As my last post mentioned, we drove from Iowa City to Lincoln, spent the night, and then went from Lincoln to Denver in order to visit family.  While I’m glad we broke up the trip, the “easy” drive was the second stretch.  I went into the drive thinking she would do best when we drove in the evenings, as she would be very tired.  However, I never thought about the fact that babies tend to actually like to be in bed at night and not in a car.  We got to listen to an hour or so of crying right around “bed time”, but she was GREAT at just chilling in the car and taking naps during the longer, daytime trip.

Jessa also had very bad timing with her first bad diaper rash (I could write a novel on that).  It was necessary to change her as often as possible to attempt to keep the rash from getting (too much) worse, which is a very fun thing to do when driving 12 hours.  We got to deal with a few blow outs in the car as well!  Oh, how I love diapers…

I also had my first experiences pumping in the car.  I have a tendency to get car sick and generally drive, but the hubby took some turns so I could pump.  Let me tell you, even with a cover it is awkward to drive past semis while using a breast pump!  I had a system down of pumping, filling a bottle for J, and then putting the parts in the cooler since I couldn’t easily wash them.  It sounds relatively easy, but the car was crammed so easy access to the cooler in the back seat was rare.

Tom’s sister and her family are moving from CO to MN very, very soon, and they sent several large baby toys home with us.  I really do mean large.  Awesome for Jessa – bad for her parents who had to make everything fit in the car.  It was stressful and crammed on the way back to Iowa, but like Tom says, he is good at Tetris! (For those of you who never played Tetris, that just means that he is great at getting things to fit together).

The trip back was very similar to the way out, as Jessa did better with daytime driving and cried quite a bit at night.  However, we did finally get smart and realize some of the sadness was just due to being lonely, so Daddy sat in the back and held her hand while she went to sleep.  We also found static on the radio to be helpful!

lana colorado 2

I think my husband would agree with me that our mini-vacation to Colorado was 95% successful, and we will have other road trips in the coming months, although fortunately half the distance.  I also realize that while it is a hassle to change diapers frequently and deal with blowouts, I’m not looking forward to traveling with a toddler while trying to potty-train! We will go down that road when we come to it…Jessa and any other children we have will do plenty of road-tripping with us in the future!

What was your favorite road trip with the family as a child?  Now that you are a mom, what locations have to found that are relatively close and very family friendly? I would love to start a bit of a list of places to go when Jessa is older!

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. We recently took a 10 hour road trip when our 20 month daughter was potty training. It didn’t take long for her to realize that the words “I have to go potty” are magic…she got to get out of the carseat and go romp around a convenience store full of candy and chips every time she said it! Total disaster of a road trip, if you’re judging it based on getting there quickly! But she actually did pretty great as long as we talked to her constantly and kept her interested in the sights and views around her.

  2. When our kids were potty training, we brought along a portable potty seat and walmart bags. This works great at parks with no bathrooms too! If they had to go, we could pull over to a safe place at the side of the road, line the seat with the walmart bag, and let them take care of business. Tie up the walmart bag and throw it away, a little hand sanitizer for everyone, and we were on our way again. I also knew it was cleaner than a lot of the bathroom options in those gas stations!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.