Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Minivans, Cheeto Fingers, and Cheese Curds

 We did something really fucking crazy. We loaded up the hotness (our minivan) and took our kids on a 14 hour road trip to see my family in Wiscansiiin. Just in case you forgot Tater is 3.5 years old fireball of energy and Tot wasn't even 5 months at the time. I don't know what level of self hate possessed us to drive but we did it. I saw something on Facebook that said "People from the midwest: Why would I fly when I could drive the 14 hours there?" That hit home, clearly.
 The mental pep talk I was giving myself the entire day before we left was Oscar worthy. I spent the whole day before packing snacks, getting together our shit( SO. MUCH. SHIT,) and thinking of ways to entertain the two heathens I brought into this world for 14 hours. The Squatch got home from work and we went straight to bed. The alarm was set for an ungodly 3 a.m.
 I had single handedly pack the van the night before. You'd be amazed at how much shit you need to pack for two kids. We had 3 suitcases, a Pack-n-Play, my laptop bag, my camera bag, a purse Sasquatch's work backpack, Tater's toy backpack, a stroller, a scooter, a frog seat, a stupid amount of blankets, and cooler. Surprisingly it all fit with plenty of room in my bitchin' ass mom wagon. You are not allowed to make fun of Minivans until you've road tripped in one. They are so ugly, but incredible.
Seriously look at allllllllll the shit in there.

  We left our house at 3:47 a.m. and hit the road. We stayed awake by listening to murder mystery podcasts (shout out to the MFM fam) which probably wasn't a great idea. We were the only people on a pitch black highway surrounded by cornfields. Definitely wasn't my best move, but we were awake. Both boys slept until 6:45 when we made a stop for breakfast. Good ole Mickey D's kept Tater happy, and I drank their shitty ice coffee. Tot needed a bottle and thank goodness he is able to hold his own now. Our stop lasted 6 minutes before we were on the road again.
 We made it into Nebraska around 7:30 a.m. Daniel Tosh said it best, "Nebraska, No one needs that worthless state." We stopped for a G&P (gas and potty break, we speak cool road lingo now) every 3 hours. Tot got a bottle, Tater got a snack from the gas station. Seriously it's the simple things for toddlers. We had one accident towards the end of our day, and that was it. Besides a few minor hiccups and fits, both kids were incredible. Honestly, my kids are fucking awesome. I've never been so impressed with tiny humans and their ability to rock.
 When we got to the hotel I was expecting Tater to flip out. The room had a pullout sofa bed, which he was so excited about. He went right to sleep. He didn't want me to snuggle, he wasn't scared, and he literally could have given two shits that we were in a new place. We woke up the next morning ready for our day. We'd never been to Madison, Wisconsin before  so we looked up the best rated dive breakfast place and went. My Dad loves breakfast dives, so that's probably why I like them too. We found one right on the lake, which had flooded into the streets. We had the best 21 dollar breakfast money could buy. The coffee was even super good. We walked near the lake for a bit for driving through the ever busy college area. It was such a funky town.
 After that we reconnected with family at their beautiful home on the lake. Seriously their house was a dream. We shared good laughs, drinks, and the kids loved every second of what was happening.
The view from the deck was a dream.

Night two in our hotel was just as awesome. We were going to go out to dinner but decided to order pizza from a funky place call "The Glass Nickel." Tater got Mac 'n Cheese pizza, I got chicken Parm pizza and Squatch got one called 'The Lunch Lady.' It had sloppy joe meat and tater tots on it. We were in carb heaven.The boys then slept like sweet angel babies, and we got to really relax. We ordered drinks to our room and watched bad TV. It's amazing what just a few days away from home does for the soul.

 Our final day with family was just as comforting and refreshing as the first day. We started the morning at a local diner called "The Hubbard Avenue Diner." Their corned beef hash was amazing, but that's not what I want to talk about.... They had a pumpkin pie taco. This creation was fucking incredible. After breakfast we were at the pool for a bit before heading to spent the day with family. The kids were relaxed and enjoyed every second of the attention.
The Mississippi River
   When we left the next day we decided to do things a little differently. We didn't leave until 11a.m. It wasn't worth the rush to hustle out at 3 a.m. We let Tater swim in the amazing pool for about an hour. It was a great energy release for him before getting into the car. We took our time getting home, and stopped to see stuff along the way. We stopped for dinner in Iowa around 6:45 p.m. Tater usually goes down for the night at 7 p.m. We chose to eat dinner outside so the wild one could run his last bit of energy out. The sunset was gorgeous and illuminate the rolling hills just right. It was the perfect dinner to end our trip. A grasshopper jumped on Tater, and scared him shitless. I laughed way too hard.
 We packed up the van and let the boys fall asleep to a movie. Although Tater is potty trained, we put him in a pull up. The whole stopping to pee in the dark was not on the agenda. Especially since we were STILL listening to true crime podcasts. We made it home without incident around 1 o'clock in the morning. The boys went right back to sleep. The dog was so excited to have his person (my husband) home that he literally gave two shits about my existence.
 It's been a month since we returned home, and I'm still so impressed with the boys. I did prepare pretty well for our trip so Tater didn't get bored. I know there will be questions on what I did so I compiled a list for you all, I know... I rock.
Tip 1: Benedryl.     Kidding. Unless you have a kid that gets car sick and can't take Dramamine. Benedryl helps with car sickness too
 Tip 2: Tablet/ Ipad
This is not the place to lecture me, or any other parent about screen time. Driving in the car with two kids is fucking nuts, let them watch a movie to get a few silent minutes. One of the most helpful things we used with Tater was his tablet. We have a kid Fire tablet with the app "Amazon Freetime" loaded on to it. This app allows for kid friendly apps, books, and videos to be used offline and without ads. Everything is pre-screened so I feel Tater is absolutely safe.  He watched Paw Patrol and played the Daniel Tiger game.
Tip 3: Toys and Coloring Packs. I also packed a backpack full of dinosaurs, race cars, sticker books. The Target dollar section has these amazing little packs of character themed coloring books, crayons and stickers. They are called Play Pack Grab 'n Go, we did three of those. The even come with the crayons! HERE is a link to all the different kids on Amazon, but they are only $1 at Target. The Melissa and Doug Water paint books are mess free and really fun for little people. You can find all that Amazon has to offer HERE.
Tip 4: Pack Snacks, and budget for a 2 dollar "treat" when you stop. The excitement of something new from a new place was enough of a bribe to get Tater back in the car without a fight.
  Not really a tip, but listening to Podcasts totally kept the Sasquatch and I awake. We really like My Favorite Murder, True Crime Garage, and Criminal. It adds a certain amount of hustle to your drive and makes your nighttime truck stop stops super quick, because you're mildly terrified of getting murdered.
PRO TIP: If you give your kid Cheetos, the messy hands are totally worth the few minutes of TOTAL silence.

  If you are ever in the Madison, WI Area here's where we recommend going!
We stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in Middleton, WI. It was affordable, super clean, and had a great pool for the kids. The service was phenomenal and there's a Starbucks inside the lobby. Honestly anytime we travel we will try to find one of these. It's perfect for families.

 The Hubbard Avenue Diner: I could have spent all day here. They had so many amazing baked goods, and the breakfast was delicious. Pumpkin Pie Tacos will forever fill my dreams.

 Glass Nickel Pizza I would literally go back to Wisconsin just for this place. Their crazy menu is full of amazing looking things, and they delivered to our hotel room.

All in all, we had the best getaway. I can't wait for our next roadtrip.

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