Our first family road trip from NY to FL
We left early on a Friday morning to start our two-day drive down to Florida. We checked everything off our list before leaving New York. The movers safely packed our furniture and boxes a couple days before our departure. Our lease was assigned to excellent tenants, and we left with peace of mind. We packed the rental truck, and I mean, packed with the items to get us through the next few days. The first day's plan was to drive to North Carolina, stay overnight at a hotel, and leave the following morning. Then on the second day, drive the rest of the way to our new apartment in FL.
Mason had a few other plans; not awful, just different and honestly, per toddlerhood, expected. Keep in mind that we didn't have a car for the past handful of years, and for the past year, we weren't leaving our apartment often. And so, Mason was not accustomed to being in a car seat. There was a quick tantrum getting him into his new car seat. I felt more sympathetic than frustrated towards Mason because he must've been so confused and scared at that moment. And this fit repeated for every stop we made during our drive. Yet, for the majority of the time, as soon as we'd start driving, he was content.
Day one was the most challenging out of the two. Mason and Harvey were in the backseat. Mason was in his car seat and looking out the window, and Harvey was trying to calm himself and get comfortable. Harvey is not a fan of car rides, so we were just as concerned for his well-being as Mason's. About 2 hours into the drive, we pulled over at the first rest stop. B took Harvey out to get some air, and Mason needed a diaper change. For those 3 minutes of straight kicking and wailing, trying to get the clean diaper on, trying to get the new pants on because the originals were soaked, I thought to myself, What have we gotten ourselves into. And then the moment was over, Mason was back in his car seat, and I decided it would be best for me to sit in the backseat with our boys.
Have I mentioned that I get terribly nauseous in cars? So sitting in the backseat, in the middle seat, between Mason's car seat and Harvey, who only wanted to lay across my lap, was not ideal. But it was best for the boys. I was always moving to readjust and keep my nausea at bay. We made our second stop in Virginia at a Panera Bread for lunch and bathroom break/diaper change. I pre-ordered our meals for pick-up and went inside to change Mason's diaper. I thought it would be slightly less stressful than the first diaper change, but this was worse. I couldn't help but chuckle through it because I had Mason on a changing table (that I wiped down beforehand AND put a disposable sheet down), he was twisting and crying, and as the sound was echoing in the restroom I knew people outside could hear it all. As soon as I was done, Mason was fine again. We picked up the meals, got back into the rental, and off we went. The third and fourth times that we stopped to change Mason's diaper, I changed him in the truck.
In the early evening, we were in stop-and-go traffic. I was extremely nauseous, Mason was cranky and crying, and Harvey was crying because Mason was crying. So guess what? I started crying, too. While trying to soothe Mason, I kept my own tears as quiet as possible. Apparently, we (me, Mason, and Harvey) all fell asleep because it was completely dark out when I woke up. B informed me that Waze took us through back roads - no street lights - as we were driving through North Carolina. Eventually, we made it out of the dark roads and arrived at our hotel for the night in Raleigh, NC. Our trip for day one was 12 hours. B drove the entire time (major kudos to him!).
It was around 9:00pm, and Mason woke up as we parked the car. I had a couple of concerns: 1) Mason hadn't pooped all day. 2) Mason was wide awake...so what kind of night were we all about to have? Mason and Harvey had a blast in the hotel room. Mason, in awe of everything, was darting back and forth in our room. And then he pooped; a big relief for all of us. Harvey immediately jumped in the bed and laid down to rest. Within the hour of our arrival, I bathed Mason and put him down in his Pack N' Play (we brought this for the trip), and he fell asleep shortly after. We all needed sleep. We planned to leave at 5:00am latest the next morning.
Not sure how, but we got the boys and ourselves ready and left the hotel by 4:30am. B and I were very concerned that Mason would be a hysterical mess to be woken-up that early (understandably so). As we were getting ready, Mason just sat up, already content and looking around. I think it was a funny moment for all of us. He just woke-up happy, observant, and very excited to get his shoes on. It was as if Mason knew our family was on some sort of an adventure. It was nice to see how much he was enjoying it.
This drive was much better than the day before. The boys were in better spirits, too. Since Mason was up so early, he fell asleep for the first 3 hours of the drive. In total, we stopped three times (I changed Mason's diaper in the truck each time). Harvey was a lot calmer during this drive. Mason slept a lot more, too. This drive seemed to have gone faster even though it was 9 hours. As we entered Florida and saw the palm trees, this ease came over B and me. I'll try not to get super sappy, but this was our first family trip and our first time traveling on the road with Mason and Harvey. We had moments of "Is this real?" and "Did we really make this move?"; We were just smiling.
We arrived at the welcome center of our new apartment community. The leasing agent greeted us with a welcome bag of goodies, our new keys, and of course, paperwork. I'd only seen the apartment virtually, so actually stepping into our new home was surreal. Mason and Harvey seemed to feel right at home, which was wonderful. We had packed toys to keep them both happy and occupied. The kicker here was that we arrived at our new apartment on Saturday, and the movers were arriving Tuesday with all of our furniture and belongings.