Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Road Trippin' with Kids!

It's been a couple of weeks but in mid September we were blessed with a new (to us) car.  Our neighbor was selling and Expedition and we went ahead and decided to take the plunge and buy it.  It's a 2003, 130K miles and, thus far, is running great.  We love the extra room in the car, love that we can haul things, love that it represents new members of our family with every empty seat.  On our last family trip to Arrowhead with family, we realized that we REALLY needed another car.  Even with the two we have, plus luggage, it was getting to be, seriously, cramped.  Couple that with our hope to adopt this year or early next year AND our desire to immerse our kids in God's amazing creation on vacations, we needed something bigger. The car dropped into our lap and we got it for a few thousand less than our budget so we have been very happy. 

The only part of this that we haven't totally loved is the new price tag at the gas pump. . . but we knew that with anything we bought, we were looking at a bit of a change in that area.  We did consider, however, how much less I'll be driving now that I'm not working at the school this year and figure it will even out.  I do take the girls places for field trips, playdates etc. but not nearly the miles I was putting on the Honda everyday, back and forth from Placentia.

One the first things we did with the car (like, two days after we bought it) was take it on a serious road trip.  Most of you know by now I'm a BIG believer in doTERRA essential oils.  I bought a ticket to doTERRA's yearly convention and had no idea how I was going to swing going.  I didn't know I'd be on a leave of absence from my job.  I just took a huge leap of faith and grabbed aa ticket.  After discussing options (including leaving the girls and Christian home, leaving just the girls home and trying to get Christian a ticket, etc.) we decided that the girls (specifically Ashlyn) were just too young to leave that long.  So we decided to make it a family road trip.  I would go to convention, Christian would take the girls on daytrips in Salt Lake City.  Several times I questioned the sanity of our decision. . . but it ended up working out fine.
The day before we left, however, I panicked a bit when Claire started showing signs of a runny nose, slight cough and the tell-tale bags under her eyes.  Immediately, I made a roller ball bottle of:
20 drops Oregano
30 drops OnGuard
40 drops Lemon
20 drops Melaleuca
and topped it off with doTERRA's Fractionated Coconut Oil 

Claire INSISTED on taking care of it herself and since I, really do, want to teach her to be a manager of her own health, I taught her to use the roller herself.  She swiped it once on her feet every half hour the day before, and then throughout our drive to Salt Lake.  You know what?  Those oils truly helped her body fight off that infection and we weren't plagued with the illness the rest of the trip.  She got over that cold in two days.  No one else got it.  We swiped Ashlyn's feet as a preventative and then the two of us did the same. Now I use the roller as a "hand sanitizer" when the girls are at Mommy and Me or out and about.

So here's how the trip went:
Wednesday, we took the whole day and drove from the LA/Orange County area to Salt Lake City in one day.  This was something we REALLY thought wouldn't go well and we'd just have to endure this leg.  But it really wasn't bad at all.
A few tips:
1. My mom got the girls a gift bag of snacks, crafts, books etc they could open at our discretion.  For the most part, the girls got a new thing every hour BUT if they were still playing with something or eating something, happily, at the time they were to open another gift, I didn't mention anything.  I knew we had a long drive back as well and figured, whatever they didn't open on the the way to Salt Lake City, they could open on the way home.  This worked out perfectly since at 4 and 2, they really have zero concept of time.
2. Stories on CD.  This is where I, actually, wish we had been more prepared.  I mean, the girls were FINE but listening to the same three Life at the Pond CDs was grating on OUR nerves after a while (remember it was a 12 hour drive with all the bathroom and food stops).
3. Bring music CDs the kids AND adults enjoy. We have a couple cds of kids singing hymns and a couple more of kids singing worship songs infused with classic hymns.  We actually like listening to the CDs.  I also brought along a few Elizabeth Mitchell (folk type songs for kids) that we enjoy as well as some of our own (classical music with nature sounds, jazz albums etc) that the kids like that would pass the hours in the car.  This is what worked for us.  But thinking in terms of what will make the hours go fast was crucial for us.
4. If you subscribe to a kid magazine like Ranger Rick or some other, I suggest bringing every issue you have lying around.  We subscribe to High Five (preschool version of Highlights) and I brought every single one PLUS books.  We did bring the Leap Pad but used it a grand total of 1 hour on the entire trip (there and back).  I fully believe that kids don't *need* this sort of thing and that that can learn a lot from just looking out the window, and doing the above mentioned activities.  Now, I will point out that I don't have kids who get carsick yet.  That would have been a WHOLE other blog post.  But I had the DigestZen ready to go in case of any major issues.
5.  Bring a portable diffuser and pump your kids' and your favorite calming blend during the drive.  Ours happens to be Citrus Bliss (I also use this one in church for the girls).

For the most part, we were pretty good at making potty stops at actual rest stops. . . but this happened twice between driving to Utah and coming home. . .clearly, it didn't bother our children.  I suggest the Baby Bjorn potty for this sort of thing, but I'm sure any plastic travel potty will do just fine ;-)

Finally getting to the motel was a HUGE relief for the kids.  (And for us, for sure).

We brought two Kid's Aerobeds (the BEST for small kids and travel. . . truly) and all the girls bedding so they had some familiar landscape around them when they went to bed.  We rubbed Cedarwood and Serenity on them and put both oils in a diffuser for bedtimes and hotel bedtime went great for us!

During the next few days, I attended doTERRA's convention and Christian took the girls and various outings and did school with Claire in the hotel room.
Let me tell you.  I was in love with doTERRA and their oils before convention but, man.  What a classy company.  I love the way they source their oils, their transparency with their Wellness Advocates and the public and their impact on the economies they source and distill their oils from.  I am even more impressed with the team of SERIOUS scientists on board with this company.  I, now, understand why I've been able to get off my asthma meds, Christian has been able to manage his RLS, my girls can sleep better and sit in church for periods of time and focus on the Word (more on that in another post).  The care and the integrity is amazing.  I'll tell you.  I'd NEVER EVER thought I'd be doing what I am doing now.  I've been allergic to MLMs since I was little. But I have to spread the word.  And, shoot, if it brings my family a little income and, maybe soon, replaces my income I lost when I quit working at the school, awesome.  I get to teach classes about what I love and share what has SO impaced our family and not feel slimy about it in the least since I know, first hand, how amazing it all is.  BTW, did I mention I was one of 18,000 people there?  That we filled up the Enegry Solutions Arena for General Sessions (Utah Jazz Arena). Yeah. What a great week for me.

Christian, however, had a slightly different week.  Although we were able to meet up for dinner one night at an upline's evening event that they let me bring Christian and the girls to, for the most part, he spent the daytime with the girls going on outings and napping at the motel while I learned all kinds of great information. First stop was Utah's Hogle Zoo.   Besides Christian commenting that it was really odd to the the only male with kids there by himself that day during a weekday, he said it was a good size zoo and that he and the girls had a great experience there.

Trip to the zoo ended with ice cream which is always a plus for both girls. 

That night, the girls and Christian got to come with me to a dinner party for our doTERRA team.  It was really nice to have been there and that they let them come.  The girls did great with all those adults and, ironically, it was held at Discovery Gateway, the Children's Museum Christian brought the girls to the following morning.
Super blurry but you get the idea. . . 
Now, both the girls and Christian gave RAVE reviews of the Discovery Gateway.  Amazing place.  Claire kept saying she wanted to go back even after we were back in CA.  
Two thumbs up, Salt Lake City. 

One of my favorite stories was of the ladies Christian and the girls met a breakfast at the motel.  These two were at the convention from Japan.  Claire told them their mommy was at an "oils class" the ladies, who were already enamoured with the girls, got very excited and wanted to take pictures with the "Oil Babies!"  

Our trip home was uneventful.  I had to skip out of the final session of the convention so we could get on the road after lunchtime.  We stopped in Mesquete, Nevada on Saturday night.
Ashlyn coloring before bedtime. 
The next morning we headed out and made it back to Chino (after having breakfast at the Casino we stayed at) at around 4 or so.

Although, at stop at the Mad Greek in Baker is always a must when coming back to Southern CA from Nevada.
Good to be home but after that experience, I'm ready for more road trip with this family!

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