I am so behind on my holiday posts! We drove to Alabama for Christmas this year. Four days of driving for five days of visiting. It was nuts but we did it and Sabine loved her time Nana, Pappy and Aunt and Uncle.
Our drive went surprisingly well. In the past, we never do more than 7 hours of driving in a day but this time wanted to test if we could do 10 hours. We left NYC at 5 a.m. and drove 2.5 hour increments and stopped at planned stops. First Cracker Barrel for breakfast, then at a big playground in Virginia, next we stopped at the Roanoke Star and took a mini hike. Our last stop was our hotel in Bristol, VA and we got in just in time for dinner, which was at Cracker Barrel. It worked out great and there was ZERO crying.
We also decided that on this trip whichever one of us was not driving would sit in the backseat with Sabine to play with her. She was thrilled with this arrangement and would cheer, “Back seat! Back seat!” everytime we switched drivers. Having a parent with her the entire time made the biggest difference.
Another big change were the car activities I brought. I raided the Melissa and Doug section at the children’s museum and stocked up on stickers, crafts like this princess tiara and wand, and a new Water Wow. Then I spent a ridiculous amount of money on cheap plastic princess dolls that Sabine was THRILLED to play with. The princesses took many naps, ate many pretend snacks and even did yoga. When did my baby girl turn into such a kid? And of course, in addition to toys we had copious books and lots of videos that we checked out of the library. Each day of driving ended with a marathon of Curious George or Sid the Science kid. Not ideal but whatever gets that last 2.5 hours without any crying!
The second day we only had 5 hours of driving time left so we were able to sleep in late, take our time getting ready and be on the road at 8 a.m. We stopped once at Jason’s Deli for lunch and then drove he rest of the way to my parent’s house. It is so exciting to know we can do a 10 hour day now and means driving to Kentucky in over day over Spring Break is totally possible.
Christmas was a blast, too. This is the first year Sabine really understood what was going on. We spent the month of December reading Christmas books and talking about all the traditions and she was over-the-top excited to meet Santa when we went in NYC.
On Christmas morning she was thrilled to wake up to all her presents – tons of books, a few puzzles, legos, a tiny doll house, tool box, umbrella and new shoes. Her grandparents absolutely ate up every minute with her and she ate up all the extra attention. There was some pretty intense post-holiday letdown once we returned to NYC and she realized the grandparents were not coming over!