Parenting Seminars

Monday, July 25, 2011

I'm Living In a Garage

After finding some rocks and trees to play in near the Crystal River in Basalt, Colorado.

 Not really.  It just feels like that right now.  We are on day two in the house.  When I pause to take a breath, I am reminded of the lingering nausea and exhaustion of altitude adjustment.  The boxes are stacked 4 high in the house as we need to keep one room empty so the carpet can be replaced this week and we don't have all the built in storage we created at the other house.  But when I stepped into the living room tonight after a middle of the night wake up, I discovered that my fabulous husband carved out a corner and set up the couch, the rug and the coffee table.  Its a little oasis that will give us a piece of normal  as we slowly pick at the rest.

We created a rhythm this past week as we moved from the sea through the mountains.  With generous gifts from neighbors and friends on those last days, we were able to choose hotels with pools each night.  We pulled in, got into the pool, headed to the room, made dinner, crashed hard.  Woke up, had a family breakfast in the lounge, hit the road.  The girls did wonderfully all 4 days.  This was not a vacation.  We did not stop to see the sights.  We pushed through two and a half hours of driving, lunch, two and a half more hours of driving.  There were few clouds, high temps and barely a tree in sight for those 4 days.  We were so glad to finally see vegetation again.  I could never live in Southern Idaho or northern Utah.
Goodbye Seattle.

Hello Colorado!

Several things contributed to our success in the car.  Firstly, and probably most importantly, we were blessed with driving the moving truck.  WHAT? You say.  Yes, the truck was a blessing.  My husband and the 4 year old rode in the truck.  I had the 2 year old in the car.  I had the food, the suitcases and a duffel of activities for the 2 year old.  They had the 4 year old's favorite blanket, a white comforter, and a duffel of activities for her.  A week before we left I was worried we didn't have enough interesting things for the car.  Neighbors and friends showered the girls in those last days and it was perfect!  They had all kinds of neat, new activities plus some old ones that had been packed away in my closet for a month saving for the trip.  I also believe not camping was a huge one for us.  Camping requires one person to be fully on with the kids, chasing them in two directions, while one person tries to set up the tent and get the food going.  Both of which can require two people.  Because we chose hotels, neither one of us were "on" with both kids at the same time the whole trip.  We managed our own stress levels this way.  We were already depleting our energy with the trip, the camping process would have drained us much quicker.  With older children who can follow directions, be helpful and don't need to be watched every second, camping could have been a great solution. And in the car, each child was able to flow through her day of wakefulness, rest and eating at her own rhythm and not be interrupted or have to negotiate with a sibling.  When she was tired, she didn't take it out on her sister, she just settle down and rested.  They didn't have to share.  I realize this is a luxury and there is a lesson to be learned but again, stress levels were my priority on this trip.  It was a mission, not a vacation. 

I'm not completely sure how the rhythm worked in the truck.  We were prepared with a laptop and movies and I fully expected they would need that each afternoon.  I probably would have popped it in but I think she only watched a movie one day.  Mostly, she explored her toys and colored or sang songs or just chilled out.  In the car, the two year old did some exploring of toys but mostly dropped everything and screamed about it.  I used the mini DVD player every morning for about an hour.  She spent a good 45min. slowly munching her morning snack and then chilled out the rest of the time.  After running around at lunch time, we'd hop back in the car and within 20 minutes she would be passed out for her nap.  One day she slept straight through the 2 hours beautifully, mostly she had in and out sleeps needing to hold my hand as I twisted strangely from the front seat.  This was the time when we leap frogged our driving as I didn't want to lose miles while she slept.

It worked great.  The grown ups were very tired at the end of the day, most days falling asleep with the kids at 8pm.  I think the pools helped our bodies as well since we were getting pretty achy each afternoon.
Lucy getting her first dip in some natural water outside Basalt, Colorado.

As for the food, we had plenty. and it was super easy.  The batch of pancakes made it for each breakfast as I had granola and milk.  We brought our food to the hotel lounge as Daddy got to eat the free breakfast offered there.  We used the toaster for the pancakes and had a treat of apple juice each morning.  (I thought it could help with the lack of movement each day and needing the body to keep processing.  If you know what I mean.)  People looked at us a bit strange but I'm not sure if it was because of our food or the general craziness that comes with two young children at a tiny breakfast table when they are distracted.  Heck, there is craziness at our breakfast table each morning when we have plenty of space.  Things spill, silverware falls to the floor, someone eats food off the floor, syrup gets into the hair.  We just had an audience this time.
I ended up making it easy for lunch.  We pulled out the turkey, salsa, chips, hummus and some fruit.  Munched and gave up on all the "sit down while you eat" rules at rest stops.  The first night I did the most work as I sauteed veggies, then warmed pizza sauce, then toasted our premade pizza crusts in the pan.  After layering the rest of the items on the pizza, they were ready to eat.  And fabulous because we were able to get the crusts crispy.  Something I've not been able to do normally.  We may change the way we make pizza now.  This was an amazing dinner!  The other nights we utilized the microwave in the room and heated pre-cooked noodles with sauce or leftover Thai from our last night in Seattle.

Snacks in the car were nuts, granola bars that I had made, fruit and peanut butter and some dry cereal and raisins.  We drank lots of water and everyone always had a full bottle.  It just worked great.  No gas station food, or drive thru meals.  We ate well, felt great and that probably contributed to the ease of the drive as well.  I think I forget how much the food we eat affects our moods and ability to function and deal with stress.

But now its time to unpack the kitchen because I need to get cooking again.  Can't run to snag pizza or sandwiches while we work.  So back to it I go.

1 comment:

Dan and Gail said...

Love the pictures of the girls and the COLD mountain river water. You should include this post in a book about dealing with food allergies.

Dad says you sound like a modern day pioneer!!! Can't wait to see you guys.