In August, the Strumolo Clan took their annual trip to Maine, and this year, Henry, Jack, and Sophie came along! So how does one make it to from New York to Maine with a trio of toddlers? A road trip, of course!
Gearing up for the trip. A little treadmill work, some free weights. You know, the typical morning routine.
This is us on the way there.
8:00 am: Equipped with everybody’s special animal (Dog for Henry, gray Milo and orange Milo for Jack, and Monk (a monkey, not a religious ascetic) for Sophie), a pop-up play yard, loads of snacks, and a few other tricks up our sleeve, we headed off after breakfast.
9:00 am First Stop: Bradley International Airport to pick up Grammie (who was dropping off a car for Uncle Andrew)
9:15 am: Second Stop: Dunkin’ Donuts
11:30 am: Third Stop: Park in Lowell, Massachusetts
This was our first real stop. The first time everybody got out of the car. Lunch time. We had packed a lunch for the trio, so we popped up our play yard, and set to work changing diapers and sharing sweet potatoes.
12:15 pm: Back to the car with a quick stop to pick up gas and lunch for the grown-ups, and we were back on the road. The traffic was terrible.
5:15 pm Fourth Stop: Rest Area, Hampden, Maine
Ten and a half hours, two (real) stops, one (minor) bout of car sickness, several episodes of “Big Block Singsong,” and two boxes of teething biscuits later, we arrived.
We had so much fun while we were there. Hiking, swimming, kayaking (sort of), and running about the house playing with Grammie, Nonno, our Strumolo aunts and uncles, and of course, PHEOBE!!
Hiking certainly took on a new meaning with three toddlers to strap to our backs. Thank goodness for Aunt Addie! And for some “easy” hikes up Flying Mountain and around (well out and back along the edge of) Jordan Pond. It wasn’t that long ago that Will, Lizzie, and I hiked all 27 peaks in Acadia National Park, often tackling more than one mountain per day. Our physical limits seem to have changed a bit since then!
JOPOHO (a.k.a. Jordan Pond House)
Our version of kayaking:
A week later, we were packed up and ready to head back to NYC. Home sweet homes. 11 hours, 1 (pretty major) car sickness episode, one stop at Red Rooster, another two boxes of teething biscuits, and the same four episodes of “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” played on repeat, and we were home at the end of a long and wonderful summer.
Ok, so I know some people are wondering how we tackled the long road trip, so here are a few of our tips.
How did we do it?
Well, we had a little help from our friend, the iPad.
These kiddos have never watched TV, and the only two things they knew the iPad was capable of were FaceTime with family and DJing their favorite toddler tunes. Novelty goes a long way with toddlers. And “Big Block Singsong” and “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.” Henry, Jack, and Sophie were mesmerized for a good hour at a time, and Jack kept saying, “Hi!” to the characters on the screen.
Snacks also played a key role. During her waking hours, Sophie maintained a constant refrain of, “Wah Wah!” which means, “I want!” with her hand outstretched above her head seeking a biscuit from me. If they never see another banana-mango teething biscuit again, it would probably be okay.
Advance planning. Although, let me remind you that the best laid plans often fail. So while we did plan out our journey and our stops along the way, we were sometimes thwarted by car sickness, closed rest stops, and good old-fashioned traffic. But it definitely helps to have a plan.
At the end of the day, Henry, Jack, and Sophie are total troopers. They sleep well, they keep each other company, and they are generally pretty happy, easy-going toddlers. We are certainly lucky parents in this regard.
Onto the next adventure!