Monday, July 30, 2012

Graduation Staycation Road Trip - We Survived! He Did It! And The Stuff That I Love!

"There was this really smart mom that kept pulling out new toys and snacks for her toddler during the ceremony.  He was good the whole time.  So smart!" - Random Amazing Graduate Student

Yup, that was me, the really smart mom.  At least I think that was me.  It might have been the other dozen or so brilliant mamas around the room that in addition to praying wildly before the ceremony for patience, good naturedness, silence, and an aisle seat, also were smart enough to pack "the goods" before the hour and half ceremony.  Regardless, it was a very nice comment from someone that told this to my husband as he walked up to receive his diploma and get hooded. (Hooded?  Receive his hood?  That's why I'm going back to school.)

The trip up was a breeze.  Jett was a fabulous, happy, rested boy when we left and jabbered happily until Lincoln, at which point we dropped daddy off at his coaches' meeting and ran off energy at the Lincoln Children's Museum for an hour.  He then promptly fell asleep and remained that way until we hit Kearney.  Ah-may-zing!  We arrived and I asked Kevin if he would be up for extending our trip to the Black Hills for the rest of the weekend, thinking this whole traveling with a kid thing was a cinch.  Luckily, he had the good sense to say no.

The ceremony came and I was that "smart mom" who stashed away all kinds of "never in a million years would I feed my child Handy Snacks if I didn't want him to be quiet during a very important event," kind of things.  Thanks to the aaforementioned congealed cheese, gummy snacks, and a host of new cool toys I broke out for the occasion, we made it.  Barely, but we did.  It also helped that Jett's four-year-old cousin Katie sat next to him, was SUPER good, and let him touch her blond curls and say "pretty" for about 20 minutes.

My child was good as gold through lunch, and then vacationitis hit.  You know, that rotten hang over feeling you get before vacation is actually over.  You want to crawl out of your skin, run around like a banshee, burst into tears, and detox after eating congealed cheese for days...Well, news flash, this hits toddlers after a mere 24 hours on a trip.

Luckily or unluckily depending on where you were sitting in the car, Jett slept to Grand Island (44 minute nap, but who is counting) where we met our wonderful friends and their three kiddos for a play date.  I love Chris and Amy and their boys.  A truly amazing family that I wish we saw more often.  The kids played for nearly two hours, and Jett loved their child-sized trampoline and giant St. Barnard puppy.  I thought for sure he would sleep until Seward, but no luck.  He was however, "stuck!" and I had a chance to try out the car toys and apps everyone had sent me. 

So here is the stuff that saved me.  The stuff I love.
  1. My favorite app was "Bizzy Bear Builds a House," very sweet, interactive and narrated with a British accent.  I'm not sure why that matters, but it was somewhat soothing.  Coming in a close second was the Disney Junior app that lets you watch select shows like Doc McStuffins. 
  2. Cow puppet.  I asked my mom what she recommended I bring and this was her fabulous idea. 

    3.   Playdoh - in a bag.  This is SO smart!  Whoever put Playdoh in a zip top bag knew what they were doing.  Now the people who give this to toddlers who think it's a gummy snack do not know what they are doing, but that's a different story.  Jett loved to smoosh it, after he took a bite.

   4.   Flash cards. Who knew? I picked these up after perusing the school supply section at Walmart.  Jett loved looking at these and repeating the colors as a gave them to him.  We also received some Thomas the Train cards somewhere along the way and he loved these as well.

5. 27 Quart Storage Box.  You will thank me later.  Now I don't fancy myself organized, but when I put all the car toys and handy wipes in this nifty neat little container, and managed to keep the car somewhat together without my usual bundle of tote bags, I thought I had arrived. 

6. I found Jack at the Lincoln Children's Museum and had a hunch we'd become buds.  This is magnetic paper dolls for boys and I love it.  Jett loved it too, score! (The only bad thing is Jack's container, he now lives in a Ziplock.  But I won't hold that against the guy.)

7.  I also loved the Crayola Color Wonder Stow and Go Studio.  It was a little above Jett who isn't quite loving markers...yet, but he did love putting the caps on and off, and the neat little package kept everything together in the diaper bag.  This was a big hit with his cousin Katie during the ceremony.

8.  Darn Handy Snacks!*
*For those of you who are offended by congealed cheese and judging me, I don't blame you.  For the record, Jett's mother also packed fresh cherries, (pits removed of course), homemade whole wheat and flax zucchini muffins, and veggie and fruit squeezy packs.  Oh, and some gummy bears...

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