Thursday, November 10, 2011


October 8-11, 2011

We took a mini vacation to Gatlinburg.  We met up with family/friends and shared a log cabin.  It was so beautiful and so good to visit with everyone.

The 5 hr drive there was NOT fun!  Tyler would not go to sleep in his car seat, so we experienced very long crying spells that were just plain agonizing.  It was our fault really.  We needed time to pack where he wasn't unpacking us as fast as we were packing, so we put him in front of his beloved Signing Time video.  Unfortunately, we took much longer than anticipated and he ended up watching 2 hrs worth and we blew through his nap.  We thought oh this will be great, he'll be so tired that he'll sleep most of the drive.  Ha!  Overtired produces nothing good, ever!  Lesson learned, again.

When we finally arrived, this little boy passed out and never moved the rest of the night.

Here's Tyler "driving", he really thought he was big stuff.

Hang on, we're taking a sharp right!

It was a little chilly in the shade, so I put his stroller blanket over him to keep his legs and feet warm.  This is the position he immediately resumed.  Kinda defeated the purpose of the blanket!

At the restaurant he refused pizza and instead ate 4 lemon wedges and parmesan cheese from the shaker.

Video:  Tyler pushing his stroller.  This kid is obsessed with pushing things.  =)

This picture gave us a good laugh.  We didn't even notice the sign while taking this picture, but after the fact, it was like it was sympathetically telling us "moonshine samples this way" after the drive we had.

This is the night we all got locked out of our log cabin for 4 hrs.  This cabin was located in the middle of no where on top of a cliff.  We were all so scared that Tyler was going to get loose and fall off the cliff.  This was our makeshift baby gate cabin-style.  As you can see, he was not happy about it at all.

Enjoying a cup of air.

Such a happy little fella in the mornings.

Video:  This is what Tyler does when we stay at a hotel.  He gets so excited that he giggles and slides all over the bed.

Enjoying a breakfast of bananas, grapes and raspberries.  A funny story... it was just the 3 of us, everyone else was either gone or still sleeping.  One lady was downstairs sound asleep snoring quite loudly.  Tyler leans over the baby gate at the top of the stairs, listens for a little bit and then looks at us and blows this big farting noise with his mouth mimicking the snoring.  He then leans over again, listens and then makes the noise again.  We laughed so hard.

One of our favorite things to do was swing on the porch.  I think Tyler really enjoyed it as ever since we returned, he wants to "swing" in his glider every night.

Gpa and Tyler hanging out.

Pop can tabs provide a lot of entertainment for a toddler.

Gpa and Tyler enjoying a walk.  This kid doesn't go anywhere without his vacuum.

Ohhh, buttons!!!

Tyler having a splash of a good time with Gma and Gpa.  He kicked and giggled up a storm.

This is what Tyler does when I'm in view.  He wants his mama.  We just went with the picture because it is what it is.

Our last photo together before departing.  Sniff, sniff... it ended much too soon.

Our return drive back home was brutal!  We did everything different this time.  We loaded up a well rested, well fed, happy Tyler.  The first hour was pretty good and then not so much.  Despite showing all his tired signs, this child would not go to sleep!  He cried for 2.5 hrs straight.  Stop and let him out and he was fine, but as soon as we strapped him back in, he started right back in.  Nursing him would put him to sleep, but he would wake and cry as soon as I put him back in his seat.  So we just pushed through.  We tried everything, music/no music, food/drink, the stroller canopy over the car seat to block the sun, a blanket over that to make it dark, windows up/down, books, toys, cell phone, talking/quiet, me in the back seat, me in the front seat, crying ourselves.

I have never seen a kid be that close to sleep and fight so hard to stay awake, in a car seat going down the interstate.  What kid isn't lulled to sleep by this?  He looked miserably tired, crying with his eyes closed.  Numerous times he drifted off only to resume crying a few seconds later.  What finally worked was me saying over and over again in a soft slow voice "night night Tyler, close your eyes, mama loves you".  It seemed to soothe him and he finally drifted off to lala land, but not until we were only 30 mins from home!  We spent those last 30 mins freaking out about every bump or noise.  We were so desperate to not wake him.  I think we both have a lot more gray hair after this drive.

Despite the drive and being locked out of the cabin in the cold for 4 hrs, what a fabulous time!

Our next trip is a 7.5 hr drive to my SIL's house for Christmas.  Anyone have any tips???  Any opinions on auto DVD players?  Please share!  Thanks!


  1. We've only made one car trip and that was 5 hours. I was afraid of my DS crying in the carseat but the ride wasn't bad. We loaded up the iPad with his favorite videos (Sesame Street, Toy Story, Brother Francis, Holy Baby). I also brought along new books, new toys, a calculator (some things he's never played with). Snacks (he was into banana bread back then). Oh a camera too. I would take pics and videos of him and show it to him on the view finder.

    Have a great trip!

  2. Yikes those car trips sound brutal! I hope the next one is better...I think a car DVD player should help!

  3. So fun!!! Glad you had a good trip even if the driving was kinda rough... I hope he surprises you with a happy heart on the Christmas drive - 7.5 hours of fussing is hard!

    Your family is so beautiful and it always warms my heart SO MUCH to see you having such fun with your little guy!

  4. Car trips are brutal with little ones.....BOTH of my boys were horrible.....Brayden once went all the way to Michigan (12 hour trip) with only a 30 minute nap once and the rest of the way was screaming!!! They are so active at this age that they don't like to be confined at all and they will fight sleep in the car, at home, etc.....

    I LOVE of my favorite family vacation ever. We did the cabin thing too and it's sooo beautiful and so peaceful....glad you got to get away again.

    BTW....what with the "lighter" hair??? I almost didn't recognize you.....I LOVE your dark red......are you gonna do it that color again or is this the "new you"????

    Miss you girlfriend!!!

  5. It sounds like you had a lovely trip, except the being in the car seat part.
    I honestly have no tricks to share. We got the new car with rear view entertainment precisely for this purpose, to keep George well, entertained. We drove a bit this year, but never got to use it, the kid fell asleep every time until now.
    What we do is stop often when he is awake and keep at it when he sleeps. We know by now every gas station and rest stop in the larger area, which ones have playgrounds and which ones have indoors kids areas. We let him run around as much as we can and then start again and pray he sleeps. Most of the times he does. Of course, this means that a 3 h drive takes us 6 sometimes. And there's only so much coffee, tea and water one can drink... Because the next thing is that WE need to stop soon.
    I hope you have better luck next time.
    The pictures are awesome, as always. :-)

  6. Glad you had a fun Gatlinburg trip, in spite of the challenges! Rides are much easier since Michael turned Savannah's car seat facing forward and she can watch the DVD's. We are visiting family in Branson, MO, right now and it was a WAY better trip here than the last time, which was last June. She did the same thing that time as Tyler, with crying spells every time we strapped her in, but fine when we would pull over for a break (a sanity break!).

    I like your reality picture with Tyler wanting Mommy. We have some pictures like that!

    Sorry we didn't get a chance to visit you this week before leaving town... will explain later. But we are getting back on Sunday and will see you next week, I promise!

  7. Hey Jill,

    Glad you had fun...minus the car crying. My little guy use to cry too but has since improved so there is hope! What worked for the most part was Mickey Mouse Clubhouse movies, snacks, and someone sitting in the back with him playing "games". Sometimes it seemed like the more we tried to do things, the more he cried!? So we let him cry (within reason of course), put on soothing music, and usually he did fall asleep. Also, for our 12 hours drives we take to NM, we drive at night so kids sleep and all usually goes well! :)

    Smiles, Heidi in Vegas

  8. omgosh! I love this post! Tyler is getting so big and he is such a little charmer! I am so glad you have been keeping up with the monthly posts because I love checking in! I totally feel your pain regarding long car drives. Imagine what you experiences times two at the same time...enough to make me insane! Since we live in NYC we do not use the car much except on weekends. When we do have to put them in the carseats we get a ton of protests! The ONLY things that works for us to keep peace in the car is the DVD player and it has to be DVD's they already know and enjoy. I am not a big fan of TV watching or DVD's, so the only things they watch are the Baby Signing videos and they also love the Giggle Bellies which is an animated DVD filled with songs they know (Old MacDonald, Wheels on the Bus, Itsy Bitsy Spider etc...) As long as we have one of those on in the car they are happy and no stress. I feel like it is hard to concentrate and not safe to have screaming babies while driving so whatever keep sthem happy is better in my mind. I say purchase an portable DVD player.....we have a built in one but if we didn't I would buy a portable one and just hold it on my lap in the back with them. Good Luck!


  9. Ugh! He is so stinking cute!
    As for traveling, when Sean and Zoey were that age, we would travel overnight. At bedtime, we would put their PJ's on, and put them in the car. It was brutal on us, but they would sleep the whole time. We would make good time too, since we didn't have to stop for them.
    Now we travel during the day. we bought a DVD player for $150 at Target. It was THE BEST money we've ever spent!
    Good luck!

  10. We had a great time as well! One of the secrets: Get your own cabin that isn't in the middle of nowhere with a great owner that would never leave you locked out! LOL! We adore you all, but it was definitely nice not being 45 minutes away from Gatlinburg. We felt so terrible for you getting locked out - yikes! About the car rides - you're a brave, brave woman! 7.5 hours at Christmas? Where are you going? I hope it goes much better because 7.5 hours could turn into 12 with a little one. I think the DVD player idea is a good one. My friend has a 3-year-old and swears by it because they drive 10+ hours to New England every Christmas. She also brings toys her son has never seen before, like someone else mentioned. Let us know how it goes! We probably won't brave any trips with Olivia for a while - we travel so much that we'll probably welcome some time at home.


Thank you for your comment! Hugs, Kerry and Jill