In my former life I visited my parents in Pagosa Springs at least twice a year, I LOVE going there! But with all this baby business I hadn't been in 2 years. Way too long! Dave and I wanted to bring the babies and my parents were up for a visit, but we knew we would need help along the road. Enter 3 very very good (and brave) friends who agreed to go with us and help with the kids as needed. And guess what?? They're still our friends! We took both of our vehicles to have enough storage space and walkie talkies to communicate between the two- Dave was the ultimate tour guide. The drive typically takes us 16 hours; with the babies and 3 friends it took between 17 and 17 1/2 hours both ways. We left at 4am and drove straight through, so the babies got their first pajama days! I had pre-made breakfast (pancakes/eggos), lunch (grilled cheese), and snacks (squeeze fruit, mum mums, puffs) for everyone so we could feed in the car which took up a good chunk of time. Both ways we stopped 3 times for diaper changes, quick play time, gas, etc. and got fast food dinner- another first for the kids. Only once were we approached by an on-looker to ask what was the deal with so many babies. I had a bag of car toys for emergency entertainment, but really didn't even use half of them. They were so good in the car! Honestly, I was surprised at how well they did. Not much fussing at all and it was easily diffused with a book, peek a boo, songs, playing one of their obnoxious kid song cds, finger puppets, or extra snacks. We did learn that Caroline gets car sick, I won't give the details on that!
It worked out well that my parents have a big finished basement with a bedroom and bathroom. It became baby central. My mom was able to scrounge up 6 pack n plays and a couple booster seats from her fellow grandma friends so we didn't have to pack those. All 8 of us shared the basement bedroom. I did my fair share of sneaking to get things during their naps and hiding under the covers if someone woke up at night or too early in the morning- if they saw me it was bad news bears x6. So, I'd be ok if they had their own room next time :) They did well eating at the card table in boosters. They hated the inflatable bathtub, but were able to tolerate it by the end of the trip. They absolutely loved having free reign of the basement! We learned that Andrew can climb stairs pretty quickly.
We split the adults by boys and girls and alternated who got to go out for a fun activity and who was on baby duty. This worked out really well and we all got to do several different activities. The one day we all went for a hike and my parents babysat a bear was in their backyard! The stinkin 1 year olds got to see a bear and we didn't! The only other wildlife we saw were deer and chipmunks- boring. I will say pushing the stroller (yes, we took the stroller strapped to the back of the van) in Colorado is MUCH harder than in Texas and I needed another person to help push up the hills. We did take the babies out to watch the town's 4th of July parade (we got more attention than the parade floats) and to my parents' outdoor club picnic.
New skills we picked up while we were away- Caroline and Allison really walking; Ben and Levi taking a string of steps; Levi, Allison, Caroline waving; rolling/throwing balls- sometimes reciprocally
That's it! I don't know if everyone back home missed us or was glad for a break, but the ice cream van man (yes, it's an ice cream van) was glad to see us out walking around! He even stopped neighborhood traffic to tell me so.