Across the Country with 2 Little Ones

It’s been awhile since I posted and the truth is, we’ve been getting ready to go out of town. And it will be quite the journey. We have stops in four different states and I’ll be doing part of the traveling alone. Going across the country with 2 little kids is a feat all by itself, but combine that with our grand mistakes and you have quite the adventure.

ready to fly across the country
So naive, before we traveled across the country.

The First Leg Across the Country

In our infinite young parent wisdom, we thought it would be a great idea to save some money and only fly to Denver instead of paying the extra $300 per ticket to get to Albuquerque. Then we could rent a car and drive the rest of the way. We were going to have to rent a car anyways. Genius!

The Airport

At 4:30 in the morning, our alarms went off. I felt like I should get up, but stubbornly remained in bed. I kept feeling like I needed to get up, so finally I begrudgingly rolled out of bed around 4:40. We got ready and it took a little longer than we were anticipating. We didn’t end up leaving the house until 6:00. Which would have been plenty of time if we didn’t have to battle Detroit early morning traffic.


It was crawling through the city. Everyone was trying to get into work and we had an early flight to catch. We finally arrived at the airport with about an hour before the flight left. We loaded all of the stuff inside and checked our bags and then Austin had to go and drop the car off at the parking lot. I took the kids through security by myself.

me with the kids across the country


We waited and waited and waited for Austin to get back from dropping off the car in the satellite lot. The first zone went, the second zone (which we were in because of the kids) went and as I paced around the gate trying to keep the kids happy, we waited and waited. I started the preliminary anxious text messages. “Status?” “Almost here?” “Everyone is leaving…”

As the last people boarded the plane, I saw him emerge from the main part of the airport. The first leg of our across the country journey almost had a very different beginning. We were there in just enough time.

Someone was Looking Out for Us

Sometimes you see God in the little things. Honestly, we would not have made our flight if I had stayed in bed that morning. He knew we’d be running late and that traffic would keep getting worse and He helped us make it just in time.

The Flight

The flight was long and I’m sure frustrating for people around us. But I couldn’t feel too bad for the lady who sat in front of us because she had the whole row to herself while there were four of us on the row behind her.


snuggling with my boy across the countryAt first Grayson was just fascinated with every aspect of the airplane. The tray table in front of us, the arm rests, the windows, Siena’s reaction to his grabbing the seatbelt, everything. Maybe Mama’s mouth felt different inside the airplane? Maybe Daddy’s eye was more fun to poke in the airplane? But after about a half an hour of exploring his new surroundings, the toll of being awake since 5:30 had started to hit. He started fussing when he realized he was nowhere near a bed…specifically his bed.

And then he started wriggling every which way. Trying to hold him is like trying to hold an angry cat that doesn’t want to be held. It is a constant battle of counterbalancing his bowling ball body. He throws his 27 lbs around like it is no big deal. And FINALLY he got settled and fell into a little slumber on my chest.

This doesn’t happen very often, so to say that I was happy would be an understatement. Because not only did I get to snuggle with my baby but I wasn’t having to wrestle a lion cub.

snuggly boy
Seriously, so snuggly!


Siena was content to eat some food, revel in the glory of her own seat and watch her shows that I had downloaded for her. But at some point the novelty wore off and suddenly Grayson’s limp feet dangling off my lap were just too much for her and the tormenting began.

siena in her own chair across the country

At first I didn’t notice her moving his foot up and down with her foot and then she started kicking him. I told her to stop, which startled Grayson. After raising my voice at her for something else, he was awake again…

Grayson & Siena

Sometimes, they were great as we flew across the country. They would watch shows together. Siena would share her toys or give him Veggie Straws. Sometimes they would get along so well, much to our detriment. Meaning they would scream and shout in unison so that everyone on the plane had to look and see what was so exciting in 22 A, B, and C.

show watching across the country

And then other times we were having to pull them off of each other as Grayson grabbed Siena’s hair or Siena hit him because she was mad or because they were wrestling in the middle seat.

Wet Diapers

It was also after Grayson woke up that Austin and I realized their diapers were either soaking wet or completely soaked through the pants too (in Siena’s case). He was the brave soul who changed them.

father and sonsnuggling with dad on flight across the countrysleeping with daddy across the country

Apparently Siena’s was completely drenched and he said he had filled up the entire bathroom with a thick, foul urine smell. The poor person who followed after them was probably not amused.

But he also used two different bathrooms to equally distribute the smell. One for Grayson and one for Siena.


We arrived at the airport, got our belongings and then waited for an hour with the kids in the stroller until Daddy came back with the car.

stroller in airport

Remember our “genius” plan?

Someone was Looking Out for Us Again

Somehow, Austin managed to get upgraded from a Sedan to a Chevy Tahoe! And it was for free! One of his main stresses was how we were going to fit all of our stuff in a Sedan with the kids and our bags and haul it across the country. Luckily we didn’t have to find out.


The kids were exhausted and both of them crashed within a half an hour of getting in the car. But Siena woke up about a half an hour later when we got food. I wish I could say that she went back to sleep, but she never did…

Grayson slept a little longer and was not happy when he woke up. This was only about an hour after being in the car (including time to get food). We still had SO far to go.

We stopped because I suspected he was poopy. After getting them both changed and fed, we were off and Grayson finally settled back to sleep.

Siena watched her show. And this went on for a while. It was relatively peaceful, except for the growing trepidation at the remaining length of the trip.

Someone was Looking Out for Us a Third Time

At some point, Austin asked me to check the map and as I put in the route so I could get the amount of time remaining, I realized we had just passed a fork in the route that would have cut off a half an hour. We quickly rerouted and only lost a couple of minutes as opposed to more.

What we Saw

The drive was long and the kids were at the ends of their rope but experiencing all of the little towns along the way was kind of once in a lifetime. Driving across the country on little known roads leads to big memories. We got to see so much culture and life that we never knew existed.

One of our favorite moments was when we saw a bearded old man with white hair to the bottom of his shoulder blades, shirtless and carrying a box on top of his head with a globe poking out of the top, walking along the freeway. What?!

We saw tons of Adobe structures and little towns we probably never would have seen if we would have just flown to Albuquerque.

And to be honest, we probably won’t see them again. Because after all of this we have learned that going across the country this way is not what we want to do again.


We were about twenty minutes from the house and Grayson woke up after his second nap during the drive. This one was only about half an hour long. And he immediately thought Siena was the most hilarious thing ever. Because I haveĀ never heard him laugh that hard. I caught a little tiny bit of it, but this went on the whole rest of the way to my parent’s house.

So after a long day, this was definitely a great way to end it. We were so happy to see my parents and family and I think they were just as happy to see us.

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