The #MommyConRoadtrip took place in early June through the woods of Michigan, rural Ohio with stops in various small towns across the two states. Our main goal was to find venues for 2015 in the metropolitan areas, but with a family wedding, and four kids between Laney and myself, we wanted to spice things up a bit.
And so it began, we headed to the train for what would be our first cross-state-lines adventure on Amtrak. We were going to meet Laney and her three girls in Detroit late that evening, and being only a five hour ride away, we opted to travel by coach instead of flying. What’s life without a little adventure, right?
Upon meeting Laney and her girls we installed four Britax car seats into our minivan before starting the #mommyconroadtrip to Ohio. With four kids under six, we wanted to keep three of our kiddo’s rearfacing, and have Laney’s eldest, Zoelie, forward facing. We opted for two Britax Pavillion seats, a Boulevard and a Frontier 90.
If you have ever installed car seats, you will know that it’s pretty tricky business. Not only do you have to make sure a rearfacing kid has their straps at or below their shoulders, but you also have to remember that their shoulders cannot pass a certain point in the shell (NEW Britax seats have an indicator sewn into the shell – it is super handy), and their head cannot be above the shell either! Installing the seat itself can be a futile endeavor, but the steps Britax has taken to simplify installation are pretty commendable. Even since my last Britax seat, a Roundabout 55, from 2012, the seats have drastically improved.
My favorite new feature has got to be the shoulder indication for height. Atticus has always had a long torso, and standing height requirements haven’t worked well in our favor as he outgrows shell height quicker than most kids that are 39 inches. Another plus of Britax seats are the ease of using LATCH and seatbelt installation methods. I don’t think either is easier than the other, but the seats fit really nicely in the Town and Country minivan we had.
We decided to keep Atticus and Penny in the captain’s chairs as Penny still nurses and would need more frequent outs, and Atticus… well Atticus is heavy, and lifting him over the edge of the back-row is quite a challenge.
We did have to reconfigure our seating arrangement a couple times during the trip. One time it was for adding a third adult to the car, and the other time was to play around with configuration.The roomiest configuration had the Boulevard and the Frontier all the way in the third row. This allowed for a very slim (or squished) adult to fit in the middle seat. The Captain’s chairs allowed for the two Pavillion seats.
We drove from Detroit to Columbus with a couple stops along the way in small towns in a straight line from Sandusky all the way to the city. We dropped two of Laney’s daughters off with her mom, passed through Laney’s hometown of Norwalk, and through the rain and wind we made it to Columbus for site tours.
After looking at four venues, we met up with Melanie and some local babywearers for an impromptu park playdate! We were able to chat about MommyCon, baby carriers, a possible event in Columbus and mom-talk. Following the meet-up we went to dinner with Melanie, E1 and E2. After dinner we made our way to the tiny town of Collins to crash at Laney’s folks place.
The next day is when the real adventure would begin! Off we went for four days of camping along Lake Erie. I am not a camping expert, but I would like to state, for the record, that I did not use a blow up mattress, couch cushion (ahem, Laney) or any sort of padding device underneath my sleeping bag.
As a co-sleeping family, Atticus and I are used to sharing one bed and snuggling through the night. For this trip we had the Joovy FooCot’s on hand in case he wanted a bit more space, and upon setting up the cot, Atticus obviously thought it was the coolest thing ever. Laney’s girls loved them too, and between the four kids, they got a ton of use over the course of our camping trip. Actually, it’s been over a month since our trip and the kids still love them! We have ours set-up in our bedroom for when Atticus wants his own space, and he loves climbing up on it and wrestles with his pillow atop the cot. Laney thinks they should be called the Joovy Snooze instead of FooCot, and I couldn’t agree more. All the kids slept great on them!
The kids got to play on the Joovy Bicycoo and Tricycoo, and Zoelie got to wear the Beco Mini with her “baby.” My paranoia ran rampant around the campfire, and luckily no burns happened, but camping was not a relaxing experience with four kids who like to run around.
Babywearing came in super handy during the camping trip. Even with his braces, Atticus isn’t the steadiest of walkers, and has very little endurance unless there is some motivation ahead of him… like a fire pit to dive into, lake to splash in or some form of Elmo…. Yeah, my kid wants to give me heart attacks 9 times out of 10. Anyways, I wore him in a Beco Soleil during the trip, and Laney used an Ergobaby original. Laney’s mom even wore the Ergobaby around with the rest of the grandbabies present!
Ergobaby also gave us a box of carriers to donate to parents in need. We were able to donate them to a trade school nursing program that had a group of soon-to-be graduates who had all balanced pregnancy and schooling in order to graduate on time, as well as to an organization that helps to support new and expectant moms who are struggling. We will hopefully have more photos soon as the students will graduate in the upcoming month, but for now, here is one of the sweet mamas who now is enjoying the kissable closeness of babywearing for the first time, thanks to Ergobaby’s generous donation!
Our trip overall was a blast, and with four kids under six in the car for over 38 hours over the course of a week, we all survived with smiles on our faces!
I will leave you with a photo of one of my favorite moments of the trip. This photo is of Laney’s sister, Brenna, nursing her seven month old daughter Kricket on her wedding day.
If you are looking to purchase any of the products we used during our trip, I highly suggest buying from a local retailer. If that isn’t an option, here are some links for each item.