10 Observations About Traveling with Toddlers


Awake at midnight









One week ago, my family of 4 piled into our classy Windstar minivan. Destination: the Blue Ridge Mountains. (Note–I find it funny that the minivan is labeled “champagne” on our vehicle registration. Anything that attracts crushed animal crackers the way lights attract moths should be called  exactly what it is–gray. Very, very gray.)

You may be wondering why I didn’t tell you that we were traveling. Suffice to say, I’ve seen just enough 20/20 episodes warning against posting these things publicly that I remained mum. But I’m glad I went and equally glad I’m home. While I try to digest the incredible experience I just had at my favorite writers conference on the planet (which included accepting an award for House Honcho!) let me give you 10 observations I had about traveling with kids.

In no particular order (as order of any kind is virtually impossible this morning):

1. Children never need to use the bathroom until you’ve paid for the gasoline and are pulling out of the station.

2. When the kids are being quiet in the backseat, chances are good that they are buying Nook or Kindle apps by the dozen.

3. Allowing the kids to nap in the backseat is a great idea … until you realize that they will want nothing to do with sleep when it’s time to go to bed. (Consequently, nothing is as fun as a hotel party in the middle of the night. Good chance to eat the remaining animal crackers.)

4. Regardless of how fast the trip passes, the last hour on the road feels like 4 weeks.

5. “Are we there yet?” isn’t nearly as troublesome as, “My tummy hurts.” Especially when you are winding through the mountains.

6. Chewing gum is good for the ears, but not so good for the hair or windows or shoes.

7. No matter how dedicated you are at home, having a schedule is about as useful as knowing, “¿Dónde está el baño?” when visiting Thailand.

8. Getting everyone dressed and to the dining room before breakfast hours have ended takes the skill of a neurosurgeon.

9. Sleeping in the same room means you must master the art of taking a shower and running the hair dryer without making a sound.

10. Nothing–NOTHING–beats spending uninterrupted hours with the ones you love (even if you do find a few stray cheese puffs in your hair in the morning).

I am glad to be home. Now to climb that mountain of laundry …




  1. Oh, the truths written here! Been there, done that (not the writer’s conference part, unfortunately. Someday…) and I’m very happy for you and Luke and the children God has blessed you with! Congratulations on your award, too!

  2. Larissa says:

    11. When you get home you won’t feel like cooking. Making a trip to SAMs club for their “gourmet” food a necessity. :) Good to see you. :)

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