I had lots of people ask me about how our mini five night trip to Minneapolis and Grand Forks went with the two kidlets this past May so I figured I would do a quick update post on here. I had spoken with a lot of moms before we booked our trip to get advice on how other families travel with multiple kids (in similar age groups to ours) in one hotel room. I was surprised to hear that half of them said, “they don’t”. The other half I asked said they get suites that have enough bedrooms for each kid to ensure everyone gets a good night’s sleep. This didn’t surprise me as this is exactly what my husband and I were doing up until now. I was always looking for hotel suites or booking houses that had enough bedrooms for everyone; one for Miss Lace, one for us/baby brother. As much as this worked and kept everyone happy I knew that I didn’t want to do this forever. Spending the extra money on a room that had multiple bedrooms to use only when we were sleeping seemed ridiculous to me. I can think of many better ways to spend my money and I didn’t want to be bound by that type of room life forever so I figured if we taught them young that we all sleep together, we could be more successful long term. Now, that being said, life with a newborn who isn’t sleeping great is one problem, and I wouldn’t have risked waking Ems up in the night multiple times when Ever was a newborn. But, at seven months old, our son was sleeping through the night from at least 8:00 pm -6:30 am and it gave me the confidence to venture out and try a hotel room for all four of us! I didn’t want to live my life in fear and avoid trying it because I was scared it would go awful, so we booked a one bedroom hotel room with a king bed and pullout couch in faith! Annnnnnd it went INCREDIBLY WELL. Like exceeded my expectations, well!
For the hotel aspect of things, we arrived around 7:00 pm on the first night and let the kids adjust and become familiar with the new setting. At our son’s young age this was more for Miss Lace than him. We booked a room that had a half partition wall (for the same price as a regular room) which we figured would provide a bit of privacy/sound barrier. We set up our son’s crib at the furthest point of the room by the door and decided to let Miss Lace sleep with us. We figured this was wise in case she woke and screamed for us in the night which sometimes happens; especially in a new environment. That way we could talk to her and reassure her very quickly without having to get up and potentially wake up our son. I used both of their sound machines in the room and brought our daughter’s Gro Clock with us so she knew when she could get up. We put one sound machine next to our son’s head and another one next to our king bed. Sound machines have been a LIFE SAVER since our son was born. It doesn’t matter which kid is waking up in our place at home, it never affects the other one. Their rooms are side by side at our house and the sound machines do their magic! Around 8:00 pm we would start their bedtime routines. I nursed our son on the pull out couch while my hubby started to read with Miss Lace in our bed. Our son was asleep instantly when I placed him in his Nuna and he proved to us that he can sleep through anything. I’ve posted it on my stories on IG before and you might have caught it there but Miss Lace likes to sing and talk for about half an hour to an hour before bed every night. I thought maybe if we tuckered her out enough in Minneapolis she wouldn’t do it but that didn’t work. This was my biggest worry out there as she can be so loud when she does it and I didn’t want her to wake up baby brother. Once we turned the lights off in our room she would instantly begin to sing and talk and we had to remind her to be quiet many times and not wake up her brother. Sometimes she would become extra silly (combined with sleep deprivation) resulting in random screams (knowing she wasn’t supposed to) and there were a few trips to the bathroom with me to tell her to be quiet. I let her make the choice of being a big girl when she was ready to go back to the bed and be quiet. It took a few attempts but she eventually calmed and quieted down and each night progressively got better. This was the worst of it. Once she was asleep which was usually around 9:30 pm, both kids slept in till 8:30 am every day! YES, even baby brother who was typically waking around 6:30 am back home!
We were strategic in our plans for the day, picking places around nap time that baby brother could nap for longer periods in the stroller. I put a Milk Snob cover on his car seat and hung the Skip Hop travel size sound machine on his car seat handle before we left the hotel knowing he would likely fall asleep while we drove. We used the car ride to induce sleep and then transferred him onto the stroller in his car seat once we arrived somewhere. Miss Lace still naps at home about 45 mins to an hour everyday around 1:00 pm. Since our daughter was overly tired from the excitement out there she tended to fall asleep during our son’s first nap around 10:30 – 11:00 am due to exhaustion. There were two mornings my husband and I drove aimlessly around the side streets of Minneapolis letting both kids sleep. Once Ems was awake after about 45 mins of sleep, we would venture out with baby brother still asleep in the stroller.
The other question I had been asked a lot was “How did the car ride go?”. The car ride is about 7 hours from our house and can feel long; however, car rides have never been an issue for us, no matter which kid and which trip we’ve done. My biggest life saver is that I always overpack lots of toys for each child. I take a large reusable bag and fill them up, one dedicated to each kid. Since Ems is older now I let her pick toys out with me. When either kid becomes bored of their toy, I turn around and swap it out for a new one. I place the two large bag of toys, the diaper bag, and snack bag/cooler all where they are easily accessible from my spot in the front so I can easily keep both kids happy. We choose not to allow our kids to use screens for car rides but obviously this would be an easy item to entertain them with as well! I always pack lots of wipes, paper towels and diapers for both. At one point Ems (who is potty trained since December) needed to use the bathroom for a number two and we were nowhere near a bathroom so we strapped a diaper on her and let her go!
We had such a wonderful trip as a family of four alone and made incredible memories along the way. Ems loved the rides at the Mall of America and hasn’t’ stopped talking about them; she can’t wait to go back! We didn’t get to the Zoo this last trip due to the weather being a bit cooler but that’s usually one of our favourite places to visit as well! Shopping was minimal this trip and I am totally okay with that. I went in with a “family vacation” mindset and I think that mentality worked in my benefit. No expectations of anything for myself or my husband led to a very happy family trip with no disappointments! I think that’s been the case for my husband and I in the past. I believe we have struggled with balancing what we want to do vs. what the kids want to do but the reality is, it’s not about us anymore as a couple. It’s now about us as a family! Going in with that mindset 100% for the first time allowed us to have a wonderful, successful and fun family trip and we can’t wait to do it again soon!
Playing with toys in the car.One pit stop to burn off some energy.Shopping with my mini.Picked up pizza for dinner on the first night and ate at the hotel since we got into Minneapolis so late.Ems loving the rides at Mall of America.She adores Dora. As well as Swiper (spot him in the bushes!). Everton napping at the mall with his travel sound machine.
Always twinning.Fun chairs for the family to relax in at Nordstrom while mommy did a little bit of shopping.