Traveling for Totality

Last week, we took a road trip to see totality. Totally. šŸ˜€

We could have stayed home and seen about 75% coverage of the sun, but since both Hubby and I turned 40 this year and we’ve never seen a total eclipse with our own eyes, we decided to drive. And this was going to be a location “easy” to get to (compared to get to some random island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean…)

And hubby really wanted to see the sun blotted out, at least for a time.

And it was worth it.

We drove up to Nebraska, and on that Monday, we drove west along with a great number of others seeking clear skies to see the eclipse.


I-80 West

Yes, it was a “veritable river of plastic, steel and glass” said Hubby. And he was right.

We finally found our spot on intersecting dirt roads in the middle of corn fields.


It smelled *awful*. Stinky fertilizer. Of course, I think I was the only one that noticed.

It was awe inspiring. I wish I could have gotten a good picture of the eclipse, but I learned that getting a good photograph of the sun was really hard. But the 360′ sunset was quite photogenic. It was dark; you could feel the temp drop. It was eerie.

Our boys are getting good at road trips. Neither are ideal long distance car travelers yet, but at each road trip, they do better than the last one. I thought this blog post was great at expressing our ideas. From a greatly loved camping book, we learned the idea of 3 types of fun. Type 1 fun is stuff that is fun to do and fun to talk about it. Type 2 fun is no fun at the time but fun to talk about later. Type 3 fun is no fun at the time and not fun to talk about it later. We have found that when something is hard, labeling it as “Type 2 fun” is helpful. We can even begin to enjoy the experience at the moment.

And really, even if you have toddlers, it can still work. Maybe the toddler screams for hours or the baby doesn’t sleep. It can still be a good trip, because the toddler/baby isn’t going to remember and think of the stories! “Do you remember that trip where so-and-so refused to sleep at night? Oh, that was rough.”

Plus, the more you travel with the kids, the better everyone gets at it. Kids learn to travel well (or camp well, or hotel well) and parents learn what these specific kids need to do well. So, start young and do it often. It’s worth the work. At least, I think so!

Did you enjoy the solar eclipse? Did you travel? Do you think you’ll travel for the 2024 eclipse? We won’t…. because we are all ready in the path of totality!

Embarrassing moments at Carlsbad Caverns

The Caverns are amazingly beautiful. Even for one like me who really doesn’t like closed spaces. It was a ton of fun and so wonderful to experience the 90% humidity after the dryness of the Guadalupe Mountains.

We had a few embarrassing moments in the caverns, though.

First, while going through The Big Room (which is quite big, for sure), there is one stalagmite that looks :::ahem::: like a boob. Of course, both Hubby and I giggle a bit and attempt to keep walking. Yes, we likely pointed as we giggled. And then it happened. The lady (and her family, I’m guessing husband and daughter) who was just ahead of us turned to us and said something to the effect of, “What’s amazing is that after millions of years, its still firm. No sag at all!” I watched her (supposed) daughter melt inĀ embarrassmentĀ and she attempted to usher nipple lady on. But oh, no, nipple lady continued talking about what this particular stalagmite looked like and how firm it still was. This went on for much longer than either Hubby or I was comfortable with. Actually, the very first comment out of her mouth left us uncomfortable. I’m so glad Little Man isn’t quite old enough to understand any of it.

A bit later, as Little Man reached his limit (nap time!) he began to yell ‘gobble, gobble, gobble!” We have no idea where this work came from, and I don’t think its actually in reference to what a turkey says. And he continued, and when he realized it echoed, he kept going. It felt like he continued with ‘gobble, gobble, gobble’ for 10 or 15 minutes. It was likely more like 5 minutes. Hubby spoke in my ear, “type 2 fun”. Not long after, he feel asleep. I had him wrapped on my back and it was the greatest thing ever to have hi fall asleep on my back.

walking down into the caverns

walking down into the caverns

I guess I should explain ‘type 2 fun’. We found a book “The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide” (a gear guide for the ultimate hiker, that is), and the author explains his system for classifying fun. Type 1 fun is fun at the time and fun to talk about later. Type 2 fun isn’t so fun at the time, but is a ton of fun to talk about later. Type 3 fun isn’t fun at the moment, nor is it fun to talk about later.

Have you had any type 2 fun lately? And any embarrassing moments?

Back from the middle of no-where

Yep, seriously… the middle of no-where!

Back on March 18 or so, I picked up a project with my job that I had to crank out by that next Sunday. Made for a crazy week.

On Tuesday, March 26, we got up, not too early, and took off driving west. All the way to Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Its a beautiful place, for sure, but is seriously the middle of no-where. 55 miles from Carlsbad (the nearest city) and 114 miles from El Paso. And no cell reception, at all. But it was gorgeous. And majorĀ inhospitableĀ  I’m really glad we don’t live out there. I promise more stories as the week continues.

I think this is Guadalupe Peak.

I think this is Guadalupe Peak.

Over that week, we camped at Pine Springs Campground (Guadalupe Mountains National Park), Rattlesnake Canyon (Carlsbad Caverns National Park) and Dog Canyon Campgrounds (Guadalupe Mountains National Park). It was a great time, for sure. And Little Man spend more time out doors than ever before in his short life, and he loved it. He got *so* dirty, slept so little, and got to poke a whole lot of nature with a stick.

Can you see all that dirt?

Can you see all that dirt?

We finished the trip with a few days in Lubbock with my Dad and his wife. That was a ton of fun and Little Man really enjoyed the time with Granddaddy and Grandmom. He even got to hunt Easter eggs Sunday afternoon.

I have a ton of stories to tell, and lots of good reflections. Here’s Ā a start:

-Don’t change your diapering system at the last minute just for a trip. Bad things happen.

-Don’t expect little boys to nap when its in a tent. Going to sleep at night is hard enough.

-The desert gets cold at night. And windy.

-If you see some nature, you ought to poke it with a stick.

Have diapers, will travel

Whew — we got home early evening Tuesday after a long road trip. This was the first time we’d traveled with Peanut, and we were rather nervous leading up to it. How would Peanut handle a long car ride? How would we handle diapers? Should we got with sposies or stick with clothies? What items do we need to take along? Why does this feel like moving?

We survived. Peanut survived. The grandparents survived (and, I think, enjoyed the time; not that we didn’t :P). Peanut did okay with the car ride. We used sposies, mostly while driving and took the cloth stash to use while at Grandpa and Grandma’s. I was able to pack with discretion and even though it was a ton of stuff, it was all used.

Oh, diapers, diapers. They can make or break a moment.

This poo-splosion brought to you by sposies!

Oh, yes. We had several of them. Now, to be completely honest, I have cleaned some poo off the leg openings of onsies or the inside of pants because of a bit of seepage. Usually, the cover catches the poo, however, so most often it just the cover into the pail with the diapers.

Whoa-doggy. I’ve never had a poo-splostion like the one we had the day before leaving Grandma and Grandpa’s, though. I could tell Peanut had filled his diaper, so off we went to change it. As I pulled off his pants, though… ARGH… poo all down his leg, covering the pants, the onsie, and what a sticky mess to clean up. I used, perhaps, 10 wipes (disposables, too) cleaning him up, all the while trying to keep the poo contained and not get it on anything else. I called for Hubby to come help, which he did and we had quite the laugh while cleaning poor Peanut up. (This was the one that interrupted by previous post.)

The second poo-splostion occurred on the drive home. We stopped in mid-Kansas on our second day of driving. Luckily, I’d gone into the “family” bathroom, so I could just pop my head out and ask Hubby to go get more clothes for Peanut. Unfortunately, Peanut is terrified of public bathrooms. Between the flush and the hand-dryers, he will start shrieking with fear. Putting him down on the changing platform brings about even more cries of terror. The poor child. Now, add in having to undress him because his clothes have poo on them and you have a very distressed little boy.

We even had two different brands of sposies to work with, but neither one fit Peanut very well. He has such skinny-skinny legs that I just couldn’t get the waist tight enough to create any sort of seal around the legs.

That is one very, very nice fact about cloth diapers. The ones I’ve made fit great because they are made to fit my child. Plus, they actually soak up the moisture in Peanut’s poo, so it not such a sticky mess. The sposies just leave the poo and all its sticky wetness there next to Peanut’s bum.

And one morning, the sposie started leaking moisture after Peanut had worn it overnight. Since I can customize the absorbency in the clothies, I’ve not had that issue in a long time.

And the smell! I’ve read a few places where someone used sposies overnight because the smell in a cloth diaper the next morning was too much. But I found that the smell in the sposie was overwhelming… perhaps its the perfumes mixed with urine? Anyhoo, I’m proud to say that my clothies don’t smell so bad in the morning compared to the sposie.

After the second poo-splosion, we put Peanut back in a cloth diaper. It just seemed safer.

Next time, clothies all the way.