This last week was a big one for us. A few months ago, we decided we wanted to take the kids to visit Julie’s relatives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (a.k.a the UP). Julie’s grandmother is 94, and we thought this would be a great time to introduce her to her great grandkids. Plus, we have been getting countless prayers and well wishes from all over the UP. We wanted the rest of the extended family to see the trips as well. Here is a recap of the week.
Chapter 1: The Drive
“It’s a 106 miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, a half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses. Hit it.” – The Blues Brothers
After much analysis, we decided the best way to make the trip was to drive. We had too many things and too many babies to risk missed connections, lost luggage, etc. to fly. So, we put a cargo carrier on top of the minivan and loaded up. You name it we had it. Boppies, a bumbo, three pack and play’s, 40+ pounds of baby clothes, burp cloths, bibs, a bathtub, toys; it all made the trip. One thing was for sure, we would not have a bad trip for lack of baby accessories.
The drive is 1,200 miles door to door, and we figured the best way to do it was at night while the kids were asleep. Julie would take the first shift, and wake me up at 3am or so for the second shift. We reserved a hotel room in Des Moines, which was about half way, and headed out into the night.
Driving turned out to be the right strategy. In general, the kids slept the whole way with the only exception being the occasional peep out of the teething Chloe. We had four nights on the road, two each way, and we arrived at our destination each morning right on schedule for the morning feeding. The kids had minimal disruption to their day, and Julie and I were able to sneak in a couple hours of sleep when the other was driving.
Chapter 2: Des Moines
“I’m not sure why, but Iowa just pisses me off.” – Noah Mosher
By the first morning, everything seemed to be going great, until Noah woke up in the hotel room. Maybe it was the disappointment of not being in Michigan yet, but Noah woke up and started screaming. And screaming. And screaming. 20 minutes of uninterrupted screaming, in fact, which is very unusual for him. Usually he stops to inhale. We finally got him settled down, but he was not the same all day. He threw up a couple of times, and he was just generally on edge. The girls adjusted a bit better, and Madison didn’t seemed phased at all. Perhaps all the time in hospitals prepared her for travel more than the others. Anyway, we drew the blinds so the kids could nap, and hoped no one would call the cops to investigate the screaming coming from room 218.
Here is the room, shades drawn and dark with baby gear (and babies) strewn about.
Eventually, everyone calmed down somewhat, and Noah got to enjoy the bed pillows for a bit.
By the end of the day, we were out of towels (all used for cleaning up spit ups), sick of room service and suffering from a bad case of cabin fever. The car was actually a welcomed change when we headed out the second night.
Chapter 3: Iron Mountain
“Did you know we had this many relatives? I had no idea. Seriously, I know there are three of us, but we can’t be related to all these people.” – Madison Mosher
The second morning, the kids (and Julie) woke up at Opa’s cabin (Opa is German for Grandfather). Julie’s Dad Bill has helped us feed a million times, so we settled in and got the kids ready for the long line of visitors.
Here are the kids adjusting to a strange living room floor.
The triplets were big news in Iron Mountain amongst all the relatives, many of whom are regular visitors to this blog. It seemed everyone wanted to come by and meet and hold a baby or two. The first visit, however, was reserved for Julie’s grandmother. At 94, she didn’t know if she was going to be able to meet the kids, but we had no doubts. Here she is getting her first introduction to the three.
The next couple of days were a whirlwind of feedings, diapers, visitors and fun.
Here is Noah trying to stand for Opa, although someone should tell him to try crawling first.
The kids also got baths; here are Chloe and Noah clean and bundled.
One of the early visitors was Julie’s cousin Tim and his sons (his wife regrettably got ill and could not come). Tim would more aptly be called Big Tim, as you can see from the photo below with Noah. Noah lives at altitude, but he looks like he’ll need to get used to being this high.
Tim also got some quality play time with Madison. Madison was everyone’s favorite to hold, given her remarkable journey so far, and Tim even missed dinner to maximize time with her.
In between visitors, the kids were able to sneak in some play time and a little nap time.
Madison and Chloe having a ball
Madison and Chloe learning to share, or not.
Chloe works on some tummy time. She’ll be crawling soon.
Chloe gets more time with Gram.
You can almost read Chloe’s mind, “You two can pander to the camera if you want, but I’m going over here.”
At last, some nap time. Everyone sleeps where they drop.
The line of visitors, however, was ongoing. Here are some of the folks who drop by.
Here is Julie’s Uncle Jack with Madison.
Noah getting a visit from Aunt Barbara
Madison gets held by Gram’s friend Mary Jane
Chapter 4: The Trip to Marinette
“OK, Wisconsin. That’s great, I’ll go wherever. But tell me, will there be food there?” – Chloe Mosher
Julie’s Aunt Marian can’t drive any more and was not able to get a ride to see the babies. So, we brought the babies to her in Marinette, WI. Marinette is about 1 hour 20 minutes from Iron Mountain, along the shore of Lake Michigan. So with three babies, Julie’s Dad and Grandmother all packed in the van, we made the trek.
Marian was thrilled to see the kids.
It’s a long enough drive that we needed to feed the kids while we were there. Marion was happy to help out, even after Madison threw up on her, her couch, her carpet, etc. Here is feeding time, pre-spit up.
Chapter 5: More Iron Mountain
“Any more photos, and I’m calling my agent.” – Madison Mosher.
Our return to Iron Mountain was met with more visitors. Yet, as the picture below illustrates, we still had triplets to take care of. A days worth of bottles needs washing!
We got a visit from some old friends of Julie’s parents. Here is Julie’s Godmother Fern with Julie and Noah.
Julie’s Great Aunt Caroline was also able to find a ride over. Here is the Great, Great Aunt with Noah.
Finally it was time to go. Here is the great grandmother with her great grandkids, Chloe, Noah and Madison.
Chapter 6: The Drive Home
“Free beer? Perhaps I should give Iowa a second chance.” – Noah Mosher.
The return trip was blissfully uneventful. We ventured out of the hotel room this time, and Noah got to go to his first happy hour courtesy of the Embassy Suites.
All the travel can sure wear you out. Here is Chloe passed out in Dad’s lap.
Epilogue: Home Sweet Home
“Wake me up when we get there.” – Chloe, Madison, Noah and Julie.
After 2,400 miles of round trip driving, not counting the side trip to Marinette, and time in Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan, we arrived home Saturday morning at 6:30. I stopped for gas around 5am and could see that Madison was already awake but content just to hang out in her car seat. Noah, on the other hand, didn’t wake up until he was safely back in our living room. The kids fell right back into their rhythm, and the rest of the day was blissfully uneventful.
It turned out to be a great trip, one that we will remember for years to come. We took roughly 170 photos, so if you don’t see one you wanted posted above, let us know.