Friday we loaded up the kids and headed to the University to get my oldest. I had great plans to drive out to Atlanta from there to spend the weekend. We could do the aquarium, Centennial Park, the Zoo and whatever else we could squeeze into around 2.5 days. Since the hubby agreed (especially after not letting me go last year, just because I was 37 weeks pregnant), I told the kids. Unfortunately his work decided on other plans, which included him flying out of town on Sunday. I would have just cancelled, with plans to reschedule. Hubby thought we could squeeze something in and the kids would have been upset, so off we went for the night.
The plan was to stay the night near the University (much closer to Atlanta) and then pick E14 up early in the morning to head to the Georgia Aquarium. As long as hubby was taking the day off, I thought we could head over early to check in, swim, then grab dinner. The plan went so perfectly. The kids behaved well on the way. The baby slept. They had lots of fun swimming.
I am sure you know things never go "perfectly". That is where it ended. I thought walking to a close dinner would be better for kids contained in a vehicle all day (even if they just finished an hour of swimming). We even took the kids to a favorite place. They loved walking there. At dinner EVERYONE was so restless it was chaos. We finished so early I didn't want rambunctious kids stuck in a hotel room disturbing guests. We decided to go buy them University T shirts instead. We loaded up and immediately it didn't go well. The baby was crying from the 1st second. On the way out of the parking garage the van was too tall for the gate and scrapped along the top. J4 had a potty accident and was TICKED. I was so happy to be headed back.
It's a challenge to get 5 kids to sleep at home, in a hotel steps it up a notch. I thought hubby might have better luck if it were quieter so I took 5 and 6 for a walk. I told him to call or text when 2-4 were asleep. My hope was that 5 or 6 would fall asleep on the walk. 5 never got tired, she walked and walked around the hotel, then around the block, for 45 minutes and wasn't tired enough to ride. 6 didn't even rub her eyes or yawn once.
Things have to be going better back at the room. The crying baby, at the rehearsal dinner down the hall when we got off the elevator from the store earlier, should have been my 1st warning. The 2nd being that I haven't heard from hubby. We get back upstairs and people from the rehearsal dinner are occupying their kids by letting them run up and down the hall. It's nearly 10 pm. We're at the very end of the hall, far from the dinner. The kids are running all the way to the end, running into the wall, yelling, then running back. Needless to say, when I text hubby, only 1 of the 3 he has are sleeping. We travel with a sound machine in case of noise issues, but when it's right outside your door even that doesn't help. I wait a couple extra minutes (with the stroller blocking the hall) before we head in.
Neither 5 or 6 are anywhere near ready for bed. Getting them asleep takes forever (unusual for them). Despite that, packing and breakfast goes fine. Even picking up E14, lunch, and the drive go fine. Lulling us into believing we're in for a good day. Again that "1st warning" should have been that the parking garage is sold out, they are only accepting prepaid tickets. We have a prepaid ticket and they even have a special van entrance (since the one we hit the day before was 6'10 and the regular entrance of this one is 6'8). The 2nd warning should have been the line that made Disney World's look short. We had already spent $200 on prepaid tickets though. I try to reassure myself. They limit ticket sales, they sell out, so I'm sure it's reasonable inside or why bother limiting sales. Sure.
Hours later we are worn out. We drag ourselves to the car, we head home. The plan was to be home by 10 pm. The baby screams. We decide to stop for dinner. The kids are not happy when Olive Garden's wait is hours and we say "no way". Chili's 45 minutes. We end up at IHOP. Not that the kids behavior would have worked out at Olive Garden. Back on the road it looks like we'll just make our 10 pm time. The baby cries every 10 minutes. Teething tablets do nothing. We're out of Advil. We finally stop for Advil and nursing. She finally falls asleep.
That's when we get a flat tire. She's no longer asleep or happy. Over an hour later we're back on the road. She eventually falls back asleep. We pull in the driveway near midnight. We rethink ever vacationing again.