A couple weeks ago, our family went on a quick road trip & getaway with our dear friends and their twin boys to Mammoth Lakes, California, which is about 4-5 hours away from our homes. We had been planning to do this for a while and had booked a rental house so we could get out of the city and into nature which we had been longing to do for a while. At first Allen and I were a little apprehensive about taking the 5+ hour drive with the girls but we made sure to have a ton of snacks ready and enough entertainment for the ride there and back. It turned out to be a success. Phew!
We tried to pack as minimally as possible because there really was no need to have so much stuff. However, we ended up having a completely full trunk full of stuff (70% of which all were for all the kids)! If you want to pack minimally, one of my tips is to use packing cubes like this one I got from Target so that you don’t overstuff your luggage. Whatever fits comfortably in these cubes should be what you should bring. But ya know, shoulda woulda coulda haha. We definitely brought more bags full of stuff than we needed but wanted to make sure enough to eat and play with while at our cabin for 3 nights and 4 days. Can you imagine how many snacks we brought??
Our car ride was equipped with an iPad full of Joey’s favorite films and educational games. We also had a travel tray for Joey that we clipped onto her car seat and she had that on pretty much the whole ride to Mammoth. She colored countless princess pages and had a blast.
Casey took a nap and when she woke up she was surprisingly very entertained by Joey’s singing along to the music we played and loved watching outside the window. Allen and I were so surprised and amazed.
We took a couple of stops for a lunch break and a bathroom break, which included the Eastern Sierra Visitor Center where you can view Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the “lower 48 states.” (It is located 2 miles south of Lone Pine CA 93545 at the junction of Highway 395 and State Route 136) We HIGHLY recommend stopping by as it includes a really cool interpretative displays, book store and a native plant garden. Not to mention very clean bathrooms!! We had about an hour and half left in the ride and we were so proud of how well the girls were doing so far!
And then…there was snow.
Our cabin was so perfect because it had two bedrooms + a loft with beds and 3 full baths which is more than enough for a family of two and 4 kids! Whenever we do family trips, our favorite places to book are rental homes as opposed to hotels because it feels more like home away from home and with the kids, we can be somewhat loud and not worry about disturbing our neighbors. Having a full kitchen with a refrigerator is so helpful too especially with preparing meals. We highly recommend booking through vrbo.com! [Pictured: Luggage set is from Target and Joey’s snowsuit is from here.]
Our first night we dropped by the local grocery store to grab what we’d be cooking with and quickly prepared dinner. Casey had a VERY difficult time sleeping that night. She wasn’t used to the room she was in and I had to sit with her until she finally fell asleep at around 10:30 that night. It was ROUGH! We put her in our Lotus Travel Crib and also brought our favorite Hatch Baby but it was just too different of an environment for her so it took a while to get comfortable. She woke up around 4 am crying so I held her in bed where she would drift in and out of sleep so you can guess we didn’t get much rest that night. I wasn’t sure how we’d be the next morning but surprisingly we were ok.
*Shoutout to my “This Is Us” fans. 😉
We decided to enroll the toddlers into ski school because it was 3 hours long and it would give the rest of us some time off from parent-duty haha. It was TOTALLY WORTH IT! Casey and I stayed with the kids while Allen and our friends went skiing/boarding on their own during that time. I’m not the biggest fan of winter extreme sports so I was perfectly fine watching the kids ski for the first time.
Once the skis were on, Joey started looking like she was ready to check out. The twins were ecstatic and eager to get started but Joey looked like she was having doubts especially after seeing that I would be waiting on the sidelines with Casey.
I told her, “Joey, you got this girlfran! I’m going to be watching you and it’s going to be so much fun! Your friends are here with you and it’s going to be ok! Mommy will be right here!” As soon as I said that, one of the instructors, took her hand and encouraged her to walk towards the ramp. To my surprise, she didn’t hesitate and followed along. At that moment I was so incredibly proud of her for not giving up. If she were more like me, she would’ve just taken off the skis and held me but now I know, this girl is so much more braver than I am. 🙂 After a few rounds, Joey seemed so much more comfortable and continued on. I stood by on the sides cheering her on and I think it made all the difference.
Casey just stayed in her stroller munching away on her favorite puffed rice snack the ENTIRE TIME. Can you believe it?! This girl definitely loves the outdoors. She was smiling from ear to ear the whole time.
Joey kept veering to the side when she would go down the hill but would occasionally go through the flags that were set up for the more advanced skiers purely by accident. It was hilarious to watch.
The ski school for kids at the Mammoth ski resort was incredible and so well organized. They just required us to bring everything our kids would need minus helmets, boots, skis and poles. They actually didn’t even need poles as the whole lesson was just about getting used to the skis and going up and down the hill comfortably. The kids must’ve gone up and down that hill about 10 times at least! They had a break about half way in, where we went back into the lounge and the staff provided hot chocolate and snacks.
Fueled up for round 2 after some hot chocolate, pretzels, popcorn, crackers and apple sauce!
The boys did so incredibly well too!
Can’t handle their cuteness!
For the rest of the trip, I was pretty much unplugged and was rarely on my phone. I wish I took more photos but literally forgot to because I was busy just having fun with the kids. During the day we entertained the kids with lots of snacks and activities like painting, making paper bag puppets, toys and streaming movies.
Thankfully after the second night, Casey started adjusting to the bedtime situation a lot better and by the last night it was like she was home again. A big thing Allen and I learned from this trip was that we need to travel more with the kids when we can so that they’re more used to it. Joey has so much experience in traveling since we started visiting various cities around the country for our Naptime With Joey book signings so she hardly has any issues with travel but with Casey, we definitely want to travel more with her in the future.
On our last day, we woke up to the most beautiful snowfall. We decided to go out and play in the snow right before we checked out of our cabin. It made for the perfect day.
While it wasn’t Casey’s first time seeing snow, it was her very first time being in it. She LOVED it.
They pretty much just ate snow the entire time.
Best family photo ever cuz I look the cutest hahaha just kidding. The kids just wanted to eat the snow!
We had such an amazing experience getting out of the city and into the woods. Allen and I have always loved traveling and we hope to travel more with our girls but we realize today the climate is a lot different with traveling especially with all the COVID-19 warnings. As of now here in the United States, it hasn’t been as bad as how other countries have been experiencing but we have been making sure to take all precautions in not traveling when we are sick and always sanitizing and washing our hands wherever we go. Our prayers are with those who are affected and feeling trapped while on lock down. We hope these photos of the outdoors brought you a little bit of joy today. If you have any questions about this road trip, what we packed, and other suggestions, please leave a comment below and I will answer them. Thank you for reading this post and following along on our family’s journey. Hope to post more of our future travels again soon!