Magnolia’s First Road Trip (and Likely Last for Awhile)

Three generations of strong, beautiful women

Three generations of strong, beautiful women

Family is so important. Although it is hard it is very important to stay connected with as much of your family as you can. This was the motivation for  me and Brandi this past weekend. You see there was a family reunion of sorts in Kentucky only 6 short hours away from Memphis. So we decided Magnolia is 12 weeks old; it’s about time she went on her first road trip.

The first thing we had to do was pack the car, which actually required a list because if you forget baby stuff it is not as simple as “roughing it.” Here was the list (the bold items were Magnolia’s and the rest was ours):

  • Nightlight
  • Mobile
  • Lion
  • Sleep Sack
  • CoSleeper
  • Pack n Play
  • Blankies
  • Diapers
  • Changing Pad
  • Wipes
  • Diaper Cream
  • Baby Wash Cloths
  • Baby Tylenol
  • Baby Ibuprofen
  • Nystatin
  • Gas Drops
  • Onesies
  • Headbands
  • Bottle Warmer
  • Bottles
  • Nipples and Rings
  • Cooler
  • Flanges and Membranes (for electric pump)
  • Electric Pump
  • Batteries
  • Car Adapter
  • Nasal Aspirator
  • Dish Soap
  • Bottle Brush
  • Phone chargers
  • Ibuprofen
  • Prenatal Vitamins
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrushes
  • Clothes
  • Computer and Charger
  • Make Up
  • Hair Brush
  • Qtips

Now one of the major staples from our 12 weeks worth of parenting is a strive for consistency in routine. This is great for babies because they feel secure and know what to expect. As a result Magnolia slept 6-7 hours through the night 4 days before she was 2 months old. Consistency is king…until it’s not. When you are driving for 6 hours, what always happens can never happen. The result in this instance was a screaming, inconsolable, beet red little baby…for over an hour…both ways. It was torture because Magnolia does not really cry so hearing her and being able to do nothing was quite stressful. Also we were of course worried that there was something wrong with her hip or that she was in some other sort of pain. (For those of you who do not know, Magnolia was in a pavlik harness to correct her hip dysplasia.) I smiled ear-to-ear as I typed that last sentence because after 77 days (out of only 87 days being alive outside of the womb), she was freed from the harness today (July 28) at 2:00pm. We are very excited.

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 11.22.35 PMOK so back to the family reunion. It was a rough trip in the car, but once we got there everything was worth it. We were able to spend time with Brandi’s dad and grandparents the day before the reunion, and at the reunion we met Magnolia’s Great-Great-Great Aunt! She is 96 years and still kickin’ (figuratively and literally). She showed me her dance moves while sitting in a chair, which consisted of kicks that straightened her legs one at a time. She also told me the secret – spoiler: it’s rocking chairs. We played cornhole with family members and secured a recipe for some of the best coleslaw I have ever eaten. Magnolia was an angel waking up to eat and visit for about 45 minutes and then right back to sleep.

Technology did make this trip less stressful than it could have been. We used Mapquest to get everywhere. We travelled from Memphis to Indiana and from Indiana to Starbucks and then to Kentucky. Had we needed step-by-step directions from other family members while trying to make sure Magnolia didn’t cry the trip could have been a series of frustrating U-turns and searches for unmarked streets. Instead getting somewhere was not even a worry on our radar. We simply needed the address and off we went.

In the end, this weekend was about making memories with family members. Family we rarely get to see. The speed bumps along the way only made the memories more potent. Although we may not be taking Magnolia on road trips over 3 hours (MAX!) for quite a while, the quality time realized this weekend makes up for any trouble or hassle we may have encountered!

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Welcome to Quality Time. Realized.

My name is Kevin Newton. I am married to Brandi Newton and we have a daughter named Magnolia Michelle Newton. I became a father only 12 weeks ago and entering this stage in my life has brought interesting questions. Questions I have thought about in the past, but never made firm decisions about which side my opinion falls. Here are a few of those questions:

  • What do my behaviors say about me?
  • When (if ever) do I believe quitting is ok?
  • Do I really believe a person can “be whatever they want to be?
  • Do you always tell the truth or is bending the truth ok to spare someone’s feelings?
  • Should you really be kind to everyone you meet?
  • Does being kind lead to being taken advantage of by others?
  • What are my values?

I have certainly not answered all of my questions, but one thing I am certain of is that there must be quality time spent with those you treasure and love. I worry that in today’s world of Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat, What’sApp, Tinder, etc. etc. that the actual connections people make are lessening. I worry that people mistake social media interactions for actual social lives. I worry that technology may be separating and severing the innate desire to congregate, socialize and have face-to-face experiences.

Let me be clear I am pro technology and social media avenues. In fact, the links above send you to the various social media accounts that I literally just created for this blog. My fear is that technology and social media are being misused. So this blog has two elements and three purposes:

  • Element 1: Document my journey as a father struggling to create and maintain quality time with my family.
  • Element 2: Reporting on the ups and downs of technology and social media as it relates to personal interactions
  • Subsequent purpose: Practice writing short, concise stories/articles (I have a background in academia)

With that I will end at under 350 words and ask that you follow this blog for my story or to follow technology. Thanks again for dropping by Quality Time. Realized.