One word: Vacation!!
Now that we have three little ones in tow, vacation has leaped into a whole new kind of complicated! You see, there’s all their special “stuff” we have to bring, which leaves our loyal sedan way too insufficient in the trunk department. Nevertheless, we persevere with our lists and piles and bags and back packs and strollers and activity bags…you get the idea.
So…this is how we did it:
List of clothes, by individual: mentally dress each individual and write the article of clothing as you go. You would not believe how easy it is to forget to bring underwear!
List of toiletries: our stuff, their stuff and don’t forget diapers and wipes!!
List of special “stuff” for the children, i.e. nightlights, blankies, bears, etc. This list is a special list because you cannot pack any of these items until the morning of departure.
List of accessories, i.e. little fishing poles, baby upright seat, sun hats, water wings, etc. These items are “stuff ums’”, meaning they go in the little cracks that form when you pack bags.
List of things to do before we go: timers, water house plants, dishes and for the love of all that’s holy, empty the trash can before you leave!!
List of car activities to keep the kiddos occupied: these should be books, colors, writing…all things they have never laid eyes upon before the trip begins. That will afford you about 15 extra minutes of concentrated occupation before you start hearing “are we there yet?”
Overnight bags. We decided to stop along the way to cut the trip down, really for the sake of the baby. You see, she is helplessly wedged between a three year old and a four year old who have a raging case of the “can’t keep our hands to ourselves” so they are forever messing with her.
Now that we have all of our essentials that have to go, I have to determine the square footage of trunk space versus the amount of things that need to go in the trunk PLUS the order in which they need to be accessed at any point on the trip. This is where things get tricky.
Baby gate lays flat- don’t need that until we arrive at our rental house. Clothes for the week in a huge duffel can be crammed in the back. Now, start looking at the dwindling space but don’t be overwhelmed by the huge pile sitting on the floor, yet to be loaded into the car. Just play the game of Tetris and position/ reposition the bags and items, making sure that the diaper bag, overnight bags and stroller go in last. Don’t be afraid to squash and smash…there’s no delicate vase in there!
Finally, gently close the trunk so at any point on the way down, you can feel if something is in the way of the deck lid. If all seems good, open it again and slam it shut!
Oh, did I mention someone has to entertain the kids the whole time this is going on? The packing is generally done by one person!
After all of this and a shirt change (thanks to the sweat), we are ready to go. Each child has a bin of car activities at their feet (make sure mom and dad’s seats can go back all the way so you can rotate drivers!) and there’s a little pile of baby hanging toys for baby’s entertainment. Baby goes in first (ignore her crying…she’ll fall asleep), then big sister and brother. Are we all in?? Really?? Can we finally get this show on the road???? Car starts and we pull out of the driveway then close the garage door. Finally…vacation has started….
“I have to go potty.”
It’s always something with three little ones, I guess!