Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Road Trip - How Many Hours?!?! & A Confession

We are headed out on our second family vacation ever. I have a decor post scheduled to publish this Friday and next week I will be offline, returning on Monday April 28th. I'll be posting things along the way on Instagram, and after reading below you might want to check in at least once just to see if we survived! :-) Have a super great week!

Do you remember trips to Grandma's house as a kid? My grandma happened to live 8 hours away and even at age six I thought that riding in a car for that long was going to be the end of me. My kids have no idea what is coming. Well, they do know that we are going on our second ever family vacation but an eight hour trip...yeah, they are going to WISH that they were me back in the day! :-)

Both sides of our families are gathering in different parts of the country for a family reunion. This is huge since we are spread out all over the continent and some of our siblings haven't had the chance to meet the three newest members of our family...our three oldest kids, or even our youngest one for that matter! (Confusing right...this is why I try to explain our family dynamics on most posts because anyone new would just be confused, our kids will never have to read the book on birth order...they will just be like, "huh?")

Sam has a convention he will be attending for part of our time away and during that time I will be taking the kids to see the home that I grew up in (ah, the memories...) That also means that I will be driving five hours solo with all five kids (each way!)...I can't wait to see how bathroom breaks go (is that even possible?!?)

I've been doing my best to pack. I made a list, checked it twice and started packing and collecting things a few days before our departure. Usually I procrastinate and pack hours before I leave for a trip. That just wasn't an option when packing for seven people who with just our bodies alone almost fill up our mini-van completely.

I had to be strategic so everyone is getting the bare minimum and we will be doing laundry every few days. 

Now comes the kicker... A few weeks ago I mapped out our destinations. Ready for our grand total stats?!?

Round trip we will be traveling 2,998 miles and 47 HOURS of drive time, all within a ten day time frame! 

One might conclude that we are either CRAZY or REALLY motivated to see loved ones...definitely the latter.

In planning for this trip I made a pretty major decision and it's going to be very interesting to see how it pans out.

You see, last year we went to Michigan for our first family vacation. I took activity books, markers, our laptop, (balancing between the drivers and passengers seat so that the kids could watch a movie) and random activities for the ride. The truth was that with so many kids in the back (and the fact that we don't have one of those built-in upper dvd players) not everyone could see the movie without unsafely leaning out of their car seat. Not to mention that the activities lasted about ten minutes each and everyone was requesting the next thing to keep them entertained. Mommy gets car sick and turning around every few minutes was almost the death of me.

Once I saw 47 HOURS pop up on my computer screen I made a decision right then and there. I AM NOT going to entertain my kids for 47 hours...there is just NO WAY.

Here is my confession: I didn't spend one minute on Pinterest looking for road trip won't find a single board on it. I decided that we were going to do this trip the old fashion know the way that we grew up. Look at those beautiful trees kids...OH MY GOSH, there is a you see the COWS?!?

We are planning on driving through the night during our longest portions of the trip. I'm not even going to fathom how that is plausible but thankfully I have a husband skilled at driving through the night and when we get to the end of our journey mom and dad can collapse and joyfully entrust our kids into Abuelita & Abuelito's hands while we collapse on the floor. The things you do for peace and quiet...night traveling is one of them.

I am going to bring a battery charger for the kids leapsters..I'm not completely crazy. 

I also told one of my best friends my idea about the kids entertaining themselves and she thought  I was crazy took pity on me and mailed me her portable dvd player that has two screens so that hopefully each row of kids can watch the same movie! I may or may not have also bought ear plugs in the past week ;-) 

It is going to be an adventure but one where the stakes are so high that we are going to load up that van with the biggest smiles on our face.

East we come!

I am curious to know what your road trips are like. Do you have go to things that really help the trip go smoother? I think you should tell all so that if the first part of our trip goes bad I can scramble to find things to get us home all in one piece! What is your number one tip for road trips?


  1. What fun! We take one or two road trips every year with our 5 children who are similar in ages to yours. Each spring we drive from the Twin Cities to visit my husband's family in Texas and in the summertime we travel to NW Montana to attend a family bible camp outside of Glacier National Park for the week. L-O-N-G drives, but the kids to great. Here are my tips:

    1. Bring along a portable potty (the kind your little potty-trained on- IKEA has one that is small and takes up minimal space in the car). Bring a roll or two of toilet paper, wet wipes, hand sanitizer and several plastic grocery bags/bread bags. When a kid just has to "go," you can quickly pull off the road (we open the front passenger-side door and open an umbrella for a make-shift bathroom stall, giving the kids some privacy when they go), they can take care of business, the child and the potty can get cleaned off with the t.p., wet wipes and sanitizer which can be disposed of in one of your plastic bags until you make a gas stop and can toss the whole thing in a garbage can.

    2. When you make a gas, food or potty stop, make sure everyone goes potty (or at least tries) whether they think they need to or not. Makes the most of each stop and keeps unscheduled stops to a minimum.

    3. Pack a picnic or two before you leave. Instead of stopping at fast food places, find a rest stop with a playground or lots of greens space for the kids to run around and get their energy out. (and feel good about feeding your kids healthy, real food on a road trip!)

    4. Pack LOTS of snacks. I pack tons of individual-sized snacks in zip-locks and keep them up from with my husband and I. Cereal, dried fruit, crackers, nuts, apples, pretzels, popcorn all make great healthy and clean road-trip snacks. I declare "snack time" very regularly along the road, which keeps tummies full and spirits high.

    5. Completely agree with you about having tons of toys and activities to entertain the kids- best not to. I find that when the kids bring lots of stuff to keep them busy, they are more busy with arguing about who gets what, who isn't sharing, who dropped what on the floor that now can't be found, than busy actually enjoying the activity. Lots of toys/activities also causes them to develop an unrealistic expectation that they should have an activity to entertain them at every moment- creating complaining and discontent when that can't be accomplished with so many hours on the road. My kids each get to bring ONE thing, and not one thing with multiple pieces, but just ONE thing. The girls usually bring a doll and my son brings one of his "guys"- done. No complaining. No dropping pieces on the floor. No discontent. :)

    6. Movies- keep 'em coming! We keep tv to a very minimum at home, so movies on a road trip are a special treat. In a confined space and close quarters for a long period of time, I find bickering between children is kept to a minimum when they have something else to focus on, rather that who touched who or who is bothering who. ;) Movies that hold everyone's attention are so helpful for this. We bring some from the library, Netflix and even stop at Redboxes along the road to borrow and return movies. I'm a homeschool mom, so I love to find movies that are educational or go with the theme of the trip or teach about a destination we are traveling to. :)
    7. Audio Dramas or books on CD are great for listing while the kids look out the window and enjoy the scenery on the trip. We are currently listening to the Chronicles of Narnia on CD and love to pop in Adventures in Odyssey and Jonathan Park cds as well. I'd recommend them all, and of course your library would have lots more to choose from.

    I'm no expert at all, but that's my list of favorite tips for roadtripping with several young children. I would LOVE to hear yours and what you find to be helpful as you go. Always looking for ways to simplify and add even more enjoyment to our family vacations! :)

    Have a great trip!

    1. So many great tips Kristen...I loved every one! I'm going into this encouraged that your family does road trips on long journeys and survived...this should be fun! :-)


  2. I have a travel bag for my kids that stays in my hall closet so they only see the items in it about twice a year. It contains sticker books, coloring books, travel bingo, crayons, blank paper and loose stickers(in their personal folders). I also have some fun magnet things. My kids like to move on to the next activity at the same time. So it is important that they both have relatively the same things in the bag. I also bring a shoebox rubbermaid with toys they can set in between them and play with. I always require a quiet time in our trip and we like to listen to Patch the Pirate CD's. The comment before by KristenS for number 7 is great, but those CD's may not entertain your younger ones. Patch the Pirate would be good for them and the older ones enjoy those also. The story is broken up with music that is lots of fun and they teach great charactor lessons. The last trip we took the kids didn't ask for a movie until about the last hour of our 9 hour road trip. So I think our bag worked pretty well!! :) Have a fabulous trip!!

    1. Sarah,

      My husband put bags together for the kids right before we left! I'll have to check out that Patch the Pirate CD...thanks!


  3. Just wanted to say good luck on your trip and I will be praying for you! Whenever we drive back to PA (24 hours) from TX we travel most of the time at night. I wanted to let you know that one thing that has been helpful on the long trip is we always give our kids a "surprise gift" when the first "I'm so bored" comes out of their mouths. Last time it was a new leapster game for Abigail and for Nadiya is was a hand held UNO game. Since they were new they played with them for HOURS! Total life saver!!

  4. 1.The best music I can sing along to ,to embarrass my children (mostly Emaline ;0) 2.Also each kid gets to pack a small bag of treasures from home that are for them to spend their time with. 3. LOTS of chocolate for me to drown my "driving in a carful of kids" frustrations in! HAPPY DRIVING MY FRIEND!!

    1. LOL, I'll have to grab some chocolate at the next gas station. :-)


  5. I'll have to save this for when we have children... or travel with adults that are like children! lol


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