Tuesday, October 18, 2011

31 Days {and Tri-Moms}: Traveling With Kids

When we were planning our family vacation in September, I admitted to Brian one night that, though I wasn't dreading the trip, I wasn't looking forward to it like the rest of the family.  He and the kids were counting the days.  Me?  I was thinking about how much planning goes into taking five kids on a trip!  The thought of packing enough diapers and clothing to last seven people (including one who is newly potty-trained) four days was more than a little overwhelming.  The thoughts of skipped naps and bedtime in an unfamiliar place and eating out with a squirmy toddler quite frankly seemed like too much work to be called vacation.  I whined a little and moped a little, but after confessing this to my husband, I was convicted.  Why should my attitude dampen the spirits of the rest?    Who said that what is worthwhile must always be easy, anyway?

One daunting aspect of our trip was the almost four hour drive.  Several years ago, we took a trip and I painstakingly packed each child their own tote-bag filled with fun treasures to discover as we drove. Unfortunately, the children were too young to pace themselves and before we were even an hour out of town, they had finished sifting through their bags.  This year, I was captain of the shared trip bag.  I borrowed a stack of books from my mom's shelf, checked out a radio drama from the library, printed a few activities from the internet, and stashed coloring books and individual baggies of crayons (containing 8-10 basic colors).  I kept the contents of the bag a mystery.  Though the kids saw me slip things into the bag in the week leading up to our departure, they didn't know everything it held until the trip.    

One of the things they enjoyed the most were the scavenger hunts I printed.  (Google "travel scavenger hunts" and you'll find oodles!)  I printed three of varying levels-- mostly pictures with a few words for Owen and Maddie, and mostly words with a few pictures for Gavin.  Then I slipped them into page protector sheets to make them reusable.  I meant to toss a few dry erase marker into our bag, but I forgot.  Crayons worked just fine and wiped away when the activity was complete. 

Apparently attitude was the key to my success because once I stopped feeling sorry for myself and decided to embrace this trip, it was one of the best vacations we've ever been on as a family.   Did we forget to pack anything?  Yes...sippy cups, a jacket for Maddie, Brian's belt...!  Did the trip add extra work?  Yes, but I even maintained a smile as I hand-washed pee-pee undies in the sink with dish soap.  We squeezed in naps in the car and powered through until bedtime, when Brian and I were too tired to enjoy a movie on the big screen TV. 

A key thing we learned on this trip was that the most memorable things were not always the most complicated or most expensive.  When we announced we were having ice cream for dinner, we were met with the biggest of smiles.  Exploring a petting zoo in the rain brought a free thrill!  Driving the ups and downs of back-country hills was compared to riding a roller coaster. 

Staying home would surely have been the easy choice, but taking this trip together was the right one. 

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My fellow Tri-Moms, Allyson @ A Heart For Home and Christy @ A Living Homeschool are sharing their travel tips today, too.  Take a moment to pop in and say hello.

Coming Soon
November 1: Thanksgiving crafts and recipes
November 15: Teaching the meaning of Thanksgiving

Winter topics TBA


1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed your blog. In the Netherlands we do not have to travel far because our country is small. In the summer holiday we went to Belgium, which was traveling three hours and I had indeed collected some things. And ...they had got Donald Duck pockets from our neighbour. They were so quiet ...


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