Thursday, August 6, 2009

Upon the Eve of a Vacation

We are heading West tomorrow, to Aaron's family's Ranch. It's not really a ranch. There are no animals except the kitties and the brave deer who even come into the yard. But when your house was home to 12 people at one point, it starts to feel like a Ranch.

This trip has been made many times, so we are getting to be pros at packing for it. So much so that by now I know exactly what bags to pack and generally what needs to go into them. However, the last time we left overnight A.A. (After Adam) I forgot diapers AND wipes. I'm leaving nothing to chance now.

Aaron takes care of things like mowing the lawn one last time (which he's doing now) and any other last chores, and I am in charge of packing everything but his clothes. (I have done that in the past, but always managed to leave out some necessary item, like a belt! or white T-shirts! so I gave up. I have started to keep a toothbrush and deodorant for Aaron in MY toiletries bag, though - those have been left several times.)

Being in charge of basically all of our supplies for the vacation stresses me out. And when I'm stressed, I'm crabby. For the sake of the entire family, I make lots of lists for each trip - maybe I should just make a master copy and laminate it. Or write a blog post about it! There's an idea...

First up, food and snacks. In a reusable shopping bag behind my seat: Crackers, granola bars, fruit strips, something sweet for a treat. In a small cooler: Baby carrots, water bottles, and for this trip, leeks and carrots for soup I'm going to make the family. You'd think we are heading into the barren desert berit of grocery stores. Or that we don't eat meals at restaurants on the way - McDonald's or something like it is part of the kids' expectations of vacation. Gotta make sure I have socks for them in the diaper bag!

Next, time-passers. This has changed a bit since Leah now sits out of my reach in the back of the van. She has her own basket back there for the following item: headphones, coloring/activity books, crayons, iShuffle, Leapster, books, a stuffed animal or two and her blankie for naps. I have a lot of this same stuff up front for Ben (except the iShuffle). Also in my bag o' tricks are always a couple of new items - stickers, small toys, something. The extra Leapster cartridges are included, as well as a book on CD (kid-friendly), regular books, the portable DVD player and a CD case with music and movies. Movies are a last resort, and usually only come out during the last few hours back home. Considering that this is a 6 hour drive ONE WAY, I consider that a big 'ol WIN for the parents.

We do pack suitcases, too. I know, I know, the kids really should be able to run naked at the grandparent's house, but every once in awhile we like to go into public. Since we can (and will!) do laundry at the Ranch, I've packed 5 outfits plus some extras (swimsuits, jeans & sweatshirt, socks, etc.) for each of the kids - except for Adam. He has about 15 outfits, and I'm not even kidding. I figured he needs 3 outfits each for different weather - pants & onesies, one pieces with sleeves, one pieces tanks. Probably excessive, but he's got his own bag, so I might as well fill it, right? He also needs blankets, burp cloths and a teeny washcloth for baths.

Other baby equipment going along: his bed, a bouncy seat, and the Baby Bjorn carrier. And a stroller. Thank goodness we have a car-seat carrier, and it's fairly compact.

Now the van is full and the kids are ready to go, but there are a few things that need to be done yet, because I'm Type A and like to come home to a house that isn't a big stinky mess. Before leaving for a trip, whether it's for a weekend or a week, I try my best to make sure the counters are wiped clean (what isn't covered by clutter, anyways - the actual food prep surfaces), dishes washed, dishwasher running, and the kitchen garbage taken out. I'm so thankful that today was garbage day, so all Ben's pooey diapers exited the garage. I also make the kids pick up their messes, but I've been second-guessing this today. There have been a rash of residential robberies here in town, and I don't want the house to look TOO abandoned...a little toy mess will make it looked lived in, right? And maybe the robber will step on a Hot Wheels and think again.

Speaking of robbers...if you guys don't mind, drive by every once in awhile to make sure everything's okay, would you? Much appreciated. We'll be miles away, trying to wedge ourselves back into our vehicle and preparing for the kids to nap for a couple hours on the return! Hopefully at the same time!


Lyz said...

Sorry Ruth, I had to delete your comment...yes, it is AWESOME traveling with us, but you still can't use our last name on here!

I forgot to mention several things that we pack: sippy cups for the kids for bedtime, baby monitor, bags of toys for the kids at the Ranch...various chargers for the parent's electronics...

AJ said...

Golf clubs take quite a bit of room as well.

Lyz said...

Oops, yes, can't forget the clubs - or my two scrapbooking bags.:)

Da Godfather said...

Uh Lyz, I drove by your house Saturday night and I am just wondering, why were you walking around in the dark with your flashlight on at two in the morning?