I started packing each day's outfits in a separate bag. It seems like a minor thing, but I can stick panties, hairbows, everything in each day's bag and know we have it. It makes it lots easier when Husband helps dress the kids. The baggies come in handy for all sorts of things.
I used to pack a huge bag with different pairs of shoes, and this time I started listening to all the posts I've read about creating a wardrobe pod. This is all I packed for nine days. (Minus the unmentionables not pictured.)
We don't do movies in the car. I'm not against it, it's just not something we do. In the past I've packed a little snack and Dollar Tree doodad in a little baggie for each hour we plan on spending in the car. This time we did something a little different and I gave each of the kids a pile of 'tickets' (craft foam strips) and they could "buy" snacks and activities when the store was "open". Porkchop totally didn't get it, but he was happy to "pay" with his tickets. Scrunch most definitely did. Especially when I asked her if she would rather pay me a ticket when misbehaving. These are the kinds of activities I started compiling weeks ago...
Their own embellished clipboards for the torn out coloring and activity pages.
We made these car kits at our RS Activity last week and I filled it with bandaids and alcohol wipes which then Scrunch covered Jujus legs in.
Squence matching from the Dollar tree blocks and cut up craft foam.
I used one of the tutorials out there to make coloring pages out of pictures for Scrunch.
Dollar tree cookie sheet with monkey and banana magnets which can also be used for tic tac toe.
Tan grams cut from craft foam.
On our way out of town I saw signs for a book sale and made Husband stop. I scored an entire bag of Best Seller's and popular book club books for 3 dollars! Score. Know how many pages I read on the ride up? Zero. Zilch. Major bummer for Mom. If I wasn't doling out snacks and activities I was working. We tethered my phone to my laptop so I could do this and it's kind of cramping my style, but not as much as it would have had I taken the week off.
You have to be willing to let the plan change based on the kids' mood. I struggle with this. Come on! A tour of the Tillamook cheese factory would have been awesome! But two additional hours in the car would have done everyone in. Dairy Queen ice cream cones is kind of like visiting a dairy, right?
Make frequent stops. Not like you have a choice if you have a nursing baby, but even half an hour at the ghetto park in Podunk, OR is better than cranky, screaming kids for the half hour you would have gained in travel time.
No matter how prepared you think you are and how many snacks you've packed, you're going to get bored. So are they. You'll want to run screaming from the car. It's okay. You will find ways to pass the time, and then when you think you're really going to lose it and change your name to something other than Mo-om, you're there!
A great hotel pool is worth every penny.
So is finding great local places to eat.
Repeat the last two as needed. I've planned a busy fun-filled activity day alternating with a low key cartoons on fluffy beds interrupted by swims day and so far, it is working.