because she was a mom of older kids when i was a mom of lotsa babies, my neighbor Maria taught me much. she gave me perspective when i was overwhelmed and worried that i was ruining the perfect bundles God kept sending me (4 kiddos in 4 years... oh what a time of life.)
Maria taught me to think "We're taking a TRIP." not "We're taking a VACATION."
trip = happiness
vacation = disappointment
No, trips are not vacations for mom.
They take a lot of planning and A LOT of patience.
often i need a vacation after my trip.
this wisdom has served me well.
turns out, i LOVE trips.
i procrastinate the heck out of cleaning my house and packing and planning, but then when we have only one evening before we need to leave, i turn into the packing genie.
i often make the professor go to the pool or the park with my kids... it seems like they have so much pent up excitement about the trip it is impossible to do anything with them around. plus they are continually finding treasures they have to bring, or taking things off my piles... so, i send them away.
this time i tried a new way (thanks taneil)
i cleaned my whole house, did all the laundry and put the laundry away.
then, i packed.
actually, i piled and the professor put everything into suitcases while the kids were sleeping.
i packed a small totebag for each kid including a new book, a sticker book, a notebook, some little toys, and a ziplock full of writing utensils.
i tell the kids that whatever i find on the floor will be thrown away. but i don't really do it.
we just clean up at every bathroom stop and stick stuff back in the tote bags.
we have 2 little tv/dvds that we bought years ago from Target.
i bought the new BBC earth movie, narrated by Oprah, called Life, i think.
and, the new Barbie Mermaid movie.
And- we got some books on tape at the library to keep the Professor and me awake.
we left at 6am and arrived in Rexburg, ID at 2am the next morning.
the kids were great.
the professor was only a little bit cranky.
(this makes me laugh the most... when Todd looses his temper because the kids are fussy. i calmly remind him that being in the car for 20 hours is hard, especially if you're 6. If HE is having a hard time staying happy he should understand when they are having a hard time being happy.)
overall, i have found if i can stay calm, the ride is nice.
if i'm cranky, heaven help us!!
i hope my kids will always look back on these road trips with fond memories.
i cherish the memories of past trips.
like the time we got pulled over for speeding and we had 4 screaming kids in the backseat.
the cop said, "thank you for keeping them in their car seats. please drive carefully"
he let us go without a ticket.
i guess he understood why the professor was in a hurry.
or the time the professor let me drive
(he HATES for me to drive, because i'm not good at directions and he's not as patient with the kids.)
he told me get on the interstate and drive straight for 4 hours.
i woke him up 4 hours later and asked him if we could stop by some road site.
he said, "No, that's about 4 hours out of our way."
he went back to sleep.
i woke him up again, "Uh, honey, i just saw another sign for that place."
turns out i had driven 4 hours SOUTH instead of WEST.
or the time we were coming home from a reunion and our air conditioning broke, a belt on our minivan broke, and right as we were gliding into a nasty motel, drew said, "My tummy hurts." he started puking all over the seat.
by the end of the trip all 4 kids were puking and pooping every few minutes. the van stunk and i was NEVER going to Idaho again.
but, trip pains are like labor pains.
you forget by next summer and find yourself on the road again...
remember, if it's REALLY, REALLY bad, it will be a GREAT story later!!
now, i'm off to rescue Grandpa's Garden from his many helpful grandchildren pickers.