You guys. I have a confession to make. I am a glutton for punishment. Ok, not really. But I do have this tendency to start something all gung-ho only to realize part-way through that holy cow this is going to be a lot harder than I originally thought.
Case in point: the 10-day trip I just survived – I mean, enjoyed – with all 3 kids in tow. Did I mention I was sans hubby for 6 of those looooooooong days? Yes. This happened. When it all began I was shiny and bright and full of hope and pizazz. I even wore makeup and cute clothes. (Prepare to be photo spammed for the duration of this blog post.)
See what I mean:
And here’s the sass:
It was a glorious time – we were headed to my sister-in-law’s wedding – full of excitement and fun. Except for when kids were screaming in the background of the car, or hitting one another, or peeing through their diaper all over the carseat. But I digress.
We emerged on the other side of the trip far less shiny…
Here is what I felt like (yes, this is the wheezing mini-van from the movie Cars):
And here is what I looked like…DEFINITELY no cute makeup and not much sass. And I may or may not be wearing clothes stained with barbecue sauce thanks to kid #3.
But here’s the kicker…
I was still smiling.
Because even though it was hecka-hard to schlepp all those kids for literally more than 1000 miles – roughly 30 hours in the car round trip – it was also totally awesome. We saw family and my kids played in the ocean. We met Asha’s new baby and delighted Red Robin patrons with the antics of 5 (yes 5) kids ages 6 and under as they waited an entire hour (not cool, Red Robin, if you’re reading this) to get their food. It’s a hot miracle they didn’t raze the place while chanting and dragging Big Red’s costume around behind them as a trophy.
But all in all, this trip was awesome, and it reminded me yet again that we need to just get out and do stuff, already. Sure, kids add a ton of crazy to the mix, but it is mostly the good kind of crazy – even when the almost 2-year-old learns how to climb out of the pack-and-play and decides she is now a vampire and does not need to sleep ever again.
We started out the festivities with a trip to the mall because the rehearsal dinner we needed to attend that night was “dressy casual” and we live in Montana where dressy means no cutoff tank tops or board shorts…and as for the casual…well, we really had no idea what “dressy casual” meant so we were just winging it. So back to the mall – hubby needed a pair of jeans sans holes in the knees, so we took our crew into the Land Of Plenty. Also known as the Land Of Please Touch Nothing Because It All Is Expensive And Mommy Does Not Want To Have To Buy A Broken Something.
This is where we saw the animals. Not real animals, but honestly kind of better than real animals. Think a mini 4-wheeler thing made to look like an animal that kids can ride around the mall. They were AWESOME! My kids (and maybe me too, since I definitely rode one at one point) thought they were a hoot.
Fun was had, we survived the mall, and If I ever find $3000 lying around I am totally buying one of those things so it can live at my house.
The next 2 days were kind of a blur. I did take this photo the first night we were there, though. North Spokane is BEAUTIFUL.
The wedding was awesome, and we all cleaned up pretty good, I must say. Hubs wore a tux, and I got all weepy because he looked so dapper just like when we walked down the aisle 8 years ago. I wore a…dress. (Shocker, I know, lol.) The littles – all flower girls – wore basically 10 pounds of glitter and fluff. They were like adorable indoor snowballs.
After the wedding we spent another day in Spokane and hung out with family. Little one may or may not have passed out on the floor at some point (this is why she needs to sleep at night, but – again – vampire).
And again – North Spokane was gorgeous the whole time we were there – it was unreal.
*I took that photo through the windshield so no, there was not a notebook and a random woman in the cloud formations, lol. If there had been, this would totally be a much different blog post.
After Spokane the hubs headed home and we 4…we sleepy 4…we band of sisters… headed to the coast which is where I grew up. We spent the week laughing with family and playing in water. Rivers. Oceans. Tubs to wash off all that the rivers and oceans had left behind. Water, water everywhere. It was awesome.
I will spare you the endless photos, and instead delight you with some photo collages.
As you can see – fun was totally had by all. It was borderline magical some of the time, to be honest. Kids frolicking about in the waves, examining shells and sea life, sharing toys. Magical. And there were un-magical moments, sure, but by and large, it was a pretty epic trip.
After that we headed home and stopped in Seattle to see Asha and the fam. Our tribe is growing and we aren;t quit sure how we ended up with 5 kids and multiple pets and patient hubbies along the way, but we are thankful to say the least.
I mean, come on – look at that cuteness! What’s not to be thankful for when they are like little minions of adorableness?
And then they start throwing crayons and crawling over people next to you at Red Robin and dumping lemonade all over the floor there too and we think to ourselves, “Dear sweet petunias what has happened to our cherubs!”
As you can see in the photo above, Asha gave me a necklace with the word hope engraved on it. Here it is bigger, if you – like me – have a hard time reading small things…getting older is tough, let me tell you what. Also…when did my hands start getting wrinkled? WHAT IS UP WITH THAT?! I am still 29 for heaven’s sake. Time for some extensive repair hand cream, stat.
We got back home late on a Saturday and honestly home has never looked so good. We love being out and about and adventuring, but there is something pretty great to about coming home and taking a deep breath and relaxing into the comfort of the normal you have created in your own little nest.
I have made the trek across states with my littles several times, and each time I feel like I learn something new. Here’s some (unsolicited, I know) advice for anyone thinking about packing up their own brood and striking out an an adventure.
- Pack lighter. Waaaaaaaaaay lighter. Like, pack your bags and then pull out 50% of the stuff because honestly you will live in like 2 items of clothing and that is about it.
- Pack heavier. Waaaaaaaaaay heavier. For the kids, that is. Because kids are messy, man, and they can blow through clothes like it is your sole job to launder them. True story.
- Bring plenty of baby wipes if you have kids in diapers. Because when I said above in point #2 that kids blow through clothes, I wasn’t just waxing poetic and all that…blowouts happen and when they do you want to be prepared. Or you may find yourself wiping your kid’s hind end with…other clothes…not that I know from experience and great personal trauma or anything like that. And then you may decide that is just way the heck easier to just throw away said soiled and nasty clothes than launder them, in which case refer again to point #2. PACK LOTS OF CLOTHES, PEOPLE.
- Adopt the, “It will all be ok” and the, “Let it go” and the ever-applicable, “Done is better than perfect” mindset. It really will all work out in the end, and the less you try to hold onto a semblance of the routine and control you maintain over your at-home routine, the better of a time you will have.
- Make time for the little things. Sure, you may have planned an epic trip to Disney or a trip to the ocean, but when your 4 year old wants to stop along the way and look at an old log that is burned and twisty and cool, just say yes, even though by golly you have a schedule and a timetable to keep. Because the trip is about them and for them in a big way after all, and while we may care about hitting all 16 things on our trip itinerary for the day, they may care about the old log and “look how cool it is mom” and you may find so much unexpected joy in the journey when you take time now and then to let the kiddos lead the adventure – even in a small way.
From my heart to yours – I encourage you to dive in and take a trip with your kids. It is crazy and exhausting but fun nevertheless. And the memories? Priceless.