Hello, from York Harbor, Maine.
If you’ve been around for a while you know that I actually live in Nashville, TN. There’s no snow there. There’s also no ocean. There’s certainly no view like this one. But, on the plus side, it is above -4 degrees.
York Harbor is one of my favorite places on earth. First of all, it looks just like Stars Hollow (of Gilmore Girls fame) if Stars Hollow had a beautiful rocky shoreline. That would be enough to recommend it all by itself, but there’s more… There’s lobster boats, and adorable shops, and the most amazing fish chowder at the Ship’s Cellar Pub. But more than all this, there’s FAMILY.
As an only child with only one cousin close in age, family is a valuable commodity for me. Thankfully, I married well. My husband has a whole batch of family: uncles, aunts, cousins (with kids!), all living in this magical place. Until last week, he even had a grandfather living here. To top it all off, York Harbor was Zoë’s first home.
We don’t get up here nearly as often as we’d like to. Tennessee to Maine is a far stretch of road after all. We do come up for every wedding, and now we’ve returned for a funeral.
When we got the news about Papa Joe, there was no doubt that we’d be heading north, the question was only how we’d get there. With plane fare for seven coming in around $2300, driving, quickly became the only answer.
I snapped a few photos as I packed us up for our week long 2,350 mile road trip. Perhaps they will help you organize your own traveling circus, or at the very least, provide some perspective when you feel like you’re going to lose your mind if you can’t get a second alone. Just think of us, all SEVEN of us, in a minivan FOR.DAYS.
My kids are natural foragers. If I pack a suitcase the normal way (you know, folded clothes, arranged neatly) they will turn it into a giant pawed-through mess within 30 seconds of unzipping it. Suddenly, everyone is screaming that I only packed shirts for them, or forgot underwear (a distinct possibility) or that a sibling lost all their pajamas and now they have to sleep NAKED. NAKED I TELL YOU! Add to this the fact that our minivan is not large enough to carry seven people plus seven suitcases, and you got a problem. But I’ve got an answer.
I pack all of my children’s clothes in ziplock bags. Each bag contains a complete outfit. Yes, including underwear.
I put the twins’ outfits together in one bag. That way I’ve got matching outfits on the ready if I want them, which I usually do, after all that’s half the fun of identical toddlers.
I pack all pjs in one ziplock. They’re going to need them at the same time anyway. Same thing with swimsuits.
In the end, the little girls’ bag looks like this:
That’s fifteen complete outfits plus pjs and swimwear, all labeled and ready to go, in one average-sized suitcase. It’s easy to pull out what you need for a quick stopover without having to lug all the suitcases into a hotel for just one night.
I pack the older kids’ clothes into one suitcase too, though I must confess, Mike and I get our own individual luggage. That man is a shoe hound, what can I say?
So that takes care of the packing.
As far as the actual driving… the nine hours a day with two three-year-olds, a five-year-old, a nine-year-old, and a twelve year old… I’ve just got one suggestion: