When most people hear the word vacation images of tropical islands, warm beaches and fruity drinks probably fill their minds.  While all of those things sound amazing to me, they’re not what comes to my mind when I think about vacation.  To me vacation is time spent away from home with loved ones doing things that you all love.  So while sitting on a warm, tropical beach sipping fruity drinks would definitely fit into that category, it’s simply not feasible (at least for us) with two small children.

Instead, our vacations involve packing our car full of everything except the kitchen sink, driving for a few hours, and getting comfy in a hotel/friend’s home/mini resort for a few nights.  Here is how it usually unfolds – A few months prior, I’ll suggest to Scott that we should do X.  He’ll agree because I always have fabulous plans.  We’ll arrange for accommodations either in a hotel/resort or with friends (I do most of this planning).  The week of, we confirm all of the reservations, make lists and take multiple trips to Target for necessities.  Two days before, I begin getting things ready.  Laundry is done, bags and suitcases are laid out and items start getting crossed off of the lists.  The day of departure everything is finalized in bags and suitcases.  This includes clothes for Scott, myself and both kids (and plenty of spare outfits for spills/accidents/weather changes), toiletries for all four of us, toys, kids plates/utensils/cups, any special or hard to find food or snacks, extra pillows, air mattress (if necessary), pack and play, etc.. As I said, everything but the kitchen sink.  Scott packs the car.  I refuse to be a part of it other than to request which few items are to go in the back seat within an arms reach for emergencies.  He’s a master at doing it and I’d rather not interrupt.  Somehow he always makes it fit.  Then we all pile in the car, stop at Dunkin’ Donuts (it wouldn’t be a road trip without this important stop) and hit the road.

Our favorite destinations range from an hour and a half to a little over four hour away via car.  So, depending on where we’re going at the time, we decide if we’ll drive straight through or make a stop along the way.  Generally speaking, anything two hours or less is a straight through drive.  If it’s a trip with a stop we try to plan the drive as follows – get in the car just around nap time for Nora.  Stop for “lunch” when she wakes up.  Eat and then finish the drive.  This usually works out quite well but as of late, she hasn’t been a huge fan of sleeping in the car.  In which case, we try to get at least half of the drive under our belts before stopping.

At this point, we’ve already had so much excitement and anticipation about our vacation and we haven’t even gotten there yet!  Once we arrive at our destination it’s time to unload the car.  (I’d like to take a moment to apologize to whomever decided to host our family for one of our vacations.  We bring a shit ton of crap with us.  Thanks!)  After that task, which is usually left up to Scott so I can wrangle the kids, is done, the vacation begins.

I know what you’re probably thinking right about now… That sounds like the furthest thing from a vacation that I could possibly imagine!  But you know what, it really is fun.  Is it stressful?  Yes.  Do we want to rip each others’ heads off at some point?  Yes.  Do we forget things? Yes.  Do we often say we’ll never do it again?  Yes.  Would we change it for the world?  No.  This, my friends, is how memories are made.

Image credit – worldofstock.com

Note:  Though this picture loosely represents what our packed car looks like, we DO NOT drive a mini van. :-)

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