Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - St. Mary's Cathedral

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Meeting the Mouse

I have so much that I want to share about our trip - I *always* do, but the time part I always seem to lose track of.  So, just in case time slips away, I wanted to share this pic of meeting Mickey and a cute video.  This was the first time we met the talking Mickey.  The kids were a little freaked out at first.  To be honest, I was too.  Most characters we met don't talk.  They hug you, shake your hand, give you high five's, but talk and sound exactly like they do on the cartoons?  Nada!  But, this Mickey DOES talk and I knew he did beforehand, so I had the camera out and ready and I am so glad I did....

Love that mouse!!!  

5 tips for road-tripping with kids

We got back home a few weeks ago from an AMAZING vacation to FL to meet the mouse!!  Having 8 kids and getting them out the door, packed and ready, and safely to your destination is not an easy chore.  However, if you are prepared, you can do it with grace and love and as smooth as possible....


#1 - pack with a purpose

Yes, you can make piles of what each kid needs and throw them in a suitcase, OR you can "pack with a purpose".  First off, we all dress in the same color when we hit the parks.  Second, it makes for ease of picking out clothes in the morning if the colors are already determined and the outfits are already paired together.  So, as I packed, I rolled up a shirt, shorts, undies, and socks and placed them into a gallon ziploc bag.  Then I took all 8 ziplocs (of the same color shirt) and placed them into a grocery bag.  Next, the bags go in big tubs to be thrown into the back of the van.  Then everyday when we woke up, everything was ready and laid out and there was no hassle finding missing socks or wondering which shorts with which shirt.  It's so nice to have that "brain work" all done ahead of time.  So our "purpose" of packing is to create easy mornings!!

#2 - have a "plan" for the ride to keep kids busy

Our kids rotated between the following activities:
*audio books
*electronics (whatever you already have - ds, kindle, ipads, leappads,etc...)
*trip journals (I turned to google to help search for all the printables we used and there are a TON out there!  For our journals, our kids colored a page on each state as we traveled through it.  We also had fun travel games for them to mark on and color too, along with some journal pages to keep a diary of our trip.)
*watching movies

And to create peace, we (mostly) had the kids doing the same thing at the same time (except for the napping part - it was only the three littles who napped along the way)

#3 - checkpoints

We hand out "checkpoints" every couple hours when we catch the kids being good.  Check points are just simple reward items such as fruit snacks, stickers, animal crackers, boxes of raisins, a new movie to watch, etc....  And like packing clothes, I have these counted out and packed up ahead of time.  I try to have about 6 per day to hand out.  It also helps with snack planning!!  I number these so I know what order to hand them out in.  Don't forget to make up enough for the trip TO your destination, but also the trip HOME.

#4 - have maps or GPS apps ready to go.  

Our two favorite apps that we used were iExit and Waze.  iExit was perfect for planning on bathroom breaks, filling up on gas, and stopping to grab a bite to eat.  We used Waze instead of our normal navigation system installed in our van, because it was updated so often.  I especially liked that when it saw back ups in traffic or stalled cars, it already calculated a different route so that you didn't get stuck in the traffic.  It also notifies you of vehicles on the side of the road, objects in the road, cops nearby, etc....  Such a neat app!

#5 - be prepared mentally and PRAY

Whether you have one kid or four kids or eight kids, you have to be prepared mentally for the unexpected.  At some point in the trip, someone is bound to get nauseous, have an accident, a melt-down (and yes, sometimes, moms and dads too!), you may get lost, not be able to find a hotel room at night when you are ready to crash and call it a day with driving (doh!), etc...  So, just knowing ahead of time that if these things will happen, helps for when they do happen. Praying at the beginning of each day is key - we started with a prayer to St. Christopher and this was the first page in their trip journal.  Pray throughout your journey too!  Whenever my husband saw a town with a saint name, he would say "St. ****, pray for us" and also you will find many towns that actually begin with "St".  Call upon those heavenly friends and ask for their intercession!  Our kids are in the habit of praying 3 Hail Mary's when they see or hear emergency vehicles, so it was just natural to continue this on our trip.  Also, we had many "thank you, God!" moments with close calls - people pulling out in front of you, close calls for accidents happening, etc...


These are 5 life-savers for us when road-tripping with kids.  What tips do you have to make your ride go smooth?  Do share please!!  

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