Monday, July 16, 2018

Road Trip Notes

The past several years we've made very long road trips a part of our summers. Ben's parents live in Ohio, and mine (usually ;)) live in Idaho, and with four little kids, this is how we make it work.

I've written about some of the things we've been fine-tuning for road trips here and here and here, and below are things I want to remember and take into account next year.

Our trip this year was 10 days. It felt a little long honestly! Normally I feel like I don't get enough time with my family, but maybe it was because of how hard it is to take care of Frank at other people's houses, but we were all excited to be back home.

Number of stops
We saw six of my ten siblings: Bethany, Cassidy, Dillon, Haley, Heather, and Derek. I love being in a big family, but it is so hard to spend quality time with all of them, especially in just 10 days. I wish I knew a better solution to this. Moving around to different places was kind of fun and kept things interesting, but was of course hard too, packing up and moving out, or leaving before you had a chance to spend time with your sibling on a deeper level. I don't know that I've figured this one out yet.

Night driving
Some people think we are crazy for driving through the night. Other people think we are smart. I know night driving is not for everybody, but let me just tell you some things you might've not thought about.
-It's not as hard to drive through the night as you might think. When driving through the night, Ben and I switch off at about 2 hour intervals. So every two hours you get a nap. If you've had a newborn baby, you've done this before. And it's only one night, it's not like you are sleep-deprived your whole trip.
-Getting a good book to listen to makes driving through the night possible. If you've ever stayed up late to see how a book turns out, you know you can drive through the night!
-Driving through the night saves so much time. There's no traffic, no slow traffic for construction, no bathroom breaks, no meals, no fighting. The kids sleep from sundown to (at least) sun-up on our typical night drives. It's not perfect sleep, but it's only one night.
-You get to spend more time vacationing! We were so grateful we drove through the night, because it meant we got to spend more daylight hours being with the people we love, and seeing more of them.

Books to listen to
-I've found the very best thing to read to stay awake is fiction, especially at night. Find a really good writer, and you will have no problem staying awake.
-This trip we listened to Unbroken but our very favorite was The Orphan Keeper. Both Ben & I found it fascinating. When it was your turn to sleep, it was hard to make yourself because you wanted to hear what would happen next! On that note, it's best if you and the other driver pick two separate books to listen to.
-I found out that Ben wanted books with male protagonists, narrated by a male voice. I know he won't like it if we start listening and it's narrated by a woman (ha!).
-My favorite kind of books were historical based-on-a-true-story type books, or biographies.

Activities for the kids
Here are some of the things we brought that worked well, both in the car and at places we stayed:
-The past two years I have bought my girls bags to decorate on the road. It's their favorite thing! Last year I bought this kind and this year I bought this kind.
-Delaney, age 6 and her younger cousins LOVED playing with this sticker set over and over at Grandma's house.
-These brick cases for Legos worked great!
-I was surprised to see that all three of my older kids (7, 6, and 4) liked using these tape books.
-The girls liked playing Guess Who in the car.
-We listened to all of the first 8 of The Magic Treehouse books and my kids were enthralled! They also love love love My Father's Dragon.

-We've used these seat-back backpack-type things the last couple of years and they work out great for us.
-I refused to find crayons in every crevice of the car and so I only gave the kids eight crayons each, and put them in one of these.
-I did way better on cleaning out my car this trip! I brought this little plug-in vacuum cleaner and cleaned out my car at least twice on our trip. It's not as great as a shop-vac, but it works for road trips.

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