Fast forward 4 years and we wanted all of our family to meet our kids and to also spend time with Grandpa & Grandma Lesnau. Flying was not an option. Buying an RV was not an option. Driving our 10 passenger van was going to be the way we traveled 1820 miles. With needing to travel all those miles we knew we needed to make this family vacation a longer one to make it worth while. I worked my schedule to cover my days and Paul used a bunch of his accumulated vacation time and our dates were set.
I recently traveled to my dads with the kids which was an 8 hour drive and I was so glad that I had done this previous trip because it gave me great insight into what worked and what did not with kids in the car for many hours. We chose to leave at 6am which is normally right when our kids wake up. Waking them up earlier has always failed us in the past because we think our kids will fall back to sleep and they never do. This also allows me to wake up and get myself ready before the kids so when they do wake we basically have the kids brush their teeth, change into the clothes that had been laid out the night before, pee and we are off. With this early departure I have everything we possibly can load the night before so my checklist in the morning is very short. When we originally started thinking about our road trip we thought we would rent a trailer to pull behind our van but Paul decided driving slower than the speed limit to pull a trailer was not sounding fun. Instead I got serious on my packing. I am one who hates being on vacation and have limited clothes so that meant I needed to have plenty of wardrobe options for all 9 of us. I decided the Rubbermaid containers from Costco would be the perfect packing solution. I also ordered a bunch of Thirty-One bags that would slide under our seats for easy access to snacks and entertainment. A thermal bag to keep drinks and cold food options on hand was also used. Even I was surprised how well everything fit into our van without feeling crammed or needing to step over items every time we needed to get out. My organization OCD loved the packing game of Tetris!
|Pulling out of the driveway at 6:02!|
|Mama had her oils going the whole way.|
|The sun was blinding as we took off in the morning. Drew and Kenzie took one for the team until we reached Tahoe and the sun was higher in the sky.|
|A bag of letters were great on the metal trays. This picture was found on Aubrey's camera and made her mama smile.|
|We found a park midday to use the bathroom and run around while daddy went and filled up with gas. A great 20 minutes out of car seats.|
|Aubrey fell in love with Baby Noah and would have been more than happy to bring him along with us.|
|Not often you have 2 mom's with 14 kids between them!|
|Kids asleep, mama & daddy acting silly.|
|On vacation and still checking work emails!|
|Trying so hard to climb like Natalie & Drew but the monkey couldn't even get off the ground.|
|But daddy made it and Tate was so excited for him.|
|Day 3 can have you acting a little crazy and Drew grew facial hair between California and Minnesota!|
|We MADE it!!!|