Thursday, June 5, 2014

Vacationing with Small Kids

Going on vacation is a huge deal for our family, like- so gigantic we don't do it.  Part one is my own fear- I do not like change, unknown, surprises and not being in control.  Part two is we just cannot afford it.  Part three is it is hard, it is just REALLY, REALLY hard.  But friends, I hope after the end of this week (yes, go big or go home, we're gone Saturday to Saturday) I can say it was worth it.  We are traveling for the first time as a family of four- with my husband's entire immediate family- Nana, three adult siblings + spouses, and six children age five and under.

This trip has been planned for months and dreamt of for longer.  My husband's sister and husband own a timeshare that they have worked around points so we can do this sort of thing.  After researching flights- we settled on a location that was a little less than perfect, but we're loving it so far.  (So what makes it less than perfect? It isn't on the beach, it isn't easy to get to the beach from here walking/biking, there isn't much close by for walking)  But- it was our best bet to GET to and to eat our own food.  Apart from finding a location, booking airline tickets and just discussing what we'd like to do in Myrtle Beach, SC I started my lists.  I know, I know.  It was December and I had lists for a trip in June in a notebook.  So.... for my first post about vacationing with small kids, I'd like to talk about those lists.   For some people, it doesn't work, and that is totally okay.  But if you're like me- and you don't want to be caught with your pants down at a resort with no way other than a taxi to a store 5 miles away..... maybe you should stick with me on this.

I started with the easy stuff- each person got a 1/4 page (so this was one sheet, front and back).  I knew we had units with laundry in them, so I decided to pack 4 outfits, 2 swim suits, and 2-3 pairs of jammies.  Our little dude got 4 pairs, the kid leaks through his diaper EVERY night.  You wanna see my list?  Ok fine, twist my arm.

2 pair nicer shorts
2 pair athletic shorts
4 t-shirts (1 blue for family photo)
1 pair jersey shorts and 1 sleep t-shirt
2 swim trunks
1 rash guard
4 pairs underwear
2 pairs socks
flip flops
1 hat (he is bald)

4 outfits (1 blue for family photos)
2 extra shirts for nasty spills/stains
4 jammies
2 swimsuits
1 rash guard
flip flops

2 short/t-shirt outfits
2 dresses
2 night gowns
4 undies
2 swimsuits (which I am only letting her use one, it is my FAVORITE of hers and the pool bottom totally ripped up the butt, not letting that happen to ANOTHER suit!  BUMMED!)
cover up
sandals/keens/summer shoes

4 t shirts
4 tank tops (I layer)
2 bottoms
picture outfit (I'm wearing a dress I won't wear to just hang out in on vacation) + 2 scarves to pick the best
2 jammies
4 undies
1 bra
bikini top, bottoms, rash guard (I wear my rash guard as a top... but my rack is too big to not wear a bikini top, don't judge)
skirt for walking to the pool
flip flops

Then I tried to think of what would entertain our family on the plane, the movies were the best.  Honestly IN the airport was the hardest waiting for the infamous "a-pane ride!"

On Plane (Backpack for each person)
Largest shoes for all- Tennis shoes for Daddy and B, Birkenstock for Mommy, Owen only owns 1 pair of shoes that fit now
Technology: ipad, itouch, headphones
Snacks: goldfish, teddy grahams, banana, fruit snacks, mini packet skittles and m&ms, 2 empty sippy cups
Miscellaneous Toys (the night I packed, I actually made a list and took a picture of it on my phone so I can check it before we leave when we let him take out his toys: magnadoodle, 3 matchbox cars, dinosaur transformer, 2 dinosaurs, elephant, jaguar, matchbox trike, light up mini light saber, mini pillow pet- for bedtime, coloring book, 1 box crayons, stickers, barbie plus 2 pairs shoes, polly pocket)
2 pacifiers
In Brooklyn's Backpack: 1 Barbie, 2 pairs of shoes for Barbie, Bag of Polly Pocket, Coloring Book and Crayons, Lovie

1 Sippy cup per child

We keep bathroom time simple, and this is what I needed most:

Teeth supplies (this is 3 types for us and the kids, UGH!)
baby soap
shaving cream
soap dad
soap mom
contact cases/solution/extra pairs

And then I had to figure out what we needed out of those categories-

Family needs
tide washing packets (I brought 5 because that was the package I purchased for about $0.10 with sales and coupons)
diapers- if we had a car or were close to a store, I would have bought these at our destination.  I brought 5 diapers a day
sunscreen (I packed 4 spray kids, 3 adult spray, 1 kid lotion, 1 adult lotion, I kid face stick.  This has been a great amount for our family, I reapply a TON and we've had no burns so far.  We apply lotion to start the day and spray while we're out and about. I use the kid's face stick on our lips as they are easy to forget about!)
2 shovels, 2 sieves, 1 plastic tablecloth to make a "pool" at the beach
2 small beach towels, cheap that can be tossed if I need space in our bag
swim diapers (I brought a pack of 17, you never know what your kids will be like in the pool, I reuse them if they aren't pooped in or smothered in sand)
beach bag
2 extra sippy cups (Yes, we lost one on day one, so this was essential)
pacifiers (3 extra hidden in case we lose some)

Vacation is coming to a close and we have purchased NOTHING other than fun stuff.  The only item I have thought may have been nice to have was a sweatshirt because the AC can be pretty cool in the evenings- but I didn't want to take up space and get sweaty.  The evenings have not been cold enough to need anything here mid 70s, so I don't miss it really.  We packed in one carry on (STUFFED with our entire wardrobe for the week all rolled) and 1 checked bag that was 43 pounds, I believe.  Without the diapers it should be a touch lighter, our clothes were very heavy.

I am so grateful we brought what we did, and not much more.  I have 3 washing packets left and 2 days of vacation left, I will use at least one of those, I LOVE coming home with clean clothes to simply put into drawers.

Well friends.... so that's it!  It looks like so much, but I PROMISE we only brought a carry on, checked bag, each kid had a backpack with kid stuff in it, my backpack with my camera and a few other items, and my husband's backpack with his laptop, mine and the ipad.  This has been so great, not panicking and needing more stuff has been so rewarding!  You CAN do this, I know it may sound like too much, but you'll love it!  I was skeptical, but we have had a lovely time.  And have LOVED the beach (yes, I'm still in shock!) with a curious 2 year old boy and his almost 4 year old sister.... more on that another day!

*Normally I'd have packed sun hats for the kids, they refuse to wear them, not worth packing then.
*The multiple bathing suits was GENIUS.  The pool chewed up the bum of my daughter's suit so she wore one to the pool, one to the ocean, and she was happy to put the sandy suit in the wash but still have a pool suit!

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