"When we had our children, our ideas changed somewhat. Thenceforward we lived only for them; they made all our happiness and we would never have found it save in them. In fact, nothing any longer cost us anything; the world was no longer a burden to us. As for me, my children were my great compensation, so that I wished to have many in order to bring them up for Heaven" -- Saint Zelie Martin, mother of St. Therese of Lisieux, canonized October 18, 2015 along with her husband St. Louis Martin.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

This has to happen

I have to post. I'm actually going around the house composing a post in my brain and it's making me nuts! It's a writer's thing.
So, I know I promised all sorts of things, like the birth story of my eighth beautiful three month old daughter. Well, let's see: she came, she is perfect, I'm alive. I think that's it in a nutshell.

Now, I have got to get this out of me: it's the HOW TO PLAN TO TRAVEL WITH A 10 PERSON FAMILY--FOR 3 WEEKS (or however long, but long).
I have to write this because my sister loves lists. I think it makes list people have a sense of control over any given situation. I like lists a little. But I'm not a list person. Anyway, I looked up FlyLady's list for packing before vacation. I'd link you, but I have no time (hence no posts), google Fly Lady.
Her list lost me when she said: first, your house must be left sparkling. Then she listed things like socks and toothbrushes. Ok, I don't need a list for that. I'm not going to forget my undies. And breezing past "leave your house sparkling" makes a gal like me (with 8 kids and a newborn) really annoyed. Because that little breezy remark, my friends, is the hinge upon which the whole possibility of vacationing rests.

Ok, so in the two free minutes I have left…here's my list:

You are leaving in 1 week (minimum give yourself 3 days; 2 and it's going to be ugly.)
Start shutting things down now.
1) cancel all activities but the most essential appointments. We are keeping piano lessons this week (to reduce the number we miss, and because it will keep the kids occupied while I work), but nothing else. Friends and family will stay away and keep any phone calls short. Unless they're dropping off a coffee. That's ok.

2) go postal on LAUNDRY. Do all laundry and you can pack (in fact, feel free to pack as you fold…I have no problem leaving half-packed suitcases in my living room for the days before travel. No one is visiting anyway, remember?) Otherwise put it in away so you can lay everything out and decide what to take later. But you can't pack if it isn't clean. Dirty laundry left in the chute or hamper for extended vacations? Ew. Not an option. If you're a big family, you have a lot of laundry--so attack. Full-on laundry mode until it's all done. Part B of this step is to tell your kids to wear the same clothes for a week. I'm exaggerating, but only a little. Make as little new laundry as possible, and keep up on it.

3)Kitchen. Do all dishes. Start simplifying meals, eat everything in your fridge before you go. As you get close, only buy things you can eat in the number of days you have left. By the day or two before you leave, you should be down to bare bones and take-out dinners. The day before you leave, clean out the fridge and wipe it down (if you have the ambition). Eating out the night before travel is a very good idea.

4)Bathrooms. Trash out. Bleach/scour.  Must be left pretty near pristine.  Do this at the beginning of the week, try to keep up daily blitzes and then give it a good going over the day before you leave. Don't leave 3 ½ baths to be scoured the day before you leave. Too many last-minute details creep up on you, and stress can shut you down as you get close to the end.

5) all of that trash now in the outdoor/garage trash cans? Make sure someone can get it out for the trash pick-up on the day it comes…otherwise you've got food rotting in your garbage cans for an extended period of time. It has bad repercussions. I'm just saying.

6) go ahead and take care of forwarding or holding mail, shutting down hot water/heat/air conditioning…my husband is great about the practical details, so I won't elaborate here.

7) Pack. Think through carefully and make sure it's all there. Lay stuff out that you don't want to forget to take. Start putting stuff on the kitchen table or counter so you can't forget it. Write things down as they come to you so you don't forget…we're getting very close to the end now.

8)make a fun trip to Target or the Grocery store for travel snacks, coloring pads, or whatever is going to  give the kids a little lift as you get through the grueling travel. (Books on tape, DVDs too, whatever).

9)I always leave this last, but it should probably be done first: stock that diaper bag! Extra outfits!!

10) if you are still holding up and not in fetal position on the couch as you imagine scenes at the airport check-in…go ahead and vacuum the house, all floors.

Shall we recap? Do nothing but laundry, kitchen, bathrooms, trash, pack (attn.: fun extras and diaper bag..ok, purse too) and vacuum.

 You're good to go!
Now, if you want that list of what to pack, go print it off at FlyLady. But you're going to have to do that laundry first.;)

Bon Voyage!