Today I'm going to talk about packing for travel days.
There is a SuperWalmart in a town 45 minutes away, but we rarely go to that town and there isn't a lot more besides SuperWalmart in that town. We live 1 1/2 hours away from towns that have Walmart, Target, Menards, and big grocery stores. We live 3 hours away from small cities that have a regular size mall. We live 4 hours away from a major city. When Ram has to visit someone in the hospital in one of those towns we almost always go along and after he visits them then we go shopping. Our pediatrician is in the town 1 1/2 hours away and some of our doctors are in the towns 3 hours away. We try to schedule all the Lambs yearly checkups at the same time and then after the doctor then we go shopping. These make very long days, but we try to make it fun for the Lambs. I'm now used to getting all my major shopping done once or sometimes twice a month. If we move to a bigger city I might continue this way of shopping since I'm now used to it. The Lambs used to complain about these long days, but now they are used to them.
1. Things in our car for travel days-We have plenty of blankets and some toys that always stay in the car. Lamb 1 has his own atlas to follow along on our trips. They each have a drawing board in the car. Ram's mom gave me the idea to keep clipboards in the car for them to do their homeschool work as they did that with Ram and his brothers. The Lambs all have their own small bottle of hand sanitizer-we go to a lot of stores in one day and could pick up a lot of germs quickly. We always have a cooler in our car-how else would we get the refrigerated stuff home from the town 1 1/2 hours away? Ram's parents have a refrigerator in their car that plugs into the cigarette lighter-I'm jealous of that. I know that wouldn't be big enough for us though.
2. Things I pack in the car-I like to be prepared. When we are going on a day trip I pack a lot. I always pack water bottles and snacks. Depending on how far we are traveling, I sometimes pack enough to be breakfast or lunch until we get to the big town we are going to and eat a meal. We bring ice for the cooler. I pack a complete change of clothes for each Lamb and extra diapers for each Lamb that is still in diapers. (You would not believe how many times we have needed those extra clothes on these travel days!) I often pack a pair of pajamas for each Lamb and they put them on the last stop before we go home. Then if they fall asleep they just go directly to bed and it makes life so much easier. We also say prayers after this last stop so that if some/all the Lambs fall asleep they don't miss prayers. Each Lamb packs a small bag of toys and our family loves books so they all pack a lot of books. We do not have a DVD player in the car. Sometimes I pack things for homeschooling that we can do in the car, sometimes we take a day off of school to go on a day trip. We bring CDs of both music and audio books for the Lambs, music for Ram and me after the Lambs fall asleep in the car. If I know we will need to wait on Ram to visit someone I pack toys and books and keep them by me to be a surprise while Ram is busy. I often bring small treats-sometimes candy, sometimes other small items to be a reward for good behavior-these become really long days for young Lambs. I keep a bag of plastic silverware, baby wipes, and plastic cups in the diaper bag for these travel days too.
I know I pack a lot, but once we ended up staying at a friend's house because the weather was bad and we couldn't get home. Ram and I slept in our clothes, but we had everything else we needed including pajamas for the Lambs. I pack extra in the winter now after that experience.
3. Another idea: I heard this tip from another rural pastor's wife. She packed a bag with a change of clothes, toothbrush, etc. for everyone in the family and always leaves that in the car in case they would end up staying the night unexpectedly. I assume that every so often she changes the clothes in that bag because children would outgrow what was packed before. I have not done this, but it is a great idea and I will probably do this as the Lambs get older.
Do you have any more ideas for how to make travel days go more smooth?
Come back tomorrow for another post about being a rural pastor's wife.