I pride myself on being able to get both kids ready and out the door in record time when we make our trips to Houston. I am actually still riding the wave of my husband referring to me as an “amazon warrior” for figuring out how to pick the dog up from the boarding facility with both kids and luggage in tow. I mean… obviously I am an amazon warrior, but it’s just nice to hear! When you’re packing for just you, it’s one thing, but add in a dog and kids and it becomes more like that scene from Home Alone when they’re trying to get ready for their trip to Paris. I feel like whether you have 1 kid or 10, it’s the same amount of chaos, especially when you have only toddlers. I think they left Kevin on purpose.
So here are some helpful tips to making sure you don’t strangle your husband or children while gearing up for a holiday road trip!
- Drink heavily the night before (Not too much. Don’t make a rookie mistake.) – you won’t be able to while driving (pesky laws) and you’ll need to have a good nights rest.
- Get all your shit packed the day before – and if you’re as neurotic as I am, just pre pack all week so you don’t forget anything. (Make about 5 lists, because you may not be able to trust the first 4). And keep in mind, you’ll forget at least one essential item so all your lists probably won’t matter.
- Wake up early – just do it, or even better, don’t sleep at all. You have kids, don’t act like you’ve gotten a full nights rest in months anyway. You can get a surprising amount of stuff done by just skipping the whole sleep thing!
- Make a breakfast that can turn into a ‘to-go’ meal. They WILL decide to eat at a glacial pace when they see you’re in a hurry. You can beat them at their own game by packing that Eggo waffle up and go!
- Throw your ‘screen time’ rule out the door. If your toddler wants to rot their brain for 4 hours plus… let them! If they don’t get into a good preschool that’s on them. Load that thing up with all the Mickey Mouse and Blaze and Paw Patrol it can hold! Or maybe a long movie, Godfather maybe? Make sure it’s charged (pack chargers). In fact, pack the whole damn play room. Whatever toy they’ve been obsessed with for the last 5 days won’t mean a thing in this hell trap. Just pack it all. Along with headphones, because they’ll still scream over wanting what the other has regardless of the plethora of toys and books you’ve provided.
- Bring a shit ton of snacks. Nothing wet – aside from a cup of water. Goldfish vacuums very well – speaking from experience. Pack every snack you use to bribe them not to be assholes on any regular day, and just keep a steady flow. If their mouth is full, they can’t talk, and if they can’t talk you don’t have to answer the same question 375 times.
- Try NOT to make pit stops. They’re asking for chaos. You think you need to pee, but it’s not worth it. All hell WILL break loose – but if you absolutely HAVE to… and are like me – alone with the kids – don’t get out of the car. Just don’t do it. There’s no need. Hold your pee or just pee on yourself… your toddler does it all the time. Not a big deal. Crawl, squeeze and shimmy your happy ass in the backseat while parked in the Chick-Fil-A parking lot and give them all the fries. Give yourself a Dr. Pepper … because duh.
- Hook up your Pandora, iPod, cassette tape and/or whatever other music device you have. This is probably the only time you get to listen to the gangster rap or grunge from your youth in peace. Also – there are dead zones when you hit the small towns… you get static, country and religious channels… all lovely… not for 4 hours. So while the kids are stuffing face with goldfish and zoning out on the second showing of the same Mickey Mouse episode, you can zone out to your Nirvana, Deftones, Master P or if you so choose Hootie and the Blowfish. No judgment here.
- Don’t forget the presents! Don’t forget the Godforsaken Elf – don’t forget underwear and DO NOT FORGET THE SHIT YOUR KIDS SLEEP WITH! I cannot stress this enough. Nothing F’s up your travel plans more than it being bedtime and you don’t have the right colored blanket, exactly 3 pacifiers and the puppy purse or whatever other ridiculous thing your kid requires.
- Finally – the most important thing about traveling with kids during the holidays – DON’T DO IT. Shits exhausting. Just don’t.
BUT – If you ARE and you need some delicious treats to bring the family because you are afraid your real gifts suck, here are a few delicious desserts that you can offer! These are not MY recipes, but just some of my favorites that I’ve collected over time – enjoy!
(To get the fun crust, use the second pie crust in the back and get some pie crust cutters. Dip a basting brush in an egg white/water mixture and as you place eat leaf (or whichever you chose) brush on a bit. It will help it hold. About halfway through the baking process, cover the pie with foil)
(This does not need icing, but to make it look pretty, I just sifted some powdered sugar around the top. I may try a fig glaze one day, and when I do I’ll post that)
(I prefer walnuts because they’re a little softer, but pecans work well too!)