But that title scares me....because that sounds like a lot of work!
I have been laughing at one of the posts I did for our last trip to CO almost four years ago. We had four cuties (ages 5-7) and we flew. That was a big enough proposition, and entirely different than what we're doing this time!
After we first planned this trip two and a half months ago, I thought perhaps I'd turned a corner with my personality. I thought perhaps I'd gone and become A Laid-Back Person.
Several hours after we told them we were going, one of the children asked, "What are we going to do about Chelsea?"
And another asked, "What are we going to do about Abigail's formula?"
And a third one asked, "What are we going to do about eating, with us being on GAPS???" (we had already begun transitioning off, but here at the house we still eat just GAPS+rice+potatoes)
And to all these valid questions/concerns, my response was, "No big deal...we'll work it out. It's fine. Not a problem at all." And I truly meant it and felt that way...at the time.
And I was so cool about all of it that I impressed even myself!
What I forgot? I am a procrastinator. Total procrastinator. Two and a half months was just too far out for me to stress yet. We just weren't close enough to the trip for me to be in the Freaked Out Planning Stage yet.
But as we've gotten closer, boy howdy - the
Bottom line: It simply takes quite a bit of planning for a family-of-8 to take a cross-country trip. duh. This should come as no surprise to me. Much less a GAPS-eating, homemade formula-making, family that owns two cows (including one that needs to be milked twice a day).
The "notes" section of my phone has begun to bulge the past few weeks with all the lists I've written down as I've thought of them. I need to have a list of my lists.
So here is what we've been busy doing lately:
When I began to think through our necessary preparations, it didn't take me long to come to the realization that I just needed to make up Abigail's formula ahead of time and take it frozen with us. The formula requires 14 ingredients, and it would just be much less brain damage to go ahead and make it here and take it frozen, rather than try to ensure that I took the ingredients with us or acquire them there (several of the ingredients need to stay refrigerated at all times). So, for the past five weeks i've been making an extra batch of formula once a week to put straight into the freezer, using breast milk storage bags to freeze individual bottles worth of formula.
Sissy drinks four to five bottles a day. So 5 times 11 days that we'll be gone...means we're taking (at least) 55 bags of formula with us. They need to stay sure enough frozen until we're ready to use them, so we've even flirted with the idea of using dry ice, but that stuff scares us!
We're taking muffin bars for breakfasts (and we'll also have eggs every morning, just like here at home). For the last few weeks, as I make a batch of "muffin bars", I quadruple the recipe (I use muffin recipes, but make them into bars instead because I'm lazy and don't like to clean muffin tins and the muffins stick to muffin liners too bad). I always quadruple these recipes anyway, but now I've been freezing the extras instead of us eating them over the next few days.
|Gallon Freezer bags filled with all sorts of yummy muffin bars|
Banana blueberry bars
Cinnamon swirl bars
Chocolate chip bars
We're not doing strict GAPS anymore, but here at the house we still pretty much eat that way. And two of us (G and I) are still strictly staying away from any grains (which is taking it even further than gluten free). So, for health (and money!) reasons we're taking quite a bit of food with us. We surely will eat out some (not as hard to do while staying GAPS-legal as I first thought), but we're taking quite a bit with us. And with meals I've been doing the same thing recently: making big batches and freezing the extra instead of eating them for leftovers.
|3 Gallon bags filled with Chicken Fajita Soup|
We're taking with us:
Chicken noodle soup
Chicken fajita soup
Chicken lentil stew
And a couple of frozen containers of pâté (we've been using and loving this pate recipe lately)
Entertainment Whilst in The Silver Bullet
We do not have a DVD player in the Silver Bullet, so what in the world else could children possibly do on a roadtrip? Lots of things, as all of us 25 years and older know very well. We love listening to music. Love it! And the children (and their parents!) love listening to Adventures in Odyssey shows. We have quite a good little collection of those going now, started when we were last in Colorado Springs and visited Focus on the Family. And we don't at all mind listening to those shows more than once. And I always have a huge list of books that I want to read aloud to the children, and never enough time. This trip is a great opportunity to work on that list. We are on Prince Caspian in the Narnia series, so that is a good choice to bring along. Also, I keep seeing The Green Ember recommended as a great read aloud, so I picked up the kindle version a few weeks ago (it was FREE that day!)...and am excited to try that with the children!
A couple weeks ago as I waited (by myself!) to get my blood drawn for some tests, I took a few quiet moments to write down a list of outfits to pack. The weather is cooperating nicely - it is warm enough here now that we're wearing summer stuff...and we're packing winter stuff for CO (it should mainly be in sixties, perfect!). It is so hard to pack when you need to be wearing the same stuff that you want to be packing.
We're doing Wha???
And, as I woke up in the middle of the night planning more details in my head, I thought through the trip there more. For our first leg of the trip, we're stopping in Kansas for two nights to spend time with my brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew. Our first plan was to drive for four-five hours, and then stay the night in a hotel. But, we likely wouldn't get there until at least 10pm. Even with planning good and taking a minimum of stuff into the hotel, we would still be unpacking A LOT of stuff. And the children would get all wound up checking into the hotel (they LOVE staying in hotels!) and it would take a long time to get everyone in bed and asleep. And then we'd have to get up pretty early to get on the road again in enough time to even still get to my brother and sis-in-law that same day. So, for 2-4 hours of (fitful) sleep, that seemed like too much rigamarole. So we're just going to drive straight through that first leg. My dad says it takes approximately 20 hours (he's made this exact trip many times). When I first proposed this driving-through idea to Jas he balked. But later that day he came back and said he'd thought it over more and agreed that we should do that. (He's a smart guy...I knew he'd see the light!)
Jas has me some podcasts lined up to listen to when I'm the only one awake in the van: Read Aloud Revival, Voddie Baucham, and Underground Wellness Radio.
The Lord arranged it so that a friend (who has tried (and loves) Chelsea's milk and **we** think needs to get a dairy cow!) is coming to milk Chelsea twice a day while we're gone. His family will get to keep all that milk...which they're looking forward to! Keith has already been here for a training session with Jas...and Jas sent him home with a typed list of the steps involved in the milking process (I'm not the only anal person here in our house!), from getting the extension cord set-up for the milking machine to pouring the milk through the filter into the container, to getting all the equipment properly cleaned.
When she found out we were coming, one of the first things NaiNai got on planning was a new (big) family picture. During our last trip to Colorado almost 4 years ago, this is what the whole fam looked like with 16 people:
Now there will be 19 of us in there. And now - thanks to Pinterest - family pictures don't have to be confined to white/denim anymore!
After some calls, texts and FB messages going back and forth across the country, I think we have it figured out. Here is what our part of the family is going to look like:
|And I didn't have to buy one. single. thing. for this color scheme....woohoo!|
And guess who gets to wear these cute little things for the pictures:
Hint: It's not Jason.
Return our mountain of library books.
Being gone for 11 days means they'll all be due while we're gone...and I don't even want to think about what those over-due fines would look like. (Not that I would know anything about over-due library fines. ahem)
We have tentative plans to go to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, roller skating and bowling while we're there. It would be fine with me to NOT go rock climbing like we did last time. But Jas and I have already talked about taking the kiddos to Josh and John's for some yummy ice cream!
Doing things will just be icing on the cake, I can't wait to see Jas with his family again (even if he and his brothers wrestle and pester and cut up the whole time)!