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Coach Mom Newsletter - June 2010

Packin' with a Plan

Having two babies within 16 months, then shortly after attempting a vacation brought this reality: Our vacations were over for a while…we were now just taking “trips”. Trips are not only less relaxing than vacations, they are often harder than staying home with all the amenities. With babies and toddlers, the truth is that you may not even get a Saturday morning sleep-in for years, much less a full week of relaxation. But getting away as a family can still be a good thing, and a few strategies will help everyone.

Creating a packing list on your computer can alleviate some of the stress associated with making sure you leave town with everything your family needs. Each trip that rolls around, you simply pull up your list on the computer, change it to fit the families’ current needs, print it off, and you have your packing plan.

This list is invaluable to you as a mom when your children are young, but as they grow older there is great joy in printing off multiple lists and telling them they may go pack their bags (You might want to check each bag before departure. One time one of my little ones arrived for a week’s summer vacation with only two pair of shorts!)

Our computer packing lists have changed through the years. They started with diapers, strollers, and sippy cups and have morphed to include video games, chargers and water bottles. Following are a couple of sample lists (with some explanations to the side in italics), to help you get started with ideas for what you might include. The first list is for a family camp that we go to every year, and the second is a list that I gave to my children when they were going to spend one night with their cousins in Oklahoma last Fall.

Wind River Ranch - Colorado 2009 Packing List

Jeans (3)
Shorts (5)
Shirts (7)
Underwear (7)
Socks (7)
PJ’s (2)
Western shirt (1)
Sweatshirt (1)
Tennis shoes (2)
Flip flops (1)
Swimsuit (1)
Hat or visor
Dock kit: toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.
Medicine, vitamins
Hair bows/bands
Bible, pen
Lip balm for each one to carry on them!
Good water bottles for everyone to constantly carry with!!! (hydration in the mountains!)

*Everyone bring what you need for Saturday night hotel sleepover to Mom’s room – pj’s, undies, change of clothes, toothbrush, etc. (We pack everything for our first night on the road in one bag so that we only carry one suitcase into the hotel.)

Stuff for car:

Pillow, Snack bag, books, magazines, backpack
Derek, Strap on t.v. (we don’t have the built-in kind)
Use hitch-all AND car topper! (reminds us that we shouldn’t even think of trying to cram suitcases inside the vehicle unless we want to feel like sardines for 15 hours each way.)
DVD’s and mom’s laptop
Cell phones/chargers
Industrial strength trash bags to cover luggage on hitch-
MapQuest printouts from one destination to the next


Address book
Cowboy hats/boots
Fanny pack (for hikes)
Claritin D, Sudafed, Afrin 2x day – if get sinus problems in altitude (if pack, no one will have a problem!)
Hostess gifts
Bible Study talks

Badminton set, baseball gloves/baseball
Bag for dirty clothes

Caleb:  (assigning one person to make sure the job gets done)
Pack up the dog’s stuff – crate, bowls, food, leash

Coach Mom books/stuff
Stop McKinney Courier-Gazette – 972.542.2631
Stop Dallas Morning News – 214.745.8383
Stop mail
*Check with Hotwire ahead for the best hotel rates

Leave 7 a.m. Sat. morning, and take sandwiches.  Stop roadside for lunch.  Spend night in Pueblo.

(Following are hotels that we found who were on our way, were a good value, and could accommodate a family of 7 suite-style)

Best Western
(great breakfast for Sun. a.m., but eat dinner 1 ½ hours before arrive in Pueblo Sat. night. Pack lunches for rest stop close to Childress, TX) (notes to remind us the smartest places to eat along the way)

806 372.8373
Microtel Inn & Suites

1501 Ross Street

Exit 71 (behind Holiday Inn)

Overnight packing for Norman, Oklahoma Trip

Everyone, please pack in a bag…

A nice set of clothes for tomorrow (jeans and sweater)
Carry-on small bag with hand-held game, books

*Please get dressed, make your bed and double-check that your room is clean to leave for our trip.  Bring your bag, pillow, and games down to the family room and place them beside the couch.  EVERYONE WHO DOES THE ABOVE WITH A GOOD ATTITUDE BY 9:30 a.m. GETS A BONUS DOLLAR! (a deadline with an incentive helps get the job done quickly)

Derek please bring newspaper inside.

Caleb: the dog’s crate/bowls/food/leash gathered.

For car:

Portable t.v. strapped into car (Dillon)
A few DVD’s
Water bottles

Of course we all have different families with different needs, thus will end up with different packing lists. I can’t imagine what my friend Carol’s list look like. She and her husband have many to consider when making their “go-away” lists. They have 4 children and 26 animals. The breakdown? 5 horses; 2 miniature horses; 6 dogs; 1 cat; 7 chickens; 1 parakeet; 1 rabbit; 1 pot belly pig; 1 goat; and 1 sheep. Seriously, I’m tired just typing it out. J

…Your packing is looking easier already!

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Ask Coach Mom

Dear Brenna,

My parents are planning a big out of town family reunion for July, but I don’t even want to think about trying to leave town – with my children at 3 months, 2 and 4 years, even packing for day trips can be overwhelming. Last year we took a trip, and by the time we left home I was so stressed out it took me days to unwind once we reached our destination. I don’t want to disappoint my parents and siblings by not being at the reunion, but they have no idea how difficult this is. I truly don’t want to miss it, but fear is paralyzing me.


Dear Tammy,

I remember days when even the thought of packing up my kids to go to the grocery store was paralyzing. I had to talk myself through it. So, if it takes me 10 minutes extra to get the children out of their car seats and settled once I get there, what does that matter? I have 10 minutes for that, and it’s okay. And if someone has a fit while we’re inside (and they probably will), I will breathe deep, pray and we will survive it. Thinking it through and adjusting expectations is the first step with any trip, big or small.

Regarding taking trips, anticipate the high-stress moments and be intentional with those times. Hiring a babysitter or mother’s helper (an older child, either in your family or in the neighborhood) to care for your preschoolers the last two hours before trip departure is a big stress reducer. Having help on the back side of a trip, the first hour after arriving home, allows you to merge into home life a little smoother.

Bless you as you go!


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