Okay here we go people, post #1 of this crazy adventure. So Oct 6th at 5am we packed, and I mean PACKED everything we needed (and more) into our van, squeezed 3 kiddo’s ages 5,3 and a newly 9 month old into their seats and took off for the open road. Let me back it up a bit though before that. My husband was on a trip to Yosemite the week before we left, so I had the pleasure of packing up the van by myself –not quite an efficient person I would say- and meet him in Toronto area. When I met him in Toronto he almost died with how inefficient and overpacked everything was and made me take EVERYTHING out and repack and take like half our clothes out. UGH! Anyways I did because as I was going through even I was like what the heck was I packing for? We are basically on a month long camping trip and I had like pretty dresses for the girls and I wont even tell you how many pairs of shoes. And these kids get so dirty and sweaty-I pretty much don’t even want to let them wear any item of clothing I like because all the clothes should just be burned once this trip is done. So okay we repack the car and my husband is still telling me I have overpacked but I stop listening at that point.
Our first day of driving was 8 hrs from Toronto to Washington DC. Let me give you a secret that we learned our last road trip a few years back. 8 hrs of driving does NOT mean an 8 hr day. It is usually close to double the ‘drive time’ Let me tell you why. Kids need to pee about 5 mins after you leave. Then every 30 minutes from that point on. When you take a break, by the time you eat something, go to the bathroom, get gas, that’s basically 45 mins and you haven’t even gotten energy out. So the breaks are usually longer and you really don’t feel accomplished or ready to head back into the car but staying at the service exit forever isn’t really an option. On one of our breaks in the car, my husband noticed I snuck in a blender and a scale and legit almost murdered me at a gas station or left me there. Apparently he doesnt think my need weight loss program Im determined to stick to over this trip is as important to me. At one point I had a printer in the van, so a blender
and scale were downsizing-how can he not see that?! So we left at 5 am and I think got to our campsite around 6pm. The kids were all pretty good I would say. I have 'schedules' for the different types of driving days wehave; Long days 7+ hours, Mid-distance 4-6 hours, and short days 1-4 hours. I will list show you my schedules here and we can laugh and laugh together that I thought this would work. Basically the idea is on long days we get up super early and drive from 5/6am-8ish and then stop for breakfast, get dressed, brush hair & teeth and get ready for the day just like normal at home. Then we get in the car and its bible time (We are going through Whats in the Bible which goes through Genesis to Revelation and is amazing!) and then some application time. Then we switch over to school, which Im finding not as easy as I'd hope because I am in the front and they are in the very back. Madison (SK/Age 5) is doing good and can do workbooks and communicate efficiently so its easy with her, but Mackenzie (JK/Age 3) is harder because she doesnt know everything yet, but we have found some creative ways to make it work, and I also usually spent extra time with her at another point during the day. We do Language, Math, French (via dvd) But something we are learning about this whole roadschooling concept is that a) kids are such natural learners and b) It can be so organic and not as planned as I expected. Like sitting and eating breakfast can turn into an impromptu math lesson with banana's. Then we stop for Lunch and a running break-like literally kids run in circles for 5 minutes minimum. After that break its back in the car for free time play. My kids have 4 bins of toys; barbies, barbie accessories, my little pony and magna tiles/aquadoodle and reusable sticker books. My girls are so obsessed with barbies and play super well imaginative play, so this has been a great plan. The baby also has a big bin of toys beside him that we give him toys from and he throws them back in. Then we usually take another break and then for the home stretch they can have an entertainment movie.
Second big lesson I have learned; DON’T take a crawling baby camping. Ohmygosh this baby eats everything he see’s and is 100% the dirtiest kid on planet earth right now. We ended up setting up the pack’n’play beside our picnic table and sit him in their with toys, but you can imagine how long that lasts. When we got the tent set up and let him in their, he literally did laps around it like the indy500.
First night dinner, we ate late once we got set up and Madison decided she didn’t like this meal. Okay Darling child, I don’t make extra meals for people who don’t eat so this is your option. Well Miss Drama Queen of the world, decided to go running into street yelling “they wont feed me im going to die” as a car drove by she nearly LEPT in front of it screaming ‘HELP HELP THEY WONT FEED ME’ I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. Ironically no one stopped to help her, clearly they could see through her drama.
Everyone was tired so thankfully everyone went to bed decently and we all got a pretty good sleep, except me who my husband told me in the morning that my thermarest wasn’t blown up. Ah that makes total sense now. (Second night sleeping with it done up was life changing-little tidbit from me to you-blow up the thermarest)
Day Two; we woke up and my girls naturally started playing with sticks and spelling out their names. Basically rocking this homeschool thing-they just do it themselves now (haha) But I decided to run with it, so we spelt different things with the sticks and Madison got pretty creative using acorns to make O’s and rocks to make the dot on her i’s. We then switched over to math and did some math learning with our sticks as we learn addition and subtraction. We also did some language from a book we are following too. We had some breakfast and got ready and then decided to take the Metro downtown to be full on tourists.
We took a few trains, surprisingly without getting lost (dont worry we totally took the wrong train home) Our first stop was The White House. My kids were super confused as we tried to explain what it was, who lived there, what a president was, and a country and oh boy by the end forget it-a guy lives here. We tried to make it a geography and politics lesson but that majorly failed. Next up the Washington Monument and then walking around trying to find museums because we didnt have a phone with internet or a map, so let's just say we got a lot of steps. We finally found the Smithsonian area with free museums everywhere. We explored the air and space museum, and natural history museum mainly. At one point, Madison stepped on Kenzies foot and Kenzie screamed at her ‘do you have NO listening skills’ I almost died, apparently I say that a lot *face palm*
We made it back to our campsite, after getting lost of course, and our kids were SO tired, but we passed the mark from tired to overtired and things got in.freaking.sane for about an hour but finally everyone fell asleep and stayed that way all night so they are allowed to stay in the family.
We decided to skip out of Washington a day early, because our next stop is Virginia Beach and decided we wanted an extra day at the beach rather then exploring-1 day was enough history for 3 young kids. Next Post: WASHINGTON --> VIRGINIA BEACH! Until then Enjoy some pictures of our first days drive and time in Washington