Whenever I know I need to pack for a trip I tend to do anything else instead.  I catch up on laundry and clean my house to avoid packing.  I should be jumping to pack because of being excited to take a trip but packing four people can get overwhelming.

It is Wednesday night and I dive in getting my girls involved in picking outfits to pack.  I get all three kids packed and save packing myself for the next day.

It is now Friday morning at 6 am and Seth and I are loading up the car for the long drive.  Tips for a long car ride:
We brought a dvd player for each child and lots of movies.  This drive we won’t hear them fighting over what movie to watch.  Can we say spoiled!
I brought sandwich bags for the treats they picked so that I could dump some in a bag from the big box.
I brought lots of snacks and books for them to look through.
We stop a few times to let the kids stretch their legs.

I think Max asked us every ten minutes how much longer we would be in the car.  It was a long day!  Seth has decided that he likes to drive most of the way to avoid waiting on our children.  He is a smart man!

My friend told me to find a chick-fil-a!  Seth and I had stopped at Mcdonalds for lunch so the kids could play but we couldn’t get ourselves to eat.  We are almost to my brother’s house but Seth and I are starving so he veers off to get us some Chic-Fil-A!  I hear a voice calling me in the parking lot and it is my friend from Buffalo who moved to Virginia!  It is a small wonderful world!!

The kids are thrilled to have arrived!  My nephews and sister-in-law are home when we get there and my parents beat us there!  I feel a bliss every time I walk through their door!  It is one of my very favorite places to be!  Thankfully there is room for my party of five and my parents to stay in their house!  One big happy crazy family!

We head to a bbq restaurant and my parents, my kids and I attempt to eat the food put out.  Seth is easy and eats and doesn’t complain.  I wish I was easy!  The food is too spicy for my kids, my parents and I!  We head to a burger place, a cupcake place, and then we all collapse!

It is Saturday morning and the guys are all getting ready for their big day of golf!  We are there to celebrate Palmercare’s 10 year anniversary!  A golf tournament and dinner to celebrate an amazing team of people!

My mom and I stay home with all five kiddos and my sister in law heads to the golf tournament.  The kids play outside for hours and my mom and I enjoy every minute of seeing the cousins play together.  My heart is swelling with joy yet I sniffle thinking I wish this happened more often!  “Stay in the moment”, I tell myself!  A new waterslide and two roller coasters keep the kids occupied for hours and hours.  We drag them in to get ready and we are off for the dinner celebration.  I make the mistake of packing Ella’s barbie to bring to the dinner.  My instincts said to leave her at my brothers house!  Listen to your instincts people!

The kids all run around in different directions and the guys arrive from golfing.  We listen to my brothers speech as he celebrates ten years of practice.  My brother and sister in law are chiropractors who have exploded their business and many others businesses!  My brother, my sister in law and my husband have such passion for their businesses.  I am in awe of it!  Now that I think about it…my parents have a passion for their business and so do I.
My brother and sister in law’s passion for chiropractic/wellness
My husbands passion for marketing and business
My parents passion for health foods vitamins and herbs/ health!
My passion for families (social work)
We could build an empire!

We arrive home with the kids and my daughter Ella can’t find her Barbie!  I packed it!  I run to find the bag.  The issue is that I never had the bag.  My mom and my husband carried my bags for me.  I never even checked them!  I am a terrible mother runs through my mind as I think about how much my daughter loves her barbie.  She isn’t in the bag and I promise to look for her tomorrow!

I wake up with a startle and run to get ready to run over to the country club. My brother drives me and we can’t find this damn barbie anywhere.  If you saw her you would laugh at this barbie.  Ella has broken her many times and Seth and I keep duct taping her back together.  I am worried someone thought she was garbage and threw her out!  I have bought Ella the same exact barbie but she is so attached to the first one!  She has dreadlocks and duct tape, but Ella loves her. “Bad mom bad mom,” keeps playing in my mind.  Why oh why am I always so hard on myself!!??

I brought the exact barbie with me.  I am temped to have my brother step on her and duct tape her for me.  I am tempted to try to pass her off as the real barbie but I don’t want to lie to my daughter.

I walk in and Ella asks if I found Barbie.  My sweet girl is holding back tears as I say no and the tears flow down my face.  My sweet sister in law Vivian says she is taking Ella to American girl doll to buy her a doll to make her feel better.  Ella instantly cheers up!  She loves American Girl dolls!

We all head to Tysons corner chaos.  Ella gets her doll and I enjoy time with my family despite holding my breath for all the Barbie grief!  Yes I am allowing a stupid Barbie to upset me this much!

We head home and the kids run to the waterslide!  Max and Ella are fighting but Chase and Ashton are running around so cute together!  Lillie goes up and down the roller coaster fifty more times despite the big wound she got from it yesterday on her leg.  Somehow her leg got caught yesterday doing the roller coaster.  I missed it and my mom doesn’t know what happened.  I just have to realize that shit happens!

Max comes up to me with tears in his eyes telling me he doesn’t want to leave.  Ella comes over to me and tells me we can’t leave without barbie.  I grab Seth to escape to get gas for our car and allow myself to just be sad.  Seth says he cannot believe I am allowing myself to be this sad over a barbie.  Time to let barbie go he tells me.

We go home and play tag and soccer with the kids.  I am playing outside with my brother having flashbacks of us as children.  We played outside for hours just like my kids love to do!

We head to bed and after Lillie slapping me all night I wake up to Max tapping me at 6 am that he is up!  Thanks Max!  Max is sad to leave.  Ella is sad to leave without barbie.  My dad is crying hugging my brother goodbye.  Lillie tells me she wants to stay at Aunt Vivian’s house and doesn’t want to leave.  Ok, I get it, we are all sad.  We love our family and we will make plans to come back soon!

We are on the drive home as I type this!  Every so often Ella asks for Barbie and Seth knows to handle it.  He knows I am a puddle of mush!  He knows I can’t even respond.  Seth tells Ella that Grace (new doll) will keep her company.  There are moments when I fall even more in love with my husband.  This is one of those moments.  We are a perfect team!

It is my turn to drive and Lillie is now screaming and melting down!  “I want to go to the American girl doll store right now!” Lillie screams at the top of her lungs.  “Hold me mama,” she cries!  I reassure Lillie several times that I am just looking for a gas station.  I tell Lillie that I have a surprise in the trunk for her when we get gas.  If I stay calm and sweet she tends to calm down.  When I lose my shit she screams louder!

We stop for gas and I get the kids a treat and pull out new shopkins for Lillie and Ella.  A movie and new toys will keep them quiet for a little while!
Long trip tip: bring new toys that they don’t know about and new movies they have never seen!

We are 45 minutes from home.  We had an eventful weekend.  Life with children is never dull!  A piece of my heart lives in Virginia!  I love my brother and his family dearly!  My kids tell me to move to Virginia.  They can’t understand why we all don’t live near each other.

Now wish me luck as I arrive home without Barbie!  Happy travels!  Happy parenting!

Some lessons;
1) you read my car tips – new movies, new toys, snacks, books…
2) leave treasured toys at home.
3) enjoy the present!  It is a gift!
4) visit family often!
5) remember that you are human!  Maybe I can learn to be easier on myself!
6) celebrate your successes!  So proud of my brother, sister in law and their whole team!