Last week we decided to surprise the kids for New Years and take them on a weekend trip. At lunchtime on Friday I told them all to pack a bag and get in the van, Dad was taking us somewhere for a surprise! With a big family you’re always going to get a mixed response to any event, the “Tiggers” will say, “Wow, I bet we’re going to Disney World!!” and the Eeyores will say, “We’re probably just going to the zoo. The zoo is smelly and it will probably rain.”. We have one of each. I’ve learned (kind of) to tune in to what I want to hear and if I don’t hear it I’ll say it, “Wow, a surprise weekend trip, this is going to be so fun. Isn’t your Dad the best!”
The problem with it being a surprise trip was in addition to “Are we there yet?” we continually heard, “Where are we going?”.
We have an 8-passenger mini-van but I have to question the 8-passenger part. Legally the van holds 8 people (there are 8 seats, and 8 seat belts) but I think the psychological capacity of the van is more like 6.
I certainly would not confine all 8 of our family members in our bathroom for 3 hours and expect peace so I’m not sure why I expect a different outcome when riding in a van the same size (minus the toilet for which we had to stop for along the way.) And I’m not one of those moms that feigns technologically enhanced entertainment on the road (a.k.a. DVD player and iPod Touch). I had no grand visions of playing Car Bingo, the license plate game or singing “Wheels on the Bus” to entertain (those visions were lost after I tried that when we only had 4 kids). Those certainly helped but our crew is not all that self directed.
I won’t sum up the whole trip but we did eventually arrive, check into the hotel, swim in the pool, watch Nickelodeon (we don’t have cable), eat good food, spend some time in the ER, have a bedtime snack…”Spend some time in the ER?” Yes, an hour before bedtime one of the twins went down the Dolphin slide and bashed her chin on the bottom, splitting her chin open. I got to drive her across the street (do we always stay in hotels in close proximity to hospitals, yes) to the ER to see if she needed stitches. She was so brave and pretty calm about the whole deal and I felt so bad for her. Iwas also mad that we would have to change the sign in our kitchen (“This facility has been accident free for 168 days.”). The doctor initially thought she would need stitches and then reconsidered and glued it shut. It is under her chin so there shouldn’t be a visible scar.
The next morning our daughter was VERY disappointed she couldn’t go swimming (due to the glue) and we decided it would be best to cut the trip short since swimming was the primary activity planned for the next two days (and the fact that having 8 people sleep in an area just a little bigger than our van was not that conducive to a good night sleep which leads to short fuses for everyone.)
We still had some fun. We visited a good friend while we there, stopped at the Toy Shop with a Carousel, went on a hike to the highest point and collected neat rocks. When we got back the kids all got to pick out a movie and we picked up some pizza and had a nice night in our home.
Before we go on our next road trip I think I need to tweak a few things, bigger vehicle, bigger hotel room…no wiat why don’t we fly, rent a whole house AND bring a nanny. Now we’re talking.