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I took 56 pairs of underwear to California

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I haven’t counted how many pairs made the return trip.

If all 56 made it back, it was a rousing success. If one or two are missing, I won’t be sad. I can’t even make if from my boys’ bedroom to the washer without leaving a trail of the tighties and the whities.

If more are missing, I’d like to humbly apologize to hotel housekeepers along the I-80 corridor. You’ve probably encountered worse hotel room stragglers than faded Shrek faces on cotton, however. I bet you have some wild stories to tell.

If we gained any? I’ll be gagging myself with a vintage 1982 spoon.

I find vacationing with seven children to be challenging, especially when the plan was to drive over 2,000 miles over the course of 12 days. I started mentally packing for the trip months in advance. It kept me up at night.

So this is how Marco Polo felt when he looked at all that pasta and firecrackers.

My plan for the vacation was to pack a suitcase for each of the first eight days of the trip. After that point, I’d have access to a washing machine and dryer. It would be fine. By that point in the trip, I was going to be sick of having fun and freedom and would crave the drudgery of stain removal.

I labeled the suitcases: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and so on. The idea was it would be much easier hauling the one Saturday suitcase into the hotel, rather than 9 bags for the kids, my husband, and I. This sounds brilliant, no?

In practice, it was less of a success. This bag-packing theory only works if you have exceptional tidy children. The first full day into the trip, the baby sprung cringe-worthy leaks on Friday’s clothes, Saturday’s, and half of Sunday’s ensemble. I had the foresight to skip the shorts as we sponged him off from head to toe on a patch of grass in the middle of downtown Salt Lake City.

Sunday’s shorts were saved.

Until Saturday.

It’s a good thing I didn’t forget my sense of humor at home. You need that every day of the week.

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Comments
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  • comment avatar Amber Johnson July 28, 2009

    This. Is. Hilarious! I saw a flaw in your plan from the very beginning because my kids are slobs and generally go through at least two outfits a day when on the road. I can’t imagine packing for that many!

  • comment avatar Shayne July 28, 2009

    Well it sounded like a good plan to me! Although our recent 8-day trip with our 2 boys proved that kids don’t behave the same way on the road as they do at home. My boys, who have been potty trained for years now, decided to pee on themselves more than once. We had to buy underwear for them to wear home on the last day because all others were soiled (even though I packed extra). Perplexing.

  • comment avatar Heth July 28, 2009

    I like the way you think. Come on kids, cooperate with mom’s plan! One thing that has worked for us in the past is gallon sized ziplock’s with complete outfits for each kid. Shirt, shorts, undies, socks all in one place. Just grab a bag and you are ready to go. It works especially well when the little ones are staying at someone’s house who doesn’t know which clothes belong to which kid.

  • comment avatar JoAnn July 28, 2009

    What a great post!

    You know…come to think of it, I’ve never traveled with more people than days! We’re *almost* to the stage where my daughter needs her own bag, rather than sharing with me. Personally, I love your “by day” bags…next time, just pack an extra “Ooops, and these, too!” bag, and you’ll be all set! 🙂

  • comment avatar Lori in Denver July 28, 2009

    The By Day bags is a great idea — I’d never thought of it.

    But, as they say about those best laid plans…

    You personify the word, “trouper.”

  • comment avatar edj (www.planetnomad.wordpress.com) July 28, 2009

    But that is a BRILLIANT idea! How many times have I sent my hapless husband back out to the car late at night because what I needed was in the OTHER suitcase! So what if it didn’t totally work out. It’s still brilliant. You’d have given Marco Polo a run for his undies, no doubt 😉

  • comment avatar Dawn July 28, 2009

    I think the daily suitcases were an EXCELLENT idea! I always pack the baby extra clothes though. I still think it was smart thinking though!!!

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