Typically, several weeks before our several-weeks-long trip to New England, I am packing boxes full of toys and winter-ish clothes to send ahead so I don't need to lug an extra suitcase when it is actually time for us to get on the plane. I skipped that step this year. Instead, I tossed two sweatshirts, two pair of jeans and two long-sleeve shirts for each of the E's (and for me, too). Last year, I became completely overwhelmed with keeping track of all of our stuff. I wound up doing laundry every few days (even though I had enough clothing to outfit us without doing laundry for several months). Having so much clutter kept me from being able to completely relax and I didn't want to do that again. Plus, the boys wound up wearing the same things over and over anyway because I just threw on whatever clothing items had been freshly washed and folded, rather than bother digging through my suitcases for new outfits.
The one thing that always throws me when we travel up to New England is the changeable weather. In the afternoon, it can be blazing hot while we're on the beach and by nightfall we (almost) could wear winter jackets. It is easy to pack light for a trip to Costa Rica, but not so much for a trip to New Hampshire during the summer.
And while this may not sound like packing light to you, this is the list of what I will be bringing when we head out tomorrow morning to catch our flight:
2 medium-sized duffle bags (one for me, one for the boys' clothes and toys and other necessities)
2 car seats
1 diaper bag
1 carry-on for me
1 carry-on for Ethan
I've, of course, thrown in a few items that I don't need but that make spending a few weeks away from home much easier. Here they are:
1) collapsible baskets for the boys to put their toys in (1 for each E)
2) dark curtains to hang over the windows in whatever rooms the boys happen to be sleeping in (as long as its dark, Eli will sleep! I usually bring thumbtacks but I imagine I can find some at my dad and grandmother's house)
3) my trusty DVD player which will, with any luck, entertain Eli for at least half the flight
4) white noise machines for both boys
Packing is a huge undertaking for me. I think my ADD contributes to that. I like the ability to know exactly where everything I could possibly need will be (and of course on a trip this long, I can't really do that). I also like to control as much as possible and when away from home (or even at home) that's hard to do. The other part of packing that adds more stress to me than it perhaps would to someone without ADD is that if I realize that I forget something when I am away, it is more than just a minor inconvenience for me but rather causes a great deal of anxiety and I often wind up needing to buy a replacement for whatever it is that I've forgotten. (This is why it was such a victory for me to be relaxed when I lost my luggage in Costa Rica. I'm not a go with the flow kind of gal, yet somehow, I did!) How badly does my ADD impact my ability to pack? Well, right now, I have about five lists sitting on my kitchen counter, some of them identical, some with various items that I need to get together tonight (my toiletries for one), and then items I need to get together in the morning (baby monitor), and whose bag they will go in (the Nintendo DS goes in Ethan's carry-on once it is finished charging). My lists are copious and detailed and also messy with words crossed out and arrows drawn (the arrows indicate that I've moved that item to another list but haven't yet packed it and therefore am not able to check it off). You see why it exhausts me to pack?But the lists, while perhaps illegible to someone else, are a form of therapy for me. Although, truth be told, the packing this time around wasn't terrible and I'm more worried about how Eli will manage the flight so when that's behind us, I will rest easy. Eli is a sweetie pie, but a good flyer, he is not.
Stay tuned for a post about the crazy sleeping arrangements that I have arranged in trips past. I wonder how different (or similar) I am to most traveling mothers with small children. I really will stop at nothing to create the perfect sleeping environment for my children while on the road. Spoiler alert: one of the lengths I've gone to includes using a desk blotter and the lid for a board game. And no, one of my E's did not sleep in the board game lid.