Wednesday, August 8, 2012

And now it's right around the corner!

Getting really excited about our up coming trip to Montana! We have been looking forward to and saving for this trip for almost two years, ever since Atty's biological brother and adoptive family came to visit him here a couple summers ago. Now it's going to be our turn to go there! We are going to take it easy on the way there so that we are not doing too many hours of driving a day with the kids. We want this to be as enjoyable as possible. :) So every day is planned for less then four hours of driving. Which means we will have three overnight stays on the way there {as well as three overnight stays once we get there} and three over night stays on the way back. And let me just say trying to find places for the six of us to stay has been a bit rough, requiring calls directly to property managers/owners in order to keep things reasonable and not require extra rooms etc... Good thing the kids are still young, it's going to get freakishly expensive when they are older I'm afraid. Plus we had to change our dates at the last minute {This didn't dawn on me until I started looking for places to reserve and there was no availability, anywhere!} to avoid a holiday and make our overnight says on the road during the week and not the weekend, huge difference in price!

 I want to document every aspect of this trip for us to look back on. Here is the itinerary for anyone who is just dying of curiosity. ;)

First night up we will be staying at Lincoln Rock State Park in a little cabin. My sister and I stayed here with the kids on our way to Spokane last summer, so we are excited to show my hubby how fun it is.

Second night we will be staying at the Holiday Inn Express in Spokane Valley. {I know not very exciting} We promised some in-door pool fun so we are going to deliver. I am trying to stay out of hotels for the most part because my kids do better in the great out doors. Staying in a hotel is akin to living in an apartment with my kids, it would be an nightmare! There's just not enough room to spread out and explore and run and be free like kids should be. Even though it would have made the trip planning a whole lot easier... looking for affordable cabins has been quite the experience.

The third night has been a work in progress. Missoula hasn't been as easy to find a place to stay as I had assumed. :) As of yesterday it looks like we will be staying at Yogi Bear's Jellystone  Park Camp-Resorts. Isn't that hilarious! It's a super cheesy kid friendly place to stay, I'm sure the kids will have a blast, even if it doesn't end up being a favorite for my husband and I. Although it does land on my husbands birthday, I'm sure he's just thrilled about that. :) I might think it's super funny, and I may have giggled a few times about it... I haven't reserved this one yet, but will be doing that today {I hope} they had availability yesterday when I called but she said they fill up fast. Fun fact, my husband does an awesome Yogi the Bear impression. :)

So the fourth, fifth, and sixth, we are staying with family. That is so nice to say. :) We feel so blessed to be in a situation where the boys can grow up knowing each other and being as close as possible, living a couple states away! I am a little nervous staying at their place for the first time with all our little kiddos after being on the road for a few days, hopefully they won't be too squirrelly. You know how not having enough space can bring out the best or worse in people... I'm hoping for the best. They do live out in the country so there should be plenty of space outside at least. :) The most important part is that Atty and his bio-brother can play together and really enjoy each others company for three days! They are older now, so I know that Atty will really remember this trip, and have wonderful memories to treasure.

Seventh night we are staying at a cabin in Missoula called Whispering Pines Guest Cabin, and it looks absolutely amazing! It's a cabin rental that is not in a park, so we will have lots of privacy and the cabin looks really cute and includes a hot tub on the deck and a washer/dryer! It also happens to be my birthday on that day. :) So I'm thinking my husband {who will be spending his at Yogi Bear's Jellystone park} and I will celebrate our birthdays together with a glass of nice wine and a soak in the hot tub under the stars surrounded by trees, and even though it is vacation our kids will all have early bedtimes so it can just be the two of us. Sounds absolutely fantasic!

Eighth night I'm thinking we will be staying at Lake Coeur d'Alene Camping Resort in a cabin. I still have to reserve it today, it was another last minute change of plans while making reservations and looking for places to stay yesterday. It looks pretty family friendly, but they stop heating the pool right before our planned trip there, so that is sort of a bummer. Really though they will have many opportunities for water fun on this trip, so one stay at a place with out it is not going ruin the trip. ;)

The ninth stay {our last} with be in Ellensburg at the Best Western Lincoln Inn and Suites, our only other hotel stay and again not very exciting I know. Yet another in-door pool. If we have to stay at a hotel with kids there must be a pool. :)

So there you have it, I'm trying to make it as stream lined and preplanned as possible. It really makes the difference between a fun trip and an absolute disaster when you have kids. I can remember the days with just my hubby and I where we would hit the road for a trip with hardly a plan and have such a blast, but in those days we could camp out on the side of the road if need be. With out reservations I had nightmares of camping out in our van in a Walmart parking lot... not my idea of a long anticipated vacation that's for sure! I have a notebook full of what to bring, how to pack it, and menus that need to be filled out. Games to play, a file of game ideas to play in the car that I printed off the internet. Card Games, a couple handheld games. Lots of kids music CD, and I'm thinking about borrowing some books on CD from the library before we leave.  I'm even borrowing a DVD player for the van from a friend. Something I'm normally very against for my kids, but I'm going to make an exceptions for this road trip.    Suddenly the idea of my kids being distracted with a movie for a couple hours doesn't sound like such a bad idea, when I still have a couple hours left over to fill. :) In other words, I'm ready to throw a stead fast rule to the wind for some peace of mind. Mommy wants to have a pleasant road trip as well. :) I'm thinking red box might be our best friend. ;) I'm going to be packing lots of snacks as well, my kids are so easily distracted with snacks, it's saved me plenty of times. The part that I'm the most worried about is the meals. With a kid on a special {and very strict} diet we don't have the option of eating out readily available to us for those times when we are in a pinch. And even if we do eat out I still have to bring food for Atty. There isn't  an opportunity for Atty to get a balance meal at a resturant with out my supplementing it in some way, or bringing a complete meal for him. So no matter what I will have to have food for Atty, and his food doesn't keep well so we will have to make store stops along the way. I will be able to make some of his almond flour products once we get to our destination, if need be, but other then that I have to have everything pre made. His bread/biscuits/muffins last for about three days so it should all work out. There will be some planning and baking before the trip to try and give me some peace of mind. I'm going to make his bread, some biscuits, a batch of muffins and some of his crackers, plus a recipe for marshmallows that he can have. Once there I will make some bread/biscuits/muffins for our stay there and  for the trip back. I've also already pre made some trail mixes and breakfast cereal that is completely grain free and Atty friendly and put it in food saver bags to keep in the freezer until our trip.  I've never attempted a vacation with Atty's diet before. It's a challenge I'm ready to face, if I had been asked that two years ago I would have  burrowed under the covers and cried for days. I also apparently have to plan for weather extremes.  I was recently told that it can be anywhere from around 70 degrees to a few feet of snow around the time we are going {um, can you say Yikes!}, so I get to pack for both. Which puts an extra spin on the necessity to pack lightly for this trip. We are going in our van with only a trailer hitch cargo carrier {that has yet to arrive} so we are pressed for space. Because we have had such a late summer here the rumor is that we are going to have a long summer that extends into our vacation time, but I can't count on that of course. So it looks like I will be packing swim trunks as well as snow suits... We also need our own bedding and the blow up mattress for some of the stays, a large cooler, space for food tubs, and all the extras that come with kids so it's going to be like a puzzle figuring this out! I'm going to feel like a pro when it's all said and done {that is if it works out well}. I'm restricting each of us to one backpack of clothes which is going to require more laundry stops for me, but take up less space.  If anyone has any ideas for me for going on long road trips with a large family send them my way! I'm really thankful that my family loves the out doors like they do, there will be plenty {inexpensive} fun to be had along the way. :)

Alright well now I'm off to make those two last reservations and then I will be able to breath a little sigh of relief. Look for updates coming soon, and hopefully lots of pictures afterwards.


Kat said...

Wow. Isn't it amazing how much having kids changes things? The planning that goes into these trips? Sheesh! That is exhausting to think about, but I know it will be worth it. I'm so excited for you all!

Marlea said...

Sounds like so much fun and what a memory maker!!!
You HAVE to watch the movie Yogi Bear that came out recently....Its funny and its at Jellystone!!!