September 15, 2011

Just Add Family

Why is it the vacation task that sends mama into a panic is the thing that kids look forward to the most?  From the Labor Day weekend until we pull out of the driveway, the kids are asking me every day if it is time to pack their suitcases yet.  At the end of each day I like to ask my kids what their favorite thing that day was.  Last night all of them said, "Packing!"  Meanwhile, I am exhausted and don't want to look at another suitcase ever again.

Packing for ten is a big job.  And it does take an entire day.  But we have worked out quite a system over the years that helps us get from point A to point B with as little effort as possible and with everything we could possibly need in tow.

On the computer, each member of the family has a packing list that we print out each year.  There is another list, I call extras, which includes all the items shared by the family like puzzles, sunscreen and fishing rods.

Brianna is the computer person, so it is her job to update, print and distribute the lists as necessary.  There are pictures of items to pack for little ones who can not read.

Kaitlin is in charge of laundry so it is her job to be certain clothes are washed, ironed and put away by packing day.  All the other kids are assigned to help her with that job.

Emma and the little kids are in charge of gathering the extras list.

In the meantime, everyone is washing and scrubbing the house, handling fall jobs (such as closing the pool for the year) and taking care of school preparations for when we return.

On packing day, always two days before we leave, lists are handed out and the children pack their suitcases accordingly.

When they are finished, they line up in the hall way outside my bedroom and await inspection.

This is carried out  by me and one or more of the bigger girls.  We check to be sure each item is accounted for and then carefully roll and pack each suitcase.

Space is at a premium so each child is permitted 4 outfits, 2 bathing suits, 2 pairs of pajamas and 1 set of church clothes.  After adding their toiletries and Bible they can fill leftover space with the extras packing list.    

Each child can bring one checked bag

one carry on bag

and one lap child

We did take a break in the middle of our work to enjoy one more dip in the pool

 and one more happy hour before summer officially ends for Wachter world.

This year with the addition of Carmella, we added a fourth row to our Suburban.  That means no trunk space at all.  So we were a little concerned about how we were going to manage all the kids and the luggage.  (Do you think it might help if we packed less books?)
So we added a cargo box to the roof as well. 

 Except someone waited until less than a week before our trip to order it.  And when it arrived, it was locked.  And it just so happens, they forgot to send the keys. This morning we spent some time trying to strategically get things onto the hitch.

As noon approached, I still hadn't had my coffee, Brianna was still in her pajamas

and we still had a buggy and several suitcases that wouldn't fit in the car.  We were contemplating leaving Pa behind when the UPS driver showed up with the missing keys.  
I wonder if the Lord knows He is teaching my hubby to procrastinate by always coming through when he waits til the last minute?  ☺

Regardless.  The key arrived.  The car is packed.  And vacation can continued as planned with everyone in tow.  

So here it is... Ready to go... Just add family.


  1. we were given a similar, if not the same cartop carrier from some friends. after countless, spur of the moment trips between TN/WI, we've become pros at packing. I actually did better when I had a short notice, rather than having a week or more to pack.

  2. Ah, the ups and downs of preparing for a trip when one lives in a large family. I agree with you, though--I don't find packing particularly pleasant. At first, maybe, but after a while, no thank you. Getting ready for a vacation can be really busy, but by the time you're out of the house and driving towards your destination (or flying, if you happen to be on an airplane), it's worth it. :)

    Praying for safe travels and a lovely time for all the Wachters!

    Many Blessings,
    Elizabeth Rose

  3. I love your packing system! Y'all have a great time!!!