we came back from camping, then back from DC, and are now on our summer trip to oregon. the rugged coastline, redwoods and family called our names and so we came. the last three mornings before leaving, ruthie woke up asking if it was (finally) "oregon day". "no, but it will be soon, rufie" eve would quickly answer. "super duper soon?" "yes, super duper soon" "super duper malooper soon?" "yes, super duper malooper quadooper soon."
our annual trip to oregon usually involves me flying by myself with the kids, chip joining for the last week and then the five of us shuttling home together. this time we switched it up. chip is with us for the first two weeks, so our family of five all boarded and landed together. a big relief for all involved. especially me. nothing like trying to get yourself and all three of your children into an airplane bathroom before your (then) two-year-old actually does wet herself, as she has been announcing to/ threatening her fellow passengers with at the top of her lungs for three minutes while we wait for the "occupied" light to dim..
but even with chip there to wrangle and distract, traveling across the country with these three takes a little planning. not my strong suit, but we made it here and did so without our neighbors cursing our names. charlie, being magical and in love with his thumb, was easy. and, with the help of their very own back packs bags full of a few simple treats and ways to pass our nine hours of travel, the girls were pretty great too.
the goods inside the bags:
+ new coloring book and new crayons. heaven for my little girls. brand new pages waiting to be filled and sharp new crayons means fresh, intricate designs for the girls. a dolphin? no, no. a rainbow, diamond, snowflake dolphin with pink eyelashes. takes at least 40 minutes to get just right.
+random activity books from the pharmacy because we couldn't find any decent coloring books on our own (chip's sister saved the day and showed up at our place with the real goods).
+ stickers. with thousands of foam stickers floating through our apartment (and torturing me) years ago, i began taking them on flights with eve and i. we would stick them all over the tray table and seat back, we'd make scenes of dancing animals or designs with our shapes. i'd put two pair of each (animal, shape, whatever we had) up and eve would find the matches. we'd draw faces on them and find the sad horse or the happy lion. and after an hour or so of playing we'd we'd take them off the seat and tray and be done. i don't have the foam stickers anymore and don't ever want them in my house again, so we go for regular stickers. they don't entertain nearly as long but they are a special treat. and apparently ruth loves to put them in her hair (which works out really well..)
+ snacks. of their very own in their very own back pack. no sharing, no bargaining, no waiting their turn for a bite. preferably wrapped up in colorful paper. because unwrapping takes time too, and it makes everyone happy.
+ a book. i can't take my kids anywhere without a book. i used to bring several, but we've streamlined. one for each girl and a couple for charlie. old favorites are the best, because i know they will be hits and the girls can "read" them to each other when i'm finished.
+ woodkins. i may need to devote a post to this toy. all i can say is that they, a gift to the girls from chip's parents, are so much better than i thought they'd be.
+ home videos. pulled out when all else has failed, these are always the answer. the girls love watching themselves, so the dvd with an hour's worth of footage sampling their entire lives is devoured happily. they stare and laugh and pretend to be embarassed by themselves while i try to take a nap.
all carried on their own little backs from plane to plane, these items weren't anything new or groundbreaking, but they did the trick.
in four and a half weeks i'll be flying across the country to get home. a mom alone with her three very young kids, i'll be every other passenger's worst nightmare. but hopefully the treats, and crayons and home videos will, once again, charm the littles. and maybe the people who watched me with big eyes and thought to themselves "please don't be sitting next to me. please don't be next to me" will watch me leave thinking that it wasn't so bad afterall..
backpacks are a shrunken version of the backpack pattern in lotta jansdotter's simple sewing. easy and fast.
i have a lot to post, but being on vacation with family in paradise is distracting and too much fun. i'll try to get back to at least once a week. but if i don't, take it as a good sign. summer!