Conversation In Front Of My Mirror

The finer details of hauling one's husband and three children across the seas

It occurs to me that there are, like, ONLY TWO MONTHS until we go on our big trip. 

*breathes into paper bag*

Okay, so ALL the airfare is purchased. To Venice, to Paris, to London, and back home again. I booked our Paris hotel last night so now all of our lodging is booked. (THANKS MOM AND DAD AND ALSO PHILLIP'S WORK!) 

Now: everything else. Ack.

CAR RENTAL: I have done some cursory investigation into renting a car big enough for five people and their ten tons of luggage. I don't THINK we have to rent a van. I don't WANT to rent a van on account of how much gas is going to cost in Europe. We'll need to pick it up at the Venice airport, drive it to the house my parents are renting, and keep it until we fly to London from the Treviso (near Venice) airport. It's small town Italy and while we can take the train to Venice, if we want to go to the beach or visit old friends or go pretty much anywhere, we need a car. 

CAR SEATS: After MUCH investigation I think we're going to buy those BubbleBum things for the big kids and borrow a Rider Safe vest for Emma. I cannot bear the idea of BRINGING Emma's car seat and while we could rent (sketchy) or buy (expensive) seats while we're there, these options we can bring with us without sacrificing a lot of space and since we hope to borrow two of the three, save us some cash. 

LUGGAGE: I am totally overwhelmed thinking about this. Seriously. We have some suitcases, but are they too big too small too old falling apart manageable for two adults with three kids in an airport I DON'T KNOOOOOW. Chances are, even if they're exactly what we need, Phillip Cheung is going to want to get new ones. Maybe I should put this on HIS list of things to figure out. 

CARRY ONS: I'm thinking each kid will have a backpack with snacks, activities, water bottle, and a change of clothes. Emma's certainly big enough to carry her own little backpack. But I need a carry on for ME which will hold everything ELSE. Phillip will have all the important stuff - documents, tickets, money, and probably his computer, probably the iPad - but I have been stocking up on Stuff To Do for a few months and I need something to hold it all. All the extra snacks. All the pull ups and baby wipes and first aid stuff and kleenex. A place to hide the activity books I'll need to bust out on hour seven of the plane ride. Oh, and I would also like room to bring a book and a chocolate bar for my own self! Does such a bag exist? It needs to have a messenger bag strap, not be too huge or too small, double as a bag I could take on a day trip (it'd be NICE), and preferably have nine zillion pockets because I'm THAT kind of lady. MORE POCKETS MORE HAPPY. I should not spend all the money on ANOTHER Ju Ju Be bag, I should not spend all the money on ANOTHER Ju Ju Be bag...

PACKING: What? I have to do this? People need clothes? Shoes? Huh?

BEING A TOURIST: I THINK I have convinced my dad that we will not hit the ground driving five hours to Pisa. I figure we need a day or two to recover from flying and honestly, just walking down the street for gelato will be enough entertainment at first. We will take the train to Venice more than a few times, I want to go to the beach, and there are plenty of day trips to take. When Phillip and I go to Paris my parents will road trip the kids to Austria - that is enough big trip driving for them. Florence et al will have to wait for another trip. That said, I do want to make a list of things to do in Paris (for me) and London (for the kids and my in-laws). Those will be the more Go Out And See Everything parts of our trip. The Italy part is probably going to be a lot of Going To That One Place My Parents Liked To Go On Field Trips With Their Classes and tons of Having Dinner With My Parents' Friends. Both of which are TOTALLY fine with me. 

I'm forgetting something, aren't I. 


What do I do with my house for 3 weeks? Get a house sitter? 

Still thinking about what kind of project/journal/scrapbook type of thing I'm going to have the kids do while we're away. 

Packing. Omg. (Our London apartment has a washer and dryer. This might be my favorite part of the London apartment.)

We saw some friends the other night who went to Europe earlier this year and after talking to them I felt like I needed to make a separate list of Things We Should Eat. So perhaps that is coming to the blog as well. Stay tuned. 



Dr. Maureen

You just got to say, "Our London apartment."


Bubble bum seats are the best. So excited for you guys!


You can doooooooooo it! I survived! It can be done! IT WAS AWESOME. (It's four a.m. in Germany. I'm a little loopy. And jet lagged.)(And home, if that wasn't clear.)


Oh and we loved our rental van. A Ford Galaxy for what it's worth.


We are going to Europe in May also! But you have made a lot more progress than I have on the planning. I have figured out some things, but not actually booked anything yet...

Anyway, here's advice for packing for kids. I pack similarly for my crew (4, ages 1.5 to 6.5)


I have no idea if Emma (or even the big kids) would get a kick out of this, but I just made this Mr. Potato Head thing out of felt that fits in a travel baby wipes case. I found it on Pinterest a couple years ago and finally got inspired to make it last week. I've been unemployed for nearly 10 weeks and trying to keep myself busy with random projects that I won't have time for once I get a new job. I just went to Walmart, bought 11 colors of felt (grand total of $2.53) and started cutting out shapes. I used the real Mr. Potato Head as a starting point (red nose, mustache, bowler hat, etc.), added some Mrs. Potato Head accessories, and had fun with the rest...the combinations are endless. I glued felt inside the case and added flaps for more storage. It turned out cuter than I expected and I think it will be a fun travel thing. And the pieces are easy to recreate if anything gets lost. Just search "Mr. Potato Head felt" on Pinterest.

I have absolutely no other advice because I've never traveled internationally, but based on my parents' recent travel experiences I can tell you that your luggage itself may not fare well, so keep that in mind. In their last two trips my parents have had a piece of luggage destroyed. One the airline is paying to replace, but keep in mind they're not gentle so it may not be worth getting anything super fancy :)

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