Hi! I’m back! And after two weeks of much needed away-from-a-screen time, I’m here with you allllll summer long. Especially because I have only talked to Sadie the Spider for the past six days.
For the past five years, I’ve roadtripped to my homeland in central Maine to see my family. It is a casual trip of lakes, sea coves, and boat rides. Fun fact: I was born and raised in the abandoned gas station pictured below.
This year’s adventure involved six children, 3 – 6 adults (depending on the day), and ONE bathroom. We call it Camp Maia! While I’m actually not the world’s most Together Traveler, we’ve created a few systems to help things run smoothly. Some of these are rather ordinary (packing checklist is a no-brainer!), while others are new to me –like the Together Tech Pouch for the car ride!
- Standardized Packing Checklist. Because we travel separately, my partner and I keep a shared Google Sheet listing who is bringing what. A week or so ahead of departure time, I start gathering items and begin the staging ground.
- Together Tubs. Yes, these are exactly what they look like. Perhaps I have taken one too many Together Troop Leader camping trips, but I keep four of these babies in my shed stocked with beach toys, large inflatables, life jackets, and other outdoor equipment. Yes, they are bulky and heavy and I curse every time I load them, but man, is it helpful to have them ready to go.
- Adventure Menu. In that same Google Sheet, we keep a running list of adventuring ideas and activities. We don’t create much of a schedule except for items we know are happening, like tickets to a baseball game. Otherwise, we check the weather each night to make a rough plan for the next day. Sidenote: We also had four straight days of rain this year, so I have seen every single kid movie in the theaters right now. Try me.
- Together Tech Pouches. These were a new idea this year. Since the kids and I drove 10 hours each way and they are old enough to have gadgets, I wanted to ensure we didn’t lose any key pieces of technology. Each kid kept track of their own pouch with earbuds, a mask, and charger, and my older daughter stowed her Kindle and phone in the pouch, too. Easier than a Ziploc, but not so precious that I cared if they were damaged. ALSO SNACKS.
- Non-Tech Kid Amusements. Given the amount of screen time my kids have had this year, we reset our agreements on devices. In addition to the requisite board games, we assembled a tub of sidewalk chalk, jump ropes, bubbles, Sudoku, fancy color by numbers, Perler beads, pop-its, friendship bracelet threads, and string art. It was honestly lovely to see the kids all doing Word Finds early in the morning. And guess who remembered to pack an electric pencil sharpener!? #semitogethermom
- Together Treat Bags. Here come the Ziplocks! I do create a little stash of Nutella-Go, Z-Bars, and a few fun candies. The kids like to pack their own and always surprise me with what they choose. My little guy lobbied for a KitKat for each hour of road time. Ummmm, no. Of course, that didn’t stop us from stopping at no fewer than four fast food places because #COFFEEFORMOM.