National Lampoon's Jorgensen Vacation

Tomorrow, Beau, Cruz, and I leave on an all-expense paid trip to the gorgeous landscape of Lake Tahoe, California, and if you would have asked me an hour ago, I would have questioned if it was all worth it.  I have literally spent the last four hours of my life attempting to pack for our first big vacation as a family of three.  I think I've used more brain cells today than I have all summer long!  The weather sounds wonderful, low 80s during the day and upper 40s at night, however, this means I'm packing everything from jeans and sweatshirts to shorts and swimsuits.  Then comes the question of packing for a toddler... exactly how many diapers does Cruz go through on a given day?  Will one package of wipes be enough?  Are those squeezy packets of fruit considered a solid or a liquid?  My mind is completely jumbled with packing for three people, leaving me with the age-old question often lurking behind everyone's travel to-do list...

What am I going to forget???

I am the caretaker of packing, and it's the few times like these that I realize just what kind of pressure high-stress jobs like surgeons, company CEOs, and air traffic controllers deal with on a daily basis.  After all, what if I don't pack enough socks for Beau, or forget something like a pacifier, contact solution, or a belt?  The blame will fall on me, and Lord knows I don't like to disappoint.  

If only I was little again, packing my very own pink 'Going to Grandma's' suitcase with things I most definitely 'needed' to bring along on getaways with my family.  My very own Kodak with an extra roll of film, my journal to document our trips (or keep score during the car game with Jordan), and my Hannah doll, with enough clothes to last her the week as well.  I guess I've always over-packed, but always had enough to keep my imagination alive, and my free-spirit at its peak during new adventures to a faraway places.

After four hours of packing, and finally beginning to recover from my typical holy-crap-there's-no-way-this-bag-is-going-to-close-let-alone-weigh-under-fifty-pounds freak-out moment that I usually have when packing for a flight, I realized that although we may grow-up and our roles may evolve, it doesn't mean things have to change.  The anticipation of traveling to a new place has set in, and I begin to feel some of those same feelings I remember as a young girl.  I found myself reliving similar moments through Cruz, especially as I packed his very own roll-away skip-hop suitcase.  I had fun putting together the perfect combination of activities and toys to keep him busy during our days at the airport, and carefully put together his cutest outfits, favorite blankies, and easy, mess-free snacks.  I downloaded new apps. on the iPad, have an extended collection of Elmo paraphernalia, and enough dum dums to last on a flight to Australia.  The camera's charged, the clothes are washed, and all is packed.  I have a feeling I'll have a hard time falling asleep tonight, and secretly can't wait for that alarm to go off in the morning.
Tomorrow, I look forward to watching Cruz proudly pull his suitcase through the entrance of the airport.  I look forward to seeing his reaction as he spots the nose of big jet through the windows of our gate.  I look forward to seeing which of his new airplane distractions will become his favorite.  I look forward to unpacking my carefully packed bags in a new home for a few days, and exploring new, higher territory with my two adventurous spirits.  

I'm confident I'll have stories upon our return :)
Thanks so much to all who offered such great advice and tips for traveling with toddlers.  Not only did I learn so much from you, I made a list of every single one of your suggestions and had some fun at Target last week.  Here are some of the things I settled on...
(clockwise: Elmo flap book (thanks, Brea), Toddler Tote Mini Peg Boards, stickers and favorite board books, Doodle Pro, Crazy Colors Dry Erase Board, snacks...)  

(I found these cute sticker and coloring books on in a sale bin at Pottery Barn Kids.  I'm in love with them)

I found this great idea on Pinterest and it made packing for Cruz so much easier.  I organized each individual outfit in a gallon zip-lock bag.  This way, the clothes stay nice in the suitcase, and I don't have to rummage through every day to find his little clothes.  Now if only they made zip-locks big enough for us.

Until we meet again...