Tag Archives: packing

Packing for Italy

kids posing

Although I’m used to it by now, packing for six people for a trip is a PROCESS.  Partly because it’s just a lot of stuff to bring, and partly because I tend to overcomplicate things; I am a little OCD, a little anal-retentive, and so I cannot just throw stuff in a suitcase and call it a day. 

I like to think my organization pays off in the end.

I also always involve the kids in the process, for three reasons: 1) it’s a lot of work and I don’t feel like doing it by myself because it’s really not that fun, 2) they can’t complain about what they have packed if they helped pack it, and 3) eventually they’ll be able to pack themselves without my help because they’ve done it so many times. (Although Bridget is 11 and we’re not quite there yet, so I’m not sure when this will actually happen.  That could also be because I am a control freak though.)

Here‘s a detailed description of how we pack!  It’s a system that has worked for us for years — it works with 2-yr olds and it works with 11-yr olds.

This trip is a little easier to pack for than normal.  Because we’re going somewhere where the weather is so much warmer than it is in England, the clothes going into the suitcases are not at all the clothes we need to be wearing in the week leading up to the trip. 

And here are some more great packing trips from two of my favorite blogs —

Cup of Jo family packing

Hither and Thither packing for a toddler

And here are my tips for making travel a bit easier–all of these will come in handy for this particular trip!

Do you have any packing or traveling advice?

Also, do you have separation anxiety when you travel without your kids?


Moving Abroad: The Part Where I Try Not To Lose My Mind

Oh man.  There are so many moving pieces involved in this upcoming move, and I’m only in control of maybe half of them.  For a Type-A Control Freak like myself, that’s disconcerting.

We’re waiting on about a million things to fall into place, but I have a feeling it will be a waterfall effect: once the first thing happens, they’ll all just happen in a row.  I mean, I hope that’s how it goes.  Otherwise I may lose my mind.

I’m trying really, really hard not to stress TOO much about the things I can’t control.  (I swear, I’m trying.)  I’m focusing on the things I can do. 

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Intentionally Calm

B and Me

ice cream almost always helps relieve stress

While I’m certainly not the first person who has had to do it, packing up your whole house and moving to a different country in six weeks is a daunting task.

It’s more complicated than just moving, which we’ve done a few times.  We have more layers of planning this time — instead of just packing everything and putting it on a truck, we have to first determine what we’re even taking with us and what we’re storing.  But since we’re still using all our stuff — even the stuff we’re not going to take with us — we can’t just start sticking things in a storage unit. 

I’m more than a little overwhelmed when I think of the whole task.  I’m trying to manage my anxiety and take this project one day, one room, one closet-full-of-crap at a time.  I thought I was hiding my stress reasonably well.

I’ve been going through each room one at a time, starting with the kids’ rooms last week, just purging and sorting.  As I sat on the floor in B’s room one night, sorting through a pile of books and deciding what to take and what to store, she suddenly she burst out with “We can’t do it.  We’ll never get it all done!”

She went on, pointing to a small jar of paper clips, all the pictures on the walls, a bag of paperwork we still had to sort out.  She had realized, suddenly, the magnitude of the task in front of us: we would have to touch every, single, solitary item in this house — every scrap of paper, every thumb tack and random screw in the junk drawer, every toy in the play room — and decide what to do with each and every one.  We’d have to pack things, throw things out, store things, ship things, give things away.  And she freaked out — crying and really panicking.

I don’t know if she fed off my stress and that made her stressed.  I don’t know if she’s just mature enough and smart enough to comprehend the extent of what needs to get done.  I don’t know what made her suddenly see the whole task in front of us.  But I do know that the point of taking on this adventure — the core of what I want this experience of moving abroad to be for her — is NOT based on anxiety or fear.

I’m also pretty sure she’s the only other person in this family who actually understands the enormity of what we have to do (ahem).  But I don’t want a ten year old carrying that stress or allowing it to bother her. 

Not her burden to bear.

I agreed that it was a huge task; there’s no point in down playing it — we’ve got a crap ton of work to do in the next few weeks.  But I pointed out that her room was almost done.  And the boys’ room was done already.  And I’d finished several closets and cabinets and taken things to good will and storage…little by little, we were making progress.

We talked about breaking the giant task into smaller tasks.  We talked about not freaking out because it doesn’t help us get things done.  We talked about maybe not accumulating quite so much crap going on from here. 

She calmed down.  She agreed that she could already see we’d gotten a lot done. We moved on and packed up some books and got rid of some clothes she’d outgrown.

It’s my job to set the tone for this move.  And I have to be positive about it — because this is the beginning of our grand adventure.  The packing and storing and cleaning out this house is the first step. 

No matter how I feel inside (There’s SO, SO MUCH left to do.  Oh my God, so much.) I have to intentionally remain calm. 

And maybe I’ll be so outwardly calm, my insides will be forced to match.  (Probably not.  But at least I can fake it for the sake of the children.)

Pack It Up, Pack It In

Snow gearYup, that’s a House of Pain blog post title.  Things can only get better from here.

This week I took all the snow pants, coats, gloves, scarves, neck warmers, hats, and other various winter paraphernalia out of my kitchen.  It looks nice in there now without a giant clothes rack covered in wet clothes dripping dirty water onto my floor.

I washed all the washable snow gear.  And I packed it up and put it away into the ginormous hockey bag where we store all that stuff.  The bag is now tucked safely into the spare closet in my bedroom where it will sit until next year (or until we move).

(So it will probably snow at least once more in D.C. this year.  Sorry.  I just couldn’t take the mess anymore and it was 62 degrees outside.) 

I have loved this winter, I cannot lie.  Matt and I skied together for the first time and the kid learned to ski and they loved it.  They just rocked it.  We got to play in 2′ of snow with our Massachusetts cousins and see my nephew in his first play and then we got a few good snowstorms in D.C. too.  Unlike last winter (which SUCKED), we did not spend the entire span of Thanksgiving to Spring Break with at least one sick person in our family at all times.  Although Matt did get shingles, it was the mildest case I’ve ever heard of, so all that happened was that he was home for the kids’ whole winter break.  We ice skated in NYC and D.C. at cool outdoor skating rinks and saw our California cousins too.  We went to the Train Show in New York and had a great weekend there with great friends.  We had a New Years Eve get-together with some of our neighborhood peeps. I have just loved so much about the last few months.

And now spring is coming and the kids are back in sports and we will have an insanely busy few months just FULL of sports practices and games and crazy schedules.  And no matter how much I’ve loved this winter, I can’t wait for spring.

Packing up the clothes made me a little sad: such a stark symbol of the end of a season of fun.  But then yesterday the kids were out in the yard, which is still covered in snow, wearing shorts and t-shirts and riding bikes and skateboards up and down the driveway and I all I could do was smile.

snow shorts_1 snow shorts_2 

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