We just returned not twenty-four hours ago from the longest trip we have ever taken. Longest in the miles in which we traveled, and longest in the time in which we were gone, which happens to have been eight days.
In case you were wondering, it takes a family of seven approximately two days to drive from northern to southern California if you stop for basic needs and sleep in between once you reach the daily limit for time in a car with small children.
It was fun, we saw family, we experienced living in an oven for a week (which we missed EVER so much!), my brother-in-law got married, we came home. My kids got a bonus car tour of California's highlights down the valley and back up the coast, in addition to an unending supply of chocolate cereal, candy, soda, and various other junk food. Definitely a win for the kids on this trip.
While there is much to be said about the experience of a long road trip with a large family, I think the major points have already been covered by Cari, and better than myself.
What I want to talk about is how to prepare your home for you to be gone for more than a few days. Some of the items on the list are things I already knew to do, but other things I have added upon my observations after coming home
Preparing your home when you are leaving for a long trip:
1. This should go without saying, but be sure to empty all of your trash cans right before you leave. Sometimes, this is good enough, but after whiffing the audaciousness coming from my empty kitchen can when I got home last night I would go one step further and spray every can down with a disinfectant and leave the can open while you are gone. "Bleechy clean" beats "festering diaper odor" any day.
2. Strip down all your mattresses (specifically kid's beds that have been blessed with pee) and let them air out while you are gone. Bonus step: Spray them liberally with febreeze or other deodorizer. Make sure you have clean sheets to make the beds right away when you get back, since you will probably arrive home right past bed time with two-three sleeping children who will promptly pee on your freshly deodorized mattresses.
3. Put something in the freezer for breakfast the first morning and dinner the first night back. You will be glad you did, since you are going to have to get rid of all that perishable stuff in your fridge that can't sit there for more than a week like milk, eggs, meat, leftovers. And this takes me to my next pointer....
4. You may as well get that fridge cleaned out while you're at it!
5. Try to get all the laundry washed before you go, or at least anything that is smelly and damp, because it will only get worse with each passing day and you DON'T want to come home to that stink. Make sure you leave your washing machine open to dry out while you are away so it doesn't start to smell. The same goes for your toilets; clean and open to avoid any funk.
6. Put a hold on your mail, or have a neighbor pick it up for you. The same goes for any deliveries you have like the newspaper. You especially don't want to make it obvious that you are gone for anyone ill-intentioned passing by.
7. The last thing to do before you walk out at that door, and make sure YOU are the last one to walk out the door, is turn off all the lights except the front porch light, make sure all computers, thermostats, coffee machines, alarm clocks, and basically anything else on auto is turned off, then check all the doors.
Now walk out that door, get in your car, and don't look back!*
*any egregious omission of something obvious is due to exhaustion from said trip, beer, and potato chips. Heed my advice at your own risk.
See Jen for other Quick Takes that probably put mine to shame.