Chicago here we come!

S.O. and I have decided it’s time to take the family on a weekend vacation.  Keeping in mind that we have a limited budget and limitless children, we picked Chicago.  It is within easy driving distance, it has free museum weekends, and we never have managed to all get to Chicago as a family before.  Ever.

Even a weekend trip is not easy with seven kids.  Only five of the seven are going. One could not (one would not) get the time off.  So we are only going to have 5 kids with us.  Sounds easy enough.  If two of those kids were not toddlers.  With short attention spans.  And small bladders.  I will not have to worry about the teenagers, they have smart phones and tablets to keep themselves occupied during the drive.  Until they die.  The electronics, not the kids obviously.

Finding the hotel was easy-ish.  I relied on adult friends to tell me which hotels were kid friendly and budget friendly.  I think that some of my friends must have way more disposable income than me because the idea of a hotel that is only $256 a night and includes a free breakfast is not budget friendly.   One of our friends had the brilliant idea to use a hospital discount.  As in, we say that we are in town because a family member, child, or spouse is in the hospital and therefore you get a discount.  Forgive me Father, but I have committed many sins and lying to get a hotel room at a hospital discount just seems sketchy even by my standards.   Found a great hotel within budget and not in the south side or Gary, Indiana.  Score!

I tried to be organized.  I really did.  I had all intentions of having a printed itinerary  for our trip, looking up Groupon deals for restaurants, having everything packed and ready two days before the trip including semi healthy snacks.

But than life happened.  We had a snow storm which meant the children got to be home with Mommy for the day.  No work done.  I had a math final due.  No trip planning.  My S.O. took a day off to go to doctors appointment and in general mess up my routine.  Definitely no trip planning done.

Here it is, the day before our trip.  And I sit typing this out because I actually did get packing done.  I had to do about 5 loads of laundry to accomplish it, but it is done.  I ordered bathing suits for #6 and #7 because I forgot till the last minute that they had outgrown their bathing suits from last year.  They came in today.  And they fit! Had to borrow a stroller from a friend because, lets be honest, a stroller left out in the winter season here is not going to be a viable alternative to harnessing #6 or #7.

Now all that is left is running to get snacks for the road trip (screw healthy, Little Debbie is in store), making sure that the boys have packed everything that they need (extra reminder on socks and underwear), packing up shampoos, soap, razors, deodorant, sippy cups, and diapers.  And packing the car.  And remembering to program the GPS.  And our relaxing family weekend vacation can start!

I can’t wait.  I am sure that we will have a great time.  And if you don’t hear from me again, it might just be because I forgot the chargers for all the electronics and the kids have mutinied!

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