I made a separate packing list for each person in the family, a packing list of "general" items, and a packing list of food. I placed a check mark next to the item when I initially packed it, and then another when I packed it at the end of the trip. This way nothing gets left behind!
Here are my lists:
General packing: stuff that everyone uses. I thought I had a shout pen/wipe, but I didn't, so that went off the list. And the adults used the kid floss. When I went to Disneyland in 2005, the stroller we had was either stolen or someone mistook it for theirs. This year, I took a bike lock, and we attached it to a post or sign. Problem solved.
One of the girls' lists.
My 12 year old son's list. He packed this and I checked it.
This is meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
Mr. Perfect (minus the Ibuprofen, see below).
The food list. We had a coffee maker in our room and coffee in the lobby, so I was covered there.
Last minute To Do list before we left.
I would like to add that no matter how much you plan, no matter how many lists you make, you are likely to forget something.
Mr. Perfect is an amazing husband. He works very hard for our family, and he does so much around the house. However, and he may disagree, I did the majority of the planning, purchasing, packing, etc. for this trip. I think if it was left in his hands, he would have worn the same outfit every day and bought new underwear when he got down there. On the other hand, I basically packed our entire house. There is probably a middle ground somewhere that is a healthier version of both of our styles.
I only use Tylenol. Even though we have been married for five years, apparently I DON'T EVEN KNOW MY HUSBAND, YOU GUISE. He only uses Ibuprofen. I was unaware of this Very Important Fact. Somehow, when he came to me looking for the Ibuprofen, I felt guilty, even though the only thing left in our home, was in fact, Ibuprofen. I packed everything. EVERYTHING, except for Ibuprofen. Why don't you pack your own f#@&ing Ibuprofen, I wanted to say. Instead, I smiled sweetly, and suggested that we pick some up at the store. Or, I made a passive aggressive remark and he dealt with it. Samesies.
Having said that, unless it's a prescription medication or other specialized/expensive/irreplaceable item, you can buy anything you forget. There are Targets in Southern California. You'll be fine. Pick up some page flags while you're there.
How I packed the car. Stuff we wouldn't need (clothes for the trip, hygeine items, towels, pillows, etc.) went in the trunk. Food went between the kids' seats. Entertainment baskets went beneath their feet. I could easily reach everything we would need during the drive.
Entertainment for the kids. My 12 year old was easy. He either read, drew, listened to podcasts, or played on his DS the entire way there. I don't know that he made a peep the entire way.
The girls were a bit more challenging. Honestly, the drive home was much more stressful for me, even though the three year old and myself ended up sleeping through most of it. The drive down was filled with excitement, and we were all fresh. The drive home was tiring, and I am glad the three year old was able to sleep through most of it. We brought one new movie, other DVDs to watch, special snacks, Target Dollar Spot coloring books and pens, books, and a peek a boo rice game (check back for Part Three for details on that). We stopped once on the way there and the way back for gas/food/potty breaks. All in all, not too shabby.
I think the next part will be the last part. I will share my tips and must haves for your trip. I can't wait!