Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Long Trip: Preparation

We go to West Coast Conference every year. Held in November in Fresno, CA, it's a wonderful time to gather with believers of like precious faith to be encouraged, challenged and strengthened. It so helps to gather with saints and see that we are not the only ones that are holding fast to the doctrines of separation and Jesus Name baptism.

We plan for the conference every year, setting aside some of our tax check to pay for the trip. We also try to do a side trip to a vacation hot-spot.

This year, my brother announced in January that he would be getting married the week after West Coast. Modesto and Fresno are only 90 minutes away, so we didn't want to drive to Fresno, drive home, then drive back to Modesto (though at times we did question ourselves and wonder why we didn't just do that!) Staying in Modesto for the week was not a good option as everyone would be busy getting ready for the wedding and there wouldn't be anything for the kids to do.

So we decided to go to Disneyland in between! And, once again God provided the finances so that we were able to put the money into savings and pay cash for the trip.

The plan was for us to leave on Wednesday, November 2 and drive straight to Fresno and attend the conference through Friday. Saturday we would drive down to Anaheim, go to the California Science Center and check into our hotel. Sunday we would visit Bro Noe Trevino's church in Bell Gardens. Monday through Wednesday would be spent at Disneyland. Thursday we would drive north again to Modesto for the wedding rehearsal. Friday was the wedding. Saturday would be spent with family. Sunday we would drive back home to Phoenix.

Tired yet?

For some reason, this trip freaked me out. I'm a planner, so planning for the clothes, the luggage, the food, the things we would need at Disneyland, etc, all made me a nervous wreck. I checked out two books from the library about going to Disneyland with kids and read them cover to cover, highlighting several pages. In fact, one of the books I keep renewing because I need to go through and remove all of my tabs! We purchased new luggage upon discovering that our family had outgrown the four that we had. I spent hours researching hotel deals to make sure that I picked the best deal (I did!)

I was very nervous about our Disneyland trip. Having two different age groups, I wasn't sure if everyone would be able to be accommodated or if we would have lots of unhappy wait time. I wasn't sure if Justin would be able to ride any rides at all. Always in my mind was the worry that Tyler would melt down in the middle of Disneyland.

I made a clothing grid, mapping out every day and every possible need for a clothing change. If an item was going to need to be washed and reused, I made note of it. Hey, I wasn't sure when exactly we would have access to a washer and dryer, so I needed to be prepared.

I bought backpack harnesses (so glad that I did!) and made sure that we had backpacks to pack our stuff into at Disneyland for the times we would need to fold up the stroller.

I purchased toys and books for the car ride, making individual boredom buster bags for each leg of our trip.

We went to Sam's Club and purchased a cart full of food for snacks and quick meals. Glad we did, too, cuz it saved us a fortune.

It felt like we spent a third of our vacation money just getting ready for the trip! And that's not even talking about all the wedding finery we had to finagle (thank you, Mom!)

I started packing 10 days before we left. I'm so glad that I did, too, because I wound up babysitting two days before we left. It was okay, though, because I had already done so much I could afford to take the time off.

Still, Tuesday was a crazy day with finalizing the packing, cleaning the house and packing up the car.

Early to bed, early to rise, and we were on our way!

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