Once upon a time, my husband and I could just pick up and go. We could be anywhere we wanted at any time. If we were late it was my fault for taking too long to get myself ready. Back when we had one kid, we thought it was hard to go places with her. Packing a diaper bag, changing her, working around her nap and when she needed to eat... it was all a lot of work to get out of the house. But we did it. We would go to the mall, out to restaurants, to visit family, on vacation. We have always gone to big family gatherings for Christmas and Easter. We just had to adjust once we had kids.
When we had two kids, it didn't seem like that much more work. Princess was three and a half, so we didn't have to pack a lot for her, just a change of clothes. We still went out with the kids a lot, and splitting the two kids between us wasn't so bad. We would still go out to dinner, with a highchair and a kid at the table. At family gatherings, we would each keep an eye on one of the kids, and still get to socialize and have time to enjoy the food and company.
When we got to number three, things got a little harder. Packing up to go out required more stuff. At restaurants we had to make sure we had a booth. We each had a kid between us and the wall, and we had the highchair at the end of the table. Restaurant visits were not as relaxed as we had to cut food for each of them and try to keep them from climbing out of the booth, while the one in the highchair would throw food on the floor. Family gatherings were a little more work as well. It was three kids to make plates for, two kids to take to the bathroom, and diapers to change for the baby.
Once we got to number four, we rarely went out. It was just too much work. We would go out as a family to the mall or somewhere local. To this day, Donkey still hasn't been to a restaurant. We went on vacation for a week last summer. I had so many lists for packing. It took a week just to pack for a week away. The van was packed full of crap, and we had one of those storage things on the top of it to hold more crap. It was ridiculous. On holidays it felt like it took me the whole morning to pack up to spend the day out at a relative's house.
Now we have five kids. Yesterday was Easter, and it was the first time the seven of us went out together somewhere other than Lowes or the mall. (side note, when we went to Lowes, we needed an entire cart, one with the extra thing where kids get strapped in, just for the kids. I wish I would have taken a picture! We got looks from other people!) We were supposed to be at my grandmother's between 3 and 3:30. The kids were up looking for their Easter baskets around 8. They were awake before that, but we made them wait. We wanted to sleep :) After they found their baskets and made the inevitable mess with their new stuff, we had breakfast.
From breakfast on, I feel like I spent the rest of the morning getting ready to leave the house by 2:30. My family lives about 40 minutes from us, so when we go for the day, I have to pack for the day. There is no running home for something. The weather has been a little crazy lately, too. I needed to pack long pants and long sleeved shirts and shorts & short sleeved shirts for the kids as back up clothes. So, that's 10 outfits. Plus I threw in extra clothes for myself in case I wanted to change. Each kid got a couple pairs of underwear, and a bunch of diapers for the babies. Then I packed a bag of food for the kids. Some of them eat anything, some of them are very picky. I'd rather have stuff I know they'll eat with me than risk them only eating Easter candy for dinner.
Once I was packed, we bathed all 5 kids. We were going to do this Saturday night, but once we were done dying Easter eggs, neither of us felt like going through bathtime. Bathing them is kind of like an assembly line. The 3 middle boys go in the tub together, and as one is washed and rinsed, he is handed off to the other parent who dresses them. Princess takes a shower, and 5 gets a bath in the kitchen sink.
After baths, the kids had lunch. My husband played the role of short order cook so that I could take my own shower and get myself together. Then we loaded the car with bags and kids, and we were off. Surprisingly, we were on the road by 3 and at my grandmother's at 3:40. Ten minutes late doesn't count as late. While we were there, we were both with kids the whole time. My husband watched the big kids outside while I stayed with the babies inside. Donkey walked around the whole time but needed to be followed because the house isn't baby proofed like ours. We had to make plates for four kids, and remember to give a bottle to the baby. Thankfully we have a wonderful family who helped so that we got a chance to make ourselves a plate and eat. When it was time to go, it took another 40 minutes to pack up to leave. On top of all the crap we brought, each kid got an Easter basket and a gift.
In the end, the kids had a great time and seeing them happy makes it worth the trouble of packing up for a day out. However, I'm glad there isn't another holiday for a while. And there's no chance in hell of us attempting a restaurant visit anytime soon! We're thankful for carry-out!