Picture one minivan, one parent, four kids 9 and under, and a three hour drive. It was nowhere near as bad as you are picturing. I’m very fortunate in that my kids tend to be introverted and capable of entertaining themselves quietly for extended periods of time in a very small space. Of course 3 hours is a real stretch for the 3 year old and the 1 year old, but fortunately they nap.
So Friday had a 3 hour drive followed by several hours of 9 kids tearing through a 4 bedroom house. The kids and their cousins were glad to see eachother. Fortunately the house also has a fenced backyard. The back yard contains a very large garden patch which had just been rototilled. (ominous music would be appropriate here.) When 3 year old Gleek was finally herded into the house after the sun went down she announced “I LIKE that sandbox!” Baths for everyone were in order.
The next day had 3 adults loading 9 kids into two vans to go and sight see. We stood outside and saw a geyser go off whilst being drizzled upon by rainclouds. We had our picnic indoors on the carpet of a visitor center because no one wanted to get even colder and wetter while trying to eat. By the time we were done eating the rain had stopped so we reloaded cars with dripping wet kids (Puddles!) and headed for a local soda spring and park. The spring was kind of cool to see, but the kids really loved the playground. It had full size teeter totters of the kind that have been banned from parks everywhere as being totally unsafe. The kids loved them and with three grown-ups to help no one got hurt. It began to rain again so with totally escapable logic we decided to head for the last site on the itinerary a cave.
The cave rated as the coolest thing on all the kids’ lists. We got to walk 200 yards in the cold and rain, then crawl down slippery rocks into a cave where the floor was coated with a foot thick layer of dried dusty dirt. Wet clothes. Lots of dirt. 7 kids (Babies waited in the car). Oh the laundry. The cave was cool though. Especially for the fact that my brother had run ahead and hidden a treasure chest for the kids to find. We took home tired, but happy and extremely dirty children. An adventure day well worth doing.
Sunday was full of taking things slow and prepping for church, attending church, and then finding sufficient motivation to repack my car full of kids and stuff to drive back home for three more hours. All the kids slept during the homeward trip. yay! And when I got here I was treated to the experience of walking into the house and having it smell like home. Don’t know why that matters so much, but it does.