MKissa Creations

Life, Crafts and Kids in Vacation Land

Leave a comment

Preparing for Life on the Road

If you are interested in a abbreviated story of how decided to move across the country with a one-and-a-half and a three-year-old check out my last post.xcountry

When we packed up our house in California we were packing our lives away for approximately six weeks. We would spend two weeks in Arizona on the lake, 17 days on the road, and about two weeks at our new rental with only the items we would have with us in the car. In addition to that, we were moving into a furnished rental for 6 months, so when we arrived we would set up a storage unit for most of our stuff to be delivered to and only some of our items would be delivered to the rental house. This meant a lot of careful planning in California trying to figure out what would come to the rental and what would go to the storage unit. My family has never been a family of movers and we had been living at our house for 13 years. 13 years worth of stuff is a lot to go through. This also meant looking at each item that we were packing and weighing out if we were willing to pay by the pound to move it across the country as well as if we were willing to pay by the square footage to store it for a month in California and approximately 6 months in Maine.

I would like to say that we peeled it down to the bare bones, but we still ended spending about $9,000 moving stuff and things across the country. All in all, we made some pretty good choices about it and there are only a few things that we brought that I would have left behind. Our coffee maker is the one that stands out the most as it was bulky and had been stored away for so long even before the move that it was rusty (it has already been delivered to our local Goodwill).

Evaluating what we would need for this trip (and when we arrived in Maine) was no small task, but the items that we packed fit into our 2014 Ford Edge. We did not travel with anything on the roof or tow a trailer behind us.

I bought a set of six 15-quart plastic bins and organized a lot of our supplies this way. Purchasing a matching set of plastic containers was great because they stacked perfectly with each other. They also conveniently fit right in between the two car seats.  The plastic bins held:

  1. E’s Toys
  2. Z’s Toys
  3. First Aid Items and Medicines – Any prescription Meds you need, Kids/Infants Tylenol, Dayquil, Nyquil, Imodium, Pepto Bismal, Tums, Instant Ice Pack, Bandaids, Tweezers, Gauze, Tape, and Neosporin (this is by no meals a comprehensive list of what should be in a first aid kit, but it worked for us). We also brought kids Dramamine because we had no idea if the girls would get carsick or not.
  4. Bath Items – Normal sizes of our regular brands of shampoo, conditioner and soap (I did not want to live on hotel soaps for a month), Burt’s Bee’s shampoo and body wash for the babes, a hair washing cup and a few small foam bath toys. If we did it again (which we won’t) I would have brought along our own suction cup bathmat (for the girl’s safety) as many hotels did not have them.
  5. Snacks – Our snacks of choice were applesauce pouches, organic baby food veggie squeezes, BelVita Breakfast Biscuits and Cliff Bars.
  6. I packed an empty bin. I packed this knowing that we would want to collect a few souvenirs along the way and I wanted to make sure that we had space for them. This also ensured that we didn’t buy anything too big.

The other items packed into our car included:

A Pack and Play with an extra mattress and extra sheets for Z, as she was only one and a half at the time, and she needed a place to sleep at our family’s house in Lake Havasu as well as at the house we were moving into in Maine. We got this mattress before our move and it worked out well and had its own carrying case.

A small firesafe– This contained all of our important documents. Social Security cards, Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificate, immunization records, and our passports. This was absolutely the most nerve-wracking thing to be carrying with us.

A small humidifier- Traveling with little ones it was needed and Michael got hit with a head cold part of the way through our trip and it was a lifesaver. We used this one.

An ice chest- this fit conveniently under E’s legs as both girls were in car seats. Our ice chest regularly contained Milk, string cheese, peanut butter, bread, an occasional soda, and anything else that might melt in the car.

3 suitcases – one large and two carry on size which held clothes for the four.

2 kids life jackets – we would be spending time on boats during our two weeks at the lake and would need them in Maine.

Diapers, Pull Ups and wipes – I got 2 Costco size boxes of each. I also made up a small basket that had the necessary changing items easily at hand (Diapers, Pull Ups, wipes, changing pad and diaper cream) and the rest of the packages were stuffed in whichever nooks and crannies we could find for them.

Book Bag- This contained our maps, atlas, and AAA travel books for all of the states we would be driving through.

Backpack & L.L.Bean Large Zippered Boat Bag- What was packed in these varied from day to day depending on where we were, but they usually contained, at the very least, diapers/Pull Ups for the day diaper wipes and hand sanitizing wipes.

A Box of Cross Stitch Patterns and Projects in Process- This was the only thing that we schlepped across the country that I feel like I should have just whittled down to one item and put the rest on the moving truck.

Almost all of these items came up to the hotel rooms with us every night. Michael became an expert at loading bell carts (Thanks, 6 years of hotel experience!) and I became an expert at packing the car back up each day (Thanks, Tetris!)

Up next… How and why we planned the actual route we wanted to take.


1 Comment

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”

-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe PHILOSOPHER, SCIENTIST, AUTHOR

There is not another quote that can more accurately describe the last two years of our lives.

I can’t believe it has been almost a full year since we sold our home in Southern California and trekked across the country with our two girls to move to Coastal Maine. To help celebrate our first year here I have decided to start a small blog series about our move and our drive across the country. This entry might be considered “the boring post” it won’t been filled with hot tips, or tricks, but I figured some of you may want to know the story behind our move.

So, let’s start at the beginning. It was just an idea, the idea that, I, at some point in my life wanted to live on the East Coast. Before we were married, I had brought my husband, Michael, out to visit some of my family (that lives out here) for a couple of Thanksgivings and casually mentioned my idea. He liked it, but we were stuck in a house in Orange County due to the housing market fiasco of 2008, so it remained an idea.

Fast forward to 8 years, a wedding, and one daughter later… We planned to come out to the Boston area along with my sisters to bring our sweet girl to meet her Great Grandma. We decided to start checking out the coastal towns north of Boston that we might want to live in. We started looking for the perfect combination of affordable houses and great schools, we found it in Coastal Maine.

On our first trip we visited The Yorks and Portland. We fell in love with the state. We went back home to California with a renewed spirit and got to work on making our new dream come true. We wanted to have one more child while we still lived near both of our parents and were lucky that this time around it did not take us nearly as long to conceive and we welcomed our second little girl 21 months (to the day) after our first.

We took our new 3-month-old on a trip to the East Coast along with the rest of the family, to visit Maine again and attend my cousin’s wedding in Rhode Island. It was solidified, we were going to make it happen. We were going to move to Maine. We started thinking about dates, what made sense, what didn’t, what we wanted to see on our journey, and what it would be like traveling with two young kids for as long as the trip would take. The last of this list is where I found a severe lack of information from others who had done the same. Pinterest has lots of great lists for moving, and a lot of great lists for road trip activities for kids, but not all that much information on what it would be like to be without a home for a month.  So here I am, to share our experience with anyone who needs to, or wants to hear it.

Moving to another state without jobs was a scary thing to do, but almost necessary given our chosen industry. I was not sure that I wanted to stay at the management level, and line level service industry positions are not something you apply for while in another state, plus we did not have a specific timeline and did not want one either as we needed to sell our home to fund our journey.

Once we put our heads down and started working towards our goal, everything fell into place. We broke the news to a lot of our friends and family. Some understood, some did not. It was not easy to explain over and over again that Southern California was not a place that made sense for us to live anymore. It was a lot of work downsizing our belongings, saying goodbye to friends and family and getting our house on the market, but we did it. We sold our home and started our journey across the country.

Next up… How we planned our cross-country trip and what in the heck to bring with you when you won’t technically have a home for a month!