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Summer packing essential for a family getaway - getting all the essentials in for a gaggle of children

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As you might have read, I have officially declared this summer The Summer of Independence.  It's time that our kids started pulling their weight in the most literal sense.  If they want it, they have to carry it.  That's why for our summer vacation, each kid got one bag and one bag only -- one small bag that contained all they needed (and could carry themselves!) for a week at the beach.  In case you're wondering exactly what a kid needs for a week filled with sand, sun and surf, well, it's not much.  This is a lesson I've learned the hard way over many years of over-packing.  Another thing I've learned is that Mother Nature is unpredictable and it's best to bring along something warm in addition to the swim basics.  So, in short, here's all you need to know as you plan to pack up and hit the road this summer:
  • Less really is more.  Everything our kids needed for a week fit perfectly into the little bags pictured above:
    • 2 pjs
    • 2 bathing suits
    • 2 swim shirts
    • 3 pairs of shorts
    • 4 t.shirts
    • 5 pairs of underwear
    • 1 sweatshirt and 1 pair of sweatpants
    • 1 fordable rain slicker
    • 1 lovey blanket (or a "WaWa" if you ask us!)
    • 1 pair of sneakers and socks (Crocs were worn in the car and truthfully, the sneakers were never worn but, if my man Liam had been called into a pickup baseball game, he would've been ready!)
    • Toothbrushes/toothpaste/sunblock/shampoo/water bottle (Note: these items were shared -- except the toothbrushes! -- and carried in my bag)
  • Laundry is inevitable.  Between the sand, salt, chlorine, sunblock and the possibility of throw up and/or an accident involving gallons of pee, I accepted long ago that a "vacation" does not include a break from the laundry. And that's okay.  If you approach your getaway with this mindset, you'll avoid the over-packing and perhaps even go home with clean laundry! 
  • Showers are overrated.  What does this have to do with packing, you wonder?  Well, less showering or bathing means more time swimming.  More time swimming means more time in a swimsuit.  More time in a swimsuit means less time in any other type of clothing -- quite possibly eliminating the need for anything else.  But, should Mother Nature decide to grace you with a cold snap or violent storm, you'll be glad you packed those aforementioned change of clothes!

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