My afternoon and evening have been mainly spent tracking down the myriad things we have strewn about since we got to Florida on Wednesday. My days of traveling light are definitely behind me for now, and so are my days of thinking that the easy phase of packing is re-packing before you leave where you were going.

That used to be true. I used to agonize (sometimes for days) over the exact right things to bring to maximize my efficiency (and cuteness) when I was preparing to travel. Then, when I had finished my trip, it was simple to collect up my efficient things (usually spread no further than the bathroom) to organize them for the return trip. No problem.

Efficiency is still the goal. But now I’m packing for 3 people (Dan packs for himself, more or less) and it’s not possible to pack precisely. Not only are there just a lot of things that are either needed or wanted (and which thus improve the quality of the trip) but I just don’t have hours to worry about whether each top goes with each bottom for every outfit (for maximum outfit efficiency — I used to think about things like that). Instead, a bunch of (hopefully) clean clothes and toys and things get tossed in some bags, and off we go. (The kids require A LOT of stuff. For anyone who isn’t familiar with traveling with kids, it might surprise you that approximately 70-80% of the volume of the things we pack for a trip are for the kids. It’s a lot.)

And once we get where we’re going, those things go EVERYWHERE. Things get played with, thrown and dropped. Clothes get dirty and left wherever they are changed, or somewhere between there and where they are supposed to go. The kids get new things. Things go in the fridge, in the car, outdoors, under and into furniture, and into and out of various bags. They get moved by me, Dan, the kids and potentially friends and family that we stay with and visit (and occasionally pets).

And then, it all has to be reclaimed, organized, packed again and brought along to our next destination. That’s what I did today. I think we found everything except for the blue sailboat pacifier. (It took us several hours and 5 searches of the van to find the blue sippy cup.) Tomorrow, we go on to our next destination: Maryland.

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