My sister, Melina, and I took a road trip to Arizona to visit our grandparents a few weeks back. It was super awesome (and also awful and hard) and we're so glad we did it (but are not eager to do it again.) She has 3 kids (5,3, 9 months) plus my 2 kids (3.5, 1) and we felt outnumbered nearly all the time and slightly cray cray most of the time too. But! It was fun! And also we are such a great team (and I love my sister so damn much and we always have easy laughs even if she packs weird food for kids and makes me annoyed sometimes.) She is overly efficient and planned and puts up with my laid back ill-preparedness (which I'd argue is actually more prepared than normal people but she always scoffs at me so she obviously doesn't think so.) I drove the whole time while she was super-mom-mary-poppins back and forth from the front to the back as she took care of all the kids. We had moments of pure bliss when kids were calm and happy or watching a show, we had a ton of times where one or more were crying, and we had TWO 2-hour stretches where all five children were asleep. ALL FIVE. EZ continued his streak of being car sick & threw up four different times, but is very proficient with his own personal puke bucket and it was breezy. Lucy gets MVP for the trip for being the sweetest and calmest, Sully cried the most in the car because he was over his carseat almost all the time, and the three big kids played well together (except when they were fighting.)
Our mom packed some homemade play-doh for the kids to use while we were there and Grandma got right down to business helping them make nests and eggs for over an hour. We were so grateful we could go since they haven't had a house full of kids for a long time, and she kept commenting how nice it was to have us there. We almost always had a baby strapped to us or our hands full of kids, but we also were able to make some dinners for them & spend some time with other family as well.
For example, continental breakfast with 5 kids under the age of 5. HA! Sit kids down, one baby on one hip, one baby in high chair. Get dry fruit loops in three separate bowls to get kids started, go start cooking waffle while filling three cups of apple juice, then get banana and yogurt, tell kids to sit back down, get one giant plate of eggs and some sausage, waffle is beeping, go get waffle & syrup, clean up spilled apple juice, get three plates of waffle/egg/sausage ready for the three kids while also tiny bites for the 1 year old, keep baby off floor but need hands to cut waffles for kids, try to force kids to eat food, clean up spilled plate, comfort kid who is crying, give baby more food to eat, take one kid to bathroom, force another bite of food, threaten them that they will get no more food if they don't eat now, sh's them from being noisy, clean up another spilled cup... etc etc. Just on and on. And within all that, try to make them behave like respectable humans and also eat something yourselves. Ha! It doesn't really seem like a big deal while doing it, but thinking about it or watching the faces of those around us made it funny to think about the dance we had to continually do.
We love our grandparents & family and were so thankful to visit Arizona. Next time we go might be for memorials, so we're really happy we made it happen.