Long Distance Moves

Moving is always difficult. And if you have young twins underfoot, it's even more of a challenge! But it can be done, with plenty of planning and patience.

For lots of good advice on packing, check the US Postal Service site: http://www.usps.gov/moversnet/. One section gives advice on packing specific items; it's well worth a look. And don't miss this page (even if you have professional movers doing all the packing): http://www.usps.gov/moversnet/howtopacka2.html#hippos.

If you have any comments or suggestions, please let me know! --Lisa

Any suggestions for surviving a 1000 mile move with two year old twins?!?

I recently moved from Northern CA to South Carolina. And yes, we drove the WHOLE 3500 miles! I am assuming a few details about your move such as a door-to-door move as opposed to having your household goods in storage, like ours (ugh!). I cannot advise you on a moving company, ours have always been assigned. I can say that we have had our worst move with Allied (cost them $4k to get everything repaired/replaced). Our best move (in terms of our stuff arriving in one piece!) was from Washington DC to Dayton OH and that was with an independent local company. I can say that finding someone to watch your twins while you and your DH supervise the packing and loading is definetly advisable. If you are friends with people in your MOTC, I would recruit people with same age twins to watch yours. I know that I don't like asking for help, but sometimes you just don't have a choice (my relatives were 3,000 + miles away). Below is some of the wisdom that I gleaned from this last adventure:

Preparation is The Key
Begin yesterday getting ready! Your move isn't as long as ours was, so maybe your prep won't have to be as strenuous. On the other hand we also didn't have to worry about hiring a moving company and I'm sure that will be time consuming. Knowing that our stuff was going to be in storage, I began making lists of things that we had to take with us, such as medical records, medicines, personal papers (birth certificates, passports, SS cards) that would not easily be replaced, or that we would need for other purposes such as signing up for health insurance. Also call your insurance company rep and let them know that you are moving and ask about what exactly your policy covers in the event of loss or damage. Make a list of things that need to go in your cooler such as juice for the kids and cokes for you and DH. And don't forget things like baby supplies such as a huge package of diapers and extra boxes of wipes.
Purchase an AC/DC TV/VCR Combo or Lay-In a Large Supply of Mood-Altering Drugs (just joking...kind of (VBG))
The very best advice I received from others who have made long distance moves with kids is to invest in a TV/VCR Combo. I poo-pooed the idea at first, not being one that likes to let my kids watch unlimited hours of TV. I quickly came to the realization that they would be better off comotose watching Walt Disney, then me jumping out of a speeding van. Therefore I began making large purchases of new videos that the kids would see for the first time on the road. Best bets for my kids were Rugrats (for some reason, my kids are hypnotized by Chuckie and his friends, anyone else notice this??) and Disney tapes.
Travel Toys that Worked for My Kids
I must've spent $200 on crap for my kids for this dumb trip, figuring that it would be well worth the expense if they were happy! Things that worked best were small figures like the ones that come in kids meals (you can buy BAGS of these things at garage sales and thirft stores for next to nothing), lift-the-flap Arthur books, play jewlery, small matchbox cars (we are equal-opportunity toy buyers) and new Pongo (translation: Dalmation) stuffed toys. Things that did not work at all were sticker books (my kids don't see the point in sticking them in the book when they have a sister and a car to stick them on), coloring books (I won't even tell you what I had to wash crayon off of), lap desks (just too young to use), any toys with excessive amounts of small parts such as legos. Please remember that when planning your toy packing, that a few months in development/age makes a HUGE difference in what your kids will use on a trip. My twins were 2.6 years almost exactly to the day when we left CA.
McDonald's Playlands are Sanity Savers
Stopping at MickeyD's everyday at lunchtime was a good move. We ate and the kids played for about 45 minutes to an hour. By then they looked a little tired and usually would take an hour or so nap when we got back in the car. We would also save the toy to give to them later in the day when they started to get antsy.
Unless You're Taking Port-o-Cribs with You, Big Kid Beds are Your Next Milestone
My kids were still in cribs up until our move, and would have stayed in them till, say, COLLEGE, if we hadn't moved. Because of the length of our move and space limitations, we choose not to take our port-o-cribs. Instead my MIL made the kids toddler size sleeping bags. We thought that they would think that these were fun and be willing to sleep in thm. They *did* think that the bags were fun, but sleep was another issue entirely. Since DH and I were always in the same hotel room with them, we had to go to bed at the same time, which was okay, cuz we were generally whipped by the end of the day. But getting them to sleep was another matter. Our carefully designed daily schedule was shot to hell, a new place every night, and general confusion about what was going on, led to screaming at night time. My one twin insisted that the door to the room (the one to the parking lot) needed to be open, which of course, wasn't/didn't happen. No amount of explaining did any good. My other twin decided that 9 pm every day was an excellent time to throw a good fit. My DH and I were worried that we were going to get thrown out of a couple of hotels, or the police called on us! During these fits she would scream incessantly, "I want to go HOME!" Made us feel pretty awful...Anyhow, they haven't slept in a crib now for about six weeks, and I'm sure are not going back.
350 to 400 Miles a Day is About It
That's about 8 hours of traveling, and our kids started to melt down between 4:30 and 5:00 pm. We would stop, check into a hotel, and go find a nice sit down place to eat. I also recommend hotels with pools. My DH took the kids every evening to the pool so that I could unwind a little by lying on the hotel bed and listening to blessed silence.

Oh Boy!! Moving is so much fun:)

We moved about a year ago when the twins were 3. I made sure the last thing packed was the TV/VCR and several of their favorite tapes. I let the kids "help" pack some of their toys and decide which ones (Set a limit) could go in the car. The first room I unpacked was their room at the new place. We made up all the beds first (Didn't want to be too tired for that later), unpacked the kids' stuff, then cleaned the bathrooms and located towels.

Other moving suggestions: Be sure you put a roll of toilet paper in the car so you'll have some the minute you get to your new place!

If possible, enlist some help, or have your spouse there at unloading time. The kids always want to "help" and someone needs to watch the movers.

I labeled the doors of each room in the new place the same as I labeled the boxes. It made it easier for the movers to put boxes in the right rooms. They still made some creative mistakes, but it wasn't horrible!

Give the kids the job of finding the "stickers" that the movers use to label your furniture. Keeps them busy and is actually helpful!

You'll survive this with only a few additional grey hairs!

We stumbled across a really nice book, quite by accident. It's called The Quilt Story, by Tony Johnston, ill. by Tomie dePaola (ISBN 0-356-16054-8; 0-356-16055-6 Pbk). A little girl's mother makes her a quilt, and puts her name, Abigail, on it. Abigail loves her quilt, even as it gets torn and dirty. Then her family moves far away. She's sad in her new home. The only thing that's familiar is her quilt. "So her mother rocked her as mothers do. Then tucked her in. And Abigail felt at home again under the quilt." Eventually, the quilt is tucked away in an attic, until another little girl finds it many years later. She loves it, too. Then _her_ family moves. Again, the little girl is sad. "So her mother rocked her as mothers do. Then tucked her in. And she felt at home again under the quilt."

We've used this to talk about what's about to happen (we're moving in a week)-- that some things will be very new, but some things will be the same. For us the quilt image is quite helpful, since they both have special Blankies. (They want me to put their names on them now!)

... Well. Two years have passed. And since that move, we've moved again! ;-) The girls were over 4 this time, and we've run into a problem that we didn't face with our earlier moves: homesickness. We've been in our new home about 5 months, and the girls have just started listing all the friends they miss. So we've been writing lots of letters!

Make sure you have the addresses of all the kids' friends, and be prepared for a delayed reaction to the move!

We are in the packing stage of our move to a city 3 hrs. away. One of the first things I packed was most of their toys. I left out their favorites. They didn't seem to mind most of their toys disappearing. My reason for this was, if you are like me, I spend a lot of time dealing with toy clutter. Now that most of their toys are out of the way, it's one less thing to worry about and I can concentrate my time on packing. I construct a lot of the packing boxes at one time. While I'm busy packing, the kids play with the boxes, you know, like Christmas time! I've been amazed at how much I've been able to pack in a short amount of time. When we get to our new home I will have boxes for the kids that they will get to unpack themselves...hopefully, that will keep them busy rediscovering toys. Fortunately we have a play room in our new home so we can put up a baby gate and they will not be underfoot during the unloading of the truck. Good luck with your move.

When I was growing up, we had friends who were in the military and moved at least every 2 years. Something their mom did was to pack a few decorating effects in her personal effects and hang them as soon as they got to their new destination--like a certain picture over the toilet, etc. so that each place seemed at least a little like home. They also stressed daily family traditions like family prayer, chore charts, etc. so that they felt at home even if it wasn't the same house. She kept as much continuity as possible by doing those things.

My parents have also taped stories, and made games for my nephews so that even when they are not close, they seem to be closer.

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