Trip to DC with a Six Year Old – What to Pack

With the Mouse and I taking off for our trip to Washington DC in the next few days, it only makes sense that the OCD monster that lives inside of me start thinking about what we’re going to pack. How much does one pack for three nights away with a six-year-old dude? I can remember flying with my family on trips at this age, and being allowed to pack my own backpack. Big mistake. Huge. Why? Because I always ended up packing WAY too much and then whining nonstop about how heavy all my junk was. The Mouse and I are going to do our best to pack light — wish us luck with this endeavor.

A Trip with a Six Year Old - What to Pack

A couple of things I needed to consider when deciding what/what not to bring:

1. We’re not checking any bags – which means one carry on, and one personal item each.
2. We have a layover – which means schlepping whatever we’re bringing with us through THREE airports.
3. Three nights, three days, and varying temperatures (highs in the mid-70s, lows around 50*) – which means LAYERS.

The biggest rule of thumb I always employ for packing clothing (whether it’s for me or my kids) is to pick items that mix and match well. That way, regardless of the weather, I have several different outfit options. With boys this is super easy – blue jeans, varying colors, sneakers. Easy peasy. I let the Mouse pick his tee shirts, and I picked everything else.

What to Pack for a Trip with a Six Year Old

Incidentally, he’s bringing two pair of jeans, one pair of athletic pants, two tees, two long-sleeved tees, a hoodie, and two pair of shoes (Nikes and Chucks) … plus socks, underwear, PJs, a toothbrush (and the clothes he’s wearing on the plane). Boys are SO easy to pack. Everything fit very easily into the super cute IKEA children’s rolling suitcase.

He’s also bringing his backpack which will contain: Smithsonian coloring/activity book, new book on Abraham Lincoln, a new journal for writing/coloring, bag of markers, Go Fish cards, headphones, and his (my old) stuffed lion. I will lug the iPad, his fish money holder, a pack of regular playing cards (we love War), and a Harry Potter book with me in my bag. The goal is to keep his bag as light as possible!

Packing for a Trip with a Six Year Old

I’ve loaded the iPad up with a new movie for us both, and several new games (several of which we can play together) and fully plan on him being engrossed with that for most of both flights. I’ve also made sure my bag will contain snacks, and a portable charger … because no one wants the devices dying on the second flight. It’s going to be a long day and late night of travel (especially for a six year old), but we can totally do this!

Follow along with our adventures on Instagram (@Tottums) or with #MouseDoesDC. For more of my travel tips, follow the #TottumsTravels hash!

Six Years Old is Really Fun

About a month ago I sat next to my cousin’s pool and talked with her about upcoming vacations and trips we were all taking as the five of our kids played in the water. When I told her about how the Mouse was really ‘in’ to learning about the states and presidents and how much I’d love to take him to Washington DC she looked at me very matter-of-factly and said, “Well, you should just do it”.


So I went home and started researching, and in less than 48 hours it was planned. I submitted a request through our Congressman’s office for a tour of the White House (which was just accepted!), I booked a tour of the Washington Monument, I planned out visits to the different Smithsonian museums … and I proceeded to wait for the next six weeks to tell him.

Hardest. Thing. Ever.

This is the kid who upon arriving at our local library, heads straight for the children’s non-fiction section to look for books about different states. He loves reading (yes, HE reads them) about where they are, when they formed, what they’re known for. He loves maps. He loves learning about different presidents. I knew this surprise was going to be the end all be all of surprises. He was going to absolutely FLIP and I could barely hold it in.

This past weekend, we told him:

DISNEY WORLD? ::headdesk::

I think the video weirded him out though, because once I turned it off, he started acting totally normal again. He immediately unpacked his new suitcase (which I found at Ikea of all places), and repacked it with all the toys he thinks he needs to bring with him on the plane. He’s rolled it around the house and already pretended to leave on several trips — the Froggy trailing behind him the whole time asking if he can come too? As soon as I picked him up for school this afternoon he wanted me to run through all the places we would go, and would there be time see President Obama and say hello?

Six years old is fun – so grown up, yet still so little. He’s old enough to be able to do fun things like this, but young enough that I’m still his sun and stars. He still wants to hold my hand, and cuddle with me in bed, and read stories with me at the end of the day … all without the inconvenient hassle of me having to wipe his butt or suck snot out of his nose.


Our trip is coming up in the next few weeks. You can follow along on my Instagram (@tottums) or the #MouseDoesDc hashtag.

The Stuff I Rocked

I worry a lot. In fact, I worry so much that I worry about the amount of worrying I do. It sometimes becomes this giant circle of worry-suck that follows me around and tries to make me miserable. It’s with me at work, during my commute, at home, in my dreams … it’s just there all the time.

The past few weeks have been rough, y’all. Back to school, the husband being away, baseball practices for the Mouse, long trips, added expenses … all of this makes the worrying a little stronger. And today I woke up and knew this was going to be a stressful day. The first thing I did before I even rolled over and grabbed my phone to check the time was mentally run through everything that I had to accomplish: kids to school, commute, work, meetings, leave early, commute, stop for cold drinks, pick up kids, make sure kid gets changed into practice clothes, dinner, showers, homework, bed — and all the tiny little specifications that went along with all the tasks.

I started to hyperventilate. Okay, maybe not literally hyperventilate, but there was a good 7 minutes where I pulled the covers up over my head and contemplated just not leaving the house for the rest of the day. But eventually I realized that the school would call looking for the Mouse, work would text looking for me, and I needed to suck it up and just deal with this long-ass day, already.

I whine a lot on this blog. I bitch, and moan, and ‘tell it like it is’ when really it’s just me whining — and that’s okay, it’s my space and I’ll do what I want thankyouverymuch. I was all set in my head to whine some more tonight … but a funny thing happened: I rocked this stupid day. I mean, I rocked it hard.

the stuff I rocked

I rocked my meetings at work, and I rocked the actual work afterwards. I rocked collecting my kids during rush hour and even showed up to baseball practice 15 minutes ahead of time. I rocked take out dinner, and when I came home to a puppy who had shat all over her crate, I rocked taking the whole thing outside and hosed it off like a boss. I rocked snarffing down dinner, I rocked hot showers for the boys, I rocked stories and toothbrushing. I rocked making lunches for tomorrow, I rocked a load of laundry, I rocked a glass of wine HARD, and I even rocked the motherfucking Tooth Fairy bit.

My house might be a mess, my calendar might be downright frightening, and I will never EVER be that parent who volunteers to be ‘dug out mom’ … but that’s okay, because I (WE) don’t have to do it all. We have to look at our lists, pick out the ‘musts’ and do those — and then try to rock as many of them as possible.

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