A few insights from our trip:
You can have every intention of leaving your house no later than 6:00 a.m. on the morning of your departure; you can pack in advance, lay everything out, set the alarm for an outrageously early time, forgo a shower since you so cleverly showered the night before...but you will not, by any stretch of the imagination, actually leave your house before 6:00 (or even 6:30).
To a two year old who has recently mastered potty training, the best way to break up the monotony of a long boring car ride is to announce, loudly and at frequent intervals, "I NEED TO GO POTTY NOW!"
The Wiggles really do make some pretty catchy music, perfect for singing along with in the van(much to the annoyance of one very dear, tolerant husband...but secretly, I suspect that even he actually likes them, too.)
There is nothing that can't be cleaned up with a few simple wet wipes.
Checking in to a hotel with your husband with three small kids in tow can feel an awful lot like a second honeymoon...were it not for the three small kids in tow.
Ten seconds with the TV remote control and your four year old will know exactly which channels correspond to the channels he's allowed to watch back home.
There is no better eatin' than Papa's homemade barbeque.
You can spend all the money in the world on food, toys, souvenirs, amusement park admissions...but the most memorable times will be those that didn't cost a cent--swimming in the hotel's pool, touring Daddy's childhood haunts, playing catch with Papa, drawing pictures for Nana, meeting your cousin for the very first time, visiting Great Grandpa, and picnicking in the most magnificently beautiful spot where Daddy frequently camped years ago.
A long road trip with three young children is a lot more fun, and a lot less work, than one might have expected.
You can pack for your kids way more clothes than you think you will ever possibly need, and still manage to go through every single article of clothing, even going so far as to, for the return trip home, dig through the suitcase for the least dirty outfit to put on your two year old who somehow managed during breakfast to spill half a glass of chocolate milk all down her front.
And finally, as you pull into your driveway when the journey's said and done, you will be so immensely thankful for the many happy memories...and so immeasurably glad to be safely home again.