Thursday, July 3, 2014

Road tripping with kids*

*First, I must say, these kids are not ours, per se. They are belong to Josh's brother and his lovely wife and they normally live far away from us in Northern California. But for this adventure we invited them along. And luckily for us, our niece and nephew jumped (literally) at the opportunity to join us. (Oh, and their parents say yes too.)

Today is day 2 of our road trip adventure with our niece (6) and nephew (8). And so far, so good.

Day One was a lot of driving. 553 miles to be exact (plus additional miles getting gas, stopping at parks and eating dinner). The highlights for me were listening to the kids giggling in the backseat, singing along to Disney movies and asking me to pretend I was boarding a real train at the mining history park in Wallace, Idaho. We left Grandma's house near Albany, OR around 10am and rolled into the Super 8 in Saint Regis, MT around 12.5 hrs later.

Day Two (today) included a few more hours of driving, followed by setting up camp, swimming, sailing our boat and enjoying a sunny beautiful day on Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park. My highlights were inspecting Annabelle's favorite rocks found on the beach, playing in our sailing kayak on a pristine lake with majestic mountains all around and reminding myself that my hubby and I make a good team -- whether it's our navigation/driving division of labor, our willingness to let the other take the lead with the kids, or our ability to look lovingly at each other as the kids claim they will never spot the hay bale on their bingo card as we approach a dozen fields of hay along the highway.

Road tripping with kids, especially when they aren't your kids but rather "loaner kids" as I call them when no one is looking, can help you see the world anew. For example,

  • A young male deer peacefully entering your campsite during dinner can be "scary" to one kid, while pleasant to another.
  • It is possible to imagine you are being attacked by a great white shark while sailing in an inland lake. And yelling for help during this imaginary attack is perfectly acceptable.
  • Longhorn cows are funny. "Why are their horns so big?!"
  • Juice boxes are awesome and baby Swiss cheese-it's can be your favorite type even if you've never had them before.
  • Cheap hotels are fancy, especially if they give you free cereal and yogurt in the morning and have beds with sheets and rooms with showers. "This room has everything!"
  • Mountains that still have snow on them, or even more wild--HAVE SNOW YEAR ROUND--are totally wacky.
  • 1.5hr drive = one Disney movie, not including the bonus features which kids actually watch. So that's about 2 hrs of driving per movie.
  • Homemade BINGO is a surprising hit, especially when the kids get to pick some of the things to be in the bingo card. Like trees. And power lines. Also, you get to see how much of a stickler your hubby is when he insists that a big rock only counts if it is in a field and a lake is only a lake if it is bigger than a football field.

Alright, the kids are back so time for me to go.

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