Archives for December 2005
My family has come down with the plague. It starts with body aches, primarily in the forearm region and spreading throughout the body. Next is chest congestion, complete lack of energy and strength, followed by nasal congestion and a strong desire to leave this mortal body.
My parents came down with it first, followed by my brother and sister-in-law. Dan has had it for a few days and now my forearms hurt and the energy is gone. I’m hoping I’ll get some mild, supermom-can-kick-this-plague’s-hiney version of the disease. We’ll see. The Ibuprofen I took this evening sure were nice.
The kids are waiting to get sick until it’s time to make the long trip home. This could be very bad or very good. They may sleep the whole way or they may just scream their brains out. Grey matter all over the new van. Not pretty. Oh, and we’ve already had the van professionally cleaned once this trip due to my lovely spill-record on the way down here. Nice!
On Sunday we’re supposed to visit Dan’s aunt, one of my favorite people. She is currently battling cancer and can’t tolerate any germs. So we’re working on getting better before then.
I love being with family, both mine and Dan’s. I can be myself in a way that’s not quite possible without them. I’m not sure I even like this “me” better, but I just feel safe. There is no pretense.
I am jealous of the relationship my siblings have with my Sister‘s daughter. They know her intimately, her likes, her dislikes, her habits, the translations for her adorable baby babble. They are closer. It hurts a little.
They love my kids and are excited to see them. They can’t get enough of them. They just don’t know them the same way they know Bean.
Sometimes I wish I lived in a country where family stayed together indefinitely and took care of each other, no one moved to Washington, they just all lived together in some kind of commune (minus the stock-piled weapons, inter-marriage and nasty food. Don’t all communes have nasty food? If you are from a commune, feel free to dispute this.).
We go to the store almost constantly on vacation. We bring all kinds of things we will never use and forget tons of things we “need.”
Yesterday we took our daily trip to –Mart for an air mattress pump. We decided to go for the quality and get the $20 Coleman model. Yowza!
So, our cashier offered us a one-year extended warranty to protect our investment. For the cost of only $2.50, we could rest easy at night for a full year, knowing that if our pump burst into incendiary destruction, we could have it replaced free of charge.
Why not offer me a deal where I pay 50 cents extra for my pack of chewing gum? Then if it loses its flavor after 30 minutes of chewing, I can bring it back in for a refund.
So, crazy as it seems, 2005’s getting its butt kicked out the door and we’re welcoming in 2006 in a few short days.
The year has just flown by. I can’t believe it. Oh – My – Word. I am in such shock. I may fall over dead from the astonishment right here in front of this very Christmas tree, blah blah blah and all that stuff where I act like I’m gonna faint dead away that another year’s gone and left me – like a cheatin’ husband in a cheesy country song. Oh WHY!?
I’ve started to notice a trend and I’m going to go check the data.
Yep, my theory holds true. Every year, at about this time, it happens. I’ll write down these findings and maybe next year it won’t come as such a surprise. Now we’ve just got to find a way to deal with this year’s shock and awe the best we can and move on to live happy and productive lives in 2006.
A couple of fun things I’ve done to ring in New Year’s past (after scraping myself off the floor, dousing my head in a bucket of ice water, and taking a nice stiff drink of Caffeine-free Diet Dr. Pepper):
1. I had a boyfriend once (I know, hard to believe) who took me up a high mountain somewhere outside Denver eeearrrrly in the morning on New Year’s Day to watch the sun rise on the New Year. He said he’d done it every year and wanted to share it with me. It was beautiful and a good chance to think about what we wanted to do with our lives over the next 12 months.
I broke up with him 2 days later.
2. I still stick with the old standby – at 12:00, you need to find someone to smooch. I’ve got my eye on a certain person… sitting next to me… in flannel pj pants… with a matching lap-top…. writing code for fun.
I plan to stick very close to him the evening of the 31st.
What will you do to ring in the New Year? Are you a resolutions person? Do you stick to them? How do you make it special?
From my sister’s blue couch, Utah, I’m Kathryn Daring reporting.
Merry Christmas everybody!
As promised, here is the actual Christmas card photo we sent out. I hope you all are having fun hanging out with real people, people who do not live only on the internet (People who live on the internet AND in real life are acceptable for holiday fun.).
I’ll be back on the blogosphere in a few days.
I apologize if you live south of Seattle and we’ve passed through your town on our Christmas road-extravaganza. We’ve brought the rain with us. Seriously. It’s been pouring the whole way. Better than ice and snow, better than skating all over the freeway. Besides, we have that sweet rear window wiper now.
In the hotel, Laylee slept in her own queen-sized bed, spread out like a starfish. When she heard people making noise upstairs, she said, “That’s rich. I’m gonna get rid of all the noise.” We stayed in a hotel that Karen had marked as “questionable” on her list of possibilities near her home. We chose it for the free wireless internet. Internet was good. Broken glass found under Laylee’s bed, not so much of good.
Fun things we’ve seen along the freeway:
A grounded helicopter covered in Christmas lights and left it by the side of the road to excite small girls named Laylee and big boys named Dan.
A Christmas tree hanging from a crane, suspended 10 feet above the ground next to a pink Cadillac with fins, and a pink flamingo.
Laylee’s two-year-old molars’ appearance.
A 100% perfect spill record for the DYM. Every fluid or food item I touched the entire trip has now exploded all over my van, my clothes or my kids.
A man walking along the top of a semi-truck. Dan suggested that maybe this was not a trucker. Maybe it was Tom Hanks’s hobo-ghost-alter-ego chillin’ down state-side with some trucker friends before his busy weekend terrorizing children on the Polar Express.
First, I would like to say for the record that when I left Karen’s home last night we both said it was too late and we wouldn’t post until today. Of course, I couldn’t wait to post something. So I put my post up and then hopped over to The Big Trade-Off to see if she could wait. Alas, we even had similar titles on our late night posts…
Planning for my “blind date” with Karen and her family, I had packed some of our cutest clothes, my makeup and a hair brush, in anticipation of getting primped out to make a good impression. She would never know how nappy we could be at our worst, the kids in their pajamas and I in my
stretch yoga pants.
Driving for 11 hours through the rain had slowed our trip just enough that we didn’t have time to stop at the hotel first. So, with un-brushed teeth and hair, wearing our rattiest clothes, we arrived to meet our new friends.
Cool was adorably fun and Laylee was immediately smitten with him, referring to him by his first and last name and following him around, learning about trains and Bionnicals.
He had things to teach me as well.
From Cool, I learned that all kinds of people like all different kinds of drinks. Karen brought him some water and Laylee some juice. “This is good water. Some people like water and some people like juice. People like to drink all kinds of things. Some people like soda or Pepsi or Dr Pepper or coffee. Some people like just water.” So cute.
The toddler girl spoke so much like Boo from Monster’s Inc. that I think I will call her that from now on. She wore her hair in an adorable pigtail, tied with a pink gingham bow and her beautiful eyes laughed when she played with Magoo. He loved her. We all did.
Karen and the Brownie had made the cutest flannel PJ pants for the kids. I am so excited to show them off to the fam.
Oops! That was close!
We had a wonderful meal, with nary an awkward pause in conversation. Mr. and Mrs. Trade-Off were such fun hosts that we had a hard time dragging ourselves away. I think when we finally left, it was close to midnight, they had slaughtered us at Rook and Karen had rocked Magoo to sleep (a task that seemed beyond Dan and my ability).
When I first started blogging, I had many motives, free therapy, an outlet for my writing bug, an audience to practice on. The last thing I expected to come of this was friendship. What a lovely surprise. It makes me want to move to WakaWaka, MiddleState and move in next door.
The blog world and the real world can co-exist peacefully.
Karen and I had a great evening in the real world, our families meeting in person for the first time.
They were lovely, the kind of family you want to stalk after playgroup and hope they will want to be friends with you. Dinner was awesome. The kids were gorgeous. The house was beautiful and sparkling clean.
The Daring Family was nappy, travel weary and in need of a shower or two.
More on this tomorrow.
The hilarity will have to wait for another time because today is Tuesday, time for Tips.
So, it’s vacation time. Ah, the joys of extensive travel with kids. The laughter, the tears, the strong and persistent Braxton Hicks contractions brought on by cramming my second-trimester-pregnant belly into the back seat of a small car, trying to comfort a screaming 18 month old who will not be sedated by the flashing lights on the DVD player because we have conditioned her to never watch more than 15 minutes per day. Oi! Memories……
But wait, since when did this become all about me? Tip Tuesday is about sharing, about community. It’s the one day a week that my blog is supposed to be about all of us, teaching, sharing, helping each other grow. This week’s topic is how to make traveling with kids fun — for everyone.
In the spirit of sharing, I will share one of my own childhood travel experiences, because, after all this is my blog; it’s at least mostly about me. This experience illustrates why I don’t deserve to have a moment’s peace in my road-tripping life as a parent. It illustrates why I deserve to be cursed and why I so desperately need your help.
At this juncture, I will not be offended if you skip to the numbered list of tips at the bottom and then post your own. This story is not for the faint of heart, or really for any decent, non-reality-tv-watching human being.
It was a dark and stormy summer vacation. I was 10ish and the fam and I were driving from Calgary, Alberta to Victoria, BC, camping along the way. The baby was sick. Shortly into our drive, I began asking to use the restroom with increasing frequency. By the end I think I was asking to stop approximately every 30 seconds. (This is not an exaggeration. I vividly rembember pulling away from one filling station and begging my dad to stop at the next one on the SAME STREET.)
My parents drove into a health clinic to have me looked at and it turned out that I had a flaming bladder infection. We got a prescription and continued on our trek in the pouring rain towards BC, camping along the way. Did I say we were camping? Everything was wet (no pun intended). I peed in rest-stops, restaurants, gas stations, bushes, a plastic grocery bag in the back seat of our Chevy Astro Van. (I warned you not to read this)
I cried. I bawled. I whined. The antibiotics upset my stomach so I yorched spaghetti into said plastic grocery bag. My parents deserve a congressional medal of honor for what they went through. After driving for two days, all of our earthly possessions were soaked with rain or other fluids, two of the 5 kids were sick, my uncle in BC said the rain was not supposed to let up for weeks and my Dad decided we should turn around and head home, in the rain. He drove 20 hours straight along some of the most dangerous highway in Canada…with me… in the back… and the fluids.
He patiently stopped for me over and over and over and over and over again. When we got home, they talked about what an adventure it was. We got to eat the individually packed yogurts, Jiffy-Pop and other fun camping treats. It is one of my most memorable and in fact beloved vacations – even though I was sick as a dog and we were never “there yet”. We just turned around and came home.
Some tips from a woman whose mom used to teach classes on traveling with children (Mom, I hope you comment today):
1. Buy a van.
2. Trip presents — small items that the kids get at milestones along the way, every 50 miles, every rest stop, every hour or two. These can be as simple as crayons, a cool eraser, a paper fan or as nice as a new DVD or CD.
3. Coupon books — each kid gets a coupon book full of things like, “pick the next CD,” “pick a song for us all to sing,” “choose the next game,” “switch seats with someone,” “get some extra gummy sharks.”
4. Food — lots and lots of food, special food, food they can’t normally have at home. Try to avoid food that is messy, food that will make your car wish it had never been born …er …manufactured.
5. Games and activities —
I Spy — traditional version or the one where you have to spot something that starts with a certain letter of the alphabet.
Count the cows — count the number of cows on your side of the car. The person with the most wins. If you pass a graveyard on your side of the car, all of your cows die and you have to start over again.
For Younger Kids — we like to play the “I’d be so sad if…” game. This started when Laylee would whine and say she was so sad to get attention. I would diffuse it by saying, “Are you sad because the house is upside down?” and she’d grin and say “Yeah!” and we’d laugh. Now it’s a game. “I’d be so sad if, my teeth were made of pladoh!” Hysterical laughter. Laylee’s turn. “I’d be so sad if the carpet was blue!” Fake hysterical laughter. My turn. “I’d be so sad if there was cheese in my ears.” Hysterical laughter….. This can go on forever.
6. Storytelling tapes and CDs – Great storytellers can mesmerize both kids and adults. Some favorites are Donald Davis, Carmen Deedy, Jim Weiss, Jay O’Callahan, Joel ben Izzy, Dovie Thomason, Bill Harley, Willy Claflin, Syd Lieberman, Kathryn Windham, Bil Lepp. There are tons of excellent ones out there and many of these should be available at your local library.
7. Songs — We got through our rough contraction-ridden ride over the icy mountains last year by singing 800 verses of “Down By the Bay, Where the Watermelons Grow,” after exhausting every song we had ever heard of in our lives. At least that one can go on forever and it’s different every time.
My favorite verse came from Dan — “Did you ever see a gnat with a cocoanut hat, DOW-N by the bay?”
A lot of these ideas are too old for my little kids, which is where you come in. What should I do with them? Laylee is currently getting all four of her 2-year-old molars and is only 60-70% potty trained. Magoo is…….gonna scream.
You can also share ideas for older kids. I’m open. Mine may live to maturity.
Liz just asked about this comment:
Jim Turner said…
Congrats on your nomination for the BoB Awards. Good Luck!
What? Is this guy behind the times? Did he miss out on BoB-Gate 2005? Yes, he probably did miss out on BoB-Gate, the fiasco that wasn’t, but no he is not out to lunch (at least I don’t think so. What kind of a name is Jim? He will henceforth be referred to only as JT on this blog.).
This is round 2. This is a nomination for Best of Blogs, a contest that started last year to recognize smaller blogs. I’ve found some of my favorite blogs by looking at the finalists from 2004. It’s a great little competition so go and nominate someone you love. I plan to. (Oh, HUD! Dan doesn’t have a blog. Well, I’ll nominate someone I like then. Dan will just get an extra squidge when/if he comes home. Now seriously, did you think I’d be blogging if he were here right now?)
I’ve been nominated in the Humor and New blog categories. I’m not expecting much to come from this but it feels nice whenever someone says they like me in a public forum. I was nominated for a Weblog Award recently by some uber-nice anonymous reader (you know who you are, right? And thanks, yo!) but didn’t pass the judges’ inspection or didn’t get enough nominations so I didn’t make it to the finalist stage. Ah well.
I guess I should stop this expository nonsense and post something hilarious…..just in case JT is watching.