Travels with the Gang: Are We There Yet? God I Hope So.

March 21, 2008

cindykids2008.jpg

My Loving and understanding wife with the gang. 

Our family is used to traveling in our Dodge Caravan minivan. There are five of us. Two adults, a 6 year old boy, and twin girls 4 years old. We love to travel, but five persons in the van is getting unmanageable. Road-tripping is Mom and Dad’s favorite thing to do, that is, move from place to place seeing the country. The kids don’t mind staying in one place, but I want to show them various attractions in Canada and the United States. Well we bought a motorhome this year and hope to use it to explore this summer and in the future. This should give the kids more room to play games, watch TV, or read books as we travel. It’s got to be better than our typical travel day in the van.

We get up after a night at the hotel, usually in an uncomfortable bed, and rush downstairs to take advantage of the “continental breakfast” offered by most chains now. To their credit, these are now more than just danishes and toast. Cereal, fruit, waffles, muffins, and even eggs are now provided.

After breakfast I start packing the luggage down to the van, making sure to remember teddy bears and other stuffed friends. This usually takes a couple of trips.

It’s time to head out for the day. Before leaving we make sure the movie players are loaded with the selected entertainment. This is decided after a heated debate amongst the viewers. By this time Dad is ready to head back to the room and let them take off by themselves. However, with a large coffee in hand, provided by a loving wife, I am trying hard to ignore the sounds of open warfare coming from the rear of the van. Thank God for Ritalin!

The next major point of contention is the choice of cuisine for lunch. Which choke and puke should we stop at? Let’s see,McDonalds has terrible food for adults, but does have Kid’s Meals with a toy for the little ones and a play area to tire them out. It takes Mom and Dad all of ten seconds to wheel into McDonalds. We get a table, order the food, and the kids head for the play area. My wife and I actually get to talk to each other one on one for a few minutes. After some downtime we take the kid’s food with us, they don’t eat in the restaurant because they’re too busy playing. They eat in the van. Oh by the way this gourmet meal costs around $30-$40 for the five of us. But hey, the kids burned off some energy and have “food” to eat, Mom and Dad had conversation, but the downside is my stomach now feels like a garburator.

Finally as the day draws to a close, we start looking for a hotel. It has to have a pool and continental breakfast. This way I can take the kids to the pool to tire them out and give Mom a break. Because generally we don’t know where we will end up, reservations have not been made. Luckily finding a room isn’t too hard if we stop a little early. I manage a workout session consisting of unloading the van and manhandling the luggage into the hotel and up the elevator, or sometimes the stairs. I can’t believe that some of these places don’t have an elevator. It’s clear to me that the designer never had to pack the luggage for five people up to his room at the end of a long day.

Next we find a fast food or family restaurant and take the desparados for supper. If you’ve never taken three little ones to a restaurant, you haven’t lived. First we wait for a table, then wait for our order to be taken, then wait for the food to come, and then wait for our bill. All this time the kids are amusing, and I use that term loosely, the patrons and staff with screaming, throwing things, and running wildly from table to table. I’m sure that as soon as we leave the manager calls all the other restaurants in his chain and warns them of our approach. That must be why they always ask where we are headed.

To close out the day the kids get ready for bed and watch TV in the room. Never have I appreciated the power of the boob-tube, than at this time. Finally we all go to sleep ready for another day in the jungle of fast food, paved interstates, and hotel/motel accomodation.

The motorhome just has to be better than this. Come back soon for another episode in travels with the gang.

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Adventures in Twin-Land

March 4, 2008

claire_fpower4.jpgLast week my twin daughters, Claire and Olivia, turned 4 years of age. So far I have not only survived, but become a better person. They were born and grew into amazing little people right before my eyes. Each has developed a distinct personality. Claire (Left) is the rough and tumble one, and is a total Barney freak. Olivia on the other hand, loves Dora and anything to do with princesses.

Courtesy of my sister-in-law, who was babysitting them at the time, here’s a funny story about the twins. I had been reading them the story of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf for several nights before this occurred.

Olivia was outside the front screen door trying to get back inside. Claire was holding the door shut. Olivia was shouting, “Claire Claire let me in”. Claire replied, “Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin”. Talk about taking a story to heart.

olivia4.jpgOlivia (Right) is mom’s girl, except when she isn’t around. Claire on the other hand had been dad’s girl from the start. It just worked out that way.

When they arrive home in the evening off the bus from preschool, the first thing Claire has to do is change into a T-shirt and pajama bottoms, preferably ones with a Barney theme. Olivia strips off all her clothes, except for her panties and then she is comfortable. Finally, they demand to be served chocolate milk. They then hit the couch for some TV. Relaxation techiniques – they have that down pat.

damian.jpgBig brother, Damian, who is now 6 years old, is the boss of the house for now, but momentum is swinging. He’s been able to control things so far, but now the sisters are almost as tall as he, and are starting to push back. Damian will be in for a shock in another year. Two against one won’t be something he’ll enjoy. I chuckle thinking about it, because, really, he has no concept of what awaits him.

Photos: Cindy Davis (Mom)


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