Monday, August 16, 2010

Things I Learned On the Road

We just got back from a family road trip to Wisconsin and back. It's been a crazy, crazy 10 days, and now I am launching into full end-of-summer panic mode, but first, I just want to pause and reflect on what I learned on this latest adventure.

1. My extremely tall two-and-a-half year old can, in a pinch, still sleep in a Pack n Play. And he will insist that he fits, even when his head and feet are literally pushing out the mesh at each end.

2. When looking at colleges, there really is no substitute for actually looking at colleges. Also, college campuses tend to be great places for little kids to let off steam.

3. Six people can share one bathroom. Comfortably.

4. Driving seven hours in one day is a cake walk compared to driving twelve hours in one day. CAKE WALK.

5. A five-year-old can hike quite a long way if there are chocolate chip pancakes waiting for her at the other end.

6. The best way to get a 17-year-old to do her summer reading is to remove her from her friends and stick her in a rustic cabin for a week.

7. My two-year-old son sings himself to sleep. (He sleeps with the door closed at home, so I had no idea.)

8. Mad Libs are a great way to teach the parts of speech.

9. Twenty Questions? It needed improving. So my five-year-old turned it into 105 Questions. And the starting question isn't "animal, vegetable, or mineral," it's "solid, liquid, gas, or plasma."

10. There are a lot of wind turbines in Indiana. A lot. I know some people think they're eyesores, but I thought they looked so graceful as they slowly turned. Very cool.

Wind turbines in Indiana

11. I am apparently the only person in my family who suffers from feeling like her organs are being squashed after sitting in a car all day. And if you use a term like "organ squashage" to describe said feeling, your 17-year-old might actually go into convulsions.

12. Based on the farms I passed along the way (and it was a LOT, people), we eat only two things in this country: corn and soybeans. We may think we eat other things, but primarily it's going to boil down to corn and soybeans.

13. If a huge fish has been lurking under a pier long enough to have earned the nickname "Sneaky Pete" and a reputation for frustrating fishermen, a two-year-old is not going to be able to catch him with a piece of hot dog on the end of a "Pirates of the Carribean"-themed fishing pole. This will not prevent him from trying, however. Every day.

14. A quiet cottage on a lake is the perfect place to embark upon a new creative endeavor.

15. Cooking for six people in a postage-stamp-sized kitchen with a tiny apartment-sized stove and no dishwasher forces creativity, but can totally be done.

16. After living with a dishwasher for many years, it's actually kind of nice to hand-wash dishes.

17. A garden, left largely to its own devices for 10 days of August Maryland weather, will outgrow its raised beds and attempt to transform your backyard into a jungle.


18. The legendary Garlic Cheeseburger (aka. GCB), as frightening as it sounds, is actually pretty good. Also: it's a cheeseburger on garlic bread.

19. A little boy, who has been up with the sun (or before!) every day of his two-and-a-half years of life, but who has been traveling and sleeping in strange beds for ten days, might be tired when he gets home. He might be so tired that he sleeps past 9 AM for the first time EVER.

20. The ability to identify poison ivy is one of those lifelong skills that really comes in handy.

Poison ivy

21. Travel is exciting and full of surprises, but the best part is how much it makes you appreciate being home.


  1. I was very unaware that you came through INDIANA!!!

  2. I know exactly where those turbines are. They still bring a tear to my eye every time I see them!!

  3. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip. Has your daughter picked a college?

    About that poison ivy? Turns out it was living in my backyard and my six year old found it before I taught him how to identify and avoid it. And, as it happened, he's VERY allergic. My bad.

  4. You had a wonderfully educational trip! :)
    Lee (5wolfcubs)