Road Trip! (Or, How I Survived 14 Hours in the Car with My Kids)

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Every year for the Fourth of July, we travel to Montana to visit my in-laws.

It’s a grueling trip. Fourteen hours in total, which we split into two days: eight hours the first day and six hours the next. If we were young and childless, I doubt we’d find this challenging. We’d drive, find the hotel, eat dinner somewhere nice–perhaps somewhere adventurous!–snuggle up in front of the TV, and so on. In fact, I know we would, because that’s how we did it when we were first married.  Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Old Girl.

Today, as we all know, is America’s birthday—happy birthday, old girl!—an occasion we mark with fireworks and parades and outdoor drinking (if we can stand the heat). For our family, it has become tradition to drive to my in-laws’ house in Billings, Montana, and celebrate the fourth with them. Despite the fact that it’s twenty or thirty degrees cooler back home, or the fact that we live in a stretch of unincorporated county where it’s legal to set off fireworks while in the city of Billings it is not, or the fact that this part of America feels quite different from our part of America. Continue reading

Vacation!

Every year, we visit my husband’s parents for the Fourth of July. Usually, we drive. And when we drive, we fill the car. I mean, we fill it to the top. We try to pack lightly but then we realize we need car snacks, and did we bring enough books? And toys–the kids will be so fussy without enough toys. And my pillow. In case the kids happen to fall asleep at the same time so I can fall asleep, too. And my computer because I just might find time to write what with the grandparents to watch the kids and all. And sunglasses and sunblock and just one more outfit for each of us because you know how messy kids are and my notebook and pens and do we have enough snacks maybe two more granola bars and a cooler with soda and cheese and some towels just in case and are we forgetting anything? Somehow we always do.

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You can always surmise my self esteem level by the way I draw myself. Today, I guess I’m feeling pretty good.