About a year ago, we set out on our inaugural road trip to Colorado – and in about a week and a half we’ll be launching our sequel trip (only we’re adding to the adventure – and the insanity – this year by going via Austin on our way out). Sure it’s tacking on an extra day of driving, but we think it’s worth it to catch up with old friends. We’ll see if we still say that in retrospect.
Today I started collecting things to help us survive the road trip. If you’re going to sentence your kids to a few days straight in the car, it pays to plan in advance. I looked for some auto bingo games in a big-box store that will remain nameless, and I came away with just a Milton Bradley Barrel of Monkeys game, which I’ll probably be cursing myself for buying when the kids drop the monkeys to the floorboard every 30 seconds. Since it's looking like I’ll have to print-out auto bingo cards again, I'm going to reaquaint myself with this Mom's Minivan Web site, which features auto bingo printables and plenty of other road trip games and ideas too.
I’m bringing doodle boards, crayons and paper, and I told Will that I’d pack a notebook for writing stories in, after we enjoyed telling stories to each other on the way to and from swim lessons today. (The only problem was Owen’s constant interruptions from the back seat: “What doin’ mommy?” and my repetitive replies: “I’m listening to Will tell a story.” When Will’s telling a story, Owen feels obligated to chatter too, even if he's got nothing to say. It’s obvious that part of the challenge this trip will be finding activities that work for both kids simultaneously. Owen doesn’t settle for doing his own thing very often. He’s too determined to ape and parrot Will.)
We'll bring lots of books and kids music -- and Rob is also recording to CD some audio tapes we have of Aunt Alicia reading several different children’s books. This is an old treasure we rediscovered today, when Owen was upset. He asks if we’re going to see Aunt Alicia and her puppies about once a day, so to hear her voice is the next best thing. He was enthralled by her readings – she does voices and rings a bell when it’s time to turn the page. Grandparents and aunts and uncles, take note: This is a great home-made gift idea for the little ones in your life who don’t live down the hall from you.
Before we hit the road, we’ll pack our share of treats and snacks so that we can occasionally cork whiny mouths with edible happiness. But I could still use more brilliant road trip time-passers. So if you have any ideas, please share.