1. The number one rule of roadtripping: Never ever ever ever let any one person in your party, including adults, get hungry. Keep everyone fat and happy. Even if it means eating cheese puffs and sprite, this is far better than having a whiny/contrary spouse.......uh - I mean, child.
2. By god, I will find that Spongebob happy meal toy that laughs at me every time we go over a bump.
3. Why rent the minivan for the roadtrip? There's so much judging and scrapping about the minivan and I have the final answer: our family really has no need for a minivan because we don't have 19 children and counting and we all have functional arms to open our own doors (when did we decide that opening doors was hard?). The once-a-year roadtrip, however, has different requirements that makes RENTING a minivan a good idea. Namely, the ability for the handler to easily go back and forth between the front seat and the backseat. You know, to look for the Hubba Bubba that flies out of child's mouth and into box of loose DVD's. Or if you need to have a heart to heart about child's pissy attitude, being face to face really has more impact - especially if you can point finger. Or so the handler can sit in the backseat and sing along to the karaoke lyrics during the overhead DVD presentation of Sound of Music.
4. Failed Experiment: singing along to the karaoke lyrics during the overhead DVD presentation of Sound of Music. I used birthday money to buy the special karaoke version for our trip and thought this could kill an easy 4 hours of drive time. The child, however, rained on my parade and kept asking question after question and making requests for other movies. Even on do a deer. Come on!!!! (as the first graders say). Mike (ever my protector) finally jumped into the arena and yelled "LIAM! Will you stop talking so mom can sing??!!"
5. Successful Experiments: a) ring pops (can't talk with a sucker in your mouth). b) identifying cloud formations. We saw cotton candy, a dragon, a baby bear, Florida, Lake Superior, and the lower peninsula of Michigan (someone is into maps right now). c) Mystery discs. A couple of friends made cd's for our drive but didn't include playlists. We play disc and try to "name that tune." If we can't get it, we use the Shazam app on my iphone to send soundbites to the great music library in the sky so they can send us the song, artist and album info.......quick as a wink!
6. When you travel to tourist destinations, you see lots of families. I love passing people on the street and quickly catching the resemblance between a parent and a child.
7. I wanted to stop at the Women's Rights National Park in Seneca Falls, NY. I'm pretty sure I saw Mike's foot hit the gas as we passed by the exit.
8. New York has amazing rest stops. They include Sbarro, Roy Rogers, Starbucks, travel stores, a sunglass hut kiosk and really really CLEAN bathrooms. But they all have the same architecture, layout, stores and restaurants so you feel like you're not making any progress.
9. Dear waitress at Canadian restaurant called Moxie's: You seem really nice, but the skirt you're wearing makes you seem skanky. Especially with the bruise on your thigh. Being sexy does not always rely on providing the show for free. In fact, to some, it's decidedly unsexy (did I mention the bruise?). But I do appreciate your offer to Moxie-size my cocktail for $1.50.
10. And finally, my favorite roadtrip moment: When a museum docent asks Liam where he lives, he replies "mostly in our car."