Living Columns & Blogs

An oasis, of sorts

We spent the Memorial Day weekend at the family cabin on Puget Sound.

We would love to spend more time over there (our dog would prefer we just move over there), however, the five-hour each-way drive wears on you something fierce with a nearly 4-year-old and just 1-year-old in the back seat.

I swore at some point (pre-kids) I would never buy a portable DVD player — after all *I* never had one when *I* was a child, and *I* survived car trips.

By the way, did you know that The Lion King will play nearly three times beginning to end on this drive (while simultaneously displacing my XM satellite radio power hook up... sacrifices)?

It does. And Hakuna Matata will embed itself in your brain for the entire weekend after only one pass.

We carefully timed our departures to coincide with naptime for the just over 1-year-old. (Carefully timed... OK, I cannot lie to you. It was more like "lucked out." She slept some given the times we finally managed to get on the road.)

We also armed ourselves with a pack of pacifiers and miscellaneous toys to hand her for examination until being launched somewhere in the car. Amazingly, an empty carton of milk from a Happy Meal proved to be a most fascinating object. So speaking of Happy Meals...

McDonalds... aka, Travel Oasis... we love them.

My son calls them Miss Donna's, and I don't correct him because McDonald's would become a word he would talk about all.the.time. As it stands right now, his teachers just think we visit Miss Donna's a lot. Whoever Miss Donna is.

I am not opposed to McDonalds, though I do try to limit my kid's exposure to fast food of all types. So unless we are traveling, we don't usually go. Though my pregnancy obsession with Egg McMuffins might explain my daughter’s affinity for their fries. This morning, I pulled her out of her car-seat at daycare a little mortified to discover she had found a fry in her car-seat somewhere and was happily chomping away.


Awhile back, a coworker told me their car vacation strategy.

Seek out the restaurants with Playlands. Turn the kids loose to run and play while you and your spouse eat in silence. Take your time.

Then load the kids up with their Happy Meals into the car and let them eat in the car. Yes, it is messy. Yes, you find your kids eating fries days later.

But relishing the silence while they eat is nice. Really nice.

And if the stars align just right for you? Kids sleeping with full bellies and tired legs. (Not that that ever happened for us, mind you.)

What are your secrets to traveling with the kids?