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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

How Long Will You Live?

I came across this website today:

there is a quiz to take which projects your life expectancy.
Mine came out to 97. Not sure I want to live *that* long.

Especially when I did the quiz as my husband and his came to 70, given that he is older me it means I could live without a spouse for over 30 years. He did the quiz and says it came out to 90 for him, but I think he lied to the test. The overachiever in him could not come back with a low score LOL.

I find aging depressing. I mean 90 sounds very old now, but what about when I am 89? Am I going to be wishing for more time? I remember a time when I thought 35 was knocking on the door of the old folks home, but now it seems young. I have even successfully deluded myself into believing that my gray hairs are not in fact gray, but my youthful blonde highlights come back to visit me.

A lifetime doesn't take long to live does it?

Grocery Shopping and Cooking

Oh a post about my two most favorite things....NOT!!! LOL
And I am sure this will interest no one but me anyway.

I was reading over at Sue's blog about her grocery budget, and I was in awe. I really must be doing something wrong since I don't make very wonderful gourmet meals, but we spend a small fortune on groceries. I am not even sure exactly how much, nor do I have any idea how much stuff like butter, eggs, milk, or anything else I buy costs. I just put stuff in my cart and be on my merry way, LOL. Very fiscally responsible I am.

And so I decided to go through my last shopping list to see what exactly I am buying and how much it costs.

Bisquik 4.29
Romaine Heart Lettuce (4 heads) 2.99
MiniBelle Cheese 6.99
Tostitos 20oz 2.99
BJ Cesaer Dressing 320z 4.29
Italian Dressing 36 oz 3.49
Honeynut Cheerios (double box) 6.99
Total (double box) 5.99
6 pack cake mix 4.99
Life Cereal (double box) 5.59
Penne Pasta (6 1lb boxes) 4.59
Baby carrots 4.99
Granola (2 packs) 6.99
Raman Noodle Cups 5.99
Frozen Chicken patties 7.99
Hamburger patties (20 count?) 12.07
4pack frosting 4.99
Cheddar cheese 4.99
Hamburger buns 1.69
Hotdog buns 1.69
Flour (2 5lb bags) 3.99

Total: 108.57

I bought this stuff on Friday at BJ's (big warehouse club). I bought a bunch of other things as well, but they don't count towards any sort of grocery budget since they are things for our trip that I would not ordinarily buy, like a 50ct box of fruit snacks.

And then my friend karen asked me WHY I was buying the kids sugary snacks and then locking them into the conifines of a car for a 20 hour trip. I really have no answer, other than I am obviously a masochist.

I have to admit it was rather depressing to add up the numbers and realize that I spent $108 on groceries and another $200 on complete non-essentials... $36 on batteries for the kids electronic toys, $90 on dvds and books, and I can only assume the other $80ish is junk food.

I am aspiring to have some sort of budget instead of just going to the store and buying whatever strikes my fancy. Then returning to the store a few days later because I am missing ingredients for some of the recipes I want to make, where I end up buying even more stuff.

So today I went through my freezer and pantry and compiled a list of meals to make based on what I already had. I put together a shopping list for my husband, who is much better at sticking to a list than I am, to get the remaining things that we need.

Here are the prices from his grocery store trip:

2 packages hamburger buns 2.19 each
4 loafs generic sandwich bread 1.19 each
3 packages bagels 1.89 each
1 pack hotdog buns 1.29
margarine 2.09
French vanilla non-dairy coffee creamer 3.19
8oz cream cheese 1.59
2 18 ct large eggs 2.95 each
4 Soy milk 2.99 each
2 Stoneyfield Organic Vanilla Yogurt 3.29 each
bit over 1lb American cheese 6.80
1/4 lb salami 2.27
1/4 lb pepperoni 1.40
Bag of rice 3.29
Coffee 6.99
Canola Oil 3.39
2 can cannellini beans .50 each
2 can red kidney beans .50 each
4 1.5lb packages of ground turkey 3.89 each
3lb granny smith apples 3.99
5lb yellow potatoes 3.99

Total: 86.28
Several of the items were on sale, including the ground turkey which was buy one get one free, so the total shown is 11.47 less than it would be if those items were not on sale.

I have all the necessary ingredients to make the following meals.

grilled chicken Cesear salad with homemade bread
chili with Tostitos
beef and broccoli stir-fry with rice
sloppy joes
lentil soup with homemade bread
peanut butter chicken served with rice (recipe from rachel)
grilled London broil with mashed potatoes
hot dogs with tater tots
pasta salad
spaghetti with meat sauce
chicken picante served with rice
grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup (usually this is a lunch)
chicken patty sandwiches (usually this is a lunch)

For breakfast we have a choice of:
cereal with soymilk a few times
pancakes or waffles a few times
bacon/egg/cheese sandwiches on English muffins
bagels with cream cheese twice
coffee cake, muffins, blueberry cake etc

For lunch here we usually have sandwiches, more often than not the PBJ variety during the week.

I also already have snacky foods on hand...fruit, crackers, carrot sticks, string cheese, etc

If all goes according to plan the roughly $195 will be enough to last us the two weeks, with only stops at the store for milk, bread, and some produce. We figured out last night that we have been spending almost 3 times that amount lately, so this will be an incredible improvement.

I am optomistic about us sticking to a budget. This is uncharted territory for us, but now that we have a common goal in mind for our money I think it will work.

The Terrible Twos

My daughter seems to think she is already two. I keep trying to tell her that she has only just turned one a few months ago and that she should still be happy and content and not getting into things.

But she won't listen to me.

Yesterday she climbed up onto the kitchen table. She took her diaper off and peed on the table. Then she took every single wipe out of the brand new box of wipes and threw them off the table and onto the floor.

When I walked into the room she stood up on the table and screamed "uh-oh" and pointed at the mess. She said it like she was just as shocked and in a state of disbelief as I was... like she could not understand who would do such a thing.

I rediapered her and set out to clean up the mess. Luckily I was able to salvage most of the wipes, just hope I have no guests who want to borrow them.

I turn around after doing that and she is gone.

Someone had left the bathroom door open and she is playing in the toliet, with the jars of spices she has taken from the kitchen. Stirring the whole mess around with the toliet brush. I was momentarily thankful that she was not brushing her hair with the toliet brush like the last time I caught her in there.

I could not bring myself to salvage any of the spices. So anyone who feels like coming over to eat at my house can do so with confidence ;-)

But on and on she goes, a tiny destructive hurricane with a temper in the F4 catagory. When she gets upset with us she flings her little body down, rolls around kicking her legs, and bangs her head on the floor.

We were watching her the other day having one of her tantrums. She would scream and yell and roll and kick, then she would silently freeze and look at us to see if we were watching her. Once she felt content that she had our attention, she would continue.

And we, her captive audience, continued to watch... because she is just so darn cute.

I fear for the future, I really do.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Riding a Bike

This weekend my 3 yr old learned to ride a two wheeler without training wheels. Granted it has wider wheels and therefore is more stable than an ordinary bike. But if he is anything like his older brothers he will be riding a "real" two-wheeler by the end of the week.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

La la la la... I can't hear you.

My friend Karen just returned from spending two days at an amusement park with her seven children.

I am plugging my ears, singing really loudly, and not listening to a word of it.

We are going to Disney World, the happiest place on Earth. I fully intend to hold them to that claim.

We will be happy, dammit!

Our trip will be completely stress free.
The weather will be perfect and not raining the entire trip.
My children are going to be happy, smiling and polite at all times.
They are going to be overjoyed at all the food choices that come their way.
They are going to be thankful for their time spent waiting in line to go on rides and use it to meditate and reflect on their day.
They are going to sleep for long periods of time at night and wake up happy and well rested.
They will never whine and complain about wanting to buy overpriced tacky souveniers.
My one year old is going to be content to sit in her stroller and never want to get out and push the stroller herself, crashing it into the back of unsuspecting strangers ankles.
And my husband will be having way too much fun to mentally add up how much the trip is costing.

La la la la la la.

I'm not listening.

Saturday, August 28, 2004


Yesterday a good friend of mine came over to visit with her 6 mos old son. He is adorable and I loved snuggling his soft fuzzy head. She brought her other children also, but they are not nearly as cute and wonderful smelling at 9yrs and 12 yrs old ;-) She also brought her youngest sister, Chelsea, with her who is 13 yrs old. She picked her up from a sleep away camp that is located near my home.

Chelsea is a cancer survivor. The camp she attends every year is for children who have cancer or who have survived cancer.

My friend just got a phone call a few weeks ago that she was a match for someone on the bone marrow donor list. She has been on the list since her sister was diagnosed with cancer and, despite there being 5 siblings in the family, did not have a match within the family.

She is the sole match for a woman who has cancer. An unknown woman to us, but probably the world to someone else.

After my friend had the preliminary interview with the nurse to make sure she was still interested and able to be a donor, she got a phone from the woman's oncologist. He called to tell her more about the bone marrow transplant and how it would be done, before he had her go for the final bloodwork to confirm the match.

He explained the new way that they harvest bone marrow from the donor. I can only explain in in my very non-technical un-doctor way. Basically they will inject my friend with a bunch of rather potent drugs to stimulate her own bone marrow production. To remove the bone marrow is a simple procedure just like donating blood, no general anesthesia required anymore, no recovery period or pain, and it is supposed to result in better bone marrow. However, he explained, the drugs are very strong and remain in your body for a long time. Therefore, she would have to stop nursing her baby... for good.

I thought of my SIL who died 13 mos ago after fighting cancer for a year and a half. I remember how we were so hopeful when she went in for her bone marrow transplant. I remembered how we prayed it would buy her more time. She never came out of the hospital after it.

I held my 3 mos old daughter, whom she never got to meet, at her funeral. If I could have helped my SIL, I would have done it. I would have weaned my daughter in a heartbeat. Of course, this wasn't even an option in this case, but hypothetically speaking I know without a doubt that I would have done it. But that would be easy, to do something for someone you love.

My friend is going to do it. For someone she doesn't even know. Because that someone is important to someone else.

I am proud to call her my friend.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

My Kids Think I Am An Awesome Cook...

And how do I know this?

Well, at dinner tonight they were lavishing me with praises. They told me it was the *best* dinner I had made in a really, really long time. Even better than the one I spent over an hour making for them last night.

They said it over and over and over again. They said "mmmmmm" so loud and often that it sounded like we were dining with a swarm of bees.

They are so sweet, those children.

And in case you are wondering about this stellar meal that I made, here is a picture of it in all it's glory.

Yummy dinner

Ah children....gotta love 'em.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Poor Baby

It's just no fair. I want to go outside and play too. They never let me do anything fun.

Maybe I can break the door if I keep hitting it with my apple.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year...

Time for another year of school to begin.

Everyone is rushing out buying their back-to-school supplies, their back-to-school clothes, taking one last trip to the beach or a friend's house, because next week (at least here where I live) school will be back in session.

It is the most wonderful time of year for us because we homeschool... unschool... shun school, not sure exactly what term I should use. I don't seek to replicate a school environment in our home, but we don't spend our days doing "nothing" either, which I think the term unschooling suggests. I tend to think of us as a cross between Classical Homeschoolers and Unschoolers, even though they would seem to be opposites and incompatible. The nuts and bolts of how we actually "do" school is probably best left to a post all it's own.

But it is wonderful since we can now go places without the crowds and teems of unruly children.

This year we are celebrating NOT-back-to-school with a trip to Disney World. I am thinking of making the kids t-shirts that say "Homeschool Field Trip" on them,

or a version of the Super Bowl commercial and write on the front of the shirts, "Hey kids, what are you going to do now that you DON'T have to go back to school?" and on the back write, "We're Going to Disney World!"

And Not To Be Outdone.....

by his rope belt wearing brother, my eldest son has decided that it would be "cool" to have a peg leg like Long John Silver from the book Treasure Island.

And so he has spent the past few days limping about using a cane he fashioned himself out of branches from our yard. Making the cane was quite an involved process which required the use of many tools and duct tape. Yesterday he whittled a dagger out of wood to complete the ensemble.

If only I could harness this energy and creativity...

One of the Perks to Having Many Children

I never have to push little people around on their toys, unless I want to but let's get real LOL. The other kids actually love to do it and all I have to do is wave as they drive by over and over and over again.

My 3 yr old has been wearing a rope tied around his waist lately so that he can carry his "dagger" sticks around. It is such an attractive look ;-)

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Doesn't Play Well With Others

That is probably what it says on my chart.

But I can't stand rude nurses and assinine rules. I can't stand being talked down to and patronized. And my office visit today had all of these things. You know things aren't going well when you find yourself rolling your eyes and muttering "whatever" under your breath.

I was going to type a big long vent detailing all the things that annoyed me about my visit, but I have decided to just let it go. Who needs all the negative energy.

The ultrasound went well. The few pictures that I did get to bring home are not very clear or good quality so I don't think I'll post them. I could have bought a CD-ROM of ulatrasound pictures for $20 *cash, in break out your wallet right this minute while you are laying on the table*. I declined. I sarcastically asked if she had a thriving little side business going on. She didn't find it funny, apparently MOST people, ie those who should be parents, like to buy them. ::insert eyeroll and "whatever"::

It was nice to see the little bugger moving and flipping all over the place. In a moment of weakness I asked to know the sex. She said it looked like a boy. The she said, "huh, now it looks like a girl. I think it's a girl". Then she went for another look and said she had no idea as she couldn't tell if she was seeing the cord or a penis. So I know nothing more than what I knew before I went in yesterday. Only now I am a bit freaked out that I have some sort of mutant baby with two sets of genetalia.

After the ultrasound I had my visit with the doctor. I walked over to the scale and the nurse yelled at me for getting on with my sandals on. I always get weighed with my shoes on, seems a bit odd to me to take off your shoes in the hallway. They were sandals for pete's sake not steel toed work boots and could not weigh more than a few ounces. She informed me that they like to be as accurate as possible and that she would appreciate my co-operation. ::insert eyerolling and "whatever"::

As she is recording my weight in the chart she comments that I have not gained any weight this past month. So I had to tell her that last month I was weighed with my heavy sandals on. She responded that they "have their rules". ::insert eyerolling and "whatever" ::

No, I can't keep my mouth shut, much to the dismay of my terminally nice husband who I am sure is cringing as he is reading this, wondering why in God's name he married such a surly teenager (his words).

Yeah I know why... and it is cause of these sorts of doctor visits ;-)

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Doctor Appointment Today

Today I have an ob appointment and will be getting my ultrasound. So I am chugging down the water and will soon undergo the torture test of having my full bladder pressed upon by the ultrasound wand. Bladder control after 7 pregnancies is just *not* what it used to be I am afraid.

With my last baby the u/s tech helpfully offered to let me pee a small bit to relieve some of the uncomfortable pressure. Now that made me laugh. I had to tell her that it would be nearly impossible for me to do that. Once the flood gates are open, they are open ;-)

Most likely I will not find out the sex though, unless it is glaringly obvious or I lose all willpower.

I don't have any strong preference or longing for a boy or a girl, other than it would be nice to get to reusue the cute, only worn by one baby, girl clothes as opposed to the been through the wringer, but still in good enough shape that I cannot justify buying new, boys clothing.

Anyway, feel free to send some healthy baby vibes. And a few don't wet your pants vibes would be appreciated as well.

I'll be back this afternoon with pictures.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Here Comes the Sun...

Sing along with me now...

It is amazing how a little bit of sunshine can dramatically improve everyones moods, especially mine.

I am so happy to see the sun again finally and will be spending most of the day outside soaking up some much needed Vitamin D.

I sprained my ankle last night on my treadmill, so there will be no long walks or bike rides today. It's feeling a bit better today, but I am going to continue resting it so I don't injure it even further.

Last night Rob had to give me a piggyback up the stairs, which was challenging with the ever growing belly in the way. Still it was much better than hopping up on one foot.

Monday, August 16, 2004

How Did I End Up The Mother Of So Many Sons?

That is what I am pondering today.

They are just so... so... searching for a nice word but can't think of one... GROSS!

They delight in bodily noises, the louder the better. They love to burp and fart and love it even more if it bothers one of their siblings.

They hate showering and would happily live in their own filth if I would let them.

I had dreamed of having these wonderful sensitive pacifist sons. And while they still are wonderful, albeit in an entirely different way than I had imagined, they seemed to have been born hell bent on destroying things and obsessed with anything dirty, disgusting, or otherwise offensive.

My 8 yr old smashed his fingernail about a week ago and everyone thought it was SO cool when it turned black. Today it fell off and I actually overheard my 7yr old say "Why does nothing cool ever happen to me?"

My 8 yr old is going to save the nail. He said he is starting a collection of them. I asked him if he was planning on having his nails fall off that frequently that it would warrant the term "collection".

And then he answered me, complete with rolling his eyes to let me know I had just asked the most stupid question ever, and for a few moments I questioned everything that I hold dear in my life and wondered how this creature came out of my body.

He said he wasn't just going to collect his own nails...but other peoples too. And then I heard the collective sigh of jealous awe from his brothers.

I could really use a stiff drink right about now.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

A Walk In The Woods, With Children

Yesterday we went on a family hike to a state park near our home. We stopped at a deli and bought sandwiches and snacks to have a picnic there also. All except my 9yr old son, who complained and cried that he doesn't like deli sandwiches (?!?!) and would only have one from Subway. And in sticking with our parenting technique of raising completely self-absorbed and spoiled rotten children, we stopped at Subway and bought him an overpriced sub.

And yet this child will still complain that he is somehow short changed. I think in life there are people who see the glass half full, people who see the glass half empty, and people who are constantly complaining that not only is their glass half empty, it is smaller than everyone elses glass, and who the heck took the other half that was rightfully theirs and when they are caught they had better be punished....severely. Guess which one my eldest son is ;-)

Anyway, I digress.

After we ate our lunches and played in the small stream, we went for a "walk". We decided to take a different trail thinking that it would loop us back in the direction from which we had begun. Well, after several miles that didn't happen and we were walking further and further in the wrong direction.

We tried walking off the trail in the right direction in hopes that we would meet up with a trail heading in the direction we wanted to go. Unfortunately the vegitation was too thick and since we had left our machete at home, we had no choice but to turn around on the trail and backtrack. It was up hill the entire way back, or at least felt that way. And at this point our leisurely walk began to feel like a forced death march.

But the amazing thing about children is that no matter how much they complain or how tired they are they always have a reserve of energy. They can't step over fallen logs or go around them....they need to vault over them. A low hanging branch just calls out for them to swing from it or hang upside down. And they have to get to the top of any large rock in the vicinity.

At one point we came across the foundation remains of a building. It looked like a tall stone wall. My 3 yr old, who had just been whining about his tired legs, took one look at it, stopped dead in his tracks and yelled, "I HAVE to climb that!"

Eventually we made it back to the area wheree we had parked our van. The children ran around some more and caught more frogs in the stream, bringing them home to join our ever growing frog population.

Rob and I were exhausted that night and,, dared to dream that the children would be exhausted also and go to sleep early. But no, they drew upon their vast energy reserves and stayed up just as late as usual.

And of course there was no sleeping in late either.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Sitting Around Waiting

Don't you hate the time estimates that you are given by delivery people?

I am waiting for our mudroom/laundryroom cabinets to be delivered today... sometime between noon and 6pm. Why not just say, hang around your house for the whole entire day and we will finally deliver your stuff at the very last moment of our time estimate.

And of course it is raining yet again today. I feel like I am living in the rain forest.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words....

Can you see now that I was not exaggerating? Is this not the smallest oven in existence? One little muffin pan fills it to capacity, making any kind of mass baking attempt an incredibly time consuming affair. I began baking this morning and still have one more muffin pan that needs to go in.

When we get our new range, I am dragging this tiny old oven outside, beating it with a sledge hammer, setting it on fire and dancing around it naked. It might be slightly disturbing to my neighbors...and their teenage sons, but I am a woman on the edge.

And the town is in need of some good gossip anyway.

Rain, Rain, and More Rain

I was inspired by Karen to do some baking. Since today is YET ANOTHER rainy cool day, it seemed like the perfect time.

So far we have made 4 dozen banana muffins and 6 dozen pumpkin chip muffins. Once they are done baking we are going to make some oatmeal cookies. Of course this will take awhile since I do have the world's smallest oven and can only fit ONE muffin tin in the oven at a time.

My 8 yr old has been helping me by reading the recipes outloud and doubling all the ingredients. I think this counts as school :-) The children have been looking through the cookbooks and picking out things that they think would be good for us to bake, so I have no idea what we may be making after the cookies.

I will be freezing some of the muffins and cookies so we will be able to bring them along with us on our road trip in a few weeks. I already have a bunch of brownies frozen. I so loathe the fast food places that we invariably eat at while traveling that I am hoping this will cut back on it a bit. I am still trying to decide what sorts of "real" food I should bring with us.

Well, I am off to do the muffin tin switch-a-roo and hopefully get a couple of miles in on my treadmill.

Monday, August 09, 2004

A Peaceful Sunday

We got up this morning and decided to put aside all home projects for the day and just do something fun for all of us.

We went on a hike up a mountain near our home. At the top of the mountain is a tower that is visible from the center of town. The children have been bugging me to climb it for months. The trail and tower had been closed for quite awhile due to a fire set by vandals.

It was a *much* longer hike than I thought it would be, four hours long to be exact. Truth be told, the hike up kicked my butt. It was a bit unnerving to have my 3yr old running up the mountain and to be lagging behind sucking wind.

Nope, no firearms or alcoholic beverages in glass containers, we can proceed with our hike.

Rob carrying the baby. I know I have said it about my kids before, but it applies to my husband also. Thank goodness he is cute.

The boys searching the edge of the water for frogs and snails. Unfortunately, moments after this photo was taken my 8yr old found a nest of hornets. He ran off screaming and was bit once on the arm. On the way back down the mountain he managed to find the nest AGAIN, only this time he had the misfortune of being bitten 4 more times.

Showing off one of the snails. The children brought them home and we now have snails living in our little pond with the turtles and salamanders.

Finally we reached the top and saw the tower. The kids were thrilled, running up the spiral staircase and looking out of the top. It was a clear day so you could see for miles and they enjoyed finding various landmarks from around town. I collapsed on the outside steps and really wished I had a snack to eat as I was feeling pretty dizzy, most likely from my blood sugar level dropping. After drinking some water and resting for a few minutes I felt as good as new.

The highlight of reaching the top for my 3 yr old was finding this:

It was the weirdest centipede(?) I have ever seen. The boys said they wre going to go through their insect identification books and determine what it is called. My 8 yr old did spend several hours last night trying to identify which kind of bug bit him. It was cute because he kept picking out the ones with the largest photographs in the book, as if because it hurt so much it *had* to be the largest one.

Of course we did have a 3yr old with us, so it wasn't always a happy time. Here he is telling us how much he enjoys hiking.

All this hiking really tires you out.

We went home and had ate grilled hamburgers and corn on the cob for a very late lunch. Then I baked brownies and we had brownie ice cream sundaes for dinner later on.

It was a nice day spent together as a family and I really wish that we could have more just like it.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Playing Games

My 7 yr old just came to me and said he played two games of Connect Four by himself.

And then he proudly said, "And I won both times"

Monday, August 02, 2004

Trying Out Ebay

I am selling one slightly used, but still in good shape, husband.

He is hardworking, tidy, and can kill small rodents with ease.

I have decided to upgrade to the sensitive affectionate model.

On second thought, scratch the upgrade, what I really need is a wife.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

We have been discussing the pros and cons of flying to the happiest place on Earth versus driving there. And we have realized that with so many children, things become difficult logistically. If we just look at the additional cost of flying and assess it against the saving of our time spent driving, it seems as though flying could be the better choice. Two and a half hours of flying compared to eighteen hours of driving time.

However, once we considered all the junk that we'd have to lug through the airport, not the least of which is 3 carseats and two strollers, well it seems much more daunting. Then we factored in the things that we would definitely have to leave behind if we were to fly.

We are staying in a condo and I was planning on bringing my large crockpot so that I could get meals ready in it early in the morning and have them ready for us when we popped back in for dinner. Eating at the happy place for all of us would be the equivalent of a college education for my eldest child ;-)

Also I was going to bake and bring my breakfast bars and power oatmeal cookies, as well as buy the kids some junk food prepackaged treats (that we never get) to give to the children instead of the overpriced stuff that I am sure will be sold there.

So it has been decided that we will drive. Rob mentioned getting a dvd player for the van so that the kids could watch movies while we drive. I don't know. I am not sold on the idea. We don't even have tv in our house, why would I want it in my van?

While the idea of them being silent for hours is very appealing, I have to wonder at what price. Aren't the long car rides to go on summer vacation part of most of our childhood memories? What is a long car ride without fighting with your siblings,having your mother threaten to break your leg off and beat you with it if you kick the back of the seat again, having your father threaten to drive the car into oncoming traffic if the fighting doesn't stop immediately? What about making faces at the people in the cars next to you or holding up signs that say "Save me from my family" and laughing at their reations or even the simple asking truck drivers to honk their horns.

And I wonder if children anymore know how to play the license plate game, I Spy, or punch buggy, which come to think of it probably was responsible for some of the fighting. And what about listening to books on tape or singing silly songs? If children are plugged in, what kinds of memories are they going to have? Somehow the memory of watching Finding Nemo for the 20th time doesn't seem like such a big deal.

Time is precious and so fleeting, something I don't think you fully can realize until you have children of your own. Time spent doing something is time that can never be recovered to be spent on something else. A simplistic thought, but one I try to remember everyday in life. If we chose to spend the 36+ hours watching tv, we are giving up 36+ hours of time spent togther as a family, time spent building memories. The children still talk about the huge double rainbow they spied out the window on one trip or the dead deer that they spied and how Rob stopped the van so that they could get out and get a better look, and how Mom was disgusted and really hoped that people driving by didn't think we were scavengers interested in eating the roadkill.

And so we will go on the trip sans tv. I am sure that my children will drive me nuts at least a few times on the trip and I'll probably yell "Stop It Now" more times than I'd like to count. And at some point Rob will probably look over at me and ask "Why are we doing this?" and I'll just shrug, but then something will happen that will remind us.

But if you hear about a van jumping the divider and driving into on coming traffic with a one legged child on board, well you can just shake your head and say, they should have bought the tv.