Yesterday afternoon, while trying to stay awake on a 4.5 hour drive from Burlington, MA to Stirling, NJ, I started thinking about my next blog post. For the last several years, our July trip to Burlington would be the kick-off point for a travel game that would span the rest of the summer: the License Plate Game.
I usually grab a printable for this from the interwebs, but yesterday I decided we needed our own to better reflect the way we like to play. And so it was decided (in my private thoughts), zipping down the Merritt Parkway in the 95-degree sun, that I’d design a new printable when we got home, and then share it with all of you.
What actually happened? I walked in the door, turned on the air-conditioning, checked in on Facebook, ate half a box of animal crackers, watched Endeavour, and went to bed. Oh well.
So how about we deal with that printable some other time, and for now I’ll just take the easy way out and leave you with the Instaflicks from my weekend?
[edited 7/16: The game is done – check it out here.]
It was a nice time. It involved plenty of food and drink, as you can see, and a healthy dose of nerding out in the hotel room. There was crocheting, and book buying (oh! the used book buying! ♥♥♥) There were side trips to Cambridge and to Lexington, visits with toddler friends, and there was swimming.
There were no medical emergencies this year, thank goodness.
Probably the biggest challenge for me is the change in rhythm. What do I mean by that? These four-day weekend getaways have changed somewhat since we started them. When you’re traveling with a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old, you can drag them from shop to shop, bribing them with smiley-face stickers for good behavior and stopping at the playground to run off any extra energy. You can watch them play their creative little games with each other. You can get them tucked into bed by 9pm.
When you’re traveling with a 10-year-old and a 13-year-old, and you let them bring their laptops with them… well, it’s just a different rhythm. A rhythm in which they hardly look up from the screens at all. While they have always shown some resistance to leaving the hotel (even 7 years ago) it’s a lot less cute these days. (Understatement of the year, by the way.)
Before our next trip, I think I need to manage my expectations a bit better, and re-think how we travel. Trust me, I am all for down time on these little tag-along-with-Neil-to-the-con trips. I have no problem spending the entire afternoon in the room reading or doing needlework, as long as we manage to get out in the morning and evening. But I am kind of against crankiness, and for this trip, our hotel room downtime seemed to be a breeding ground for crankiness. And that attitude of crankitude seemed to follow us into the little cafes, the fabric shops, and the book stores. I’m very tempted to blame the laptops…
That makes me sound like I hate them having computers. That’s not really it. I actually love that they have those laptops, and I love the creative things they do with them. On a getaway, though? I feel like we should spend our time differently. Perhaps the solution is to bring just one laptop for everyone to share. That might cause a bit of friction, but I honestly feel the inconvenience of taking turns is probably easier to deal with than the cranky zombie effect.
Did I really just write, 20 paragraphs ago, that I was going to say very little and just post pictures? I’m always doing this: saying I’ll take the easy way out and then posting my longest post ever. Duh.
I really do need to wrap this up. It’s after 11am and I am still in my PJs, there’s weekend laundry to be dealt with, an eBook to convert to Kindle format, and a teenager to drag out of bed. And hopefully, a license plate game printable to make and share. Happy Monday!
P.S. If you have any words of wisdom for how to foster a relaxing, non-cranky getaway with older kids, I’d love to hear them. (I’m suddenly thinking, maybe a trip to the playground isn’t just effective with preschoolers. Might have to go back to that strategy next time…)