Saturday, May 29, 2010

Smooth Sailing

Today we hit our groove. Like clockwork, we awoke at 7:30 and hit the road at 8:58. We drove 150 miles before breaking for lunch, then 130 miles before a quick gas 'n' go. 140 more miles to Nashville for a dinner stop at Olive Garden (more consistent food), and a 20 minute chaser to arrive at our hotel by 6:30. In short, we experienced a perfectly boring day, in which we got to go fast. I was really hoping for one of those.

The wonder in this day appeared at our first stop. The trees and lush greenery of Arkansas and Tennessee refresh my spirit every time I pass through. Texas encompasses a variety of climates, but our little corner seems full of gnarly live oaks, prickly holly, and thorny mesquite. Hardy? Yes. Verdant? Not exactly.

The rest areas along the Interstate in this part of the country are more like parks. Stately 70 foot oaks provide shade over a grassy carpet, dotted with picnic shelters. Squirrels scamper and birds of many sizes and colors fly from tree to tree. Boo had a blast throwing bits of bread to the birds; Rooster thrilled to the excitement of charging into the midst of the birds, scattering them to the winds.

That is the reason one gathers birds together, is it not?

And Lulu stretched her little legs, toddling up and down the path between our picnic table and the bathrooms, stopping to examine the clovers, the birds, the leashed dogs, and the water pump along the way.

I love the park-like rest stops.

The other contributing factor to our successful day was the Leapsters loaned to us at the last minute by my generous neighbor. Today I decided not to try to control usage of them, but to let the kids play to their hearts content. And they played all day long. Miss Yvette's loan saved us, in fact, because five minutes before we left we realized our car movie player was broken. That would have led to a very sad trip.

I'm all for the idea of a family vacation involving kids playing games together such as "I Spy" or finding license plates or letters of the alphabet on signs along the way. But the reality is that the kids are mesmerized by media. And sometimes that's a good thing because then Mommy and Daddy can get a little peace and quiet.

I don't know what tomorrow brings. But I will be better able to handle it after this completely smooth day, complete with us getting to go to bed by 9:30. Three cheers for our perfectly boring day!

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