Paddle Boards and Oreos

This past weekend my older brother got hitched. I thought about writing something to him in today’s blog. Giving him a ton of advice that would inevitably make his marriage happier and healthier than it could have ever possibly been without my advice. And if you know my brother (and his relationship with me) you just laughed out loud. Not that I do not love Nicholas to the moon and back, but the majority of our relationship consists of us calling each other ridiculous and lots of eye rolling….in an endearing way.

So instead of telling him a bunch of cliché marriage junk, I am going to talk about how much I love him. I love him SO much that I rented a minivan, loaded up my husband and two children, and drove 12 hours to Batesville, IN. Yeah, I love him that much.
Car rides with your kids are horrible. I am not going to say “can be horrible.” They are horrible. The amount of stress that goes into prepping for a long car ride is stupid. I feel like I put more thought into prepping for car rides than I did prepping for grad school exams.


What did I do to get ready for this inevitably disastrous trip? I went to the Dollar Tree. Of course. And the amount of crap I bought was offensive. Everyone in the store asked me “What are you doing with all that?” Oh, you don’t go to the Dollar Tree and buy $35 worth of ninjas, tambourines, and finger puppets? This isn’t my first rodeo people.


Alright moms, here it is. The secret to car ride success. A timer and junk. Timer gets set for a certain time. (My kids can typically make 40 minutes). If they go the whole time without crying or yelling, they get a prize! If they cry or yell, the timer starts over (and then they cry harder for a full minute before stopping). When the timer goes off they get a prize or a treat. Paddle boards and Oreo cookies will take you so much further than you ever dreamed.

I gave up leg room for prize bags…and I would do it all over again.

Along with these bags of delight, I recommend the following:

  • Dance parties. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT use your children’s CDs. They are happy to jam out to Haim and Ryan Adams. If you put that Happy Tunes for Happy Kids CD in you are going to be listening to The Garbage Truck Song 48 times before you throw it out the window.
  • Movies. Don’t judge. We don’t have cable. But a 12 hour car ride calls for brain rotting television.
  • Something adulty and awesome during nap time. My husband downloaded some “My Favorite Murder” podcasts for me. I laughed really hard and googled all the murderers and victims. And then I daydreamed about being best friends with the hosts. It made me feel smart and witty for a moment… in between switching out “Paw Patrol” DVDs and picking out the spicy pieces from Hank’s trail mix.
  • Nap.  If it is nap time, we better be traveling.  image
  • If you have the chance to caravan with other people, switch up the cars. This was all my sister-in-law. She said “I know switching up the car seats will be a pain, but it will be worth it.” It was. Our kids really enjoyed the scenery and company change….for about 2 hours. Then Lincoln was begging to switch cars away from the toddlers while Wyatt and Hank were swatting each other in the back seat.
  • Just say yes to snacks. Gus ate more Pirate Booty than ever recommended. Hank woofed down licorice and claimed Gus was stealing it from him, so he needed more. Hand it over. They can eat grapes and carrots when they get home.
  • If you are going to drive a minivan, it is best to do it while wearing RayBans and listening to Ryan Adams covering Taylor Swift’s “1989.”


  • STOP.  No seriously.  Stop and do things.  It took us like forever to get there and back.  But no one killed anyone.  We stopped to see the Jolly Green Giant.  We stopped to play soccer at rest stops.  We stopped at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum (which I highly recommend!)  We stopped at Mc Donald’s and let our kids collect germs on the play equipment.  The extra time those stops take are worth it.  Trust me, I am thespeechmom.  I would never steer you wrong.

Taking a long car ride? God speed my friends. I hope your ride goes as smoothly and delightfully as ours went.

Oh, and the wedding was fun too! Congratulations Nicholas and Christine! Here are a few shots from the big day!

And a video.  Because they are amazing dancers.

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