We didn't make very good time because we are still having a hard time adjusting to the time zones, and I had this brilliant idea last night to go into the local laudromat and wash all of our clothes in one go. Unfortunately, I didn't get back to the trailer until after midnight local time and all the kids were just settling into bed when I arrived. Yawn! We didn't wake up until almost nine in the morning and barely pulled out of the little town by noon. Dana was having a morning that matched the rainy weather, so we stopped at the grocery store to fortify her with some chocolate mini-eggs, and my sweet hubby replaced her wind shield wipers. She was motivated to press on though, because in only one more sleep her hubby would be coming!! What an amazing woman! One of the bravest, and strongest women I have ever known.
We started listening to The Hobbit and it seemed very fitting to hear Bilbo complaining about how long the trip was taking, and his descriptions of the land he was travelling through. I started a free trial with Audible, and downloaded two free books (Winne-The-Pooh and The Hobbit) and I also stumbled on a free 3 month preview of Scribd.com which is like the netflix of books so we have been enjoying other stories like Pinkalicious, Peter Rabbit, Jim Weiss, etc. I love listening to audio books in the car, because it makes the trip pass a little faster, and the kids are a captive audience so it's a great time to get those classics in. Last summer in our travels, we listened to the complete narnia series.
One thing that happened yesterday that I forgot to mention, is the amazing coincidence of Sean meeting one of his employees in the little camp ground of Marathon! They are on their own cross-Canada trip, but are on their way home now- west from Newfoundland. What are the odds of us meeting up with them in the middle of nowhere Ontario? I was truly amazed, because if there's one thing this trip has shown me- it's how vast and relatively uninhabited our country really is.
When we are in the car for these longer drives, there are a few things we have done to make it easier. For one, we don't do movies, or video games or any electronic device. Even though you think it will help pass the time, it tends to make the kids isolated from each other and breeds a bit of selfishness and entitlement among everyone. Once you get past the first bit of complaining, the kids settle in and get used to it. I love all the opportunities for them to talk to each other, listen to good audio books as a family, look at the interesting scenery, and color in their journals. Everyone has their own bag with a journal, box of pencil crayons, scissors, glue, pencil and eraser. Every day they write or draw a bit about what we did. I also have a stash of activity and sticker books from Costco that I hand out when kids start to get restless. I have a few clipboards that I will pass back with coloring pages as well. One of the fun finds was those grown-up coloring books that have lots of intricate designs to color.
The thing they look forward to the most is the various snacks we bring along, however. I have a box of ziplock bags in the front and portion out food in individual bags to throw back to the kids.
Doesn't that sound idyllic? Well, at least that is the ideal in my mind. Siblings getting along happily, maybe reciting geography facts as we drive by interesting viewpoints, and everyone eating healthy, portioned snacks by the calm and collected mother in the front. Ok, in reality, there is a lot of people having to go pee about every 15 min, and everyone is demanding more snacks (which I just throw at them and hope they catch it), and lots of people fighting over stickers and pencil crayons. The van is a mess (though we have managed to keep the garbage at bay by cleaning it out at each gas station), and I have no where to put my feet because there is more and more stuff piled up in the front. But that is pretty much what life is like at home too.. this is just a smaller space. :) We do have a lot of fun though... so much laughter, so many silly jokes, funny signs and place names to laugh at, and a sweet toddler to brighten all our days.
I almost forgot! We also found the place where the bear that inspired the Winnie-The-Pooh stories was from! Apparently, there was an army guy passing through town and bought a little bear cub who eneded up being the mascot of his group of soldiers, but when they went overseas he donated it to the London zoo where A.A. Milne visited often with his son Christopher Robin. How cool is that? Of course we had to stop and take a picture :)