We decided to do something completely different for the Thanksgiving holiday this time.
Instead of spending the 4 day break together with my sisters and their families -- this year, my husband and I needed to stay close to home. My sister offered to host our children -- as it had been a while since all the cousins had seen each other for any length of time. They were long overdue.
So, I got up at 5:00 and we were on the road by 5:45 headed down to Allentown, PA where my one sister's inlaws live. They were kind enough to agree to take my kids with them down to Virginia, sparing me a 6 1/2 hour drive all the way down and another 6 and who knows how many back home to Syracuse with the crazy holiday traffic.
We stopped for coffee before the sun rose and connected to my iPod so that we could listen to Radio Lab together. (If you're not familiar with this award-winning series of podcasts -- do yourself a favor. Your children will be as mezmerized by the delightful audio presentation as you are and you'll be astonished how much you remember after your ride.)
We listened to one "short" (about genius -- is it just raw talent, or is it the love and obsession that makes you good at what you do?) Then my daughter who was sitting in the backseat took my iPad out and started a game of Hang Man with us. "Can you read that back, Jules?" "N, A, E. " "No, I mean could you read it back and use the word "blank" when we're missing a letter?" I begged her. Let it be known that blind hangman is difficult to play. Without being able to visualize where the letters were fitting much less remember which letters we already tried -- we failed miserably and wanted to move on to something else, actually anything.
As I went to change the station to something other than the Disney Channel (a mom can take only so much pop) I said to no one in particular "When I was YOUR age..." (Collective groan.) "Well... on our trips in our station wagon, we played a word game called Mad Libs." My son, John-Luke, a boy who takes after his mother when it comes to all things technology, immediately whipped out his phone and searched for an app -- surely there must be one for THAT! And just like that, we were in business.
Driving 3 1/2 hours in the early morning hours with a 9 and 12 year old can be intolerable if they're not sleeping or entertained, but I'll tell you, that last hour and a half was an absolute blast. The kids took turns picking out stories and asking for nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs. We started out meekly -- using colors, and simple descriptive words. But as we got rolling, they got creative! We tried not to reuse words and we came up with silly nicknames for each other when the game called for a person's name. There was more than one time that I laughed so hard that I nearly had to pull the car over to gain control!
I was actually a bit sad when I had to turn around and head back home by myself.