Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Home, eh?

Oh, hi!

Sunday we tossed both kids and half the house in the car and drove to Toronto. I was presenting at a conference on Monday and wanted to see a few talks Tuesday and Wednesday. Since parenting solo at home is not really much different than parenting solo at a hotel (hahahahahaha...) Rob and the kids tagged along.

As it turns out, a lot of presenters apparently lost travel funding in the economic downturn or couldn't get travel visas or just forgot to show up--whatever the reason, a lot of sessions were canceled at the last minute resulting in more downtime than I'd expected.

I was done at 3 on Monday so the we took the kids on a ferry boat to Centre Island. There's a little amusement park--one of those "buy a sheet of tickets and give 2-3 for each ride" places--on the island and so we spent most of the afternoon watching the kids drive little cars and ooh over bunnies. We got in on the fun to ride the train and Ferris wheel and drive some actual boats around, but mostly it was Katie and Jorge being Katie and Jorge. We also went through the garden maze and walked out on the pier for a bit before heading back on the ferry. It was the perfect day.

Rob and the kids hit the hotel pool Tuesday and we spent the evening walking around the Harbour area. Then Wednesday after some morning sessions we packed up and headed home.

On our way home we stopped off at the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. The kids had been to the American side once but it was an ice-y nighttime visit--not ideal. Rob and I had been to the American side on a beautiful August afternoon a few years ago, but lacked the paperwork to get across the bridge. Only Rob had been to the Canadian side and that was over 15 years ago; so it was a (sort of) new treat for all of us. Unfortunately in addition to the general misty ambiance that comes with the place it was actually raining so we had limited time by the railing.

Luckily we had packed the kids raincoats and umbrellas just in case. Rob and I were damp for most of the drive but the kids were dry enough to fall asleep a bit in the car.
Despite (or maybe because of) our frequent drives we have not gotten a DVD player for the car. We're purists with a bit of a masochist streak.

On our drive to Toronto (about 5 hours with rest stops and customs) we listened to a combination of kids' books on CD, kids' music, and U2 and we all did fine. On our way home Rob had a headache and we were all a bit crabby so we just left the radio off and drove for nearly 4 hours with just the kids chattering and singing their own silly made-up song while Rob and I chatted up front. The kids had scored some little tug-boat toys at our lunch stop and Katie was singing "The boat is crashing" over and over while Jorge kept a backbeat of "bomp bomp bomp, boing boing boing". When I commented once that they needed to quiet down a bit because "it was too noisy" Jorge innocently and incredulously repeated back "it's two noses?" and we all burst out laughing and a new back-up vocal was added. About an hour from home we popped in some newer kid-stories-on-CD which Rob doesn't find entirely annoying and the kids kicked back to listen to those; Jorge took a nap.

And then home at last for a simple dinner and bedtime. In an unprecedented move, the suitcases are all unpacked and put back in the attic; the laundry is all washed, dried, and folded; and other than some pet vomit in the living room the house looks pretty much like it always does. (Hush; there is not usually pet mess in the living room. Really.)

And with that I'm off to bed before midnight. A post-vacation miracle.


  1. Sounds like a fabulous family trip! I think that's awesome that you do it w/o the dvd player. I bust that out every time we drive to WI!

  2. If we were just starting out with little kids in this century, maybe we might have buckled to the DVD temptation. Having been doing the road trips years before DVDs were even an option, it's different -- the kids are just fine with some books and CDs, and while they were small, magnet toys to play with in their seats.