We, as parents, often live in ignorant bliss about some things. 

·         Potty training will go the way I say it will go. 

·         No fresh-mouthed kid will live under MY roof. 

·         Our family get away is going to be SO relaxing. 


The last one just makes me chuckle out loud. Not then, for sure.  But now I can laugh about it. 

You see, Dallas and I recently returned from a five-day trip to Las Vegas.  If you follow me, this is old news. The nutrition company that we have partnered with had their conference and we flew out to attend.  And it was great!

Our boys stayed behind and spent a week with the grands.  Before our trip, we promised them a few days away in the mountains when we returned but, more importantly, a visit to Story Land.  Because they care not one actual thing about the mountains themselves. 

So after we finished laundry from our desert trip, we packed all seven of us up — oh yes, even the dog — and headed three hours north. 

Friends, can I just tell you that I truly and honestly had such high hopes for these three days? Aside from the drive, I had planned to have a no-screen policy.  I wanted us to truly spend time talking to each other, listening to each other and enjoying each other. 

Not one of these things happened.  Well, no, that’s not true.  There was a lot of talking, just more in the form of shouting and crying.  But zero listening and zero enjoying each other. 

From the moment we stuffed them all into the ole’ Odyssey, there was fighting over who would sit where, who would hold the dog in their lap, who would suck the most life out of the parents.

At the first rest stop, they all had to have something from the vending machine.  Because why not?  Let’s pay $1.50 for a bag of Gardettos that, for $2 more, I could buy a box of six from Target.  Seriously.  The tightwad in me does not handle these situations well but it was just whatever. 

Once we arrived in the town where we were staying, we found a Dairy Queen.  SCORE.  Ever since we moved to MA two years ago, we have found a total of two DQ’s and both were walk-up windows that only served ice cream.  As lovers of their onion rings and mushroom burgers, this has been very sad so, when Dallas and I spotted the sign, we were pumped.  Too bad no one else was.  Why? Well, because who freaking knows?!?! Maybe because it wasn’t their idea? Any other time, they would be psyched.  But this was really just setting the tone for the days to come. 

The bright spot for our trip was that Story Land was awesome.  Even for the twelve-year-old.  We wondered if it would be too babyish but, after battles with that pre-teen “I-know-it-all” attitude, we decided that he could deal with it.  Turns out, it was right up his alley. 

For a day and a half, they rode the Bamboo Chutes (forty-five times in an effort to break the record, which they fell six short), the Roar-A-Saurus and the Polar Coaster until their punky hearts were content.  The lines were short which was even better…well, until Tuesday afternoon when the sky opened up…which shortened the lines even more. 

The youngest seemed petrified of everything except the train and the tractors (think Antique Cars) so Dallas and I rotated through with him on those two rides.  While it was frustrating in the beginning that he wouldn’t ride all of these rides that were so perfectly matched to his age and interest, it was actually pretty relaxing to draw the Daly card and chill on the little blue train. 

An even bigger bonus of our time at StoryLand is that we learned some of our buddies were going to be there, which was so fun for the boys {and we sure enjoyed the company, too!} Life is always better with friends!

So why am I complaining so much about the trip?  Listen.  I’m really trying to not complain.  It’s just that, at the end of the second night, I really wanted to sit down and eat dinner together in a restaurant.  Any restaurant. I just wanted some time where we all sat and looked at each other and appreciated our party of six.    

I realize they were all tired and hungry and felt like they couldn’t wait a second longer to inhale a meal but their behavior in the waiting area of the restaurant we chose was ridiculous.  After one of them started rolling around on the floor where all patron’s wet shoes had just walked, we made an abrupt exit and ate Taco Bell drive-thru instead, determining that we could no longer go out to eat.  Mostly because of the youngest but not entirely.

Let’s be real.  At this point, I was ready for the vacation to be over.  Sad, right? Who wants vacation to be over?

Well, I do.  When you’re away, I feel like everyone sees it as an opportunity to lose their dang minds and push you further off the proverbial ledge. 

I tried to be carefree.  I tried to let things slide.  No, I did let things slide for the sake of vacation.  But, by Tuesday night, I was forcing them to their iPods so that I could go to mine.  So that I could see everyone else’s “lovely” vacations and chuckle knowing it’s not actually all that lovely. How’s that saying go? Misery loves company.    

Oh but wait.  There’s more.  I clearly had a momentary lapse of reason and forgot all about floor-rolling-incident, Taco-Bell-for-dinner from the night before because I suggested breakfast at a little café on the way out of town the next morning.  I just wanted some freaking memories of a meal!

We found this cute place called The Blueberry Muffin and dropped in. They had seating right away.  Score! We all chose our meals, ordered our food and were impressed with how quickly it arrived on patterns of china that Dallas grew up on.  This seemed like the perfect venue for my memories. 

Until Daly saw his food, decided it wasn’t actually what he wanted and threw it across the table.  Dallas warned him that if he did that again, he would take him into the bathroom for some action.  Those words to Daly…merely a challenge for which he was ready.  The French toast went flying again, the father and son went marching and, ten minutes later, Daly came running out of the bathroom with Dallas close behind.  We thought he was ready to eat his French toast, that the reinforcements had set in…until he threw them again. 

Dallas and Daly excused themselves to the van, we finished our meal (where one would steal off another’s plate when they weren’t looking and suck down the orange juice as if it had free refills, except it didn’t) and did the walk of shame out the door…as usual. 

For lunch, they had Twizzlers from a gas station.

The end.