A long while ago Abel and I rented a movie from the library that we really enjoyed. It was about a family with nine children who drove around in a 25 ft. camper, all over the place teaching people to surf. The family was Jewish and had strict views on eating healthy and exercise. It was inspiring, to say the least. Of course, some problems arose because the children felt thrown around, never knowing what city they would be in, not able to have any friends…It makes me wonder what my kids will one day come to me and complain about…Lack of personal space, homeschooling, flaky mother??? It will be something. Just bracing myself for that, but not dwelling on it. They will one day realize I did my best. Probably when they have their own kids. http://www.magpictures.com/surfwise/ Ever since I saw this film with my husband we have been sort of searching for a house. By sort of, I mean not aggressively. We have looked at a thousand houses, but everyone has not been BETTER than our house…So we stay here complaining about the little details that are a nuisance. We tell ourselves that we can live with the little annoying quirks because we love the location of our house. We can walk to Mass, ice cream, parks, and the Farmers Market. We are close to groceries, highways, and about a thousand other wonderful places. The only way we could ever move is if we could afford something better. That place has not come along. So here we are happily crowded in our one bathroom three bedroom (the third bedroom is so small it shouldn’t even count), and we wait. And save. So far we haven’t had any debt, and we sure don’t want to start now. If we buy a house we want to pay for it outright, or a least be confident that we could pay it off in our lifetime. There is this inside joke now that we’ve seen “Surfwise….” “I found a cool house today, honey…” I say to my husband who can’t help but have the ‘I’m getting ready to roll my eyes’ expression on his face, especially since I’m obsessed with house hunting, and he knows this. Then I proceed to tell him about the house, “it’s really neat, it has a shop and it’s in our price range!” To which he points out the obvious flaw, “Sweetheart, it’s in Timbuktu!” And then we both laugh and comment, “we should just buy an R.V. and travel the world!” ……..”Good idea,” we both say! It’s a joke, sort of. We do love to travel! It’s so nice to shut off the phone, pack your bags, and hit the open road until it’s not….Then you come home and really appreciate your house, yard, family, all of it. There are a lot of things to learn on a road trip, seeing the town of Williamsburg, for example, was really cool and educational, the natural phenomenon like lakes and mountains and caves, and even better: lakes inside of mountains that you can jump into! These are wonderful and memorable ways to spend time with the family. And I do wish we could do more of it. We found an awesome camper this past year, it was old and needed repair, so we spent a good bit of time gutting it, removing some water damaged parts, and getting it all prettied up. It was really fun. We have already taken it to a music festival, and we’re gearing up to go again soon! What are your plans for the summer? Do you regularly go to the same spot, or do you like to try a new place? Do you have any tips for keeping kids busy on long trips? I sure do! Here are my favorite ways to keep kids still and quiet without resorting to movies! 1. Goody Bags: These are just little bags that have a collection of toys that ‘go together.’ For instance, I will bring five fairy dolls, a handful of fairy food, and fairy furniture, and a colorful cloth all wrapped up in a shoe box…see what happens with a little one’s active imagination! Another idea is to do the same thing with an art collection, some watercolor pencils, small jar of water, and a paintbrush. A lego bag, a bunch of ponies and a couple tiny hairbrushes, a few story books that YOU like to read over and over again. You get the idea. I try to bring a minimum of five of these to pass around when the driving feels long. 2. Playaways or Books on Tape: Kids can listen to awesome literature and color or rest….need I say more?! 3. Lunch Boxes: This took me by surprise. My kids love lunch boxes! I forget sometimes that my children haven’t had all the same experiences I have had, and to me, lunch boxes are old news…but to my socialized homeschoolers, a lunchbox is a treat. I try to go all out and cut up fruit and tiny sandwiches to make it fancy and fun. If you’re feeling uninspired, check out this wonderful website: http://www.veganlunchbox.com/index.html 4. Excellent Singable Music: My Favorites are quite diverse, anything from Putumayo world music to all time favorites of Gemini, and Joe Reilly! Also, love love love Chris DuPont these days! What are your families favorites? 4. Whole Family Games: Our undisputed all time winner is Sequence, but we also love Pictionary, cards, Scrabble, charades, the Alphabet Game, and I SPY! SO, that’s all I’ve got when it comes to traveling, we make a lot of stops and we eat out of our fancy lunch boxes, and we even watch movies when we can’t stand it anymore. I sure am looking forward to driving all over the map with my crew this summer, and I would love to hear your vacation stories & ideas for how to keep the little ones occupied…. Happy Trails!