Hello from the Oregon coast, which we travelled to in only five hundred and eleventry-three HOJILLION hours last Thursday. Okay fine, it was more like eight, but eight, jesus, eight hours in a car with a baby and a 3-year-old, it was like some really tedious Twilight Zone episode where the road unfolds endlessly and everyone in the car ages and grows beards and when they finally get to their destination the seats are filled with dusty skeletons, some still gripping the calcified remains of a sippy cup. At one point JB turned to me, his face all haggard and his knuckles whitened around the steering wheel, and said “This drive is really too long,” and I was all BREAKER BREAKER WE’VE GOT A BIG OLD NO-SHITTER FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT OVER then I brained him with an empty Red Bull can and made him trade me spots so he could experience the joy of sitting in the back with the bored, feral children for a while (hint: you’ll need aspirin!).

The weather has been kind of not-so-summery and I’m not sure I’d describe what we’re doing as a vacation, except we’re taking time off from work so . . . huh. Well, that’s bullshit, I just realized the whole definition of vacation once you have kids boils down to not getting paid. Damn, that’s depressing. Surely vacations get more vacation-y when you’ve progressed past the infant/toddler stage? Yes? Eventually there will be bronze-skinned waiters bearing fruity beverages and cashmere spa robes, and hours of relaxing leisure time?

(Don’t answer that.)

We’re heading to the cabin on the Umpqua River tomorrow to celebrate Riley’s 3rd birthday, which will be a low-key family affair featuring what will surely turn out to be a hoopty-ass cake (I am considering the use of M&Ms as decoration, obviously my talents would fit in nicely here) and — HORRORS — non-decorative paper plates without licensed cartoon characters. I know, I am the Worst Mom Ever. I may as well also confess that although the cake came from a box which called for exactly three ingredients in addition to the supplied mix, I stood there for several minutes this afternoon mouthbreathing down at the bowl of mysteriously cement-textured batter before realizing that duh, I forgot the water.

I hope you’re having a good weekend, whatever you’re doing!


36 Responses to “All I ever wanted”

  1. Connie on August 30th, 2008 9:36 pm

    whatever- he is 3 he won’t remember

  2. Victoria on August 30th, 2008 10:28 pm

    Heck, I had an awesome vacation with my parents this year to an all inclusive resort. Hunky men bringing us drinks and all. It WILL happen.

    Um. Just…not… uh… soon….

  3. Allison on August 31st, 2008 1:29 am

    How do you get better than a cake decorated with M&Ms I’d like to know. . . .and isn’t it a little less traumatic not to have to look at cartoon characters smothered in icing? Who gives a shit what’s PRINTED on the plate when there’s cake sitting on it! =D

    Also. .. . vacation is what makes us realize that our homes are actually very nice places to be. ;-)

  4. Joanne on August 31st, 2008 4:46 am

    Happy Birthday to Riley! And I hope you survive your ‘fun’ ‘vacation’.

  5. Melissa on August 31st, 2008 4:59 am

    The cake sounds fantastic actually…I always preferred the Duncan Hines/Betty Crocker versions when I was a kid. And I hear you on the long drive. My husband, 2 yr old daughter, and 3 month old son and I drove from Northern NJ to Southern South Carolina two weeks ago. My son pooped threw his clothes and threw up the whole way down. Poor little guy but…oh my god. It takes 13 hours to drive straight through. We did stop overnight – that just makes the whole thing longer. Ended up my son had a stomach virus which we all promptly got once we arrived in SC. Some vacation – brutal drive, caring for sick kids when you are sick yourself….oh and one of the kids is not sleeping through the night. Ugh! Sorry to vent. Anyway, I hope you are right about vacations after the kids get a little older…Calgon take me away! Hope your trip gets better! Happy Birthday Riley!

  6. Marie Green on August 31st, 2008 5:49 am

    Happy Birthday Riley! And I love the head shot that includes Dylan… they are all fantastic, but that one really caught my eye.

    Also, we often make long car trips (550 miles, but who’s counting) and I totally know what you mean about a)arriving as dead skeletal messes b/c the trip NEVER ENDED and b)being on entertainment duty. I try to plan our driving shifts around naptime and movie time- I volunteer to drive while the kids are awake and active, and then when they zonk out, I get to sit in the passenger seat and read a magazine or sleep. Don’t tell my husband though… he doesn’t know my strategy. =)

  7. Eric's Mommy on August 31st, 2008 6:06 am


  8. Frank on August 31st, 2008 7:11 am

    I feel your pain on the driving with little ones. When ours were that little, we started driving at night leaving at 10:00PM or later so hopefully they would sleep most of the way there.

  9. whensheworeponytails on August 31st, 2008 7:26 am

    You are a brave lady traveling with those two kiddos that far.

    Did you let him lick the bowl? Because that is the best part! ;-)

    Happy Birthday, Riley!

  10. jennifer on August 31st, 2008 9:16 am

    a “vacation” is something you take without children…..it’s called a “trip” when the children are present….you’re really just taking the whole show on the road…enjoy!

  11. kalisa on August 31st, 2008 10:07 am

    OK first, I totally got sidetracked looking at that Wrecks site. What a hoot! Yesterday was my son’s 15th bday so I’m totally going to swipe that link for MY post.

    And speaking of older children, yes, you will one day get to actually enjoy a vacation. For instance, when you go to the beach w/ teenage boys, you will only ever see them when they want food or money. Which is kind of a good thing, b/c you don’t really want to know exactly what they’re doing the rest of the time. At least I didn’t. Since I’m pretty sure it probably involved BIKINIS.

  12. jamie on August 31st, 2008 10:32 am

    Yeah, how ABOUT that gulf between the fantasy and reality of family road trips?

    This is maybe my favorite Sundry post ever.

    Crafting dedicated link now…

  13. Kayt on August 31st, 2008 12:14 pm

    Oh, you should have seen the cake I made my son one year. It was a sheet cake but only after I mixed up the batter did I realize that my cake pan was slightly too large for the German oven. But I could just make it fit if I angled it.

    You’ll never see a more hoopty cake than that crooked one I made that year. I even used that icing in a tube but miscalculated how big to make my letters so “Happy” was written in these big letters, “Birthday” kind of ran off to the side and “Chet” was just squeezed in on the bottom corner. Oh, it was awful.

    Tasted good, though.

  14. Maria on August 31st, 2008 12:48 pm

    I’m possibly the World’s Worst Baker and S is going to get mom-made cakes for all time thanks to his allergy. So. Maybe we’ll find some magical middle ground between him sucking it up and me getting better.

    I’m terrified of traveling with two kids. Good luck on the way home!

  15. Michelle D on August 31st, 2008 1:23 pm

    Since my kids are older (8 & 12) and I’ve done the Seattle – Oregon coast trip thing a couple of times, I have three pieces of advice:
    1. Drive late. Start out at 6pm-ish. Drive until you & your co-pilot are too tired to drive any further and crash in a motel. You’ll be more than half-way home and the kids will have slept most of the way.
    2. Buy a portable DVD player. Or use a laptop. That’s two hours of quiet kid-time right there. You can have (gasp) adult conversation in the front.
    3. Teach your kids to read. It’ll take time, but make it a priority. When your kids can read (or even pretend to read), car trips go from hideous to downright peaceful.

    My 2 cents.
    Love your blog.

  16. sas on August 31st, 2008 3:57 pm

    That just feels like cruel and unusual punishment….

  17. JudithNYC on August 31st, 2008 4:34 pm

    Trust me, it gets better. Then you get other sorts of headache. I called my son yesterday around 2 pm and he tells me he cannot talk because he went to a party and is tired. He moved to the Bay Area (where he did not know a soul!) 2 weeks ago. How many friends can he have made in two weeks? Oh, well I hope he did not have hoopty cake.

  18. JudithNYC on August 31st, 2008 4:35 pm


  19. Anne L. on August 31st, 2008 7:32 pm

    Three? What the…?!

  20. Kelly on August 31st, 2008 8:23 pm

    Happy Birthday Riley!!

    And if I could put off birthday parties for the rest of his life, I would. This year, no little friends and crap. We are being real rednecks this year and taking him to a Nascar race for his birthday. He will LOVE it more than anyone else, but I’m happy to not have to set up party crap. Woohoo.

  21. nonsoccermom on September 1st, 2008 6:08 am

    Happy birthday to Riley!!

    Enjoy your “vacation”. They do get easier, and it won’t take as long as you think.

  22. Julie on September 1st, 2008 7:01 am

    Happy birthday to Riley!

    We’re hunkered down here for Gustav. Bring it on!

  23. Sara on September 1st, 2008 7:02 am

    Must be the same “mislabeled” box of cake mix I bought to make cupcakes except I forgot the eggs and didn’t figure that out until the damn things were baked, frosted and being consumed. And by figure that out I really mean wondering for a few too many minutes why they were crumbling in my hands.

    Lots of happy birthday wishes to Riley!

  24. anonymous on September 1st, 2008 8:53 am

    I just wanted to make a plug for the box-cake with M&Ms — my mother, never the baker, used to make exactly that for us for our b-day when we were toddlers. We could “help” her put the M&Ms on the cake, and when the cake was done, it was a magical confection, mouth-watering and the Most Special baked thing I had ever seen. So it was to my toddler eyes; that chocolate icing, every last bit of it covered with colorful little candies. I LOVED IT.

    And by the way, she did this for my brother and me when we turned 2, and 3, and I don’t think past that age, and I most certainly DO remember being that age, and the M&M cake is one of my most vivid memories. So I wish a Happy Birthday to Riley and my enthusiastic endorsement of the M&M cake idea.

  25. Frannie on September 1st, 2008 10:33 am

    Seeing My Morning Jacket this weekend was AMAZING. I suggest you see them when they come to town!

  26. Doreen Orion on September 1st, 2008 1:14 pm

    Wow. And I thought traveling the country for a year in a 340 square foot converted bus with my hubby, two cats who hated each other and a 60 pound dog was bad!

  27. Mico on September 1st, 2008 3:34 pm

    Saw your piffle about being SMRT. It reminded me of a funny story.

    We were in Singapore, where their subway system is called SMRT (Singapore Mass Rapid Transit). We were riding along with a couple friends from the Czech Republic who laughingly told us that “smrt” (pronounced like it looks, but put a wicked roll to the r) means “death” in the czech language.

    So every time we went anywhere, we all climbed into a sealed alumiminum tube labeled “death” that travels 50mph underground through tunnels in a reclaimed island. When I put it like that, taxis sound awfully tempting.

  28. Jennie C. on September 1st, 2008 3:48 pm

    My stinkers are 10, 11, and 14 and vacation still isn’t a vacation. Which is why I’m also taking the first week of school off – so that *I* can have a vacation. Woot.

  29. Jane Rytina on September 1st, 2008 4:04 pm

    On journeys like that, never ever turn the GPS on! It’s unbearable.

  30. Nikki on September 1st, 2008 7:47 pm

    Duuuude… I feel ya on the long drive. We decided to take our 2 1/2 year old on a DAY TRIP to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, over three hour away from our house. We be dumb. And we spent over $50 for the pleasure of watching her climb like a lunatic on the benches between exhibits. The end.

  31. Nikki on September 1st, 2008 7:48 pm

    Duuuude… I feel ya on the long drive. We decided to take our 2 1/2 year old on a DAY TRIP to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, over three hour away from our house. We be dumb. And we spent over $50 for the pleasure of watching her climb like a lunatic on the benches between exhibits. The end.

  32. Claire on September 2nd, 2008 6:10 am

    My son also had a birthday this weekend and I did the same exact thing with the batter! I was wondering why it creeped up the mixer all weird like. No water! I was sort of going insane planning a birthday anyway so it is to be expected. Hope the party was nice though!

  33. Jamie on September 2nd, 2008 11:08 am

    …Vacation, have to get away!

    When I was growing up, Belinda Carlisle was my IDOL. I wanted to be her so badly.

  34. Tara on September 2nd, 2008 12:35 pm

    I personally think my son would love the M&M-decorated cake for his 4th birthday. Anytime he sees me eating M&Ms, he asks for the “colors,” and he LOVES them. Little kids don’t know hoopty when they see it, god love ’em.

    And may I say I am SO FUCKIN’ HAPPY that our farthest road trips, at the moment, clock in at about 5 hours with stops. Because your road trip experience sounds like shit on a biscuit. Hope the trip home is?/was? better. . .

  35. Tara on September 2nd, 2008 12:39 pm

    Oh, and LOTS of happy birthday wishes to Riley!

  36. Sonia on September 2nd, 2008 1:45 pm

    ROFLMFAO!!!!! I’m so happy that you’ve discovered The Awesome that is Cake Wrecks! *snort* I got there via Fussy, and have been back almost daily since. SO frigging funny.

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