Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Road Trip Conversations of a Random Nature



On a recent drive to our favorite spot in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota, I decided to do a little experiment. We had to run a few errands on our way out of town. As I sat in the car with the kids, trying to have some teachable conversations, I realized my kid talk…a LOT in the car.  Perhaps, I should jot down where the conversation goes on our trip to Sylvan Lake.
What began as a possible blog on what great parents we were in conversing with our kids turned into a lesson in humility and hilarity that explained a few things. First, now I totally understand why road trips with our kids give my husband a headache. Second, they talk as much as me. And third, their thoughts change tracks just as often and as randomly as mine. Pride goes before a fall, right?
In the hour and 15 minutes we were in the car, here is just a sampling of the EIGHT pages of notes I took on what was discussed by my four kids with some help from us. I seriously could not make this up:
  •   Money: it’s characteristics, who is on it and why, and how to spot the real deal
  •  The downfall of civilizations through history
    • Contributing factors such as rampant sin accepted openly, bloody wars and bloody religious practices, and self-absorbed lifestyles
    • Examples including the Greeks, Romans, Aztecs, and more
  •  The Statue of Liberty: it’s original color and why it changed; who made it and why we got it; and what else the designer is known for (The Eifel Tower)
  •    A rumored “Wall of Gum” located somewhere in CA
  • o   Side jokes about some kid getting stuck in it and being removed by crane
  •    Ryan’s desire to learn to make Sunny Side Up eggs this summer
  •  A partially overheard conversation between Jarod and Ryan about the history of coffee and its secrets being kept on pain of death.
  •   The beginning of the State License Plate Game
  • What mom’s maiden name is and what that means
  • 50s diners and why the one Kati remembers couldn’t be a 90s diner; the differences in design influences of the two decades.
  • Why mom stopped working at the jewelry store we passed five years ago
 This was all before we left town.
  • How the song “Ships in the Night” makes Jarod crave chips
  • The difference between tattling vs. telling for 3 yo Lucy’s benefit
  •  Kati (to mom & dad): You two look like tourists with your sunglasses, shorts, and cool shirts. Jarod: Who’s Doris?    Us: TOURISTS not Doris
  • The historical significance of Sitting Bull (we passed the cave named after him)
  •  Several minutes spent on how to pop your ears in an elevator
  •  How Kati’s friend who lives near our destination has the potential to be a crazy cat lady with 7 cats, 6 dogs, 8 goldfish, and a goat. And how another friend has 18 pets with 2 chinchillas promised her this summer. (No, we’re not getting chinchillas)
  •  Dream d├ęcor in our future dream house in their bedrooms: Kati – rainforest with cheetahs (a side trip on how cheetahs don’t live in rainforests so a change to a leopard); Ryan – a beach; and Jarod’s not sure. No input from Lucy.
  •  How the current Direct TV and Mayhem commercials are THE best and Jarod’s explanation to all that “a good commercial is not only funny but you remember what its advertising.”
  • How badly we need to fix the brakes
  • The History of Facebook and Jarod’s prediction that Mark Zuckerberg will one day conquer the world
  •  Whether or not Lucy actually farted or just made a sound with her lips
  • The idea to summon huge eagles a la Lord of the Rings to carry us up Harney Peak
  •  “Did you flick a booger on me?” “No (giggle)”
  •  Kraig’s quiet declaration that the kids’ constant talking can almost drive him to swear.
  • Why free-climbing the rocks outside Hill City isn’t a safe idea and Why lemmings run off cliffs
  • Why Ryan’s water bottle is sweating so badly
  • The desperate need for a trash can in our van like my friend, Amber
  •  Jarod’s Time Travel Bucket List (this was revisited several times) in case a Delorian ever crosses his path:
    • Watch the 1st movie, the one with the train that made the audience run out in terror
    • Ride a steam engine
    •  Be there for MLK’s “I have a Dream” speech
    • See the Signing of the Declaration of Independence
    •  See how slow the first car drove
    • Watch the transitions between eras/decades
  • Dad’s Mad Snacking Skills and Mom’s Mad Snack Stealing Skills
  • Jarod: “Hey, I just thought of something really random.”  Kraig: “Seriously?! Not YOU!”
  •  Ryan: What’s kerosene?  Kraig explains then asks where that came from. Ryan: The Muppets.
  • The historical facts surrounding the signing of the Declaration of Independence and how Mom won a scholarship for giving a speech on it in High School.
  • Kati: “Is that a mine shaft or a bomb shelter?”   Jarod: “Different eras, Kati.”
  •   Jarod: I once saw a move on the Cuban missile crisis.
  •   How the war of 1812 ended months before the final battle, the Battle of New Orleans, took place.
  • Why the original actor playing the Tin Man had to quit due to the metal in his make-up nearly killing him.
  • Was Michael Jackson in The Wizard of Oz? No, he was in The Wiz.
  • Driving Dad crazy chanting, “I think I can” up a steep incline
  • “Quite is the opposite of Jarod.” – Kraig
  •   Pine beetles and their resulting devastation and chaos to the Black Hills
  • Lucy: Do braces hurt?   Kati: “I’m strong so not that much.”
We’re here! If you ever want a fun experiment, give this a try. Though I’m pretty sure mine might have the market cornered on non-stop chatter of a random variety. I guess I understand why Kraig invested in DVD player for longer trips.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tea & Conversations


Finally--my blog! I've been meaning to do this, wanting to do this, and trying to get time to do this for a long time. And here it is. My first post was written this spring. I've already got several more written so I'll space them out a bit. Hope you enjoy.

Recently I was given an invitation I just couldn’t refuse.  As I was sitting at the computer, trying to wake up and feeling as though I’m fighting off a cold, my little Lucy came in. “Come have tea with me,” she said with a smile. I tried to tell her that mommy had gotten up early to go to Walmart for groceries and that I had a cold and just wanted to sit at the computer for a while and wake up. But she would have none of that. She tried again. “Come have tea at the table with me,” she smiled. “And we can talk about stuff.”

Well that did it.

Since my first daughter, Kati, was about four years old, I have had a tradition with my girls of trying to do tea time. It started younger with Lucy as she has a big sister to witness enjoying a cup of tea with mom. When Kati was young, I went to a tea room with my sisters and my mom and watched with delighted fascination as a mom and her young daughter arrived for their special tea time. Both were dressed in their finest and the little girl looked so pleased to be there. I decided then and there this would be something I would do with my Kati and then again when Lucy arrived.
Tea time first happened with my daughter in a posh tea room outside Cincinnati with my sisters and their girls during a holiday visit. Kati loved the hats and feather boas and the little sandwiches. Soon after, we moved to Rapid City, SD and I made it a priority to see if there was anywhere to do tea with my girl. Though Rapid City does not have a posh English-style tea room, there was a more rustic place in town. This place had wood floors and eclectic tables and chairs. But what they do have is stainless steel pots and trays to bring you a brewing pot of tea at your table. Sold!

Every few months, Kati and I would go for tea. I’d get a two-cup pot of Irish Breakfast (my favorite) and two cups—one regular-size and one espresso cup with a tiny spoon. We’d get a scone or a cookie to share and I would let her choose a table. I would pour the tea but she could add her own cream and sugar. And we would talk.

What a delightful way to lay a foundation for manners and the give and take of polite conversation. She would ask me about my day and I would do the same. I would ask her questions about what she wanted to be when she grew up and her friends now. And inside my heart, I prayed we would be able to continue this tradition as she grew older and opening up became more difficult.

Just this week, at another tea time, I was so amused by Lucy, age 3 and half, talking about her husband and her home someday. When I told her I prayed for him, she very quickly asked, “What’s his name?” I smiled and told her I didn’t know but God did. She seemed to like that answer. And she asked me if someday I would rock her babies. Of course I agreed.


Tea time with my girls sometimes gets lost in the busyness of having four kids and a household and a crafting business. It is missed when it is. This weekend we are making time for tea and each other. We will get dressed up and head out to our rustic tea shop and order a treat or two and a pot of tea or two since there are now three of us. It will be Lucy’s first official tea, after all. I wonder if Kati and Lucy will wear hats. Whatever they decide to wear, I’m looking forward to the delighted looks on their faces and the interesting conversation that always seems to accompany girls and a pot of tea.