Monday, February 8, 2016

Raison D'Etre


You would think that after years of blogging, writing and general online frolicking, I would be able to just whip up a first post here without any angst. But no - it's like I've traveled back to 2008 when I started my first blog, and I feel like I have to make an opening statement...my raison d'être (on the upside, eight years later, I don't have any angst over whether I should add a link to "raison d'être").

So maybe that's the way to go: my raison d'être. My reason for being HERE on a new website is that I'm planning a trip. A big cross-country trip with my kids that will take most of the summer and most likely all of the hotel points I amassed in my previous life as a conference planner (notice the title of this blog...there will be no camping).

I need a place to keep notes and research. As much as I love me a good spreadsheet (and no - that's not a joke - I really do), this seems a bit more fun. AND I'll have somewhere to post updates throughout the trip so everyone (my parents and maybe a few friends) can follow along with the traveling chaos

It's taking all of my will power to not segue into long winded descriptions of our personal brand of chaos, linking to past blog posts as a means of creating an anecdotal context. I mean - 2008 me would be ALL OVER that. But one of my goals for this new site is to reel it in a bit and just get to the point (mind you, I rarely meet goals I set for myself, so I'm really just aiming for "good enough").

Four paragraphs later (good enough!)...I'm now getting to the point. This site is going to be about my experiences with travel. Since I have three kids (currently 9-10 years old), most of this (like the rest of my life) will revolve around them. Here is a brief introduction to them (because 2008 me will explode if I don't throw in a little anecdotal context):

Oliver

Oliver is my oldest. He turns 11 in a couple of months and is the main culprit in our family when it comes to bizarre public spectacles. At age two he was diagnosed as PDD-NOS (which I always translate as, "there is something wrong with your child - but we don't know what it is"). Several years later, we had his diagnosis changed to Autism.

One of the absolute BEST things about Oliver's autism is that he gives zero fucks about what other people think (hey - I guess there will be swearing on this blog!). Well - it's not that he doesn't care...he just thinks he's super as is, and can't imagine why anyone else wouldn't agree. This allows him to really "be himself" wherever he goes without any insecurity or inhibitions. This also means that while at Safeway, I may find him kneeling on the shelf of a self check out station, explaining to a perplexed stranger who doesn't speak English that there is a squirrel running around the store. It's true - there was a squirrel running around the store (welcome to my neighborhood!) but climbing up a shelf next to some guy as he's trying to scan this cans of Hormel chili just isn't something the average 10 year old boy does.

Since I too, have learned to not really care what other people think, I find his unpredictable behavior endlessly entertaining and post the shit out of it on Facebook. Hey - your 10 year old may have just made honor roll for the third year running, but MINE just had me paged at Target for the third visit running.

George

George is one of my twins who are nine years old. He probably gets quoted to the most on Facebook because he feels the need to verbally express 90% of what goes on in his head without thinking it through first. Just the other night he blurted, "hey Dad! Spanish is written in English! It just says different things." Now, because I'm his mother, and I speak fluent George, I knew exactly what he meant (that Spanish and English are written with the same alphabet). But I'm not always available to be his interpreter.

His enthusiasm for his own ideas often takes a hard left turn into crazy town. As an example, here is a conversation we had on Christmas morning:

George: Mom – what if you got a baby for Christmas?

Me: I don’t think it works that way, George. I'd have to be pregnant for a while first.

George: Okay – what if you were, but then during the night, Santa gave you surgery?

This is how George's brain works. And the only time I'm ever not interested in what's going on in there is when it has something to do with Minecraft.

Eleanor

George's twin, Eleanor is by far the most "normal" child in our house. But her maturity also makes for some very "honest" observations. If I ever forget for a few minutes that our house smells like our dog, she is happy to remind me. And she's always available to weigh in (pun intended) on my fitness efforts.

Once while she was "keeping me company" as I did an exercise video, instructor  Jillian Michaels assured, “if you stay with this, you’ll REALLY start to see results." Eleanor skeptically wrinkled her little nose at me and asked, "do you think you’re seeing results?” The answer of course, was "NO" but STILL. I do want to interject here that I NEVER talk about being dissatisfied with my appearance to or around my daughter. When I found out she was a girl, one of my first thoughts was, "well, I guess I can't complain about feeling fat anymore..." I always keep the focus on wanting to be healthy and strong.

But hey - we're girls. And she's going to catch me examining my face in the mirror now and again. Once when I was experiencing acute internal despair over how impossible it was to camouflage an unsightly patch of adult acne on my chin, she said, "don't worry mom - it's not that noticeable." I told her that it was nice of her to say so, but that one pimple was pretty impossible to cover up. Surprised, she exclaimed, "OH - I thought you were looking at the big lines on your forehead." If I was ever going to be a vain person - Eleanor keeps be grounded.

So that gives you a little peek into the personalities of my cast of characters. My husband Chris will be with us at times too - but those three are my constant sidekicks. Right now, THEY are my raison d'être. And all (very reasonable) trepidation aside, I can't wait to do this trip with them!

Back to THE TRIP - please comment (or e-mail me at kate@mamadontcamp.com) with any road trip suggestions, advice, links... I have a basic itinerary mapped out - but this blog is my idea file. Anything I can't use now, I'll keep in mind for the future!

[*]
-Kate

*I feel like I should have a little sign off catch phrase, but can't think of anything..."xoxo" seems a little familiar for a public blog..."Best" is how I end business e-mails..."Cheers!" is too British (FYI - in case you didn't know, I'm not British)... Feel free to offer suggestions for that too.

23 comments:

  1. Love this! I am looking forward to following your adventures!

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    1. Anna! I totally feel like it's 2008! You get an xoxo, my very first blogging friend!

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  2. I saw a guy in the Mortified documentary who signed all of his teenage journal entries with "Peace! One Love!" So maybe that?

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    1. I like it! Or maybe "Peace Out!" Maybe not...

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  3. Oh you have got to take George (and the crew) to Philly. The murals alone will spark some very Facebook-worthy commentary. Then kick it up a notch with a visit to the Mutter Museum. Medical oddities in glass jars, FTW!

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    1. Hi (Paul/Michelle?)! I love that idea - but Philly isn't going to be on our route. BUT it is so close, you've given me some good day trip/weekend trip ideas :)

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    2. Ooops! Sorry Lara Lara DiPaola - thought my Philly-born and raised neighbors were giving me some insider advice. I can always count on you for great ideas :)

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  4. Love it!! Can't wait to follow along. My family would never survive a road trip like this:)

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    1. Ha! There is a reason Chris will only be joining us for parts. He thinks I'm insane.

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  5. Love this! Can't wait to hear about the travel plans. We're taking the kids to Vegas later this year. I've gotten quite a bit of negative feedback about it. But I don't know... Vegas shows, all you can eat buffets, the Hoover Dam. And they're certainly not going to get any spontaneous sex ed talks in our household, so maybe this trip will spur on a bit of that sort of conversation. Or it could just be that I am delusional.

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    1. I think it sounds great! Vegas (from my very limited work trip experience) has something for everyone - and it's not like you are going to be hitting burlesque shows with children! Keep in touch about your plans - I'd love to hear them.

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  6. Are you coming out west? Please let me know! I'd love to see you!

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    1. I am! Will post about the rough itinerary soon. We have family in San Diego - so that's a definite!

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  7. So after grad school I drove from MD to San Diego solo (to live... everything I could fit in my car- that was what I brought!) Then after marriage we drove from San Diego (guess that was a good decision after all!) to Montreal,QC in a 2 seater sports car (STUPID!) in November- (extra stupid)!! But stopped at lots of great places... where is your ideal route? I might have some ideas. AND if you want a trip to Ottawa... my door (and guest room is always open!

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    1. I love it! I'll post about the route we have in mind soon- maybe next... We have family we'd like to see, so that determines quite a bit of what I've put together. Ottawa isn't on this itinerary - but I will probably take you up on that in the future!

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  8. We are hoping to do a big trip this summer too, not sure it will be right across country but maybe we can meet somewhere along the way. Or heck... let me know if you make it to the San Francisco area. Can't wait to see and hear your observations along the way! Not to mention your kids'.

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    1. I would love to see you Kim! We'll def be driving up the CA coast since we have family in San Diego and Klamath Falls, OR :)

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  9. LOVE!!! And can't wait to join the ride.

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    1. Maybe someday we'll do a trip with Paris on the itinerary... #dreams

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  10. Cannot wait to read this! (When my husband and I were engaged, we did a two-month cross country trip -- we did camp, however, and in spite of that - still got married.) We are hoping to do the trip again with our kiddo at some point, so I can't wait to see how it goes with little ones in tow.

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    1. Since my husband doesn't camp either - I can only imagine how that would end for us... Would love to hear about that trip!

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  11. This made me guffaw several times! I would follow this blog if you were visiting every Target across the country.

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    1. That will most likely happen! At least, every Target in our path...

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