Family Vacations

As the summer winds down, we are packing up to make one last trip to the beach before school starts back.  Baby Girl 2 left this morning with my sister and my nephews and we will join them Thursday night.  Since adding Baby Boy to the mix almost two years ago, I have thought a lot about family vacations from my childhood and how things have changed over the past 35 years.
  Everyone had a station wagon- minivanistas weren’t even thought of yet!  Although I did have a friend whose family had one of those vans with the curtains on the windows and captain’s chairs that spun around.  It was more like your den on wheels- AWESOME!
 The first station wagon I remember my mom driving was a smooth and sleek red number more than likely purchased from the local Chevrolet/Oldsmobile dealer.  She was one hot mama in that ride I tell you- with her two kids hanging out the window and fighting over who would get to ride in “way-way” back just out of mama’s arm reaching ability.  I am sure that she was the envy of all of her friends!
The one that I remember more clearly was the brown and wooden two toned number that lasted us until I believe I was in middle school.  That one took many a road trips down to New Smyrna Beach or St. Augustine, Florida.  I distinctly remember my dad packing us and the luggage into the car…that’s not a typo, I said “us”.  Once my sister came along, there was no way in hell that we were all three going to be riding across that middle seat together, and without putting the roof rack on, the back seat had to lay flat for the luggage and the lucky kid who rode with the luggage.  Now for all of you car seat safety nuts, just calm down and don’t even think about calling DFACS on my parents because you can bet your sweet tush that you parents did the same thing!  I’m pretty sure our cars didn’t even have seat belts.  It was actually nice being back there with the suitcases- you totally had your own space and no siblings to mess with you.  The ultimate treat came when we’d take a friend because then we pulled up the “way-way” back seat!  While station wagon shopping in the last few years in an attempt to avoid the minivanistas, I found that the “way-way” back seats, known as “jump seats” to the real experts, are not really “recommended” by the car manufacturers anymore.  Pooh!  So, after about three months with Baby Boy, Baby Girl 1, and 2 riding around in the Volvo station wagon, I turned in my keys for a Volkswagen Routan.  I’m afraid once you go mini, you never go back!
We didn’t have DS’s, TVs, ipods, or any of that other super cool stuff the kids do now to get them through a long drive.  We actually had to “talk” to each other.  I still try to get my kids to play the old “ABC” game with the road signs, but it only works about 10% of the time.  I remember entertaining with myself by laying down in the floor board and trying to figure out where we were based on the billboard signs we passed.  I was a load of fun as you can imagine.
Well, I’m going to go load up the DVDs, secure all of the car seats, and make sure my own ipod, cell phone, and laptop are charged and ready…

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