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Anatomy of a Six Hour Car Ride

We just returned from a two week holiday back to our home town and, in order to save well over $1000 in flight costs, we made the choice to drive six hours to a major airport rather than flying direct. Good idea? Sure. I mean, saving that money makes it worth it, right? I mean, how hard can a six hour drive be, with three small kids?

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I know, I know.

And so, this is the summary of our trip.

The Questions

Oh my, the questions.

Why is one eye round, and one eye normal?

Why are my cheeks red?

Are you asleep, Mum? (note: I wasn’t driving. And yes, I was trying to sleep)

What do brother sheep look like?

Is it dinner time yet? (note: 10:30am)

Are we there yet?

Who scratched my face? I think it was me?

Why is snow?

Are we almost at Grandma’s house? (note: we are not going to Grandma’s house)

Are we there yet?

Is it dinner time yet? (note: 11:30am)

Where is the lake? (note: right alongside the car. A very large lake)

Where is that bus going?

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Why are we driving?

The Games

The Finger game. How many fingers am I holding up? How many fingers am I holding up? How many fingers am I holding up.

(note: I won’t lie. I held up my middle finger on more than one occassion)

The Car game. We pick a colour each, and then keep a vague count of each car. We’ve played this game so many times and the kids still haven’t figured that picking silver, white, red or black gives you significantly higher chances of winning than picking, say, purple or orange. Nevertheless, we play.

The Animal game. Two points if you see a sheep. Three points for a cow. Ten points for a llama. 17 points for a monkey. 460 points for a dinosaur. 6,000,000 points for an elephant. This game is thrilling.

“THERE’S A SHEEP THERE’S A SHEEP THERE’S A SHEEP SHEEP SHEEP SHEEP SHEEP SHEEP ….”

We do, after all, live in New Zealand.

The Fights

Princess looking at BoyChild.

Babygirl putting her foot on BoyChild.

BoyChild singing.

Princess singing.

BabyGirl singing.

BoyChild is looking at Princess.

The wrong cd is in.

The window is open.

The window is closed.

The Threats

On at least six occasions, it was threatened that at least one child get out of the car and walk.

On at least one occasion, the car was stopped to remove one child from the car.

On at least three occasions, I requested the car be stopped so I could get out and walk. Once was while driving past a Cidery.

The Scenery

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We saw some wonderful sights. We drove through some of the most amazing scenery in this beautiful country. And we enjoyed it, as we drove through it. Note: we drove. We didn’t stop. Because, you stop, all three kids want to get out. And all three kids don’t want to get back in. There is no such thing as a quick stop. Oh, except the one time we pulled over simply to clean BabyGirl who had managed to smother herself in ice block. I quickly hopped out, wiped her down and off we went. With the car boot open. Yup. I did that. My bad.

The Hilarity

We drove through an area with canals. I said to the kids, “Did you know there are two types of canals? The near canal and the far canal?”

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And I laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed at my expert wit. Mr T rolled his eyes. BoyChild laughed along with me, because he’s awesome (and laughs with anyone). Princess asked me, “Where is the canal?”

The Final 45 Minutes

I’m not sure what it is about a long car ride, but no matter how long it is, the final 45 minutes is always the longest. The kids suddenly snap and have had enough. Mr T and I have had enough. The final 45 is packed full of tears, games, songs, jokes, anything to keep the kids from ripping each other’s hair out. And from me ripping out my own.

Princess decided she needed to poop.

BoyChild decided he was hungry.

BabyGirl decided that 5.5 hours of me sitting slightly out of her reach was too long and she NEEDED TO TUDDLE ME RIGHT NOW.

I encouraged the kids to count to 153, and that we would be home once they were done. They got to 17 before BoyChild declared the game OVER.

BabyGirl cried some more.

I stroked my bottle of cider and whispered, “we are almost there, my precious”.

The Home

And then, we are there. Home. Oh, my lord. Home freakin sweet home. The kids leap from the car, all tears suddenly dry. BoyChild runs to his room and instantly tips out all of his toys. Princess and BabyGirl run to their room and start playing. I run to the loo (I’ve had three kids, remember!).

And just like that, we are done.

Next time, I think I’ll pay the extra $1000.

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The Fantastic T’s Go On Holiday!

Holiday! Yay! After months of hard work, savings and planning, the time finally came – we were going on holiday! Oh, wow – it was going to be so much fun! The bags were packed and we were on our way on a wonderful trip around the top end of the North Island of New Zealand.

Here’s the thing about New Zealand – it’s a stunning country. We are so lucky to have it within our reach, and Mr T had never traveled north of Auckland before. So, we reasoned, why spend money traveling to other countries when we could tourist in our own country! Great plan, Mrs T. Practically foolproof.

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Holidaying in today’s day and age, photos get plastered all over social media and people think, “oh wow, you guys are having such an amazing time!”. And we are. Kind of.

But, truth be told, holidaying with three small kids is hardly a holiday. It’s more of a normal-life-in-a-different-place-with-slightly-more-anxious-kids-and-no-bath.

I can tell endless tales of the fun we are having, but then, that wouldn’t be true to my blog now, would it?

So here is our holiday so far – the unedited version.

Long car rides are boring. Of course they are. I know they are. That’s why I normally fall asleep (not when I’m driving, obvi). Kids? They moan. “Are we there yet?” “How far till we get there?”. And, courtesy of Princess – “THESE KIDS ARE SO DUMB! LEAVE THEM BY THE ROAD! WHO INVITED THESE SILLY KIDS?”.

I’m relatively confident she isn’t including herself in that.

We see lots of amazing sights along the way

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Yes, that is a public toilet. Nestled next to a very lovely river. That we didn’t see because Princess then BoyChild then Princess then BoyChild needed to pee/poop/pee/who-knows-what.

We decided to stop en route for a lovely picnic at the exquisite Lake Taupo. I had even packed a picnic for us to share (yay me! Mum Win).

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What you can’t see in this lovely pic is (a) BabyGirl is crying (b) we are sitting in bird poop (c) there are literally six BILLION ducks and pigeons and geese and swans and seagulls hovering, just waiting for us to drop a teensy bit of something for them to swoop in and (d) the tourists all sitting at the picnic tables, looking at us and thinking, those morons.

As soon as a table was free, we took it. And to Princess’s credit, she was an awesome bird-shoo-er. “GET AWAY YOU STUPID DUMB HEAD BIRDS!!!”. Such a lady *gush*

After our picturesque (read: hell no) picnic, we let the kids go and look at the lake. OMG PHOTO OP!

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Literally SECONDS later, BabyGirl took a step into the water and belly flopped in, face first. Princess immediately copied her and also “accidentally” fell in (read: not). And BoyChild? He’s all like, “hey, they are swimming, I’m IN!” and was naked before we could stop him.

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And so we have, an awesome pile of saturated clothing, three naughty children back in the car, and we are on our way, far, FAR away from any bodies of water (or birds, for that matter!).

We had a lovely stopover in Auckland, we saw many, MANY parts of the city that we didn’t plan on (turns out we aren’t very good at motorways). Or roads in general.

We went to the Zoo which was actually really fun (well, I think it was!). We saw an Elephant

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Note – no BabyGirl in the photo. The Elephant frightened her so much she was literally trembling. No idea what the kids are looking at. “Hey! Guys! Elephant is over there!

The Zoo really was great. Even though it literally poured with rain. And when BoyChild asked for a jersey, I realised I’d left his in the car (Mum Fail).

Special mention to Princess and her Zoo Navigator skills. “Is this the path to the shop, Mum?”

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Today we left Auckland and headed further North to the beautiful Bay of Islands. I know they are beautiful because I’ve been here before. Mr T is yet to be convinced, since it started pouring with rain the minute we arrived. The drive up was four torturous hours of hell, I won’t lie. Twice we had to change the seating arrangements. And I blame BabyGirl entirely. She is a little minx in her car seat – hair pulling, kicking, throwing toys. My goodness. I might have nodded slightly when Princess exasperated, “JUST LEAVE HER ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD TO WALK, GEEEEZ”.

We had no less than eight toilet stops.

Yet somehow we missed the famous Kawakawa toilets.

We stopped at a New Zealand war site, to let the kids run around while we got to look at it and appreciate the history of it. Amongst yells of “get out of the hole” and “don’t stick your face in the historic cannon please”. Of course.

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Oh, not to mention the fact that, give BabyGirl an inch of freedom and she is off like a rocket.

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I was NOT wearing a suitable running bra today.

And there it is. We arrived at our motel in the pouring rain, just before tea time, with three sleeping angels in the backseat.

Which of course means it is after 9pm and we are still trying to settle them into bed. At least they aren’t all singing “All about the bass” like they were at 11pm last night.

Ah, holidays. Truth be told, we are having fun. We have laughed and laughed, we went for a lovely family walk after tea tonight, and Mr T and I are currently relaxing and reading up on what we can do while we are here. Holidays. They are what you make them. And dammit, this holiday is gonna be awesome.

Can’t wait to plan the next one. Although, I won’t lie – I’m not sure the kids will be invited.