Parents are like tour guides. We take our families places and expose them to new things and when we can, share a bit of our past with them. This is why family road trips are so special. We took our kids up north this summer and took a slight detour along the way to take them somewhere extra special.
The Dodge Grand Caravan has the Super Stow n' Go seating system which is great for hauling large loads...like my luggage. What? A girl needs more than one pair of shoes with her at all times, no? With the seats out of the way, there's all kinds of room to stretch out in the back for a quick roadside power nap or you can sit in back with tailgate open and have your own tailgate party anywhere! The best part is, the seat pulls are numbered so it's really easy to put the seats down and up in a flash. Ahem, even I can do it.
The Navigation System got us where we were going without getting lost once. If you know us, you'll understand why this is so amazing. Just ask my brother how many times we've gotten lost on the way to his house. It's embarrassing. Having a reliable map took the pressure off and we could relax and enjoy the view.
My daughter loves to be in charge. I have NO idea who she gets that from. Anyway, she was smitten with the automatic doors and she was the official door opener and closer for the entire trip. One pull and the doors close like magic and one push of a button and the trunk slowly closes. It's nice to be seven and feel almighty like that.
Not having to contort your body into a pretzel in order to stoop down to wrestle your child into her car seat is another joy of driving a minivan. It's the little things in life...
My husband and I got married thirteen years ago at a resort in Muskoka called Windermere House. Since we were in the area, we made a detour to show our kids the church where we got married, the bench where my husband popped the question and the hotel where we had our reception. They asked lots of questions — to them, thirteen years ago seemed like forever ago.
On our way out, I reclined my seat (another benefit to riding in a minivan, there's plenty of room behind to put your seat back and get comfy), I closed my eyes and thought about all the amazing things that have happened in thirteen years. As we approached our final destination, we placed our usual "arrival time bets." We each choose a time within a five-minute span. If we arrive during your chosen time slot, you win. What is the prize? Just the bragging rights. The real prize is the adventure. We love travelling by minivan — it suits our family perfectly. Comfortable, organized and safe — it's our home away from home. I don't know where our road trip will take us, but I'm betting we'll arrive at 4:05. Called it.
You're cruising the open road; tunes playing, elbow out the window, hair blowing in the breeze and you're lookin' cool. Then you remember that you're driving a minivan and that you have a spouse and two kids in your vehicle and that it's 2013, not 1992 and you blame the Def Leppard for the realistic flashback.
You drive a minivan and you love it. Especially on family road trips. Here are five more reasons why (find the first five points here):
Hours of my kids' undivided attention — this is where I find out what's really going on in their heads. They're comfortably buckled in and can't escape my questions. It's also an opportunity to play games. Word games like "Would you rather?" (the cleaned up kids' version of course) or "Finish my story" or "Can you spot a cloud face?" You can see the jazzy cloud guy in the glasses snapping his fingers, right? The Dodge Grand Caravan has a "child-view mirror" so I can easily see the row behind me without even turning my head. This makes it easier to read their poker faces.
It's not all fun and games on a road trip. I had to squeeze in some work on our last vacation so I brought my laptop with me. The Caravan has power jacks and outlets for our phones, the iPad and my computer. I was able to charge my laptop on the road and get some work done. I went from WAHM (work at home mom) to WOWM (Work on wheels mom) and I liked it.
And how did I manage to get some quiet time amid the rounds of "Eye Spy" and listening to my son recite fifty facts about birds? The DVD player. Huzzah! Our van does not have one and this makes me sad. This van has a dual screen Blu-ray/DVD player with wireless headphones. My kids watched in silence and it was heaven. (Aw, just look at them enjoying Paranormal Activity.)
While they watched and I worked, my husband listened. Satellite radio is awesome! From comedy channels to sports radio to kids' stations to every genre of music, it's a feast for the ears. I checked out the channels and got stuck on Howard Stern Radio. For research purposes only, of course. It was all good until I saw my son in the kid view mirror with his headphones off and his eyebrows raised. Whoops. We also listen to audio books. Preloaded onto my iPhone, we use the auxillary input jack to listen to books aloud as we drive. I got the idea from my friend who "reads" dozens of books this way as she commutes. Smart.
A smooth ride is sweet, comfort is cool and techie gadgets are great, but the most important thing to me is safety. I'm hauling some pretty valuable cargo, so I appreciate that this minivan has state-of-the-art safety features. My husband's car has blind spots the size of Texas and it makes me nervous. The Dodge Grand Caravan has available Blind-Spot Monitoring which watches the blind zones on either side of the vehicle. When an object is detected, an indicator lights up in the exterior mirror and beeps. That's comforting. Like I said, precious....cargo.
In my next and final post I have five more fun aspects of travelling by minivan including why our minivan is really our home away from home.
Nervous about attending a conference? If you’re attending BlissDom Canada this year, you’ll be in the company of the friendliest and most gracious group you’ll ever meet. If you’d like me to put your mind at ease, I shared a few simple tips in this post called Be Conference Classy, Not Conference Clueless.
This post is about a NEW conference strategy. Something different from common sense tips like wear comfy shoes, carry breath mints in your purse and drink plenty of water throughout the day because mingling is dehydrating.
This strategy is intended to add extra meaning and purpose to your conference experience.
First of all, blogging and social media conferences can be overwhelming. It’s a case of so much to do, so little time. You are presented with all kinds of amazing information and you want to soak it all in. You get fired up and want to know everything!
You’re also in a room filled with friends, new and old, and you want to catch up with everyone single one. The thing is, you can’t. Not really.
To get the most of your experience:
1. Choose an area or two of growth to explore. Improving your writing, monetizing your blog, learning SEO? Whatever it is, focus on the topic that interests you most — take notes, chat with experts in your area of interest, and seek out other bloggers who are interested in the same area. Any additional information you pick up along the way is gravy.
2. Be friendly and inclusive. If someone approaches you, engage and make him or her glad they took the time to speak with you. Also, don’t assume people know who you are. We bloggers tend to think we’re more important than we really are. Introduce yourself by name, twitter handle, and blog title. People may only know you by one of those, so by including all three, you’re giving them a chance to identify you.
3. Do some ground work. Some of the most creative and talented people from across North America will attend BlissDom Canada. You’ll want to connect with all of them. But again, you can’t. Not really and truly. Before the conference, choose a handful of bloggers whom you admire — find out more about them and choose one of their posts that you connect with. Then seek them out at BlissDom. Introduce yourself and compliment them SINCERELY. Maybe you like their blog layout or perhaps you related to a post they wrote about a challenge they faced, or maybe you love the photos they take. Tell them. We’re all quick to “like” an article on Facebook or to RT a blog post we enjoyed, but to receive such validation in person? That’s bliss.
See you at BlissDom!
For more articles, tips, and tricks to help you get organized and make the most of your blog and business visit our BlissDom Canada 2014: How Do You Find Your Bliss? page.
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