The Great American Family Road Trip [2017]: Day 10

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“It’s going to be uncomfortable.”

My husband’s pre-road trip words were more than a warning – they were an imminent truth.

And by Day 10, hand, foot, and mouth disease had led to collective sleepless malaise. We were also running out of clean clothes.

But our daughter gave us the best reason to hold on and not grow weary.

It was her second birthday.

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The Great American Family Road Trip [2017]: Day 9

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Chocolate cake for breakfast.

Is there any other way to celebrate your four-year-old’s birthday on the road?

For months, my excitement had been building for this special day. My husband and I even purchased two books a month ago and wrapped them for our little guy.

And as we stood singing “Happy Birthday” off-key at 7 a.m., I couldn’t shake a feeling.

Today will be memorable for all.

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The Great American Family Road Trip [2017]: Day 1

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“I can’t find it!”

Two doodle pads. Really, I thought this would be our solution to the endless backseat rivalry.

But, within one minute of my son entering the vehicle, a special feature of his brand new toy had been lost: a cat face magnet.

And – to no one’s surprise – two preschoolers now fought over the newest doodle pad.

This was the beginning of our epic first road trip as a family of four.

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The Nouveau Appalachia Parent


When you visit the Virginia mountains with your children, you are likely to encounter a specific type of mother.

She doesn’t vaccinate her children. She’s likely to call them “Moon Pie”. And she will allow them a healthy serving of dirt – as only a snack, of course.

True story.

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What do playgrounds say about us?

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One of my earliest school memories involves biting the dust while climbing an oversized metal spider in the middle of our playground. Morning dew and my mother’s shoe selection were equally to blame.

But I didn’t give up on the challenge. And, by the end of that week, I conquered the source of my fleeting Kindergarten shame.

It would be decades before I would see equipment that resembled that delightful spider I once cursed. Last week, in fact, I took our kids to a park with a similarly aged steel insect and a rusted merry-go-round. As you may have guessed, both still inspire squeals of joy…and caution.

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