Smelly Socks: Traveling with the boys always an adventure

June 27, 2013 at 1:27 a.m.

Charlie and Adam try out the ATV with their grandpa.

Charlie and Adam try out the ATV with their grandpa.

My boys have been traveling up to northern Wisconsin since they were 3 months old, and they've done pretty well, considering we haven't ever used a DVD player in the car. But as they get older, I'm finding it to be more of a challenge keeping them entertained. You see, when they were both younger, traveling up north would be fairly easy. We would schedule our start and arrival times by naps.

Well now that they're almost 7 and 4, the days of naps have gone bye-bye. Well, sometimes Charlie will still sleep, but it's more like a 30-minute snooze instead of the full-blown, three-hour naps he used to take. So with no sleeping taking place now, we have to find ways to entertain the boys and ourselves.

A few weeks ago, we decided to finally visit my parents up north after having not been up there since October of last year. The boys were excited to visit Grandpa and Grandma and especially to spend time outside with my dad.

So we packed up the Pilot with the boys, the dogs, the luggage, the laptops and our trailer (yes we have a small trailer) and set out on the road. The crayons were newly bought and had not even been opened yet. The new coloring book was untouched by any color.

The Legos were in a Rubbermaid bin, wedged securely in between the two car seats, and my phone was charged. You know, for those moments when sometimes you just have to give in to the games and music on the phone.

After about an hour on the road due to construction, and barely hitting Milwaukee, both boys had fallen asleep. But that only lasted for about 20 minutes, and they were back up and arguing about a crayon that had fallen in between the seats.

About 45 minutes after that, I hear the dreaded "I have to go pee pee," and, of course, we just passed the last gas station two exits ago. The next exit with a decent McDonalds or clean gas station was about 20 minutes away. Could Charlie hold it that long?

At this time, Adam and my husband, Joe, have a bet going to see how long Charlie can actually hold it without peeing on the car seat. By the time we stop at a diner in Green Bay for breakfast, Charlie's forgotten all about his "bathroom situation." It is now 12:45 p.m. We've been on the road since 9 a.m., and we have two and half more hours to go.

So after a hearty breakfast of pancakes and French toast, we head on out again. Well the carbs must have worked on the boys because they again take a nap for about 15 minutes as we trudge down a four-lane highway with nothing but farms in sight for the next hour.

Finally, we pass the two and half hour mark and are now nearing my parents' house in the north woods of Wisconsin. As soon as the boys see my parents, they get super excited and jump out and are showered with the kind of kisses and hugs that only grandparents can give.

And the first order of business, as Adam leads Charlie into the garage, is to drive the ATV (really a golf cart that my dad uses around his property, but the boys call it an ATV to make it seem cooler).

So after almost six hours on the road, what do they do? Get in another vehicle with my dad to explore the forest and look for fallen branches. Go figure.

Anita lives in Chicagoland with her husband, two boys and two dogs one of which is a girl. Email Johanna Bloom or Anita Spisak at



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