1. Gas station attendants are fairly generous with plastic bags—especially when you tell them you have a puking child in their parking lot.
2. You can toss a child’s puke-saturated clothing in a gas station women’s room and it will in no way alter the aroma of the place.
3. Per the laws of mathematics and physics, sleeping with two 35-pound children in a queen-sized bed should be fairly equivalent to sleeping with one 70-pound child in a queen-sized bed. It is not.
4. The removal of wet sand from a six-year-old’s butt crack must be done one grain at a time.
5. It is possible to get sick of eating a delicious dinner out every night.
6. My children never eat enough in a restaurant to make it financially feasible to buy them food. Alas, it is illegal not to offer them food occasionally.
7. Collecting shells on the beach is enjoyable in theory, until you have to figure out what to do with the three full buckets of shell shards your children collected and insist on transporting the 1370 miles home.
8. The person who invented portable DVD players should be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.
9. Pelicans are freaking huge and scary as shit.
10. My children are not, nor may they ever be, the “outdoorsy” type.
11. Hiking straight up the side of a mountain is strangely less exhilarating than it sounds.
12. My daughter has to pee exactly every twenty miles while travelling. It is a mathematical and biological wonder.
13. For the purpose of peace and tranquility, you should never travel with fewer handheld electronics than you have children.
14. The Toyota Camry has unbelievable trunk space. Seriously. I could easily fit three children and all my luggage in there. Luckily, it never came to that.
15. Children do not care in the least to look at the breathtakingly beautiful mountains when cradling a handheld video game in their hands. Insisting they look is pointless, as they will not sufficiently appreciate the beauty and it will just piss you off.
16. My youngest son is either slow or annoyingly defiant, as he absolutely refused to play on the beach—he lay around in a beach chair whining about how he preferred the pool—until the very last day of our trip. On the last day, we had to drag him kicking and screaming from the beach.
17. Applying sunscreen to every inch of exposed flesh on five pale, pasty Minnesotans takes longer than I had initially imagined it would.
18. I can and do peel.
19. I have a great deal of respect for people who bathe their children every day. (I am normally not a believer and justify my laziness by telling myself that the cold Minnesota winters dry out the skin enough to make a daily bath an unnecessarily torturous affair.) With the combined salt and chlorine of the beach and pool—not to mention the aforementioned ass crack sand issue—my children received a bath every single day of our trip. It is freaking hard work.
20. Despite everything I have ever believed, my family in no way has my back. This was glaringly evident when they all stood around giggling like little school girls rather than helping me as the ocean waves knocked me down over and over and over again until I eventually had to crawl on my hands and knees out of the ocean like some primordial sea creature.
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