It really sucks sometimes when you have these grand plans and you try to do awesome things with your kids and they just act bratty. My friend Sara summed it up perfectly the other day when she said her kids were acting entitled. That’s exactly how our kids have been acting lately and it’s very frustrating.
It’s really hard to remember that kids were born selfish and impatient and whiny and that we have to teach them not to be that way… especially when you’re stuck in a car with them for hours. This trip just wasn’t the happy family vacation that we had planned on.
We thought that putting the kids to bed early last night might change their attitudes when they woke up, but apparently we were mistaken… Today started off disastrously. We ate breakfast at the hotel, packed up our stuff, and started driving south on I-29, straight toward Kansas City. I was so ready to just go home. We’ve never had such a disappointing trip and I sure felt like a failure. Happy family traveling is kind of our thing and we couldn’t seem to get our act together this time around.
The kids cried and cried for about 30 minutes, asking to turn around, promising they’d behave. I really wanted to believe that we could turn this trip around and have a great time, so we decided to try one more time. We ended up wasting a solid hour and a half on our detour, but I think the kids really got the point that they were going to have to behave and have fun on this trip.
After that, they did start behaving much better. Every time they’d start getting a little out of hand, I’d remind them that they promised they would behave if we kept on going instead of going home. And that seemed to help. So after our hour-long detour around the city, we finally headed west on I-94 toward Jamestown.
We arrived around lunchtime and made a pit stop at Wal-mart to get some food… Jamestown is full of fast food options, but not much else. Jamestown’s claim to fame is the world’s largest buffalo. We decided that our options for fun in North Dakota were certainly limited, so we headed to the National Buffalo Museum.
It sounds kinda lame, but the kids actually really enjoyed walking around Frontier Village and the buffalo museum. We spent about an hour and a half checking out all the old time shops. The kids especially loved the old jail where they took turns handcuffing themselves inside the jail cells.
We paid $10 to get the whole family into the buffalo museum and spent about 30 minutes walking around looking at everything. The kids were really excited to see the live buffalos behind the museum, especially the white ones. They claim to have the only 3 albino buffalos in the world.
After the buffalo museum, we drove north to Pettibone to visit some of Josh’s relatives. We seriously lucked out because they live just 5 minutes from a small lake that’s perfect for kayaking AND they had a kayak. We were really excited earlier this summer when we got a Zoik inflatable Ego Trip kayak in the email to borrow for the summer. The only problem is we hadn’t had a chance to try it out yet. So we threw it in the back of the minivan when we left town in hopes of going kayaking.
We arrived at Lake Williams in the late afternoon, threw on our swimsuits, inflated the kayak, and ran for the water. It was a very small lake but we were the only people there so it worked out perfectly! We spent about 2 ½ hours on the lake… kayaking, swimming, looking for crawdads…. The kids talked us into letting them try out the kayak alone and they did so great with it! Lia was too little to really paddle but she loved floating around on it.
But it was Max who surprised me the most. He’s been pretty reserved lately. I guess it’s part of growing up, but he’s been reluctant to try new things, especially if he’s worried that he might not get it just right. But he was very eager to try out the kayak and he even stood up and did some stand-up paddleboarding all on his own. Then he decided to paddle out deep and jump off the kayak. The kids had SO much fun that we had to drag them away from the lake with the promise that we’ll do it again soon.
After our lake adventure, we showered up and Josh took Lia for a walk around town. We barbecued with some relatives and had hoped to camp that night. The place we were staying had a huge yard with plenty of flat space and even some awesome shade trees. But right before we busted out our tent, a huge thunderstorm started rolling in and we were forced to change plans at the last minute.
We ended up sleeping all five us in a bedroom with two twin beds and hardwood floors. It worked but you can just imagine how great of a night’s sleep we all got! Either way, I was just super thankful that we had such a great day!
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