Living in a smaller town definitely has its benefits when you have to tote four children around in the car. In our previous city, you literally had to drive at least 10 minutes from our house to get anywhere, and you could have to drive up to 30 minutes or more to get to a specific place. Heck, my parents even lived in the same city as us and it took 40 minutes to get to their house! Needless to say, I am enjoying the "10 minute-ness" of our new town. It is seriously 10 minutes or less to get anywhere (even somewhere "clear on the other side of town").
Being so close to everything, I often take the kids with me on little errands and things that need to be done. Now, don't worry, I only take them to places within reason. For example, I cannot grocery shop with 4 children. Logistically (and for my own mental sanity) it just doesn't work. They still get to go (and love it actually), I just have to pick and choose the best times - namely when I have some reinforcements in the form of other adults with me. So the fact that it's four against one most days means that any errands I run are pretty restricted to ones I can do in the car. Therefore, my kids have become very adept at recognizing and pointing out all the places we regularly go when they see them as we drive by. I realized as I was driving the other day how funny all their names and descriptions were of these every day places, so I thought I would oblige my 3 readers out there and share.
Of course I had to start with my favorite store. We do frequent Costco a lot because when you have a 6 person family, you tend to need more paper towels (and fruit snacks, and 4 pound boxes of strawberries, etc.) than the average family. The kids love (I mean LOVE) this store. They call it "Crosco" and it's so cute that I don't correct them. They start screaming when we pass by all excited about getting a "smoovie" (translation: smoothie - they've had one and they're hooked) or a hot dog. Yes, we eat lunch at Costco when we go. I cannot possibly turn down paying $6 (that's right, $6 TOTAL) for my whole family to eat there. Best deal going in my opinion. This is also the store they pretend to go to when they drive around their little toy cars in the backyard. Sam often comes up to me and says, "Bye Mom. I'm going to Crosco and I'll bring you back a smoovie. Gimme a kiss", while he proceeds to run to his little car and drive off into the sunset. The boy knows the way to his momma's heart ... through her stomach and money savings.
I believe the good Lord was punishing me for something when he placed a Chick-fil-a on the road I have to take to the triplets' school every day. It taunts me every time I drive by. Of course I give in sometimes and the kids love it as much as I do. They didn't take to french fries originally (it was at this point that I thought they must have been switched at birth with some other triplet babies), but they eventually came around and now love waffle fries as much as the next kid. They affectionately refer to it as Chick-a-way and feel it is necessary to wave to it and shout salutations as we drive by. Unfortunately, this does not help my shrinking willpower to stay away for just ... one ... more ... day.
I used to never be the Starbucks type, but I must now admit that the cooler temperatures in North Carolina as well as the store's proximity to my home have converted me. I don't go every day, but if I manage to get myself and the four minis in the car for school before 8:40 in the morning, then I treat myself to a little reward. I would be a little scared if the kids knew what Starbucks was called, so they just refer to it as the "coffee store." However, it is a little sad that they now order for me at the window (I really don't go that much, I promise!). Yesterday, after treating myself, Peyton asked, "Mommy, does you like your Chai Tea Latte today, or is it still too hot?" After laughing, I realized that maybe I'm going to Starbucks a little more than I should (or at least I should order a better variety of drinks!).
Keeping with the trend of food (thoughts of it really consumes much of my day), here's another of our frequent joints. Fortunately, it's right across the street from Chick-a-way. Now, I seriously cannot remember the last time I ate actual food at a McDonald's. I simply go for one thing ... the large sweet tea that costs one whole dollar. I love this deal, I hope it never goes away. So on the days I'm feeling kinda thrifty, we'll hit up Mickey D's for some good southern lovin'. For a while, the kids called it the "drink store." A few days ago I told them it was called McDonald's. However, I neglected to think about this beforehand. You see, the only McDonald they know is Mr. Old McDonald himself. Therefore, they now shout hello to "Old McDonald's" when we pass by and I get to hear the moo-moos here and the oink-oinks there all the way home.
Finally, on every trip home we get to pass the gates of Wake Forest. The kids love to go to the college grounds and talk with the students (they say hello to all of them) and see all the cool things at the "big kids' school." One day I asked them what school it was as we passed by on the way home and Peyton responded, "Mommy, you know what that is. It's Wake up Forest!"
Car time has become a lot more interesting now that I have three little vocal passengers with me everywhere I go. Luke will be joining their voices soon (well, with cries other than "Elmo!" or "Uh oh!") and I hope I'll be able to hear above the din of their voices. But for now, it's fun to hear what they have to say about everything they see on our drives around town.