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Travel Log, now with pictures!

I decided at the last minute to take Bryce and tag along with my dad and stepmom on a day after Christmas trip to West Texas to visit family I hadn't seen since Bryce was a year old. We hyped it up for Bryce by telling him he could watch movies the whole way there. A four-year-old has no concept of a seven-hour drive, but he definitely understands the concept of getting to watch movies ALL. DAY. LONG. See how happy he was about the whole idea? (Note: The sunglasses were purchased by my dad. My stepmom was going to buy more "practical" ones, but my dad hates practical.)

On the way there, we saw lots and lots of this, which my dad thinks is beautiful, and I agree, but MAN is there a lot of it when it's all you see for seven hours:

I tried to look at it in different ways to pass the time, like maybe this way...

Or this way...

But, nope. Still looks the same. The lack of stimulation would probably have sent Bryce through the roof, and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PEOPLE, we can't have that happen inside a car. Thank you, Honda manufacturers, for your life-saving genius inclusion of the DVD player. Look how peaceful he is. Just don't take the movie away, I'm begging you.

I ate way too much of this (notice all the open packages),

And didn't drink nearly enough of this (notice how the bottle is still unopened).

When we finally got there, we sent Bryce to the front door by himself and watched with much glee from the prickly bushes in the front yard as my aunt opened the door and squealed in delight at the sight of Bryce on her porch looking up at her in his hilarious sunglasses. They didn't know we were coming with my dad, and I probably should have thought about the fact that my grandmother is a pretty frail 80-year-old and that shocks such as her daughter screaming at the front door wouldn't necessarily be doing her any favors, but we're a bunch of selfish, narcissistic jerks, and we wanted to see the joy on their faces after their near heart attacks were over, damn it. It's the holidays, after all.

I guess my family figured that since Bryce is only four, they should do something with us to keep him entertained, so they took us to a new museum dedicated specifically to West Texas and its oh-so-peaceful history. You can tell in these pictures that we were bribing Bryce with candy and cinnamon rolls to get him to pose. He looks like he's thinking, "god, I hate my dumbass family."

My aunt forced him to wear the coon hat in exchange for buying him the wooden snake he's holding in his hands. See, my dad and I have a genetic reason for our sadistic ways.

Don't worry, though. Bryce got us all back. My dad finally coined the phrase, "you've been Bryced!" after hours of manipulation during which my frail grandmother actually attempted to appease him by trying to mimic the sound of a baby dinosaur while squatting under the patio table that was his version of the forest. You see, they made the critical mistake of asking him to show us how he could roar like a dinosaur. But Bryce doesn't do anything without directing it like an elaborate broadway show, and everyone available WILL participate THE RIGHT WAY.

When he wasn't telling me that "lots of people have been killed in Texas" (thanks a lot, you stupid informative museum) and screaming at my dad, "NOT ONE SINGLE PART OF MY BODY IS HURT!" when my dad stupidly asked if he was okay after he fell on the concrete patio while racing my uncle, he was trying to win the affections of my aunt's dog, named Barkley, to whom he refused to refer as anything other than "Sparkly."

Eventually I gave the poor, unsuspecting saps a break from Pluto's First Emporer and we entertained ourselves while they recovered by playing with the new camera John got me for Christmas. There are about 12 pictures of us like this.

But after it was all said and done, and being in West Texas for only two days , my son turned into this:

His return transformation from redneck to suburbanite will be complete in another 36 hours or so...