This post was written in partnership with Hyundai.
A few weekends ago the girls and I spent the weekend in Park City attending an event to celebrate the launch of the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV. When I asked them if they wanted to participate the first thing out of Marlo’s mouth was, “Are we gonna have to play word games?” Cuz my kin, we don’t like them word things. Why waste breath when you can communicate through glaring death stares?
She was referring to a series of posts—posts that made me take a break from blogging—wherein I had to write about driving around while playing word games. By the third post she was pleading with me through tears. She didn’t want to do it again. And that’s when I decided I would never make my kids participate in something if they weren’t enthusiastically on board. I ask permission to post their pictures, and Leta reads every word that I write. Hi, Leta! You need to clean your room and start turning your clothes right side out before you put them in the hamper. Also, hi, Julia, Leta’s friend from camp, who also follows along! I hope your mom doesn’t find out!
This was the first event we’ve attended in a very long time… When I told them we’d be staying in one of the nicest hotels in Utah—one with a heated swimming pool—and the desserts at dinner would surely be like nothing they’d ever seen before, Marlo announced, “We are going to Park City.”
Let me let you in on a little secret if you don’t yet have kids: Staying in a hotel for a weekend is right up there with a trip to Disneyland. Kids think it’s so novel and exotic and WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT FREE SHAMPOO?
For Christmas give your kid a bar of soap from a hotel you stayed at on a business trip and they will lose their mind.
We attended this event with about fifteen other influencers—some have huge audiences on Instagram, others on YouTube—all of whom have kids of their own. Hyundai truly hoped we’d get outside with our families. No strange asks, like “play this word game that will drive your daughter crazy.”
Instead we got to do what we always do in the car. We listened to playlists, and because the car has Apple CarPlay, both Leta and I got to play DJ as we drove the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV through parts of Guardsman Pass and over to Jordanelle Reservoir. Leta brought her point and shoot camera and I loaded up my DSLR—a camera I rarely use anymore because it’s just so easy to capture life on my phone—and I let Marlo go nuts with it. If you’re ever in these parts during the summer and early fall, add a drive though Guardsman Pass to your itinerary. Because you might see moose. Or a little kid trying to take pictures with a camera that’s bigger than her head.
Apple CarPlay alone is reason enough for me to ditch my ten-year-old car (I am a simple woman with simple needs). This 2019 model has an industry-first, exclusive safety mechanism called Safe Exit Assist. Meaning, your kid can’t open their door if you’re parked and the Hyundai Santa Fe detects that a car is approaching. Meaning, not only does the car protect the person in the backseat, it’s also preventing the passenger door from being ripped off of the car. I’m not going to admit just how many times we’ve come thiiiiisssss close to having to call up my insurance and say, “Hey! How are you? So, yeah, I’ve been driving around with giant sheets of tinfoil taped to the side of the car. It’s a blast!”
The other feature I loved (and the one that made me cackle when I probably shouldn’t have cackled) is the Rear Seat Occupant Reminder. An alert shows up on your dashboard once you’ve turned off the car to remind you that you have an occupant in the back seat—a kid, your mom, a dog, Jimmy Hoffa—so that you don’t leave them sitting there. As someone who has routinely forgotten to turn off the car only to return from a twenty-minute race through the grocery store to realize, hmm, maybe you should take up meditation, Heather, because this is getting out of hand, I can totally relate to someone who is so distracted by daily life that they’d forget they left their dog in the backseat of the car. This mechanism also sends you several alerts if you actually, you know, walk away from the car with your Australian Shepherd barking her head off in the backseat. This has totally never happened to me. Ever.
There’s also Wireless Device Charging, in addition to two other charging stations up front and two in the back. And then there’s this super futuristic feature called Full Heads-Up Display on the windshield that only the driver can see. It tells you how fast you’re going, along with navigation information, the radio station selected and other information. And you can change what’s displayed according to your preference.
The weather was spectacular the whole weekend, and while we didn’t ever play a word game Marlo asked if we could play 21 questions as we wove our way back to Main Street in Park City from Jordanelle Reservoir. I’m either really good at that game or really terrible because Leta literally couldn’t guess her favorite TV show. It took her so many questions that the game should be called JUST GIVE UP ALREADY. But then, a certain person going unnamed guessed correctly after one question, and the overachieving perfectionist in me said, “I am not talking to you for the rest of the day.”
We got to sleep in on a Sunday morning, eat breakfast in bed and make several new friends. One other thing I have to mention, too. They had activities planned for the kids around dinner on Friday and Saturday night. When I saw other toddler-wrangling attendees handing off their little ones to enjoy dinner without rice ending up in their hair, I felt crashing waves of relief that I am no longer in that phase of life. Don’t get me wrong. I loved my kids when they were little chubs whose voices sounded like they’d just swallowed four balloons of helium, but getting to eat in peace again is, you know, kind of wonderful. Especially when this is your backdrop:
Many thanks to Hyundai for being such amazing hosts and for enabling us to spend that time together here in this beautiful place I call home, in a car where I could play dueling DJs with my daughter. I don’t say this often—I don’t think I ever say it—but Utah can be quite spectacular. I might, maybe, just a little bit… I might like living here.