To keep the kids happy in the car while we were driving two hours out of our way to see a severed arm, I invented the Game of Awesome.  The etymology of the Game of Awesome went something like this: We're driving around, somewhere in rural Virginia and Monica sees a llama... or an alpaca... or a llampaca... and begins pointing and screaming at the top of her lungs, "LLAMALLAMALLAMALLAMALLAMA!"

It doesn't take much to amuse her.

Or The Shortlings, in fact, because by the time anyone figured out what Monica was hollering about, we'd passed the location and were unable to confirm the existence of this alleged llama.  They were all so disappointed THEY didn't get to see the llampaca, that there was much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Anyway, I declared that Monica deserved an Awesome Point for watching out the window and finding Awesome Things rather than fighting with her seatmates or complaining that it was taking too long to get there because all of that stuff definitely was Not Awesome.  I suggested they also look out the window and try to find Awesome Things and try to get an Awesome Point too. So the Great Awesome Race of 2013 began.  

Some things we found that were Awesome

This spider trap:
Point: Dormouse

This ice cream shop:
Point: Me

The ice cream we bought from this ice cream shop when I told Monica to "just get me something small, I don't care what" and went to the bathroom -- so she bought me a GIANT BANANA SPLIT:
Point: whoever paid for the ice cream

This albino snake about to eat a not-quite-thawed dead mouse and the museum attendant shaking the mouse around with tweezers so the snake would think it was alive:
Point: Caterpillar

The fact that the above albino snake never did eat the mouse and therefore at least one of the Shortlings - who was the most likely to be disturbed by this sad fact of nature and have nightmares later, but who didn't want to be left out when I offered to take her into another room if she didn't want to watch - wasn't likely to have nightmares about it later.

Point: Monica-who-didn't-have-to-stay-up-with-that-child-that-night

The butterfly house at the botanical gardens:
Point: Marielle

Getting a butterfly to land on your finger:
Point: Dormouse
This flower:
Point: Me

This sign:
Point: Monica (who also began screaming MYNUTSMYNUTSMYNUTS!)

This sign was also Awesome:
Point: Me

Though when I purchased some nuts at the nut place and the clerk handed me my product in a plastic bag and said, "Here's your little white nut sack," that was definitely Not Awesome:
Point: no one
But perhaps my favorite Awesome Point earned that weekend was when all the Shortlings had tired of being in the car, and traveling, and their mothers, and sitting next to each other, and the Game of Awesome in general. Monica spotted something - a large concrete elephant perhaps? - and awarded herself an Awesome Point in hopes of getting The Shortlings interested in the Game of Awesome once more and, more importantly, in hopes of her and my desire to play our most favoritist game: The Game of Shutting Up in the Car.

The Caterpillar sullenly disagreed with Monica's assessment that the Large Concrete Elephant was worthy of an Awesome Point, saying that it was not, in point of fact, Awesome.

"That's not Awesome. You don't get an Awesome Point."  
*then mumbles under her breath*  "You get a Boring Point."

And that earned her an Awesome Point.