"I bet you can name more than you think," I warbled, and grabbed a pencil off the fridge and flipped over a piece of paper on the table. "Shoot!"
She started with Illinois and Michigan and I started writing down the 2-letter state abbreviations in a column.
HI (I didn't think that was right when I wrote it down, but turns out it is!)
WV (Karin then asked if there was a South Virginia)
AR (which she pronounced R-KANSAS. Cue mad giggling)
and then she got stuck. Really and totally stuck. "C'mon," I encouraged, "You're doing great." Struggle, struggle, think, think. Anders and Martin started giving her clues. 29 states down, 21 to go. And under extra pressure because she had to go get changed and ready for innebandy practice as we had to leave in 15 minutes.
...all with a LOT of help, but she DID finally come up with them. At that point, 34 states down, with Karin out of the room, yelling questions from the bathroom, Anders and Martin started trying to figure out which ones were left. "Oklahoma," said Martin, "Write them down on the back."
I turned the paper over, wrote OK, looked at it, looked up at Martin and then busted out laughing at the same time he did, while Anders looked on at us bellowing like hyenas, with complete bewilderment. I gave myself a headache laughing.
So now there were two parallel contests going on. Karin still trying to come up with as many more states as she could before our departure deadline and Martin and Anders trying to finish the list, too. I struck out the ones on their list as Karin got them.
Years ago in school one of my social studies teachers used to make us do lightning pop quizzes naming all the states IN ORDER. All I remember from it, though, is that there is one state starting with G, one state starting with H, and 8 each for M and N.
Karin had come up with 44. Anders and Martin had gotten an additional 4. As Karin and I headed out the door, Martin and Anders were puzzling over the fact that I had told them they had forgotten a big one.
Because of innebandy and shopping and putting groceries away and finishing laundry and then getting distracted by the last level unconquered on Where's My Water? we never got back to the game. After the kids went to bed, I came in to give them goodnight kisses and hugs and as I left Martin's bedroom, he whispered, "UTAH" behind me.
But nobody, not even me, remembered Ohio.