Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Split Vacations

I showed up on Sunday with just three kids -- Katie, Cami, and Joey.  A couple of new friends of ours, knowing that our daughter had talked about a California trip, seemed concerned, "Wait, how come you didn't go on the trip?"

Friends that have known us for a long time hardly noticed.  Splitting up the family for shorter trips is kind of how we roll around here.  We've been doing Daddy Trips for almost a decade, and it's one of my favorite traditions.  For a few days to a week, my husband takes most of the older kids on an adventure, while I get time at home to enjoy a quieter pace of life.  I usually catch up on projects, both the fun kind and the onerous.

We usually do one big Daddy trip each summer, and it's a doozy of a trip.  DH will carefully map out a route through several states, with stops for tent-trailer camping and attraction-visiting along the way.  Last summer, they hopped their way up the California coastline (I don't think I ever blogged the photos of that trip -- sorry!).  In 2013, they headed to San Francisco.  In 2011, they went through Nevada, California, and Oregon.   Typically, DH takes all the kids older than three.  The last few years, one of the older kids has often stayed home, either by preference or because they had another commitment that they wanted to hit.  It's been a wonderful combination -- I get all the rest of having just a few littles around, but with the bonus of having an older one around to watch them while I run, do errands, or work on projects.  And I enjoy spending one-on-one time with the older one as well. And they don't complain about a week of Subways and pizza ('cause it's hardly worth cooking for a just a few kids)

We still do trips with the whole family.  It's part of our family culture to travel a lot, though with kids in middle school and high school, it's getting hard to get away with everyone -- we have no problem with elementary school kids missing a few days here and there, but the older ones, especially Lillian, have tougher classes and a harder time catching back up.  So we do what works.  At least once a year, we take the whole family somewhere for a week.  But other times, such as when we can only get away for a weekend, one of us will take a group of kids and enjoy the time and memories.

It's a good way to balance the many ages and stages of all of our children.  It's really easy to travel with the 6-and-older crowd, not so fun with the toddlers and babies.  So we do more camping, longer hikes, and more location-hopping with the older ones, while saving our family trips for times when we can go and stay put for a week.  To me, it's just not worth driving nine or more hours with the littlest ones just to turn around and do the drive again a few days later.

But back to this weekend.  DH joined another family and brought six of our kids to California.  They used the boogie boards Santa brought us this year, hung out on the beach, swam, and had a great time.

Meanwhile, I did two photoshoots (a newborn and an extended family), and tackled a painting and caulking project.
This "little" guy was over 9 lbs at birth!

When we finished our upstairs last year, the painters only finished the rooms with carpet, leaving us to do the baseboards in the rooms with hardwood.  We'd traded for the work, and that was the amount of hours they had to give us.  So while our hard floors looked awesome, all the nail holes and the gaps between the baseboards and the walls looked pretty cruddy, including in my studio area.  So I filled in all the nail holes and caulked just about everywhere, only stopping when I ran out of caulk.

I also painted two sections of my studio, increasing the flexibility I have in there for backgrounds. I chose a beautiful deep navy for one area, and a chocolate brown for the other.  I'm loving them both.

Katie enjoyed helping me clean up afterwards.  The new blue is on the left, the brown on the right.

I grabbed a couple of handy models to test out the colors in use.

Yep, I'm loving it!  

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