Last year, my husband instituted a new family tradition: The Daddy Trip. His itch to see the whole world, or at least the Western United States part, combined with his love of our children, and the dynamics of our family (it's not easy doing some types of trips with infants and toddlers), led us to my favorite part of the year.
Last summer, I was given eleven peaceful, wonderful days with just two children to care for while DH took the rest on a whirlwind trip through California via the Extraterrestrial Highway.
They slept one night in a ratty motel in Rachel, Nevada, where the population believes wholeheartedly in aliens, and the "motel room" was actually a trailer with a shared bathroom whose door didn't close all the way. Not to worry, though, it came with generous amenities, such as the microwave and fridge sitting next to the toilet.
Several of the next few nights were spent camping out in various locations near the Sierra Nevadas. (Don't look too closely at the picture below, or you might embarrass Sarah).
They spent their days hiking, climbing mountains, traveling around, and being grand adventurers.
Are you starting to understand why a pregnant mom just six weeks from her due date was thrilled to stay home?
This year, DH took five kids (ages 5 to 10), my van, an old 1980s tent trailer, and headed in the opposite direction.
While he was gone, I went to two family reunions where I answered questions like, "So WHERE is he again?" "He took HOW MANY KIDS with him?" and "You didn't want to go along?" (No one with more than two kids asked that last question!). I think one of my cousins might hate me now because his wife immediately said, "Wow, WE should do daddy trips!"
My main project while DH was gone was to finish up our 2008 Book.
Every year, I pull together my weekly emails, my blogs, our photos, and any scrapbook pages I manage to crank out and create hardbound books from Blurb.com. There are fewer and fewer of the scrapbook pages as the years pass and the demands on my time increase, but didn't the ones below turn out cute?
This past week has given me such a positive lift. For eight days, I had just two sweet little girls to take care of instead of the whole crew.
We took long naps, ate at Subway, read The Very Hungry Caterpillar several times a day, walked to the duck pond three times, and thoroughly enjoyed the peace and quiet. I kept wondering why I didn't fully appreciate the freedom of having "just" two kids back when that's all I had?
I read several books. I ran the dishwasher twice. We gorged ourselves on strawberries from our garden. I hosted a bridal shower.
I bought two honeysuckle vines and planted them in the front yard. One day, I got really creative and made french bread pizza for lunch.
I had time to think in full paragraphs -- without being interrupted. Working on our book from last year gave me lots of time to reflect on the work I do every day and the memories my children will have. As I read through all my blog posts and weekly emails, I started to see that I'm doing a lot more than I give myself credit for.
I'm doing enough.
Last night, my six adventurers returned. They fought over who got to hold Harmony and for how long, they twirled Eliza around in circles, and they climbed all over me. All five of them talked over each other as they rushed to tell me about their trip. I've gotten more hugs in the last 24 hours than I have in the past month. They all missed me terribly, but I still had to hound them -- a lot -- to clean their rooms this morning, so I guess we're back to normal life.
I'll post more about their trip later as I get the pictures uploaded and sorted.
I'll leave you with a glimpse of some of the pages of our 2008 Book: