Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Summer Trek

We are home from our massive roadtrip.  We got to spend time with both sides of our family and have some time alone with just the four of us.  We hit Seattle and the surrounding areas (which I loved) and spent time on the lake and in beautiful scenery across the Pacific Northwest.  It was healing in a lot of ways.  It has been a rough month for me and I desperately needed this time with my family and my husband even if I didn't feel quite like myself a good deal of the time.  Sometimes it is good to just circle the wagons and disconnect from reality.

A few years ago I decided to "love" roadtrips because it was the only way I was going to be able to travel with my kids.  Travel is important to me even if it is only an hour away.  I like adventure.  I get carsick though and had avoided road trips in the early years of our marriage.  I kind of regret that now because I think we should have taken more advantage of all the time we had together.  We could have had more adventure in the first five years.  Oh well- c'est la vie.  The point is that we have done A LOT of road trips over the past five years.  This year's trip was epic and it tested my love of road trips a bit because it was well over 3000 miles across six states and involved nine stops.  I love seeing new places but I do not love setting up the tent and repacking an overstuffed car. It was absolutely worth all the work though and hopefully my kids will have some great memories or at least remember that we did things together as a family.

Since we started our road tripping ways, we have also become obsessed with National Parks.  We hit three on this road trip alone (Mt. Rainier, Redwoods, Lassen Volcanic.)  We crisscrossed Washington.  We drove the entire coast of Oregon from Astoria down into the Redwoods in California.  We camped and got completely filthy dirty.  We spent hours outside in nature.  The outdoors are my happy place.

I did some serious prep work for the car ride.  I have this weird hangup about kids watching tons of movies on road trips.  I don't judge other people for doing it because the two movies they watched sure kept them quiet and entertained.  I'm just trying hard to help them connect with nature and I don't want them to miss out on the real experience of traveling across the country without being plugged into something.  They wrote stories and illustrated them.  They colored and strung beads.  They did lacing cards and magnetic paper dolls.  We listened to music, hours of "kid music" which includes nursery rhymes etc. The music is enough to drive an adult insane but I have been conditioned to it over the years and now I'm just happy to hearing them singing along and realize that they know hundreds of songs.  We listened to books on tape including American Tall Tales, Treasure Island and King Arthur and the Knights of The Roundtable.  I made dozens of laminated car games and brought dry erase markers for the girls to play.  I downloaded many of them here.  I put everything in envelopes so each item would be a surprise.  Now I have a basket of road tripping supplies to be reused for the future.

The kids were fabulous about sleeping in strange places and riding for endless hours in the car.  There was very little whining in the car.  They really enjoy riding around and finding adventures. We did have a few huge tantrums outside of the car mostly stemming from lack of naps.  Overall they did fabulously.  Overall it was a great trip!  I will blog it in bits and pieces as I have time to sort through everything.


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