Tagged with "memories"
16 Jun
2017
Posted in: travel
By    No Comments

Fighting Through Travel Anxiety

open highway looking at mountains in Wyoming

I’m at the point in vacation planning where I think it’s best to cancel our plans.

This happens every time we travel, whether we’ll be gone for five days or three weeks. I’m overwhelmed by the planning process and dreading the packing. My anxiety has me worrying about everything from flat tires to lost hotel reservations to vomiting children to terrorists and everything in between. I can’t even think about the crowds of people and lines we’ll encounter. We’ll stay home. It will be cheaper, easier and less anxiety-inducing to stay put exactly where we’re planted. Of course, we won’t stay. My favorite thing of all things is to go — somewhere, anywhere, my family in tow. My anxiety-prone personality needs to fret and worry over things unlikely to happen and conjure far-fetched “what-ifs” before I can move on. My family knows it’s coming, every single time. It’ll be wonderful, maybe not every second, but most definitely worth it.

We decided early on into our parenting years that traveling was important and worth the investment of time and money. We wanted to show our children how big the world is, but also how small. We live in a large country, and we want to see and better understand how the pieces make the whole. Our life in Wyoming is different from other places in the United States. I believe we make better citizens when we know what and who we’re working for and with.

Our first major trip was to Oregon when we only had a three-year-old and nine-month-old. We’ve added two more children and a several other large road trips over the last decade. Two things happened in the Fall of 2009 making us acutely aware of time and pushing us to explore.

I suffered a severe blood clot in my left leg shortly after our fourth child was born in September 2009. I was hospitalized when our daughter was a few weeks old. I was in my early 30s with four kids under the age of seven and was terrified by the curve-ball I’d been thrown.

In December of 2009, I sat in a hospital waiting room as my husband had a kidney biopsied. We discovered he had a rare kidney disorder. Those four months in 2009 were difficult. I’ve never been as physically and mentally exhausted as I was during that time. It was a lonely, trying time that also became a defining moment in deciding what was important in this life and the person and parent I wanted to become. Both of us had a long run back to relative health. That was the proverbial wake-up call for our family. We were going to put experiences high on our priority list and explore this wonderful country we call home. No more excuses about the ages of the children. I don’t need them to remember every experience. We have experiences for the sake of experiencing.

Deciding to see the United States is a daunting task. We needed a way to focus. The outdoors is a big part of our lives. We love to hike and will walk miles for a gorgeous landscape view, through the snow and uphill both ways if you ask the kids. We’re also history nerds. I like to understand what led to where we are now. I want to learn about the people who helped shape our current situation. Enter the National Park Service. I’ve learned about and experienced so many things I didn’t know existed or happened in the U.S. thanks to the National Park Service.

Two books, “1,000 Places to See in the USA and Canada Before You Die” and “101 Places You Gotta See Before You’re 12,” have become fantastic suggestion givers for our road trips. I have no dream to visit all that those two books suggest. There are things listed I’m simply not interested in, but there are also places I’ve thoroughly enjoyed thanks to a little research.

Using established resources like books, travel guides and the park service have helped to curb my anxiety. I’m not reinventing the wheel when we travel. I take pieces from here and there and put together a travel plan that fits our likes, budget and time allotment. When I was younger, anxiety stopped me from experiencing a few adventures. I don’t know if wisdom comes with age, but it’s easier to push through my anxiety now knowing how the years melt into each other. I’ll fret over details, like public transportation and the $200 price tag to visit the Empire State Building, but it won’t stop us from going. Thankfully my family has learned to silently nod while I air concerns, knowing they should still get their clothes ready to pack.


 
Big Push to Finish School Year
By     |    May 4, 2017
Posted in: parenting     |    No Comments

Big Push to Finish School Year

The month of May is one of my favorite and least favorite months. Summer is right around the corner and the weather is improving. There are 22 days of school remaining and 50 days until we enjoy another much-anticipated epic vacation. But May is also the month when everyone has everything on every day…all month long. It’s inevitable with four children that our evenings will be full of recitals, concerts, track meets and practices. It’s never one thing at a... [Read More]

Read more
Read Between the Lines
By     |    Apr 17, 2017
Posted in: uncategorized     |    1 Comment

Read Between the Lines

I sat at my aunt’s kitchen table surrounded by various members of my extended family attempting to write my grandpa’s obituary. I started with the bookend dates of his 88 years of life and filled in the years he served in the U.S. Navy and the decades he worked. There’s his wedding and number of children. There are the countless organizations he belonged to giving a glimpse at what he believed was important. I’m rarely at a loss for words... [Read More]

Read more
That Time I Danced in a Competition
By     |    Apr 11, 2017
Posted in: uncategorized     |    No Comments

That Time I Danced in a Competition

I collapsed under friendly peer pressure and danced in a Spotlight Dance Cup Regional competition last weekend…on a stage…with an audience and judges. Gulp. It all started last summer when I took an adult ballet class to better understand my daughter and her passion for dance. I heard rumors that our studio director wanted to do a moms and dads dance for this season. Not happening. I enjoyed class but was not going on stage. I repeat, I was not... [Read More]

Read more
Take a Trip: Badlands National Park
By     |    Apr 3, 2017
Posted in: travel     |    No Comments

Take a Trip: Badlands National Park

We visited Badlands National Park for the fourth time this weekend. After several friends mentioned not knowing about the park, which is four hours from our home, I thought it needed some love. Our first three visits to the park were in the summer months when it’s crowded and hot. A spring visit was much more to our liking. There were no crowds. We didn’t have to circle around for a parking spot at the visitor center or any trailhead.... [Read More]

Read more
Joy in a Staycation
By     |    Mar 27, 2017
Posted in: uncategorized     |    No Comments

Joy in a Staycation

My preference is to leave town whenever possible. I like to explore and discover new places. We’re on a staycation this spring break, and I was dreading it. I longed to spend our five school-free weekdays somewhere other than here. We’re stockpiling vacation days for an upcoming summer road trip, so home is where we are for the week. Technically we have small getaways planned for the weekends buffering spring break week and a small excursion mid-week. We’re only partially on... [Read More]

Read more
That Time Elton John Saved My Sanity
By     |    Mar 16, 2017
Posted in: uncategorized     |    No Comments

That Time Elton John Saved My Sanity

I know I sound melodramatic, but Elton John may have saved my sanity. We’re awful at setting time aside for just the two of us. We have dinner dates at home after kids are in bed with takeout and a movie but are pros at having a litany of excuses for not leaving the house on dates. There’s not enough time. There are other ways to spend money. Quite frankly, we’re tired. Craig enters contests regularly and has won some... [Read More]

Read more
Different Side of Las Vegas: Valley of Fire State Park
By     |    Feb 12, 2017
Posted in: photography, travel     |    No Comments

Different Side of Las Vegas: Valley of Fire State Park

Quite a few people in our circle of friends will be spending Spring Break in Las Vegas. I’ve replied to a few inquiries about family-friendly ideas in Vegas on the cheap and outdoor activities that don’t include sitting poolside. We’ve been through Las Vegas numerous times one our way to and from other adventures like Disneyland, Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley National Park. My go-to suggestion for people staying in Vegas who want an outdoor adventure is Valley... [Read More]

Read more
Sometimes Life is That Cliché
By     |    Feb 3, 2017
Posted in: parenting     |    No Comments

Sometimes Life is That Cliché

If there’s one thing I know about parenting, it’s that children grow up too fast. I know. I know. It’s the epitome of cliché, but also heartrendingly true. Our oldest will be a freshman next year and will register for high school classes this month. I’m sentimental, sometimes to a fault. The email confirming his placement in high school seemed surreal. It surely belonged in someone’s else inbox. I can’t possibly have a teenager in high school. I’m too young,... [Read More]

Read more
Reasons to Tour Warner Bros. Studio Hollywood
By     |    Feb 1, 2017
Posted in: travel     |    No Comments

Reasons to Tour Warner Bros. Studio Hollywood

I’ve always been drawn to the magic of movies. My parents owned a video rental store when I was growing up, back when VCRs were just hitting the market and movie night meant watching a video tape. When we decided to spend a day around Hollywood during a recent California vacation, I knew a movie studio tour should be on the agenda. We chose to tour Warner Bros. Studio based on a Harry Potter exhibit, a Batman vehicle exhibit and... [Read More]

Read more
From Paper Scrapbooks to Digital Photo Albums
By     |    Jan 11, 2017
Posted in: projects     |    No Comments

From Paper Scrapbooks to Digital Photo Albums

Once upon a time, I spent hours creating scrapbooks. I had more stickers, paper choices and paper punch tools than one person probably needs. I enjoyed the creative process of telling our life story through photos. When our daughter was born seven years ago, scrapbooking was this insurmountable mountain to tackle. I hadn’t set time aside for me to keep up with my scrapbooking hobby. I was years behind where I wanted to be with our books. It became clear... [Read More]

Read more
Take a Trip: Great Lakes Love
By     |    Dec 29, 2016
Posted in: travel     |    No Comments

Take a Trip: Great Lakes Love

For someone who has spent almost 40 years living near mountains, I sure do love the beach. I love the sound of the waves crashing. I love the feel of sand in my toes. I love the pure joy my kids have in the water. However, I don’t love what the salt does to skin or hair. I don’t love the smell of the saltwater-soaked towels or swimsuits. This summer I learned the perfect substitute for the ocean is the... [Read More]

Read more