Tagged with "weather"
2 Aug
2016
Posted in: parenting, travel
By    No Comments

Wandering Through the Summer

Mississippi River with green banks and cloudy sky

We’ve spent our summer doing what we do best: wandering. I play the part of responsible adult most of the year, attending meetings, turning work in on time, volunteering, and running kids hither and thither. Summer is for following my gypsy heart.

I long for deserted roads stretching to the horizon and open vistas from the mountain tops. I pour over the road atlas and maps looking for the next place to visit. I’m sidetracked by road signs. I constantly plan vacations, some that will become reality others that are only a wish.

Pink flower in Holland, Michigan

I adore the summer me. I don’t worry about bedtime or meal time. Things happen when they happen. It all eventually gets done or not. I care less in the summer about chores and laundry. I say yes more often and am easily coerced into an adventure. Road trips are my love language whether for one day or two weeks. My four kiddos are impressively loud and in cahoots to drive their mother loony, but I soak in these summer weeks with them. I find myself attempting to memorize the way they look huddled around the table playing Monopoly or the sound made when they all have belly laughs. I’m living my nostalgic moments and holding them close during these hot, long days of summer.

Side mirror look at Mackinac Bridge

Every weekend in the summer is marked for exploring. I cannot get enough of traveling around this country. The people are different from state-t0-state. Each region of the country has it’s own culture. I want to understand the heartbeat of this country I love. We have driven back-country scenic byways, passed elderly men in rocking chairs on their front porches, women hanging wash to dry and Amish buggies coming into town. I want to stop and pester them all with questions. I want to know the shape of their days and the whys behind living here as opposed to there. I want to understand what makes America.

The question we’re most asked when we travel to a particular location is why. Why would you go there? The why matters little to me. It truly is because it’s there. Why visit national parks? Because someone decided they’re special enough to protect and set aside for the people. I visit them because I can, and they are there.

Rocky shore of Lake Superior

I fall in love with each new destination imagining what life would look like if we lived there. My imagination has moved me to beaches, islands, cliff tops and city high-rises. I think about the “what ifs” of transplanting to Oregon or Michigan or the sandy shore of Florida, but always come home to Wyoming. Our summer travels are my love story with the United States. Each new place that goes from a dot on the map to land under my feet becomes one more chapter.

 

Straight Wisconsin highway with a lone tree

I remember when we decided we would be a family that traveled, when that became a priority for us. Craig and I had both had health scares that proved we were not invincible. Waiting until a tomorrow I was not guaranteed was not an option. That summer we packed four kids, the youngest nine months old, and drove to Chicago. We were hooked. We morphed into adventure-lovers and the United States was our playground. The hotels we call home aren’t 5-star. There are campgrounds and rented cabins. There are roadside picnics and late-night ice cream treats. There is bickering, kids and adults alike. There has been rough weather and wrong turns. It has always been worth the effort.

There are choices we make that reshape us, push us into the person we’ve always wanted to become. I found myself in the decision to travel, wander and explore. The summer is my lifeline for the rest of the year when I’m confined by responsibilities and weather. I’m connected to myself and my family the more we wander from home.

 


 
Take a Trip: Grand Canyon National Park
By     |    Apr 18, 2016
Posted in: travel     |    No Comments

Take a Trip: Grand Canyon National Park

This year is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. There are over 400 entities run by the NPS. I’ll share tips from different National Park Service sites we’ve visited throughout 2016. We spent years talking about visiting Grand Canyon National Park. We couldn’t ever peg down a good time of year to visit. There were other national parks ranked higher on our wish list. Excuses piled for why we never chose the iconic American spot. This year was the... [Read More]

Read more
Take a Trip: Rocky Mountain National Park
By     |    Mar 14, 2016
Posted in: travel     |    No Comments

Take a Trip: Rocky Mountain National Park

This year is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. There are over 400 entities run by the NPS. I’ll share tips from different National Park Service sites we’ve visited throughout 2016. My husband and I spent 44 hours this weekend without children enjoying the tail-end of winter in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. The start of 2016 has been rough, and we needed to regroup. Snowshoeing in the park was the most peaceful I’ve felt in months.... [Read More]

Read more
Take a Trip: Great Smoky Mountains National Park
By     |    Feb 26, 2016
Posted in: travel     |    No Comments

Take a Trip: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

This year is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. There are over 400 entities run by the NPS. I’ll share tips from different National Park Service sites we’ve visited throughout 2016. Across the United States there are over 400 National Park Service entities. That’s a lot of places deemed worthy to be protected for historical reasons or the natural beauty of an area. I let go of any dream of visiting all of the entities a few years... [Read More]

Read more
Walt Disney World: Animal Kingdom
By     |    Jul 24, 2015
Posted in: travel     |    No Comments

Walt Disney World: Animal Kingdom

I didn’t think the humidity could get much worse than we had endured until the morning we walked into Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World. The sky was void of color, replaced with gray haze. I stepped off the bus and my glasses instantly fogged while dew collected on every service, including us. I feared the humidity would lead to a rough day in Animal Kingdom, but the kids were impervious to the weather once we were immersed in the... [Read More]

Read more
Arkansas: Hot Springs National Park
By     |    Jun 26, 2015
Posted in: travel     |    No Comments

Arkansas: Hot Springs National Park

Honestly, I didn’t have high expectations for Hot Springs National Park located in Hot Springs, Arkansas. I thought the kids wouldn’t find the bathhouses interesting enough and that the water you can collect wouldn’t taste good enough to warrant bringing home with us. Wrong and wrong. Wisely-named Hot Springs National Park revolves around the local hot springs, which have a history of people flocking to the area for therapeutic purposes. Bathhouse Row sprang up in the 1800s as wood and... [Read More]

Read more
100,000 Miles of Adventure
By     |    May 29, 2015
Posted in: travel     |    No Comments

100,000 Miles of Adventure

I watched the mileage on our vehicle slowly move toward 100,000 miles over the last month. I didn’t want to miss the moment we reached the 100,000 milestone. In less than five years, we’ve driven 100,000 miles of this country. A lot of those miles aren’t interesting. There’s running to school and practices and errands and school and practices. But, if a great portion of those miles could tell their story, it’s one of adventure, new destinations and roads less... [Read More]

Read more
Perspective Through Inconvenience
By     |    Apr 29, 2015
Posted in: uncategorized     |    No Comments

Perspective Through Inconvenience

I take for granted the posh lifestyle I lead compared to most of the world’s people. I have more than most, no matter what my list of wants may look like. I’ve been whiny this last week about the inconveniences thrown in my path. The only way I can tolerate our crazy family schedule is because we have two vehicles and two licensed drivers. I’ve learned that if one vehicle is taken out of the equation, my anxiety level increases... [Read More]

Read more
Cleaning, Rearranging and Clearing Clutter
By     |    Mar 23, 2015
Posted in: projects     |    No Comments

Cleaning, Rearranging and Clearing Clutter

Recent bright blue skies and sunshine kicked me into spring cleaning and organizing mode. I’ve cleaned closets and drawers while loads of curtains stripped from grimy windows washed. Furniture was moved and vacuumed under. Trim paint was touched up, and that’s just the start of my spring cleaning list. I’m energized by taking care of our home. I’ve learned when I feel motivated to clean, rearrange and clear clutter, it’s best to buckle down and go with the urge. Actually... [Read More]

Read more
Case of the Missing Car Keys
By     |    Mar 10, 2015
Posted in: parenting     |    1 Comment

Case of the Missing Car Keys

It never fails. If there’s something to schedule, it will probably be on a Tuesday night. I get it. Monday seems too early in the week, and Thursday seems too late. Tuesday carries the bulk of our schedule. Most weeks it feels like we have two Mondays followed by Wednesday. A strategic planning session takes place every Monday before bed at our house to make sure we have every meeting, practice, and game for all six of us on the... [Read More]

Read more
Free Family Activities in Denver Area
By     |    Feb 18, 2015
Posted in: travel     |    No Comments

Free Family Activities in Denver Area

It was evident for weeks that my family needed to regroup. Three basketball teams and one cheer team with practices and games had the drivers in this house worn down. I was tired of an hour here or there of time with all six of us. I’m greedy about family time. We knew our school district had a four-day weekend in February, and we decided to leave the to-do list at home for a mini-retreat. We spent a few days... [Read More]

Read more
Stuck in a Parking Lot
By     |    Nov 20, 2014
Posted in: uncategorized     |    No Comments

Stuck in a Parking Lot

I left the house this morning just before 9 a.m. to drop off my youngest at preschool. I was rocking this Thursday. I had exercised, dropped three kids off at school, done dishes, cleaned two bathrooms, put one load of laundry in the washing machine and sorted a second pile. It wasn’t even 9 a.m. I was riding a supermom high. That feeling is rare in this house. I remembered paperwork to take to preschool, books to take to the... [Read More]

Read more