Surviving our Family Vacation…

my family is just coming off the highs [and lows] of an epic trip – 26 days and 6,000+ miles of travel by 5 airplanes, 2 rental cars and 5 places we stayed, throughout Oregon and California.
we’ve been back almost 2 weeks, and I am still. tired.
seriously, I was so tired.
we were constantly on the go – seeing so many people, places and things.

it. was. awesome.
seriously, it was so awesome.
all the time we spent with people, places we went to, and things we did were awesome. 

…and these are our stories of the stains, pains and gains of traveling across the country for 26 days.

travel is super fun. but it is also super hard… especially when traveling with 3 small kids.
it is taking your work with you 24/7. it is never getting a break. or downtime. it’s wiping butts elsewhere. it’s time out elsewhere. it’s losing count of how many times you turn around and say “stop fighting! keep your hands to yourselves! quit bothering your sister!” it’s not being able to separate the 3 bickering kids squished into a Toyota Camry rental car when they are used to slightly more space (at home) in the luxury of your own ’97 Honda Odyssey. it’s gritting your teeth and clenching your toes b/c your trying to force your 3 1/2 year old on the toilet and scaring her with your demon angry mom face without everyone in Powell’s bookstore hearing you yell underneath your breath at her to “GO POTTY!”…
as one friend coined the phrase: it’s parenting elsewhere.

it’s finding a tick on selah’s head during our picnic at the beach, smelling oil in the ocean as each wave brings a new whiff of the lovely odor, looking into the vast distance of the ocean, only for the view to be halted by the oil rigs doing their ‘job’. discovering the oil stains on their swim suits and bodies after we’ve spent hours playing in the water unaware of the results. the beach trips were some our favorite days, but there was always a little something to remind us nothing is perfect… even on the beach days that were close to perfect… like hearing them whine ~ “i wish the beach didn’t have so much sand! or “i wish the sand was grass!” really?! these kids.

it’s sneaking into the historical Santa Barbara Mission church service, feeling guilty about limbo-ing underneath the rope with a “service closed” sign attached. [well, soleil and i felt guilty… because we try and follow rules] so after a brief argument, we nonchalantly whistled our way under the rope. oh, and Adam walked right in and joined the communion line, no sweat. the usher telling him, “I’d never tell anyone they can’t take communion.” good job usher – you just affirmed my husband breaking all the rules. the Mission was built in 1786 and has been around a while, so i’m sure we’re not the first ones to have “broken in”.

then there’s selah yelling all the way up the hike to Multnomah falls, and all the other tourists giving me their pity – or ‘you’re a terrible mother’ – glances along the way. well, at least she smiled for the family picture. but only after i bribed her into doing so with the promise of ice cream. then there was our visit to Tillamook cheese factory where you can view the workers processing and packaging the cheese and other dairy products they are famous for. i don’t know about you, but i’m not really comfortable with a bunch of strangers staring at me while i work, packaging dairy products and passing them down a conveyor belt. so we quickly looked around, enjoyed some ice cream and headed for our last stop – the cheese sample line. we grab our toothpicks and start picking up the famous “squeaky cheese” when the lady behind me gasps pointing, “Ugh! SHE just put her used toothpick back in the box of clean toothpicks!” i mumble the response, “well… ummm, i’m not sure which 1 dirty toothpick out of the 300 in the box is hers…” so while she’s still staring at me expecting some kind of crazy reaction, i look at adam, shrug my shoulders and grab about 48 toothpicks of the top of the pile, hoping i got the right “dirty toothpick”. after we continued thru the sample line, and enjoyed our pepper jack samples – plus – the ones the kids didn’t finish, we both burst into laughter. what else can ya do?

not too far into the trip ~ our travel phrase became, “Well. they don’t have a Selah.” 

hey, it made us feel better… at least temporarily.

and then the kids’ homesickness kicked in, missing their own beds and space, and the los angeles traffic – which we are pretty sure is the equivalent of time spent in hell – seriously?! a few of the highways had 8 lanes. 8 lanes people!?! and the impatience…, and the kids moving slowly, the length of time it takes to herd kittens, err… i mean, our kids out the door every single day… it takes forever to pack lunches, extra clothes, toys, and books, for whatever adventures awaited us each day…

intertwined in the midst of the stains and pains, were the beautiful gains… 
the quality time spent as a family (we spent a lot of time getting along beautifully ;)). 
the time without television, video games, and videos on our road trips (although at times we were wishing we would’ve had a video player to minimize some of the car drama)…
the time spent without unnecessary shopping, not going into a target the entire trip (and we love target!), minimal responsibilities and material things to keep track of, less toys to fuss over, wearing the same outfits over and over again…  
the time spent hiking, waterfalls, the beach… everything outdoors!
experiencing church in different, unique places ~ the Portland Rose Garden, Crater Lake and the Santa Barbara Mission ~ on the sunday’s we were gone from our beloved home church. 
the time with adam’s parents. 
the coffee dates, and time to surf and boogie board while the grandparents watched the kids.
special memories our kids have made with their grandparents…
time with adam’s sister, our brother in law, and our neice and nephew. 
the squeals of joy when our kids and their cousins embraced each other yet again… after a year apart.
time with my aunt and uncle who had just moved from oklahoma to california the same week we arrived. 
visiting some of the area where adam grew up… the old Grananda hotel his grandfather owned… where rooms were once rented for a few dollars a night are now upwards of $400 a night.
time with adam’s aunt and uncle… whom we had not seen in over 12 years, and it was their first time meeting our kids. 
the kids running chasing enjoying uncle gilberts farm, the animals and adventures to be had.  
and hearing the wonderful family stories our aunts and uncles shared… history lessons of our family tree.
the laughter. the joy. our hearts swelled full of time with our loved ones… 
creating memories. priceless moments made. to be held forever in our hearts.

much of our travel time had a stain or pain ~ and ultimately a gain ~ attached… and we are learning this is all part of the reality of hard core traveling as a family: fighting, yelling, frustrations, miscommunication, impatience, difficult conversations, deep work thru some tough emotions…

it’s the reality of the fam~glam(orous) travel lifestyle.
and yea, we’re crazy… we survived our family road trip… and we’ll do it all again…

thank you for reading… as always feel free to comment, share and follow us our half written records. and be sure to visit the blog again soon for my next post about our experience on the second part of our Oregon / California journey when we attended the Vineyard Pastors conference in Anaheim!

In Him, Leslie


One thought on “Surviving our Family Vacation…

  1. Christy says:

    Whew! Your trip sounds like some of the adventures my family adventures as a child. Amongst the craziness there is fond memories that we all laugh about now. So glad that you & the family were able to get away from the ho-hum life for a bit and got to see family, and best of all make memories!


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