this is how we do it...

the two youngest are sleeping and the two oldest are squealing together with sheer delight in the back yard. oh, how i love having little ones that sleep well and bigger ones that can play independently for hours on end! this is vacation.

in reality though, this xc trip has seldom felt like actually vacating our lives. all the time we spent preparing (the itinerary, the meals, the destinations, the details) have resulted in a fun and smooth trip, but did not eliminate all the hard work.we have taken this opportunity to really focus on some character issues with each of the children, and have done our best to correct some of the attitudes and behaviors we saw creeping into their lives when we weren't as diligently focused. we have had to get up early and often get down late. we have driven thousands upon thousands of miles, many of which on roads so winding they made me want to throw up on my atlas. we have set up camp and tore it down countless times, most of the time within a twelve hour window. we have cooked or prepared meals on picnic tables, in the car, and sometimes even on the ground. we have done lots of dishes without once using a sink. it has not been a convenient vacating of our daily lives. in a way, it has sort of been like taking all our usual chores and forced us to do them (or at least a micro-version of them) on the road. it has been a lot of work.

so, why on earth am i loving it so much? perhaps it's because at home, a lot of those chores are left undone anyways, and heaps of guilt inevitably ensue. or maybe it is because i am energized by the activity level we have maintained, or maybe it is empowering just to see all that we are capable of as a family. i am not sure which... but, i think i would take this "vacation" over a typical one any day. it has been such an adventure.

we are over halfway through the trip at this point. we are in pauma valley, ca at uncle brandon and aunt shannon's house. the kids are loving it here, playing with their cousins and having a few days off of travel-mode. all the kids are playing so well together and it has been such a great time so far. brandon is on his way home from the airport right now, as he has actually been in new york for a mission trip! so, we are all excited to see him.

we will be leaving here on the 13th and heading toward the grand canyon. we have a lot left to see yet, and i am already starting to feel a little sad about the trip winding down. i have loved having our whole family spend uninterrupted time together, without any of the distractions of everyday life at home. i have loved watching the girls (especially) bond during this time, and, admittedly, i have loved having harper strapped down to a seat much of the day.

so, until we are back on the road... i am going to enjoy the little time we have left to just relax at bran and shan's, actually vacating. two kids sleeping and two kids playing. i'm one lucky gal.