2600 miles, 7 states, 5 parks, 11 days

Or, “Pursuing Enough” pursues more than enough….

 

It’s been awhile.  It’s been so long and I’m still so off-kilter that I’m not even sure I’m quite ready to start writing again…but I felt the need to check in after such a long absence.  Our family got back Monday night from an eleven-day (road) trip to Disneyworld and Legoland, sponsored very generously by my parents.  Six people in a twelve-passenger van; three days down, two days home (you know it’s a long trip when driving through five states is a good day).  Monday through Saturday we spent at all the different parks.

Overwhelming?  Yes.  Wonderful?  Absolutely.

The drive didn’t go nearly as badly as I anticipated; portable DVD players are beautiful things…and bringing along all the kids schoolwork they were missing out on helped, too.  (Full disclosure:  due to our school district’s quirky calendar, we were able to take an eleven day trip with the kids only missing three days of school.  We were NOT the only people to jump on that opportunity.)  My dad and husband sat up front and took turns driving, continually arguing with the GPS system and making her angry (“Recalculating!”).  The rest of us spread out in back, switching places when needed, since siblings can only sit together for so long.

Our time in the parks was great…my daughter met everyone she wanted to meet, including Tinkerbell, and my son rode all the coasters he wanted to ride.  My husband quickly learned how to work the Fast-Pass system (and I mean really work it), which meant that we didn’t have to wait in line more than twenty minutes for any ride we did.  (It also meant blisters for my poor husband as he ran the parks to collect the things…)

And then….Monday night at 7:30 home, Tuesday morning at 8:00 back to school.  There’s a nice jolt of reality for you.

I think, three days later, I’m just now starting to feel like things are getting a little back to normal; although with my son’s birthday plans this weekend (9 years old today!  Happy birthday, sweet boy!) and the relentless talk of getting a new dog now that we’re home, I’m still not quite feeling settled.  October is one of my favorite months of the year.  I think it’s time I slowed down a minute and tried to enjoy it.

One last thought on vacations and returning home:  I know that technically, what we come “home” to is just a bunch of wood and siding and insulation and metal, etc.  I know that really, it’s just a bunch of “stuff” that shouldn’t really matter all that much.  But after you’ve been gone for eleven days, it becomes much more than that.  It’s what it represents:  home base, safety, the comfort of the familiar, the “normal,” Home.  Night after night of sleeping in hotel beds gives you a new appreciation for your own bed; night after night of sleeping in hotel rooms gives you a new appreciation for your own room, which my children disappeared into the moment they got home, introducing their new stuffed animals to their old ones.  Right now I’m so grateful for this house, this home, and for the comfort of (slowly) getting back into a routine.

It’s good to be back.

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Party time!

I was at my daughter’s field trip recently, joking with a mom about how I seem to spend all my time counting heads when I’m out with the class that way.  (We were only in charge of four little girls, so the job should have been easy, but I’m learning that there’s always one in any group who wanders.  A lot.)  She laughed and commented that it was like those big birthday parties that you have somewhere “out;” where she could never relax because she kept needing to make sure they had everybody.

And I had to laugh, and admit that we’d never done that.

While we’ve had family parties every year, it wasn’t until the kids were in kindergarten that we started doing parties involving friends; and even then, they were small, involving five or six little ones.  My children are invited, often, to parties where kids invite the entire class or all the girls/boys in a class; while I suppose that saves on hurt feelings, I have no idea how people do it.  The cost.  The headache.  The hassle.

My daughter just celebrated her seventh birthday, “Rainbow Magic Fairy”-book style.  (On a side note, my kids have a knack for picking birthday themes that you can’t find party supplies for.)  We intended to invite six little girls, but once she got to four, she got hung up.  A domino effect seemed to be occuring:  “If I invite A, then I have to invite B and C; and if I invite C, then D and E have to come…”  Finally she stopped and looked at me.  “Can I just invite four people?”  Absolutely!

Out of the four, three showed up, and they had a wonderful time playing fairy games and making fairy crafts and eating pink-frosted chocolate cupcakes.  It was absolutely hilarious to see how much noise four little girls could make….coloring.  They laughed and danced and “helped” unwrap gifts and when it was all over, my daughter told me how much fun she’d had.

“I’m glad you liked it!”  I told her.

“I didn’t like it!  I LOVED it!!” she shouted; and honestly, if she LOVED her small party, why on earth would I want to do anything bigger?

Realistically, a bigger party would have meant missing out on some of the crafts; buying supplies for four is much easier than buying for twenty.  I was able to include a “fairy book” (from a local used-book store) in everyone’s party favor bag, instead of a plastic kazoo.  It just turns into a completely different party with fewer kids.

My sweet son approached me recently with a request for his upcoming birthday:  could he just go with a couple of friends to the local science museum?  And then maybe out for a treat?

These parties just get simpler and simpler…..