Monday, November 28, 2016

It's been quiet here as of late, but it has had nothing to do with a lack of inspiration and everything to do with a lack of time. The kids are at difficult ages these days. Evie is past the stage of figuring things out through her play, but hasn't quite figured out how else to play, so I've been having to nudge her along a bit more than usual in an attempt to stir up her imagination. Noble is at the stage of figuring everything out and climbing things you would have never thought were possible to climb, so essentially I can't turn my back for a second. He's taken on nicknames like 'wild man' and 'mad max' because of his fearless nature and love of exploring, sometimes to the detriment of his physical well being. It will be a miracle if I manage to keep him in one piece for eighteen years. At the beginning of August, we packed our things into boxes and moved yet again, this time just across town into a bigger space. Despite having a yard for the kids to play in and quite a bit more space to spread our wings inside on those rainy days, we are still having a hard time feeling like we belong. It is comfortable and practical, but it just doesn't feel like 'us.' We have similar feelings about the town, so we've taken to having a lot of late night discussions about what the next step will be. For awhile we felt that discussion just wasn't an option because of the investment we've made here, but after our Summer road trip, we came to the realization that no amount of money is worth living a life that just doesn't fit. We've dreamt of making a home in the Pacific Northwest since our Albuquerque days and no matter what we do. . . we can't let it go.

When we came home from our road trip, I sat down to write about our adventures and well, life got in the way, but I set out to finish it today and here it is.

Being home has been both a relief because we were exhausted, and disappointing because - well, the wanderlusters like to wander. We were home for three days and I had already looked at Alex and said, 'What's next? I'm ready to be on the road again.' The time away was good for us and coming back has felt like a new beginning of sorts. I don't know what it is - the many miles driven in stillness, the sunsets and sunrises seen, or just the break away from the monotony of every day life, but road trips always seem to bring out the deep thinker in me. I do my best figuring out in the passenger seat. I've come back motivated to basically quit whining and make the best out of life right now. So. What better way to step into a new beginning than by organizing and rearranging the entire apartment as soon as we walked through the front door? That's what we did. I feel like I am constantly trying to keep clutter out of my house and somehow I still take a trash bag to the thrift store every few months. How does it keep getting in?! On a whim, I also decided to start a Whole 30, which I'm convinced is probably the worst way to start a Whole 30 because it lasted three days before I was like, BREAD and WINE and COFFEE WITH COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF CREAM. I have no will power when it comes to the aforementioned, but I have been on a pretty consistent running schedule since we've been back. I've always hated running, but some things just don't click until you're at the right season in life to need them. It's been nice to challenge myself on a run without being interrupted by a kid. I also want to start hiking longer distances, so I've been telling myself to run so I can hike. I have more opportunities each week to improve my endurance through running than I do through hiking long distances. I've been talking about taking better care of myself for months, so it was just time to do something.

Overall, our trip was a success - with a few speed bumps and hiccups here and there, but memories were still made and fun was had. We're experienced enough to know that vacations with kids really aren't vacations at all, just a change of location, so we didn't envision mornings spent relaxing at the campsite with a steamy cup of coffee and restful nights full of roasted marshmallows and stargazing. Most mornings were spent trying to keep the baby off the tent as we rolled it up (accompanied by the background noise of a four year old making unintelligible repetitive noises) and chugging our cold coffee before jumping into the car because 'We're late!' I feel like I need that on a bumper sticker. Though our nights were still spent listening to the pterodactyl screams of a one year old who hates the thought of not being able to be permanently attached to the boob for eight hours straight, we did get in some good adult bonding time. We played cards and drank whiskey from an enamel cup and roasted marshmallows after the kids were asleep so we didn't have to share. Our largest hiccup of the trip was that is started with all but I catching the stomach flu from hell. Both of the kids couldn't keep any food down for a solid two days. Noble still didn't have his normal appetite back a week later and we thought seriously about canceling all that we had planned to see, but stuck it out anyway. We figured if we hurried home, by the time we actually made it across the country he would probably had gotten over it.

The weather was in our favor a few nights, but the majority of the places we planned on camping at had to be bypassed because we either couldn't find a campsite or we got rained out. Road trips hardly ever go just as you had planned, so our list of stops had to be tweaked just a bit. I plan on writing some posts highlighting the places that we got to see, but for now, the condensed version.

Montezuma Castle National Monument • Arizona
Oak Creek Canyon in Sedona • Arizona
Grand Canyon National Park • Arizona
Lake Powell in Page • Arizona
Zion National Park • Utah
Bryce Canyon National Park • Utah
Arches National Park • Utah
Rocky Mountain National Park • Colorado
Taos • New Mexico Los Alamos • New Mexico
Albuquerque • New Mexico
Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Amarillo • Texas
Oklahoma City • Oklahoma
Hot Springs National Park • Arkansas Little Rock • Arkansas


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