Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Roughly 1,461 miles and 26 hours in the car with two littles


Stephen gets two, two week vacation blocks a year, and with one vacation already set aside for Alaska, we debated what to do with our time as a family in October. Stick around here and be lazy, playing tourists in our own town? Go back to Idaho to see my family? The idea of a road trip to Oregon was the most appealing, but did we really want to spend that much time in the car with two kids on vacation? We talked about the trip for awhile, but didn't make any official plans until a week or two prior. Now that it's all said and done, I'm so happy we went! Even during the long days of driving (and answering all the "why's" from the backseat!) I was happy with our decision - it was just such a life giving week!

We took our time making our way up California - stopping at the Golden Gate Bride, talking a walk through the Redwoods, meeting some friends from college for lunch - before checking into a one room cabin in Alfred A. Loeb State Park for the night. Our "campout" might have been my favorite night - we get such little time as a family of four away from home, it was fun and exciting change of pace. Uriah loved the cabin and the campfire and our morning walk on the river was beautiful! - Catching frogs and collecting heart rocks.

Next stop, Roseburg to see Stephen's grandparents. They are easily the sweetest, most thoughtful people you will ever meet and they love so well. It was so nice to have someone to take care of us for a few days - Grandma Brown is such a quintessential grandma, telling us stories and stuffing our faces with yummy food and treats, doting on us in all ways. We climbed the mountain behind their house and took a trip down to the river - you'd never know they are in their 70s! Ezra shares a middle name with Stephen and Grandma Brown (and a few generations before her, too), Lee, and it has meant so much to her that we chose to carry on that name. Seeing them with their great granddaughter, the first time they've ever met her, was icing on the cake of our trip.

We continued north to spend a few days in Corvallis with the Winder family. All through Oregon I had this feeling of being home - It's not where I'm from, but I grew up spending summer weeks on the beaches there and I left home to spend my college years there and that's where I got married... It feels just as much like home as Pocatello, maybe even more. We drove the roads north and it just ached - I longed for that place and had missed it more than I realized - Corvallis more than anywhere else. That town... Driving to the Winders' house Stephen and I teased that he could forgo fellowship and be an Internist at Samaritan and we could move to Corvallis in just three years! We were joking, but I think we'd both admit that the idea was tempting.

Our time with the Winders was rejuvenating and so much fun. They are living such a beautiful, Christ centered life and their optimism, joy and fulfillment and hope in Jesus is so contagious - you can't help but feel better and motivated after spending any amount of time with them. We got there and dove right in to living life with them - soccer practice for Carson before a church tribe meeting over dinner. We were able to spend some really great quality time with Jon and Steff staying up after the kids went to bed and walking campus (going down memory lane and Greek row!) with them the following day. They were persistent that Stephen and I get some time alone (they are not only such great cheerleaders for our marriage, but supporters as well!) and we got two dates in the two days that we were staying with them - what a blessing! Uriah loved playing Legos with Trevor and Carson, jumping on their trampoline with John, feeding the chickens with Steff, wrestle time before bed... Had we given him the option, he would have stayed and let us continue on without him :)

Before making our final stop in Portland, we took a detour to visit the barn where we got married. It's still just as quiet, just as green and just as beautiful. There are things I would change about our wedding day - the way I did my hair, details of the dress, the save the dates - but the location is not one of them. It was a full circle moment bringing our kids there and showing them where we walked down the aisle to say "I do", where we hiked together long before we were even engaged. We continued through the paths, singing "the ants go marching", playing in the stream, and ended the trip with a picnic lunch by the car.

Last but not least, Portland! One of my best friends from college and her husband recently bought a house (!!!) and we couldn't be so close and not go see it for ourselves. We stayed less than 24 hours but it was such a treat to see them! They let my child steal all their attention and they'll never know (until they have kids of their own, hint hint!) how much it means to have others pour time and love into your children. Their patience with him and their willingness to play and wrestle means more to us than it does to him - though they've left a big imprint on his heart because he asks about them often! So, thank you, Erica and Ryan!

We left Portland with an unofficial route home, so we made a last minute (and looking back, sorta terrible) decision to drive it straight, putting us home around two am. Lucky for us, the kids were angels and slept in the next morning. Actually, they were as close to angels as you could ask out of two kids in the car for 26 hours traveling 1,461 miles staying a new place every night. Boy are we blessed. Blessed, too, for such wonderful, genuine people in our lives to give reason to such a fun road trip.

It was bitter sweet to come home when I felt like I had just left home. The move here to California was a tougher and longer transition that I was expecting and it still sorta shakes me up sometimes. The week was so rejuvenating, though, it was hard not to feel inspired by it and let that positive energy make its way across the doormat. So, we're home!

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