Cross-Country Vacation 2016, Part 1

Well, howdy! It’s been a long few months with a lot going on!  Let’s catch up!

This summer, it was our family’s turn to visit extended family out west.  Naturally, we considered the most efficient way to get there, which would be air travel.  Eight-hour flight with cranky kids and strangers and germs (and hopefully not a seat right next to the bathroom) and you’re there!  Um, no, thank you.

Not to mention the prices!! Holy smokes have airline tickets gone up!  We were looking at nearly $2300 in fares for the four of us.  And then we would need to rent a car to accommodate our two car seats and all of our baggage.  And then we would be unable to travel the lengthy distances between friends and family in the huge state of Oregon due to mileage restrictions.

SPOILER ALERT: We ended up spending roughly $2500 total on this trip.  That included exposing our preschool kids to 21 days of travel through 15 states; several national park visits; laying eyes on the actual trail marks of The Oregon Trail; hiking in prairies, rainforests, creeks, and rivers; countless learning opportunities, etc.  This also covered all of our camping supplies (which we didn’t own prior to the trip), and all of our allergy-free (for us), organic food!  It also includes the one hotel stay in Chicago and the two Wendy’s meals we had when we were in a tight spot.

This flying thang just wasn’t cutting the custard — or is it mustard?  Whichever you prefer, I guess.

Too expensive, too restrictive.

I think that I’ve allowed my sense of my adventure to go to all-time lows after having the kids. I’ve just been focused on too many other things (read: the daily grind).

I’ve shared on this blog before that, as a kid, I spent every third or fourth summer traveling across the country in an RV with my siblings — both human and canine — and my parents.  I have such awesome memories of that all-American, low-frills vacation style!

As a kid, Matt, too, spent lots of time camping/traveling with his dad for mountain bike races all along the west coast.  He has some pretty great stories to tell about those days as well.

We want memories like that for/with our kids!

We both decided that 3 and 5 were great ages to get the traveling party started!

Master plan conceived!

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We Are A Homeschooling Family!

So I’m wearing yet another hat around here.  It does take me farther away from sewing, blogging, cleaning (ha!), but it’s awesome and hard and frustrating and tiring and so, so super amazingly cool!

Homeschooling was something that I had always considered in a kind of throw-the-idea-around-here-and-there kind of way.

It kind of went with the progression of our parenting style – breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering, ayurvedic medicine — oh, yeah, what the heck, maybe I’ll homeschool, too!

Whenever I’d mention it, I’d get a sort of common, generic response of how neat of an idea that was, but how few people are “able” to do it — oh, and, my favorite –boy, was I brave!  (I think sometimes it was a compliment, and sometimes it was just a filler when someone didn’t know what to say.  Once or twice it was delivered in a you’re-nuts-to-take-that-on kind of way.)

This general idea of us, as parents, not being “able” to teach our own children was really a soul-searching topic for me.   I made lists of pros and cons, did tons of research, etc.

But, mostly, I listened to my kids.

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