We started planning this family vacation about a year ago when my brother proposed to Crystal. We decided we'd save to take two whole weeks exploring the southeastern US and then the possibilities became a nearly-every-day conversation. Do we fly into DC and travel south? Do we fly into Atlanta and do a loop? And so on.
We settled on beginning in New Orleans, traveling east to Destin for the wedding and then finishing in Naples where our friends
live. We had a three day window to steer our minivan south through Florida. Andy and I had planned to wing it - perhaps camp at state parks, hike, discover small towns. But then! My dad decided to join our post-wedding journey and he mentioned Disney World. We hadn't really considered it we told him.
But then we started really talking about it, looking at the website and amping. Let's do it! he announced. Cheers!
We woke early and made our way to the Magic Kingdom. Our ride buzzed with excitement as my kids shouted out Continue reading →
The drive from New Orleans to Destin, Florida was hard. Mostly because Ruby shouted that she wanted OUT of her car seat for several hours. Secondly because Andy was driving and I was in charge of direction which I messed up twice. But I really think the direction snafu would have been hilarious if it wasn't on the heels of a yelling child. Yes, I think that.
But we made it! Like childbirth, I immediately forget about road trip pain. Andy's memory remains crisp and the first night in Destin when my brother asked about our drive, Andy said he was never doing it again -- knowing, of course, that we would be back in the car in four days. Me? I declared it to have been delightful. Andy laughed, patted my shoulder and joked oh buddy, how soon you forget.
Thankfully the four days served as a fabulous reset button. Full of family, beach, laughter and celebration.
The reason for this entire trip is my little brother's wedding. My parents rented a wonderful house near the ocean where we all arranged ourselves around each other like sandy, sun-soaked, happy clams. Continue reading →
We were the last off the plane, taking our time to gather up our yard sale. The minute the manufactured air ceased, humidity rolled through the cabin. Even the air has a southern drawl. The pilot gave the girls each two wings and waved us off to New Orleans.
To Margot and Ruby, everything was blissfully foreign and lawless. No car seats on public transportation, people walking in the streets, music on every corner, necklaces swinging from trees, stores stuffed with feathered masks. Margot had her first ever soda pop -- a Sprite -- that I am pretty sure she swallowed without breathing.
We walked all day every day under sapphire sky, over crusty pavement. Usually one or both kids rode on shoulders or backs, our foursome danced Continue reading →
We made it out the door and on our plane! We are now gone for two weeks which is the longest we've vacated in many, many years. Currently, I am typing in the back row of a small plane. We lay overed in Minneapolis where Margot worked through a full range of emotions on Terminal F when I said no to a blueberry muffin. Although it really had nothing to do with the muffin and everything to do with the stress of traveling all day, the day after her mom and dad ran around like those bugs that skeet on water (skeeters?) but not as elegantly. I slept 2 1/2 hours last night. We're cooked and the muffin denial released some feelings. I had just read about a method for addressing unsatisfied wants in kids where you articulate the outcome they desire because when you imagine your brain actually feels it as if it were so. It helps move kids through what they want and into what's really there. I said You really want that muffin. You love blueberry muffins so much. You would eat the shit out of that muffin and all the muffins in Minnesota right now, right? Except of course I didn't say shit but my message was that enthused and invested. It worked so well. She softened and cried about leaving our animals for two weeks. We hugged and played tag.
Margot then chose the most expensive milk we've every bought, as named by Andy. It was a tiny carton of organic 2% and it was $4. Ruby then desperately wanted milk just as the last call for boarding to New Orleans bleated overhead. We didn't have as much time to give Ruby's frustration but I know it came from a similar place. I spun her into the backpack and we all shuffled toward our plane. Single file like this: Andy with 17 bags slung over every surface of his body, me with a sad kid on my back and a pyramid of water bottles, art supplies and baby dolls on my front, Margot with her milk.
Margot didn't drink her milk. Andy carried it on the plane and sweetly asked her once every two minutes or so if she wanted a sip, his eyes wildly determined to make good on that $4. Ruby didn't want the milk either. The plane rolled forward, Andy stuck the milk in his seat pocket. He was tense. Honey I said, getting ready to declare LET THE MILK GO. IT'S HOLDING YOU BACK. But after I said honey he turned and his knee smashed into the milk which geysered straight up and all over his legs.
I haven't laughed like that in a long time. I had tears and aching abs. He laughed too. And the kids. It was perfect.
The girls have been lulled to sleep Continue reading →
My words are in a few other places this week.
I am no longer writing my weekly mama digs column for Mamalode. I initiated the change to create a little more space to write a book (!). Mamalode publisher Elke Govertsen interviewed me this week. It's bittersweet for sure. Love Mamalode, love Elke. Click to read
I am honored to have an essay on Kelle Hampton's blog
! It's about my history with an eating disorder and my love of running. To those who have already read and responded, THANK YOU. Thank you for reading and thank you for taking the time to share a few words. I am so appreciative of your solidarity and support. Click to read
Continue reading →