Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Why Everything Else Can Wait. And Other Stuff I Learned on Vacation

I'd like to think that I do a decent job living within our means. We don't use credit cards. Our newest vehicle is a 2001. I rarely buy clothes, and will splurge on a {$19.99} purse only after duct tape won't hold the strap on my current one and my husband complains that I'm an embarrassment. We have a small emergency fund built up, and when we get our tax refund every year, that's where it goes.


Sierra is going to be a junior this year. Which means that we've got this summer and next and then, even though I plan to lock her up and not let her leave after graduation, IT ISN'T GONNA BE THE SAME.

So even though there are things that need fixing and wisdom teeth that need removing and any number of ESSENTIAL things that this year's refund could've done, the money got put aside for vacation. I can count on one hand (with fingers left over) how many family trips we've taken in 16 years, and by gosh by golly, I'm running out of time.

Memories. That's all they will take with them.

We moved out of California back in 2005, and a lot has happened since then, and by happened I mean cousins being born. And adopted. And.....well.....let's just say that 7 years is too long to be away from all my family, and we were overdue for a visit.

The kids have been looking forward to a REAL vacation for months, and it didn't disappoint. Truly a summer of firsts.

4:45am check-in
First time for the youngest three to be on a plane. I didn't know how they'd take to flying, but those screens there? Kept their attention for 4 hours. I love you, United.

First time in San Francisco for the kids.

That's Alcatraz in the background. Jordan shrugged at the distance said he could "totally swim it."

It had been awhile for us too.

March 1996
July 2012

We so cannot pull off serious. Thanks for trying, Mom.

First time visiting my grandma since she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. She was thrilled to visit with my sisters and me, but it broke my heart that she couldn't remember who we were.

Ooooooooh - nephews I have only seen in photos. Scrumptious.

And itty bitty Hunter. Almost a year old. Which is the perfect stage for a little purple hair, shades and cupcakes eaten off the ground. Like only Aunties can do. When Mommies aren't there.

(sorry Jessica)

First time to meet the stepbrother I've had for 5 (six?) years. There are four more siblings I still need to meet (Lesa)(GET YOUR BUTT UP HERE ALREADY), but it's a start.

Did I mention that he's adorable? And played the guitar and sang for us? And that he's single? Ladies in Fresno - you are MISSING OUT.

It wouldn't be a proper West Coast trip without the west coast.

Grandma with my five and Liz's four

Sensory overload in the ocean. Nothing that a little ear plugging can't fix.

First sunburn in over a decade. Two weeks later I'm still peeling.

I learned that the circus is way cooler that I remember it being.

I learned that if you eat WHATEVER YOU WANT for 10 days, it's very possible to gain 6.8 pounds.

That DVD players built-in to rental cars make 3 hour road trips go by in a snap. A tub of licorice doesn't hurt either.

That Camden can play Grandma chess for hours and still want to play "one more game."

 That even on "vacation," I can't resist a fun project.

And that no matter what we plan for next year, I don't know how we're gonna top this.


  1. great pics. Why did I almost cry reading this?!

  2. Dang, is there anything you didn't do? Oh yea, invite me :/ Good thing I just showed up anyways! Glad you all had fun, it was good to see you again ;)

  3. Wow! Sounds and looks like you had a fabulous time. Sometime memories are the most important thing an they are totally worth the money you spend to make them.

  4. looks like you had a wonderful trip. I loved all the clever photos.

  5. What a fabulous trip! So glad you got to spend time with your family.

  6. Wow! Looks like you had a fabulous time! I didn't even recognize you're kids; they're getting so big!! Thanks for sharing.

  7. I know makes me sad! we will make it to Dallas one of these days right? although El Paso is awesome, you should come to the Border Patrol Museum:)

  8. I just found your blog and completely loved reading it. Being 3 years into empty nesthood I say to you "Congrats" on taking this great trip. My kids can only remember one or two christmas gifts, but do remember every trip we took. Enjoy this next year & have many more memorable mini trips along the way! And take lots of pictures! xoxo

  9. What an awesome trip! Such wonderful memories you will all have, forever! I loved checking out all of the pics. They are just great! And you my dear are the hippest, most stylish chic around! :)

  10. Looks like an amazing trip! I should have come up to see you guys! I know what you mean about time slipping away. I'm down to weeks. Sniff!

  11. Wow, so FUN!! Speaking as a grandma with a grandbaby 8 hours' drive south and 10 hours' drive north, I'll bet it's hard for your mom not to see her grandkids together for so long at a stretch...

  12. You are so right-while they take STUFF with them, the memories are the things they really treasure.

    Mine are twins-and went off together
    (good for them) at the same time
    (not so cool for me).

    It's all good at this point-glad you guys had such a swell time!

  13. Visits with cousins are always the best. :)

  14. I looked at every single family photo and read every caption. What a great trip and beautiful family memory. Time for you to scrapbook or homemade smashbook those photos!!!


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