Travel Day/San Francisco Day One

 

interlude

(ɪntəʳluːd  ) countable noun

An interlude is a short period of time
when an
activity or situation stops and something else happens. 

"It was a happy interlude in their life."

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This is my first post in a blog series I'm calling, "Interlude". This series will include everything  about our trip up the West Coast in the Spring of 2018. It was our pause, our light-hearted song in between the larger acts of our family's story; a small respite from the weariness we've known. We're so thankful God worked all the moving parts together in order for it to happen. This will be a milestone and treasured memory in our personal histories for the rest of our days. 

I hope you enjoy all of this as much as I loved putting it all together. 

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Before I begin, here are a few disclaimers:

  • This series is primarily for my personal enjoyment. I needed a fun, creative outlet.  I also wanted to  document everything throughly and beautifully. While I will be sharing tips, resources and links to where we stayed, this is not a definitive guide to family travels (ha!). We still have so much to learn. I'm just writing everything from our limited experience and what worked for us. 

Which brings me to the next two disclaimers:

  • Please don't take a trip like this unless you really, really (really) want to. It took us lot of work--before, during, and after--to make it happen. It was expensive. We were joyfully at a point where we were able to put in the work and money to make it happen. After years of not being able to, we were thrilled over the gift of this. The hard work and learning to be ok with spending money was what actually made this trip so enjoyable (more on that in a future post). 
  •  This trip and how we did it, worked for our family. It might not work for yours, and that it totally ok! I know there will be people who read this and think "They did that?! That doesn't sound like a relaxing vacation at all!" or "Why would they choose to spend your time, money and effort in that way?" We totally get that. My hope is not to inspire you to take a trip like this, my hope is to inspire you to do what you can to invest in beautiful memories that you will look back on with happy, teary, warm emotions. That's going to look different for every household. I couldn't love the truth of that more. Amen?

Ok, I think that's it. Let's get started! 

We booked early flights out of Cincinnati. For the beginning of big trips, we like to start as early as possible to make the most of the day. Plus, mama doesn't function very well late at night and that's not how we wanted to start off our travels, ha!

We always try to arrive airport at least two hours ahead of our flight time. Just making room any potential delays like,  toddler meltdowns (waking up at 4am is hard!) and poopy diaper explosions (which definitely happened right as we were walking out the door). More time buffers = less stress for all of us.

Things I want to remember:

  • Behr crunching on a giant apple while we rode the bus from the parking lot to the airport. 
  • How Scout still rode snug and warm in the Solly Wrap right through check-in, security, and the long walk through the sleepy, still rousing airport. 
  • That peach line that appeared on the horizon right as we found our gate; the sun showing up to send us off. 
  • The messy tangle that grew and grew in our seats. Both of them still in moccasins, my heart! 
  • How Scout absolutely refused to fall asleep with me, but as soon as she was placed in Jonathan's arms she was out in minutes. 

The flight with them went exactly how you'd probably guess. They were equal parts fascinated, antsy, hangry, and excited the whole time. And as any parent knows, all of that can make for an interesting combination. I'll just say that while I'm so, so thankful that we were able to fly out to the West Coast as a family, I was also more than ready to get off that plane when we touched down at SFO. ;) 

I have a similar picture like the one below with Behr on the train from the last time we landed in the San Francisco. It was so special and heart-heavy-with-goodness to be back here with him. 

Once we left the airport, we thought about trying to hunt down a local place to eat but remembered the In-N-Out right beside the airport. It was our first meal the last time we landed here, so it just felt right to do a repeat.  Also, it tasted pretty dang good. Airplane snacks can only go so far, am I right?

By this time, we were feeling ready to stretch our legs. Chrissy Field was our first scenic stop. There was a bit of loud construction happening along the walk down to the beach, but when our feet finally touched the sand, we had the whole beach basically to ourselves. 

We had made it! After months of planning and preparation. After that long season of head-down, survival mode, we  we're finally standing there blinking in the sun while the Pacific chuckled onto the sand at our feet. Behr got to see the giant red bridge with his inquisitive eyes. Scout squeaked and pointed and chirped at the waves. Jonathan and I both exhaled in our own quiet ways. 

We eventually loaded back up, saying 'good-bye' to San Francisco for now, knowing we'd be back soon. We then crossed the Golden Gate Bridge for a short drive out of the Bay. Unknowingly headed towards all the unexpected magic waiting for us in Inverness, CA.

Post two in the series coming soon...

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Travel Notes

  • Start your trip with the mindset that it's all going to ebb and flow. The stress, the sweetness, the hunger, the tantrums, the golden moments. Embrace that things won't go as planned and they might even be better (just like any other time of life really). The best way to handle whatever you encounter is to breathe slowly through the icky things and fall head-long into the wondrous times. What an adventure! 
  • Use the heck out of Google Maps. This might be a no-brainer but, we used it like crazy! I especially loved the "Your Places" tab where I could have separate sections labeled "Want To Go" and "Favorites". It's where we saved all the locations we wanted to check out and kept us on track the whole trip. 
  • Dress everyone comfortably. This is my rule for flying or roadtripping. Either way, you're going to be sitting for long periods of time. For me this meant wearing: Blanqi leggings (looove them!) a loose fitting, button down dress from H&M and TOMS Del Rey sneakers (these shoes were amazing for so many reasons!) I scored them during TOMS secret sale last year thanks to my sister Melissa telling me about it. Here's the link to sign up to be notified when the sale goes live again. 
  • For the kids: Elastic waistbands, stretchy pants and loose shirts. Behr wore thin sweat pants from Old Navy and Scout wore stretchy baby girl "jeans". Because aren't those leg creases from sitting in stiff jeans too long the worst?! We also put them in Freshly Picked moccs on travel days because they are so comfy for those pudgy little feet. They hardly even notice they are wearing them, and thus less likely to take them off when we're not looking. We almost always wait for the sales to stock up on our moccasins. I've never regretted investing in them though. Our kids wear them everyday. 
  • Favorite baby carrier for the airport: the Solly Wrap. The low profile, lightweight, and superbly comfortable fit worked best in my opinion.; especially since I was also carrying our Whirlwind Backpack. 
  • Make time and effort for pictures! My camera and phone are always easily accessible. You will NOT regret having images to look back on and jog your memory. We brought our 5D Mark iii and 35mm 1.4 Sigma Art lens for this trip. I also shot a lot with my Samsung Galaxy S9.  For editing: Lightroom + my own presets for "big camera" shots. And a combination of VSCO (that trusty A6 filter) and Snapseed  for phone pictures. 
  • Behr's little wooden camera is from Father's Factory. They generously sent it to us in return for my sharing about it. There will be more on it soon. But right now, I'll just say that Behr loved it. And, personally I can't get over how well made and beautiful it is. 

when you don't have it all figured out yet - in partnership with Kelly Moore Bags

This post is a collaboration with Kelly Moore Bag.  I've  been a customer of theirs for years. We owned a messenger style from them as our first diaper bag as well as a backpack style (The Pilot). I reached out to them because I wanted review their Austin Bag (a vegan leather bucket-style purse/camera bag) and they graciously agreed to send one over. This post is my review of it. 

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Let's talk about being grown up. 

What does that feel like exactly?

I read a quote once that went something like this: "Nothing will ruin your twenties like thinking you need to have your entire life figured out in your twenties." I don't know who said that originally (if you do, please let me know!) but, my goodness, it resonates strongly with me right now. 

I'll be twenty-nine this June. And guess what, it's a rare thing for me to feel like I've got everything mapped out, to feel grown-up.

As silly as you may think it is, this bag from Kelly Moore, helps me feel like more of an adult on those days when I get down about still having such a long way to go. Yes, I'm serious.

I've never been a "carry a purse" kind of woman. For whatever reason, I just don't. But having used this bag for awhile now, I'm really in love with idea of having  something that carries just my things. But let's be real, I can still throw snacks and diapers in this thing if I really need to. 

Why I love this bag:

  • The compact, easy to access design. I can fit our DSLR camera, my phone, a small notebook and pen, as well as all the baby necessities if the situation calls for it. Everything inside can be gotten to quickly or secured safely with the drawstring and snap closure. 
  • The material. Let's be honest, this season of motherhood comes with every imaginable spill, stain and form of spit ups. I've had this bag for months now and it still looks almost brand new. Anything that happens to splash on the outside simply wipes off. 
  • The versatility. I use it primarily as a camera bag because of the padded insert (with dividers!) But the insert is completely removable if I wanted to use this has just a simple purse. It also comes with a longer shoulder strap if I want to wear it messenger style.  

We made a visit over the weekend to our favorite local coffee roasters, Carabello Coffee. Inside, they have a wall where people leave little notes and jotted thoughts in the cracks of the exposed brick. While Jonathan was ordering our drinks I tucked into this cozy booth with the kids. Behr was completely caught up in pulling out different scraps of paper from the wall and insisting I read them aloud.

Eventually, we unfolded the one pictured below. 

"Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes. But when you look back, everything is different." -C.S. Lewis

In this season of life, my days can become monotonous. Raising two babies who can't even feed themselves or go to the bathroom unassisted can all start running together. Add in a regular routine or irregular sleep and sometimes I can hardly differentiate one week from another. 

But, every so often I do "look back". I think of who I was ten years ago, five years ago, last year. That's when I realize how much I've changed. It's strange though, because at every milestone, I never felt like I was grown up yet. I just felt like I was making it up as I went along.  

Maybe I'll stop trying to call myself a grown adult, and instead make my peace with always being a growing adult. 

I mention this often, but I'm still very much in "figuring it out" mode. I'm ok with that. I've come to understand that I don't want to ever get to a point in my life where I think: "I'm done. This is it. I have nothing left to learn."

But at the same time, I want to walk confidently in the woman God has made me to be thus far. This is an honest struggle for me. As with most things in life, it's about accepting the dance of living with both emotions. 

Here's to loving where I'm at while still expectantly hopeful for who I'm know I can become in the future.

And for those days when I'm needing a secret, "Yes, I actually am an adult woman." confidence boost, I'll have this pretty little bag slung over my shoulder.

hello again

Starting in January, I disabled the Instagram app from my phone. I later ended up removing the Facebook one as well. Here's what I've learned about myself as a result of that:

Coming into the new year, I knew I could only swim at the fast pace social media demanded for so long. I was exhausted, gulping for air in a digital current sweeping me away. 

So, I made a full stop. 

I found myself on the bank with the sun warming my back. It was slower there. The never ending scroll-river streamed right on by without me for weeks. I was fine with it. 

Oh, sure. I missed that connection. But the peace I discovered up on the shore was too relieving for me to want to dive back in. So I waited it out. I wrote and searched and talked and took long, slow breaths. I listened to the birds. I worked hard on things in my heart and our home. 

I rested my mind.

And now as I (ever so slowly) wade back into the stream of social media sharing, I'm thinking about how I want to move forward. 

There's too much to sum up in one post but, I do know I'm committed to putting  beauty into the world. Whether that's mainly through the channels of social media, my monthly letters or blogging, I'm not sure yet. 

I don't know if anyone actually still reads my blog. Truthfully, I realize I don't need them too. I use this space as a creative outlet. It's where I work out my thoughts, memories and unique perspective on life. 

 It's where I share my story in all it's messy, mundane, marvelous glory. 

If you happen to be one of the sweet readers who stop by here to participate, I'm so grateful for you. 

I'm not giving up on Instagram (not yet anyway, ha!). But I won't be on there near as much.

I will be making time to to invest in fuller, richer work which I'll be sharing here on this blog as well as the letters I send out to inboxes during the month (you can sign up for those HERE.  There's already 200+ hearts that have joined me there and what we're creating together is something special).

Moving forward, I want to be clear about the stories and messages I share publicly. I want it to add to, uplift, and encourage your life. Not subtract or distract from it.

So, in the spirit of honesty, here's a peek into what I'm offering to anyone who happens to invest in what I share, wherever I share it. 

What you won't find here:

  • Content that wastes time--yours or mine. (only do what it needful)
  • Putting out half-hearted offerings
  • The pursuit of things (forever waging that glorious war on clutter!)
  • Making others feel unimportant
  • Anything that contradicts God’s Word

What you will find here: 

  • An honest, fumbling onward-striving pursuit of Jesus Christ
  • The prioritizing of my family 
  • The healing power of imagination, story and beauty (more on this soon!)
  • Meaningful, connective offerings
  • A space to feel valued, seen and heard
  • The commitment to diligence (not giving up)
  • Positive thinking rooted in the hope of my Savior 

I'm happy to have had this month to sort out the clutter--both literally and figuratively--that I'd allowed to gather in my life.

I'm entering February with a lighter heart and calmer soul. 

All glory to God for what He has done.