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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Family road trip, anyone?

We've changed our family and our lives in a lot of ways to have a large family. Some of these changes are wonderful, and I'd never do it differently. But some of the changes are definitely sacrifices. That's okay, becuase really, we wouldn't change any part of it, even with the sacrifices. But one thing I've struggled with as our family has grown is vacations. We used to travel a lot when I was a kid and I really worry my kids are missing out. Back when we only had 3 or 4 children, family vacations happened, sometimes just little ones to the beach and sometimes big ones like the time we went to London or British Columbia. But really with 8 children, a second hotel room and airfare for 10 just isn't really a possibility. So I've mourned those luxury family vacations (I may have had a temper tantrum or 2.) and prayed my children don't resent me for what they are missing when they hear of their friends going on such trips. But I've also kept searching for a way to make these experiences happen for our children and for our family, to experience more of the world and get out of their bubble.
Road trips are something we've pondered for a while now, but we wondered how the kids were going to handle 6-10 hours in the car. I wondered how I was going to handle 6-10 hours in the car with the kids! I kinda think I was afraid to try. But then one of my students who turned into my dear and wonderful friend Stephanie invited us to her home in New Mexico to see the annual International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque and even stay with them! Like really?! You're willing to take on all crazy 10 of us??!!In your home?! And yes, she was serious. We all could come stay at her house! Gas money to get us there is possible and without the expense of paying for a hotel room, (actually 2) we could more easily justify the costs of admission and going out to each with such a large crew. So we did! Sunny even drove down to join us in Albuquerque! And... It was WONDERFUL! The only regrettable part was that both big boys stayed back at home (taking us back down to the crazy 8) to work, but frankly I think they kinda enjoyed their quiet time while we were gone.
I know. I know!
Many of you are reading this and saying that you've been doing family road trips for a good long while now! That this isn't anything new! In hind sight I'm not sure what I was so afraid of by cramming all of us in the car and driving long distances. Maybe it was fear that the car wouldn't make it there and would maroon us all along side the highway! (It's an old car. See the aforementioned sacrifices mentioned above.) Actually I think it was mostly staying with someone who isn't familiar with our brand of crazy. But Stephanie and her whole family were so welcoming and gracious that it was so fun and easy for us!

Aside from the fact that the car didn't break down, some things that really made it the whole trip easier for us was lots of stops along the way, every 2-3 hours for a meal of to see a road-side site. Being flexible and explaining the the kids ahead of time what that meant and that we expected it of them too. Packing lots of snacks. Abandoning all my guilt about unlimited screen time for the kids on their tablets while in the car. 3 possible adult drivers although Papa preferred to do most of the driving himself.  An audio book that I'm really diggin' for myself.
In the end, it was such a wonderful experience that we can't wait for the next trip and we're trying to come up with ideas already for spring break! We just gotta figure out where to go, which is completely dependent on where we can stay, but with Airbnb I think there are some affordable possibilities that we can get to from our desert home (Phx, AZ) within an 8-10 hour drive. Please comment with a place or festival... if you have any suggestions for family fun adventures that are enjoyed by all ages!
So here's one of our evenings when we visited the fiesta and the "special shaped" balloons were on display. When I was there I just kept thinking what a surreal event this was. I was smileing and giggling and oooo-ing and ahhhh-ing like I was 10 year old! It was so child-like to walk around the through the balloons and wondrous and crazy just like us. Pardon the next few blog posts while I catch up and post our "vacation photos!" Sorry... but not really, because this is a real part of family vacations, right? Boring anybody that will sit still long enough for you to show the your vacation photos?!


  1. What a fantastic trip.....not boring your pics are gorgeous!

  2. Nancy: I have been reading your blog for awhile now, I am from Albuquerque NM but now live in Iowa, I am a huge fan of the International Balloon Fiesta, my favorite event of the fiesta is the night glows and the special shapes. Glad you got to go to see it.

    Joy Cole

  3. Dang, those balloons are awesome! And, yes road trips are too. : - )


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