This past weekend we had a little family get-away. We booked a suite (splitting the cost with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law), and explored the beautiful city of Atlanta! It was so nice getting away, not having to think about laundry, messy kitchens, or yard work. It did bring up some interesting differences in personalities though. Once again, my husband and I struggled against his laid back mode and my planner mode. I want every second planned, while he likes to go with the flow, take moments as they come. Kids bring another level of challenges when they're brought out of their comfort zones. We tried our best keep them fed and rested, but it's hard when you're out of the norm.
One thing that continues to work well for us as we travel is frequent stops. Stops for food, stops at a National Park of a little walk, stops to just use the potty and wander around a bookstore for a bit. Stops, and a lot of grace for crankiness, colds, general tiredness.
I've read so many tips on traveling with little ones, but the truth is that each trip, each destination offers new challenges. This time, it was just our family going away for the weekend. We weren't staying at a house, but rather a hotel. We have learned to bring plenty of "busy toys" along to keep Emma entertained. She and Ezra wake up far before most of the hotel patrons are awake (or even before attractions open), so we definitely needed something to occupy them. I think a mistake we made this time was picking a hotel without a pool. I missed the escape of a pool (and a hot tub!).
Just the same, Atlanta was so much fun! We spent a morning at The World of Coca-Cola, played at The Olympic Centennial Park and wandered through The Atlanta Botanical Gardens. We definitely found that outside attractions worked best. They gave the kiddos a chance to wiggle and explore.
This life is so filled with challenges. I feel like this summer, in particular, is going to grow me in some real ways. My babies are getting older, more independent, and testing their boundaries day by day. I am changing, growing older, starting to get a little more comfortable in this skin God placed me in.
Mostly, I believe God is calling me to live in the now. Enjoy each part of this road He's taking me on. This past weekend was a times stressful, but also, so filled with grace and lessons learned. It has to be hard sometimes, so that we can learn and grow, right?
We have another, much longer, road-trip planned in just about 3 weeks. It will be interesting to see how that one goes. I'm definitely excited to see what happens.
The word on my heart this summer has definitely been joy. Joy, in the midst of raising two little ones. Joy, when my head and heart have had enough. Joy as we parent, we discipline, we learn along this road. Joy. My prayer is that, at the end of this summer, I will look back on it with joy.
"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:13, HCSB).
What word is on your heart this summer? What might God be teaching you?