On Travel and Kids

On Travel and Kids

One of my very favorite things about Ty is that he loves to travel as much as I do. I absolutely love to travel. I like seeing all kinds of things, seeing friends, and meeting new people. Anywhere I am, I always want to see the sights and eat at the local spots.

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I love the airport, and I love road trips, so I am pretty much set to go anywhere. The airport {any airport}, is one of my favorite places to be. On the other hand, any excuse to take a road trip is fine for me!

Ty and I are pretty much the best team we can be when we travel. We know how each other travels, and we flow back and forth very effortlessly. We both know what the kids need, what needs to be where when, and we are great at entertaining each other along the way.

The boys are great at traveling, and they know the deal when it comes to sitting for long periods of time, waiting until we get there, and the freedom of getting there and getting to enjoy the trip.

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I am so so glad that he is just as committed as I am to bringing our kids all over with us. I am thrilled that he wants to show them the world like I do, and has been just as excited to instill in them a love of travelling like we have. It’s so exciting to see them learning to enjoy the journey just as much as the destination.

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We rarely travel high class. We fly budget airlines (we seriously adore Southwest), earn airline miles on our cards, opt for driving if it’s closer, stay in affordable hotels or with friends and family, and we bring a lot of our own food places. We are teaching our kids the value of priorities, planning, and budgeting.

But there’s another part of traveling that is so awesome that I am so incredibly grateful for in our lives – traveling without our kids.

Because our lives are so busy, there are very few times for Ty and me to stop and have some concentrated time together. We have awesome family that is so willing to help watch our kids for date nights so that we can have that time together, but as wonderful as it is, it’s not the same as getting away by ourselves for a concentrated amount of time.

In the last 12 days, Ty and I have been out of town by ourselves twice for a total of 10 days.

This was a fluke for sure, because usually we don’t take two 5-day trips back-to-back. It was actually due to my terrible scheduling….I didn’t realize that our trip in February backed up to our trip in March. Mom Brain, I guess.

But either way, it has been a great time for us. Our trips were for two very different reasons (the first was to put on a conference for youth workers, and the second was to relax in a beach house with ten of our closest friends), so these last two weeks were a great time of growth for me.

Here are some reasons why it is so important to us that we travel without our kids.

WE TRY MORE NEW THINGS

Let’s face it, when we have kids, we tend to stick to what we know, right? We go to the restaurants we know they’ll like, we go to their favorite parks, we read the same stories. It’s part of being a parent, and part of being in a family. You do what works best for all. Sure, there are adventures, and we are trying to teach our kids to branch out and try new things, but there are quite a few things we can’t do with our kids.

We’ve been bobsledding on an Olympic track, and have had a blast on segways.

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We go hiking, four-wheeling, kayaking, and white water rafting.

We try frog, elk, and buffalo. We go to plays and concerts.

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Someday when our kids are older, they will be taller, more capable, and more ready. When that day comes, we will take them to do some of these things, but for now, we get to do them on our own.

WE CONNECT

Having any conversation with your children around is choppy at best. At restaurants, there are reminders to move their cups from the edge, stop watching the game on the TV and take a bite, and someone inevitably has to go to the bathroom as soon as the food comes.

When we are by ourselves, we have the best conversations.

We grow, we learn, we laugh, and sometimes we cry.

We catch up, check in, and encourage.

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Since we aren’t rushed, there is time to look each other in the eye and give each other the time that we need.

Dinner can last for hours, which allows plenty of time for dreaming and reminiscing.

If we are travelling with friends, it’s a time to be grown-ups. To laugh and enjoy each other. It’s a time to play games that don’t involve candy or to sit around the fire without worrying that someone will fall in.

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THEY SEE ME BE INDEPENDENT

Moms, this is so important.

Do you ever get the feeling that your kids don’t know that you actually have a first name? That before them, you had hobbies, dreams, and passions that were all your own?

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When I got home from our conference last weekend, I got to tell my kids that I was in charge of a team planning a conference – something grown-ups do. I have a degree in event planning, and I was able to tell them that I have my own talents and passions and that I put them to good use.

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They get to see pictures of me in a helmet, ready to hook my harness up to the zip line in St. Maartin. They hear about how I conquered my fear of heights by laying on the glass floor of the Calgary Tower in Canada.

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They see me as my own person doing my own things and having my own adventures.

As a person.

With a name.

THEY SEE US BE INDEPENDENT

Ty and I love. our. kids.

Most of the time, our life is a lot about our kids.

But it’s good for them to see that, in reality, the world does not, in fact, revolve around them. It’s beneficial for them to see that we make each other a priority. It’s good that they know that we are going to help other people, or visit people, or take time for ourselves.

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WE SEE THEM BE INDEPENDENT

Our kids are very self-sufficient as far as kids go. But it’s really fun to see them be super independent and know that they can do all kinds of things even if we aren’t with them.

When we were gone in February, Noah climbed to the top of the rock wall at his school carnival.

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When I asked him about it later, he said he was nervous, but he knew that both sets of grandparents were there, as well as a couple friends, to cheer him on, so he felt better about doing it. I just love that he knew he had support from all of those people – not just his parents.

My mom taught Aidan how to tie his shoes while we were out of town this last time.

What a cool thing for both of them that they got to have that moment together. And it’s great that he knows he can learn things from all kinds of people.

It’s also so important for them to know that they are able to function and develop who they are without our presence.

They have moments of missing us, sure. But overall, they know that we will be back, and they know that they will be okay until we are.

My favorite part of this element is that it makes them lean on each other, too. They are so much closer because they play with each other, they support each other, and they are a comfort to each other when they feel lonely without us.

It’s the stuff best friends are made of, and I’m so glad they’re each others’ best friend.

They are becoming Spartans thanks to all of the shaping that others contribute to their lives.

I SLEEP

I mean…’nuff said, right?

Honestly, though, this is a huge bonus for me. I don’t sleep well in general, but mostly because there are things expected of me from multiple people on a daily basis.

Lists run through my head, chores need to be done, plans need to be laid out and revisited….my brain just never shuts off!

On vacation, though, I sleep so soundly! No one needs me for anything, and if I can’t sleep, I have no qualms about popping some melatonin and getting a sound night’s sleep!

WE ARE BETTER PARENTS

When we get back from vacation, we are eager to see our kids. We have had a chance to refresh our relationship and ourselves.

And let’s face it…it’s nice to be able to miss your kids every once in a while.

I love coming home and snuggling and catching up on their time without us and our time without them.

It gives us renewed focus and energy.

We’ve had time to strategize and get on the same page and realign ourselves with each other to stay a team when it comes to parenting.

THEY HAVE A BLAST

The boys usually stay with one or both sets of our parents, and lets’ face it — who doesn’t want to spend the week at their grandparents’ house?

 Our kids are the only grandkids on both sides of our family, so they are pretty much the most loved kids probably ever.

They do all the things.

The zoo.

The carnival.

Ice cream in pajamas.

The park.

Games.

Bikes.

Breakfast made-to-order.

Sleepovers.

Skateboarding.

Movies.

Staying up late.

Candy.

The library.

Special dates.

Favorite books.

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When we call home to talk to them, they are way too busy to talk to us. They like to say hi, and they think it’s cool when we FaceTime, but we have to beg them to stay by the phone and focus. They are goofing off and doing something way more fun than talking to their boring parents anyway.

We are so grateful for both of our parents and all of the help we get with our kids on so many levels.

All in all, we love to travel, no matter who is with us, or where we are going.

We love going with our kids, but we also really really love going without them.

And we are a better family for it all.

Do you take your kids on vacation? Where is your favorite kid-friendly place to go?

Do you go without your kids, too? Where is your favorite place to go? 

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