On the Road: Whirlwind Photo Tour Edition

We’re two three [I, ahem, started writing this last week … ] and a half weeks into this adventure, and I haven’t posted nearly as often as I had envisioned.

To be honest, I haven’t done many of the things I had planned to do. Helping the girls keep a travel journal? Fail. Keeping detailed entries in my own journal? Fail. Making phone calls and sending postcards with the girls to friends and family back home? Fail. Semi-consistent reading and math practice with Katie? Fail. Nature journaling with the girls? Fail. Road trip games in the car and Uno when in camp? Fail. Writing in the evenings once the kids are asleep? Fail.

These failures are due, in part, to the new addition to our family. After all, growing a baby has not been a fail, and that task is significantly more important than any of those listed above. But they’re also due to the fact that an on-the-road kind of lifestyle (especially with small children), while exhilarating and fun and eye-opening and joyous and [insert all the good adjectives here], is also exhausting.

I have half a dozen half-baked and semi-formulated potential blog posts (which my brother-in-law rightly dubbed “bluuuhs”) floating around in my brain. They’re beautiful posts, really, with deep insights about life and children and adventure. Or they would be if they were written, I’m sure. But they aren’t – written, that is – and, given my track record thus far, they may never be.

C’est la vie.

(We’re highly cultured and educated around here, as you can tell by my use of the kind of French that is not frowned upon in civilized conversation.)

I have been known, on occasion, to set higher expectations for myself than are, perhaps, realistic.

(Exhibit A: the first section of this post.)

As we drove through Michigan’s U.P. this afternoon, I mentioned my failure to help the girls journal. I’d dreamed of such a beautiful keepsake and instead, they’ll have the two or three entries we managed to complete before fizzling out.

“Because you’re pregnant,” he said, raising his hand for a fist bump.

“So, what, that’s an excuse for me slacking for the next six months? And beyond that, because then I’ll have a newborn …”

“As far as I’m concerned, yes.”

“And then after that, I’ll have four kids, which seems like it should be an excuse for some time after that.”

“Babe,” he said, grinning, “if you play this right, you can coast for a long time.”

He’s been known to give me a push when I need it, though, too.

“You’re past due for another blog post,” he said to me during those same hours in the car.

“I know. But I haven’t found the time.”

“Well, we’ll be in the same place for the next three nights. No excuses, babe.”

And so, in a combination of the two – no excuses about blogging, but also slacking from my original intention of inspirational and thoughtful writing – a brief recap of where we’ve been and what we’ve done in the last month:

We’ve seen animals of all kinds.

We’ve learned loads in museums.

We’ve visited places that teach us about the past, both ancient and not-so-ancient.

We’ve reconnected with friends and family, and explored fun places with them. (Not pictured: cousins! (my sis and fam) in Ogden UT, and good friends in Bentonville, AR.)

We’ve experienced the beauty of creation.

We’ve had ice cream. On more than one occasion.

A certain one of us has climbed up on every tractor he’s found.

(We’ve also experienced long days in the car, tantrums, difficult bedtimes, over-tired kids and adults, bug bites, and myriad other things that need not be documented in photographs here.)

In true squashing-my-overachieving-tendencies style, I won’t even end with a pithy remark or a closing summary, because it’s late, and I’m tired.

And also? I have it on good authority that I have an excuse to coast for a long time.

Scratch that. I do have a few last things to say.

Maybe this [decidedly imperfect] blog post that is really little more than a smattering of photos is better than nothing at all. Which is, of course, an apt metaphor, if a bit obvious. But then, I often need the obvious.

And also, and more importantly:

This is a good life I have, and I am grateful I get to live it.

10 response to "On the Road: Whirlwind Photo Tour Edition"

  1. By: Kathie Posted: June 5, 2021

    Looks like you are enjoying a wonderful trip! We have missed you, but know only too well that the memories you are making are valuable! The pictures and your writing are always beautiful!

    • By: Jenn Posted: June 8, 2021

      Thank you, Kathie!

  2. By: Sarah Bond Posted: June 5, 2021

    I love this post and all the photos, and most importantly, the grace to just live in the moment and let it be messy, imperfect, and full of love. You guys are instilling some amazing values in your kids. Happy traveling, friends!

    • By: Jenn Posted: June 8, 2021

      Thank you, Sarah.

  3. By: Chris Posted: June 5, 2021

    Whew! Jen, i’m exhausted just looking at what you all have accomplished/seen/done in such a short time! What a super trip!! Praying you continue to enjoy the adventure and still get the rest you need for YOU as you grow a new human. Hugs!

    • By: Jenn Posted: June 8, 2021

      Thank you, Chris! I so appreciate your prayers!

  4. By: Linda Posted: June 6, 2021

    I love this, Jen!! Looks like a fabulous trip you will cherish for a lifetime. An honest post about life’s realities and the discrepancies that may present when setting ideals, but how precious a husband you have who is your encourager to point out reality is a place one can be satisfied, experiencing joy in the moments despite preconceived expectations not being met. That’s that kind of partner you want by your side! You two are fabulous together and your growing family is so very blessed. I love your commitment to each other. Hugs and blessings to you all.

    • By: Jenn Posted: June 8, 2021

      Such a kind comment, Linda! Thank you.

  5. By: Cissy Murphy Posted: June 8, 2021

    Love reading about your adventures, Jenn! Your writing is so insightful, genuine and very entertaining. Such amazing memories being made with your kiddos. Happy trails! Can’t wait to read more…

    • By: Jenn Posted: June 8, 2021

      Thank you for reading, Cissy! And for your kind words of encouragement.:)

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