Three more weeks until we start rolling across the country. This month, while Toby, Molly, and Rusty, have been working on my sister’s garage in Michigan, the boys, Grace and I have been preparing for our trip. We have established a routine that works for the little boys and has helped cut down on harder days.
In the mornings we tackle tasks on the vacation prep to-do list, work of preparations for the house sitter that will be staying at the house while we are gone, do house/yard chores, and complete summertime school work.
One of the BIG to-do items we got crossed off the list this week was getting our menu for the trip figured out and creating a master shopping list that can be used for weekly grocery shopping as we travel along.
I also was able to assemble the freezer meals that we will use for many of our crock pot dinners as we travel. I made 30 freezer meals to fill the freezer of the bus so that meal time is a bit easier on vacation.
Then when our chores are done we pack a lunch and head out in the afternoon to enjoy our pool pass. But before we take our picnic to the pool we go walking/hiking. We are trying to build up everyone’s endurance with daily walks in preparation for hiking at many of the national parks we will be touring. The Michigan crew is walking daily up there and we are fitting in a walk each day before we swim at the pool, increasing our time/distance each day. The pool is the cool reward after working up a sweat.
We have tried a variety of walking paths and hiking areas around the area but this week we have been hiking the path at Ellwood City park that runs along the river behind the pool. It is a BEAUTIFUL hiking trail! The shade trees keep the walk a bit cooler and the boys love stepping off the path for a little rock climbing and exploring.
We are getting stronger and faster and I can see the conditioning working as the boys’ endurance and staying power increases.
After our walk we then spend a few hours at the pool enjoying the pool pass my parents graciously bought us.
The sun and the swimming wear the boys out, making for easier evenings and smoother bedtimes. Since Grace is now 18 she gets to join me in the pool for adult swim (offered the last 10 minutes of each hour)where we enjoy relaxing and floating while the boys sit and eat their lunch.
Grace and I have also enjoyed our adult evenings. Around 8:30 each night we call Toby on his cell phone and put it on speaker phone so we can have some family time before bed. Talking to Toby brings Tyler enough peace and security that he is able to go to bed without being paralyzed with fear, and it is nice for the Michigan crew to catch up on our news and visa versa. We do our evening devotional and have a night time prayer before hanging up. Then the boys get tucked into bed and Grace and I get some “grown up time” together. Grace has stepped into the role of co-parent while Toby has been gone and as a result has experienced all the work and fun that come with that role. In particular the wonderful feeling of freedom and celebration that comes when the boys are tucked into bed for the night and the adults can sit, watch non- cartoon shows, and pull out the good snacks that are hidden from the kids.
Bedtime is the best time of the day!
We have enjoyed our evenings together watching chick flicks and working our way through the “Call the Midwives” series while doing crafts together. It has been a really special time for Grace and I.
This weekend Toby, Molly and Rusty come home for the weekend and we can’t wait to see them! We are going on a final camping run to work out any last kinks with the bus before our big road trip.