Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Why We Value Travel

I've been planning some of our trips for this year, and it has had me thinking lately about how valuable travel is. Our family didn't always used to place as heavy an emphasis on travel as we do now, and I really like talking about traveling, so I thought this would be a good topic! I know a lot of people don't see travel as a very valuable thing-it can be expensive, takes time off work, hard to plan, etc. but here are some reasons we see it as one of the most valuable things we can do with our children. 

Time with our kids
Each week, between activities, school, work, house work, etc. we might spend only 4  hours with our kids (I generally spend a lot more because I'm home with them, but there are days my husband doesn't see the kids at all, or only for a couple hours), but on vacation we spend all waking hours together. And those are hours that aren't usually interrupted by cooking, cleaning, errands, and the like. Those are truly quality hours with them, building memories and having experiences together. A week of quality time bonds us so much and strengthens our relationships with each other. That time together is priceless to us. How much more we have to build into our kids during those weeks! 

Exposure to new/different things
Traveling allows us to give our kids exposure to things and people that they might not get to have in our little everyday life bubble in Midwest America. Sure, we try our best on a day to day basis, but there are some things you can't provide where you are. It's good for our kids to see other ways of life. There are tremendous differences culturally even from the midwest to the deep south, or from the west coast to the east. Those are good things for them to experience. It's good for them to see that our way of life isn't the "right" or only way. It's good for them to try new foods, hear different dialects and languages we may not hear regularly, and even see different routines and ways of living. I'm always fascinated by it and I hope they grow up to be as well. I hope it makes them more well rounded, empathetic, curious, loving people. 

New experiences
Traveling often gives us the opportunity to give our kids new experiences. There's only so much we can do at home. Again, we certainly try, but we just don't have some things! Travel is a great way to try new things. To see new regions. To have new experiences. My hope is that these experiences together will be some of their strongest and best memories. Our times trying new things, going to new places, and maybe even stepping out of our comfort zones to do something we've never done before, are certainly also going to provide bonding between the members of our family. I hope that as they grow they will value experiences over things and that they will see the value in spending that time and making those memories rather than a new toy or item they'll be sick of in a month. 

A well deserved break
This goes along with my first point a little bit, but I believe travel is a much needed and well deserved break for all of us! It's so good for kids to be kids. To leave behind the school work, the friend drama (my kids aren't there yet, but I know as they age this could come into play), and whatever other stressors they might be experiencing, and just be free to enjoy themselves. To relax, to recharge, and to just enjoy their time. As adults, I think most of us can agree that we need that from time to time. Why wouldn't kids need it as well? I love seeing my kids without a care in the world, running free on the beach, climbing trees, exploring at a museum, watching a performance. Seeing that joy on their faces is one of the best parts of travel for me. 

There are certainly other things we could spend the money on that we put into trips . There are certainly other ways we could spend my husbands vacation days. But I don't think we'll regret for a second spending our money and time this way. Building into our kids, our bonds, and creating memories together will be absolutely worth every penny and hour of PTO spent! After thinking through these reasons, and looking back at some old vacations for pictures, I am absolutely ready and excited for our next family trip! It's going to be a really good one, and we're all counting down the weeks!!! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Happy List

I asked  my girls today to tell me one good thing. And it made me think about some good things in my own life. I love making happy lists, and it's probably something I should do more often. Sometimes taking a minute to think about the simplest little think can bring a lot of happiness in any given moment! So here are some things that are making me smile today.

Vacation planning

Our winter science unit {find it here}

Community/Solid friendships

Hot tea

Trader Joe's

Cousin visits

Date night 

Organizing an area that's needed it for a long time

The Reese's PB cup cookie I'm eating right now 

My sons' birthday coming up

Game nights 

Starting a new bible study

Warm soup & homemade bread 

What are some things that are making you happy this week? 

Monday, January 6, 2020

Goals & Plans for 2020

Years ago, it became evident to me that setting goals works a lot better for me than setting resolutions. Goals feel more like I'm working toward something, rather than avoiding something. I also usually feel like goals are more measurable, so I can actually see how it is coming along, which I like. I also like to set goals or plans each month, when I have a better idea of what our schedule, time, and events are like, but I wanted to share a few of the goals and plans we have for this year already!

Goals for 2020:
Health Goals
  • Get a thermography scan. This is something that has been on my "want to do" list for several years now and this is the year I just need to make it happen! 
  • 150 workouts. Last year was the first year in my life I have been able to stick to regular workouts. I started working out regularly at the end of February, found something I enjoy, and have stuck with it since. I completed 129 workouts last year, so I'm going to up that this year and shoot for at least 150! That gives me room for sickness, travel, etc. while still aiming a little higher than last year.
Spiritual Goals
  • Memorize 52 bible verses. This one is going to be so hard for me. This is a spiritual discipline I am not good at and have never prioritized. Our church put out a bible reading plan and it has a verse to go with it each week. I am not doing the plan, but my husband & I are both memorizing the verses. I think I'll be able to memorize them ok, it will just be remembering them once I start adding more and more. I have plans to put the current and past week posted on our bathroom mirror, and I've started making a graphic for my lock screen, so each time I pick up my phone, I'm seeing that week's verse. We'll see how it goes! I'm nervous about this goal. 

  • Study 8-10 complete books of the bible. This may not sound like a lot, but going through a whole book of the bible thoroughly can take me up to a couple of months. I think 8-10 books will be manageable! 
Home Goals
  • Have our carpets professionally cleaned. Another thing we've been talking about for awhile, but haven't actually done. We've been in our house 2 years and we're the first owners, so we are really wanting to keep up on it now so we don't pay the price later. 
  • Put the finishing touches on our master bedroom. We are sooo close! And we are notorious for getting something 90% done and then stopping. I don't want that to happen here!
  • Get a few more security measures put in place.
School/Knowledge Goals
  • Make a school plan for next school year for the boys. 
  • Start teaching music at home. (The girls have always gotten it at the program they go to, and this year it was only first semester, so they have nothing going currently in the way of music.)
  • Find a social studies curriculum that fits our family a little better for next school year.
  • Read 30 books. I would still really love to do a 50 book year, but that's lofty and I'm trying to be realistic. My highest year (2016) was 28 books, and I think I can do a little better! 
Personal/Random Goals
  • Find and invest in a good pair of gym shoes. In the little bit of time I've put into finding something I can only find running shoes or "fashion" athletic shoes, which is what I currently have and they don't grip the gym floor well (I'm looking at you, Nike Flex...)
  • Blog twice a month. A few years ago I had a weekly blogging goal and I did really well, and I like looking back on that year and seeing the consistency. Last year, I pretty much only did life recaps, which is also fun to look back on, but they get boring to write and I'm sure to read. Twice monthly (at minimum) feels manageable and will hopefully still help with consistency.
  • Get plans set in stone for a big family trip we are hoping for in 2021! 
  • Stay within budget for our eating out category every single month. This used to be the category we would go over in every month, and we really reigned it in last year, but still went over budget several months. Honestly, the majority of the time we eat out (besides date nights) is sheer laziness on my part, so I want to combat that by having easy meals in the freezer, or just planning ahead better so we can stay within our budget (which still allows for plenty of chick fil a, don't worry! ) every month this year. 
  • Finalize our will 
Family Goals
I have a few goals for other people in my family, which sounds weird, but most of them take training or intentionality on my part, so this is a way I can make sure those things are happening. 

  • Have the girls be able to completely shower themselves. This may be a skill they should already have, but they have so much hair...so, so much hair, that washing it is really a process they haven't been able to do on their own. My middle's hair is down to her waist, THICK and wavy, so it's going to take some work for her to be able to do it on her own. 
  • The girls cleaning their room with 0 help. I dream of the day when I can ask them to clean their room and don't have to sit with them to say 'put that away, put that there, that goes over there'. This is something they should be able to do on their own by the end of the year. 
  • Teach my boys all the letter names and sounds. They're well on their way already, but I want to be intentional about working hard at this with them! 
  • Have my girls (each individually) be able to prepare a lunch for all 5 of us with no-minimal help.
  • 12 date nights that aren't just going out to dinner! I love going out to dinner sans kids, but sometimes it feels like that's all we do when we have a night without them (every other week). I think if we could aim for once a month doing something different, I would love that! This will be easier in the warmer months when we can hike, bike, boat, etc. 
Trips for 2020:
We have a few trips we are *hoping* to make this year (nothing has been booked for any of this yet, so it could certainly change). 
  • Nebraska to celebrate some birthdays with the cousins this month! (This one is set in stone).
  • Probably another Nebraska trip at some point during the year. 
  • Southeastern (ish) U.S. trip. This one will cover 5 states, so it'll be quite a bit of driving and will be a bit more lengthy trip, but we have some really fun plans for it! We are hoping to do this in the late spring. 
  • I have a girls trip with a friend in the making for spring! Not sure where we're going yet, or if it will for sure work out, but I'm hoping it does! 
  • Camping! We've been putting this off for years and I actually want to go this year, instead of just keep almost going. I'm thinking maybe a one nighter in the late spring, and then if all goes well, a full weekend in early fall. 
  • I really want to go to The Gospel Coalition women's conference in Indianapolis. The speaker line up looks incredible and I've always wanted to go! 
  • Park City, Utah. This is one I've been dreaming about for a couple years now and it just hasn't worked out yet. It's pretty tentative again for this year, depending on budget and scheduling. I'd love to do this one in the summer. 
Things can always change quickly with trip plans, so I am not sure if all of these will happen, but it would be fun if they did! I love traveling so much! 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...