Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Summer Plans

These last few months have been about strategizing for the move, contemplating ideas in fuzzy gray non-specifics. I've been de-cluttering like mad, we've been doing the house projects to get everything up to speed, and I've been loosely gathering info about how to be a gypsy and where we'd like to travel.

In this last week, though, things have finally clicked into place. We have 80% of our itinerary, and I loooooove it. I've been hotels.com's best customer in the last couple of days, now that we have more concrete dates for each town. I'm also thrilled that we're coming way under budget for hotels, since I overestimated the hotel costs through our route.

I booked the pirate room, and even pre-paid it...so we sure as heck better be in Florence, KY on August 2nd. The chateau-themed hotel in Bloomington. I'm about to reserve the wigwam. And I'm researching specifics on a family campground in Ohio.

My "theme" is just turning all of it into an experience, even down to quirky places to stay. A silly, simple time with low expectations and fun...not stress.

I love specifics. Frameworks for the adventure. Seems a bit contradictory, but it's a bit like what I wrote about my student. When you give boundaries and structure, the creativity can come out.

I am adoring the summer we'll be giving our children. 10 days with Grandpa Mike, then 10 days at the cabin, then time with Grandpa Tom and Grandma Candy. They'll have all these vivid memories of summers being loved in so many directions. Then off to our travels for another month.

This summer isn't about exotic locations. Madison, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Indianapolis. Going back to visit DePauw. Steve has managed to burrow ito my brain, and he's right...definitely waiting on the more exotic places. The pirate-themed room? That will bring buckets of joy (how's that for articulate?) to two little boys who will think they're in heaven. I need to make sure to bring swords and eye-patches. Renting cabins and go-karting and hiking day after day. So much fresh air and sunshine. Zoos and children's museums.

There are so many layers to the adventure waiting ahead of us, and I love the potential of it. Bringing memories and joy to these little spirits I'm raising. Getting to parent them in a way that fuels my tank too...not just slathering peanut butter and folding clothes (or not folding clothes, which is more accurate). I love doing those daily things with them, but a trip like this is who I want to be as a family. How I envisioned our life. Just going out and sniffing out the world...even if it's "just" Indianapolis. I want to see all of it. And show them all of it.

We could sleep in our car this trip and just hike in random forests and it would still be perfect to me, because I just want to be with my family. But all these other details falling into place makes me feel like things are really starting to bloom in our time together. We can create experiences that mean something to all of us (okay, maybe not Simone). But she'll feel the effects of this summer, too, just in how it shapes us.

Experiences and simplicity.

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