Our 2016 Travel Planning


Yes it is March, actually the middle of March, and I am finally getting around to sharing our travel/vacation excitement.   For the first time since Travel Man and I got married we have actually made our 2016 travel plans along with reservations for the entire year! Yay!  Our longest trip will be our travel to Arizona, which we are actually in the middle of right now.  We’re taking in a full week of baseball’s Spring Training games.   We are so excited for this trip.  It’s going to be fun taking in all of the sights and sounds of baseball. 

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Last month we took a trip to one of the regional parks close to home and really enjoyed our weekend.   The campground we stayed at was quite peaceful and the birds  chattered away in the trees the entire weekend.  Life doesn’t get any better than that.  The weather was spectacular.  Sunny, temps in the low 70’s, and a bit of a breeze.  Perfect weather for a bowl of chili for lunch.  Yes we did that.  We haven’t been on a weekend jaunt since the end of November last year.    The holidays have come and gone, the New Year’s resolutions are lingering around, and we’re ready to settle into a travel rhythm for the year.

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Our short trip last month did remind us of a few things that are needed to have an enjoyable weekend jaunt.   It  is important for us to go through our Master Camping Checklist to be sure we don’t forget anything.  Like charcoal for the grill, or Travel Man’s favorite camping chair that he likes to sit on outside.  Even though we don’t always have to venture far from home to have a weekend away, we still need to take the time for our list.  Funny thing about that is I love lists.  But when we were packing up for this particular adventure, I got a little lolly-gaggy, and didn’t go through a final check of “The List”.

As I sit here writing today I’m reminded of just how blessed and lucky I am.  Lucky to have a husband who will do whatever it takes to have a relaxing weekend.  Lucky to be able to take time out for ourselves when we get a chance.  Lucky to have so many amazing places to travel to within just a few hours of our house.

We’re looking forward to our trips out on the open road this year, and as the year progresses I plan to share our travel tales with all of you.  Happy Trails everyone!

A Shift in the Travel Man Matrix

photoTravel Man’s been working close to home quite a bit recently, and it’s been quite the shift in our daily household routine.  He has been driving back and forth to work each day for a few months now.  That may seem elementary to some of you, but for my Travel Man it’s a whole new way of working.  This means commuting on the Southern California maze of freeways, navigating around town, and dealing with the exhausting traffic.  Plus this is not his “usual”  or his favorite mode of transportation to work.  The “usual” mode meaning a drive to the airport, and jetting off to his work destination.  In case you haven’t read about my Travel Man before, he’s what I lovingly refer to as a Road Warrior.  He travels quite extensively for his job, and prior to the past few months is normally “on the road” Monday through Friday each week.  You can read more about our crazy lifestyle here.

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This is the first time in a long, long time where he has been home at some point each night and gotten to sleep in his own bed.  What I find interesting about this scenario is that there are a few things I need to make sure I’m watching out for that I would have previously not worried about too much during his “usual”  work week.  

Here’s a list or my top 5 things I’m paying more attention to and observing around the house:

#1 Laundry– The main thing I need to remember is check the laundry.  On most trips Travel Man gets home and I empty his suitcase into the washer.  Not the case right now, I have to remember to pay attention to how full the hamper is (or the space immediately in front of the hamper) Ha!!  This has been a big,  huge change for the household organization.  Not in a bad way, mind you, just a change.

#2 Menu Planning- The menu planning needs to be in place each week to keep me sane.  A lot of times when Travel Man is “on the road” I might just have a simple toasted cheese for dinner or a chicken patty sandwich. But knowing that he is coming home for dinner at some point every night I have been much more diligent with my menu and meal planning.  This is a good thing for the entire family.  Eating out less, and eating home cooked meals more.

#3 After work routine– When Travel Man is “on the road”, I don’t usually see first hand how tired  he is after work.  He needs his quiet time, and his reboot time, that’s what he does.  I don’t usually see this side of his work life, until now.  He has carved out a little desk space for himself in our garage/ his workshop, and so far he’s able to escape the noise of the household when he needs to the most.

#4 Hobby  Time – Notice that doesn’t say “Hubby” time, although I do enjoy my hubby time.  It says hobby time.  You see as a “Road Warrior” there is so much of your work week spent traveling, hoteling, and eating out that it does not usually leave a lot of time for hobbies once you are back home.  But now with Travel Man not having to jet away somewhere each week I am finally seeing my husband have a little time of his own to discover and enjoy some hobbies.  His favorites are wood working, tinkering with our trailer-getting it ready for the next trip, and selling “stuff” on Craigslist.

#5 TV Time–  This is kind of unusual but here it is.  There are certain TV shows that I record on our DVR each week.  With Travel Man gone so much (previously) I would watch “my shows” while he was out-of-town.    This may seem trivial to some, but it is definitely a shift in our home life.  Now we watch more TV together, and I record less of “my shows.  Or we are able to just listen to music, and read together instead of watching any TV at all.

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Travel Man’s crazy schedule has calmed down so much over the past few months if he starts to fly all over the country again we’ll probably both go nuts missing one another.   I’m not entirely certain we’ll be able to successfully manage shifting the matrix back to the airport life.  We are always so grateful and blessed to have our time together at home.  Of course we’ll do what ever is necessary for Travel Man’s work world, but the Road Warrior  lifestyle would be on a different path once again.

 

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

 

 

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Our Family Calendar 2016

Yes friends it’s that time of year again.  It’s time for me to share our fabulous family calendar.  Actually I’m slightly late bringing this fabulous artwork to all of you this year.  We are creeping up on the 20th year of this calendar being put together.  Wow!  That fact alone amazes me to no end.  Just wow- another family tradition started by my parents. Over the last couple of years I was handed the editorial baton by my Mom to make sure the calendar tradition continues.  This year’s calendar is especially poignant because my Mom was able to get back into looking through pictures and put a page together for us. Thanks Mom!!  We’re so glad to have you back in the calendar making process.  (My Mom’s page is the one with the red background.)

It’s awe inspiring to see this project come together, and see the pages come to life as they get emailed in.  The process for the calendar pages goes like this.  There’s a post on our family Facebook page where everyone can join in and sign up for the month they want to put together.  Once all of the pages are assigned everyone is on their own to put the pages in place, and there’s a deadline for getting them turned in.  We all do the pages in Picasa’s collage format.  An easy way to get the pictures into a format that you like.  It actually takes longer to collect the pictures than it does to put the collage in place.  I always tell myself if there’s a picture or group of pictures I like I need to put them in a separate folder on my computer and collect them throughout the year.  So far this great idea hasn’t materialized for me.  My procrastination seems to get the best of me and I’m always scrambling to meet the deadline I set for the family!  

Once all of the photo pages are done it is my task to add the family birthdays’ and anniversaries for everyone.  My Mom chooses the photo that will become the cover for the calendar.  After we have proofed and re-proofed all of the birthdays, anniversaries, etc. we are off to the printer with our masterpiece.

So without further ado I present to all of you our 2016 family calendar.  A few of the months have definitive themes that are just treasures.  My Mom’s page is a collection of the black and whites from her childhood.  Family treasures and traditions just do not get any better than this.  It will always be my hope that this tradition will continue for many, many years to come.  Who knows maybe one day my grand-kids will be putting the calendar together!  Cheers to family traditions once again.  

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This post linked to the GRAND Social

Family Traditions & Collections

At the beginning of this year I had posted a picture on my “Renee’s Revelings” Facebook page with  my son, Bryan’s, collection of Christmas ornaments.  I have had quite a few traditions with my kids over the years, and wanted to share the ones that mean the most me.

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A lifetime of Christmas ornaments.

 

When I was a working mom, with four active kiddos I was always paying attention to things that I wanted to incorporate as traditions for us at home.  Holiday traditions, summer traditions, and just plain old family traditions.  Can you tell I’m a traditionalist at heart?

One of my favorite “traditions” was with the kids friends.  When any of them had a friend over for dinner they were always considered a guest in our home the first three times they had dinner at our table.  (I honestly cannot remember how I arrived at the number three.) After that I always told their friends you’re no longer a guest now you’re part of the family. Which was heart-warming for the friend, but my kids knew it meant I expect your friends to help out with serving dinner and cleaning up afterwards. I was usually the one doing the cooking.

During the summer months I had this tradition of taking the kids out for an ice cream after dinner.  The kids would be all bathed and clean and in their pajamas.  I’d say, “Hey let’s go get an ice cream!  Don’t change you can just go in your pj’s.  Pajama run!!!”  And then we’d all head for the car and the kids would be giggling all the way because they’d go out at  night in their pajamas.  Such fun memories.

Whenever we went to the beach during the summer I’d be sure and stop for an ice cream treat on the way home.  Are you noticing my  ice cream loving pattern here?  They still talk about the places we used to stop on the way home.  Such fun times piling everyone in the car along with all the gear for a day of sand and surf!

My holiday traditions with the kids are the ones that are the most precious to me, and the ones I know they will carry with them into their own homes.  Since my oldest daughter was a baby, and on her first Christmas in 1981, I bought her an ornament each year to commemorate the holiday.  The ornaments were the most precious of all of our family traditions for me.  Every year I would buy a special ornament for each one of the kids and paint their names and the year on each one.  I knew that one day they would be leaving the nest, and that collection of ornaments would go with them to start their first Christmas in their own houses with memories of their childhood.  Some years I would buy them all them same ornaments; Santa’s, or snowmen, or nutcrackers.  Other years I bought them ornaments based on a trip we had taken that year, or some place they had been, or a hobby they were interested in.   My oldest daughter has already continued this tradition with her own kids, and I hope she knows that she is creating memories that will last a lifetime.  That is precious to me.

As this New Year began and I was taking down our Christmas tree and the decorations I packed up my oldest son’s decorations for the last time.  I put them in a box with all of his other personal decorations that he will take with him to his own home later this year.  I will admit that I did get a little teary eyed during this process.  You see he’s the last one of our kids to take his beloved ornaments with him as he leaves the place he’s called home for over 25 years.  He’ll be getting married in the fall of this year, and have his own box of ornaments to decorate his first Christmas tree with in his own home.  That warms my heart knowing that his childhood memories and the collection of ornaments that he grew up with will live on each and every holiday season.

For me traditions, memories, collections, and pictures are the core of our family history. They are those little things that remind you of the warmth and the love of your home.  Or maybe certain traditions remind you of your parents, or grandparents.   The things that are important and special to you will last a lifetime, and are always the most meaningful.

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