Tag: vacation

We were recently able to sneak away to Maui for 17 whole days- an amount of time that felt downright scandalous to set aside for the sole purpose of rest which is probably why I secretly planned to accomplish a lot of “inner work” while I was there.

You know, dreaming, planning, reflecting, figuring out my next right step in all major categories of life, that sort of thing.


There was none of that.

Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Instead I rested.

Like, actually rested.

And you know what?

Not being productive might be the most productive thing I’ve ever done.

It was like my entire soul exhaled when I wasn’t even aware I’d been holding my breath.

I didn’t recognize it until I’d finally relaxed (which wasn’t until around Day 4 because it takes a while to fully decompress) but it turns out I’m actually a pretty high-strung person. Maybe not on the surface.

But inwardly?

My mind is always buzzing. It’s leaping to the next thing on my to-do list, or fretting over what that list should consist of, or it’s indulging my inner monologue which runs an endlessly critical loop of worry, pressure, and/or guilt.

Wow, I really sound like a basket case here, don’t I? But hey, I’m just being honest. I’m not proud of it, but the truth is that the real me is not very chill. Which is why it was so good to quit dressing up rest with a secret agenda for “inner work” for once. To take the time to rest, be with my people, play in the ocean, and completely SHUT IT DOWN.

It reminded me of this thing that Emily Freeman said last year at the Hope*Writers workshop. She was talking about waiting as an important part of creative work and she pointed out that music isn’t solely made up of different notes strung together, it’s equally about the pause between those notes. Read More…

Well the third annual Road-trip is officially on the books and I can honestly say it’s been the best one so far. Which is saying a lot, because we spent more time in the car than any other year.

32 accumulative hours, to be exact.

Not that I’m counting or anything.

As I told you guys last week, Amber and I decided to go big this year and brave the 12 hour drive to Disneyland. Which was really more like a 16 hour drive because CHILDREN. We spent 4 eight-hour days in the car (round-trip) and I’m happy to report that the kids handled it amazingly well. There was no melting down. There was no fighting. There weren’t even any complaints of hogging air-vents, or “she won’t stop looking at me!” like we’ve experienced in years past

And bonus: we listened to the entire Hamilton musical on the way, because what the heck else are you supposed to do in a car for 8 hours? Now, I should pause here to admit that I have been extremely resistant to all of the hype surrounding Hamilton. I had no intention of getting sucked in. I had no intention of caring at all. I certainly had no intention of becoming one of those people who are always blithering on about a musical and insisting other people listen to it.

But you guys.

It’s so good.

It really is incredible.

I had chills more than once listening to it.

It was kind of like that one time I thought I’d casually watch just the first episode of Scandal, and the next thing I knew it was 3am and I was in too deep to ever turn back. I’m afraid that Hamilton, much like Scandal, is a polarizing trend. You’re either in, or you’re out. There is no gray area. Read More…

Today was the first day of the annual road-trip that Amber and I take with our kids. We got up early, loaded my car to the literal brim with kids, beach bags, snacks, and the like, and after MUCH anticipation we finally hit the road.


In case you missed it, last week I shared all about this tradition that we’ve started, and a few things we’ve learned over the years (the hard way). You can read about our past triumphs and tribulations here.

This year is a little bit special though, because we’ve decided to pull out all the stops. We’re going big, partly because we just wanted to, and partly because we threw the idea out there only halfway seriously, but then failed to plan anything else before it was time to actually go.

So it’s really happening.

We are going to Disneyland, people.

That means a 12 hour drive across state lines.

In the same car as the children.

It is either the best or the worst idea that we’ve ever had.

We told them this morning, and the kids had no idea, which was nothing short of a miracle because I have a hard time keeping a lid on fun surprises because EXCITEMENT and FEELS! So we waited all the way until today, and we let Teya (Amber’s oldest, who is 12 now, and opted for middle school church camp instead of the road-trip this year) tell them so she still felt involved on some level.

There was an excessive amount of hooting, hollering, and cheering upon hearing the word “Disneyland” so Amber and I were sufficiently pleased with ourselves. Read More…

Well I don’t want to jinx anything by saying it out loud, but I do believe things are finally quieting down around here. Our schedules have been so busy for the last two months that I’ve landed in July and I’m not even sure how I got here.

I’m entirely disoriented but I only have 5 days to get my bearings, because the most important week of summer (as far as the kids are concerned) is almost upon us.

It’s here, you guys.

It’s time for The Annual Ambers Road-trip. Read More…

It’s my first real post of 2016 and there’s so much that I want to talk to you guys about! So much actually, that I realized I need to divide it up into 5 separate posts, so as not to make your eyes bleed from exhaustion by trying to squeeze it all into one. See how much I care about you guys? You’re welcome.

It’s been a very busy few weeks around here. Christmas happened. 15 of my relatives came to town to celebrate with us, which including my local family equaled 25 of us all together. It was quite the Griswold style affair. I hosted our traditional Christmas Eve dinner, so I don’t mean to brag or anything, but that’s a lot of people and if you need me I’ll just be over here high-fiving a million angels because DISHES.

Here we all are, squeezed into one photo in my kitchen.


It was a lovely time with family and- bonus! It turns out my children thrive on extra chaos. They loved it.

Here’s our own little family on our porch on Christmas Eve, because for some reason that has become our tradition since moving into the Forever House.


Every holiday we take a picture on the porch. It may feel redundant as the years pass by, but one day it’ll just be Husband and I standing there and I want to document all the years we have with our littles on this porch.

As you guys know, we’d been planning to surprise the kids on Christmas morning with the very big news that we’d be leaving to join our best friends in Hawaii a few days later. You also know that I held on to this secret for an entire year which is basically the biggest accomplishment of my life. I’m happy to report that all my be-labored efforts to keep a lid on it were totally worth it and their reactions fully lived up to my expectations.

They basically lost their minds. It was the best. I really wanted to include the video of their reactions here so you could see for yourself, but unfortunately I’m not tech savvy enough to figure out how to do that so you’ll just have to use your imagination. But just know that it was totally magical.

There was a minor (major) kerfuffle the day before we were meant to leave when we realized that we (and by we I mean Husband) booked tickets to the WRONG ISLAND. Yes, he did. After some very expensive last minute rearranging, and a rather pointless pit stop in Honolulu, we joined our friends in Maui for 9 whole glorious sleeps. In fact, on the plane ride home Husband and I had to recount this together at least three times on our hands because it went by so quickly that we were convinced the whole trip was only 4 or 5 days long. It turns out Hawaii is a strange vortex where time has no actual meaning. The days were long and leisurely but the collective whole of them felt as if they were so fast they’d never even happened. Like some kind of dreamy and tropical mirage in the desert of regular life.

It was wonderful. Read More…

Today I’m writing from beneath the comfort of my favorite new blanket. My friend Megan gave it to me for my birthday and I love it because it is the exact weight that a blanket should be. Just heavy enough to feel cozy but not so heavy that you feel trapped. Lately I keep wrapping up in this blanket and staring out my window while I wonder what to write about.

I think I’m still experiencing a little bit of burnout after writing every single day in the month of October. But I’ve taken a long enough break and now I feel all the words brewing again so I need to just start getting them out (because word-constipation is a real and serious affliction y’all).

As usual, life has been busy and full and hard and hilarious. I’ve written a bit lately about some of the heavier things happening in my heart but luckily for you, today I don’t feel heavy. Today I’m happily wrapped in my good blanket and I’m getting very excited for Christmas morning- mostly because we have a big surprise for the kids this year.

A few days after Christmas we are flying to Hawaii to join our best friends for a week of sun, fun, and hopefully not getting terribly sunburned. This may be asking too much for a family of palies who’s skin is basically the color of blue iced milk, but whatever. As long as there are cocktails with umbrellas I shall soldier on, regardless of what shade of magenta my skin is.

This plan was hatched over a year ago which means that I have kept a secret for an entire year. If you know me at all, you know that this is basically the biggest Christmas Miracle of all. I am not good at faking or lying or keeping exciting tidbits to myself. I’ve almost blown it in front of the kids at least a hundred times. If I can just keep a lid on it for 5 more days it’ll be arguably the biggest accomplishment of my life.

I keep daydreaming about the children’s reaction, envisioning them jumping up and down, squealing, and thanking us profusely while maybe a single tear falls from their unbelieving eyes the moment we tell them, but I should probably reign that in because more than likely they’ll be over-tired or overstimulated after opening presents and their real life reaction may not live up to my theatrical standards.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

There are three more things that bear mentioning here before I crawl out from under my blanket and start doing productive things that require me to move the rest of my body. Read More…

I don’t mean to brag or anything, but the Ambers kind of nailed it with The Roadtrip this year. You guys. We wound up visiting seven cities in four days with five children. I’m no mathematician but I’m pretty sure that all adds up to WHAT THE DEVIL.

I don’t feel like we were moving at a break-neck pace or that we were even operating on much of a schedule. Like I said, we played it pretty fast and loose in the planning department this year. It just kind of worked out that we were able to squeeze in quite a bit. Plus, it didn’t take us long to realize it was best to keep the troops moving along- because when five kids are tired and bored things can start to get dicey.

I intended to break this up into two posts but at the end of Day 2 I lost my internet connection at the hotel and lost my whole post along with it because it hadn’t saved correctly. Just envision some light cursing, a 5 minute denial stage, and lots of uselessly aggressive tapping of the keyboard and you get the idea. Since I am recapping the whole trip in one post I promise I shall do my best to be brief. (That’s a lie. Don’t you know me at all?)

Read More…

We are 6 days into our summer break and I think it’s important for you to know the real state of affairs up in here. To begin, the house is a wreck. This usually is untrue or an exaggeration when I say it, but this time it’s really true. The floors are sticky. The bathrooms are so dirty they bring shame on our family. I am only 4 laundry loads in to a 13 load pile of clothes, bedding, and beach towels. The windows have so many handprints and dog-nose-prints it looks like everyone was held in the house against their will and was clawing to get out or something.

The kids are a total wreck. We have been camping for the last four days and while it’s been a blast it has also been exhausting. Jaxon even told me himself last night on the fifth hour of our six-hour drive home that he was “wrecked”. Bella chimed in with, “Yah mom. I’m seriously conquered down.”  She tends to have a flair for the dramatic so I was at a momentary loss as to what “conquered down” actually meant and if it was a good or a bad thing. I’m pretty sure she meant something in between “tuckered out” and “hunker down” and simply “tired.”

I was talking with my friends recently about how the month of May was supposed to slow down and ease us into our breezy and carefree summer schedules, but how in reality the month of May was aggressively out to kill us all. Between sports and projects and end of year ceremonies and parties it all just got a little bit bananas, really. And then June came. It turns out that May is really just June’s annoying kid sister. I am here to tell you that June is the one you really have to watch out for. June is slightly unhinged and off its medication and definitely rooted in mania. Read More…

Summer break is only two days away and while my little heart just skips a beat at the thought of ditching morning alarm clocks and carpooling and packing lunches for three whole months, I can’t lie. I’m also a tiny bit anxious.

I mean, I only have two kids but they have the attention span of a gnat, and let’s face it:  there are a lot of hours in the day to fill.

My kids have a playroom full of toys that ironically they never seem to play with voluntarily unless they are supposed to be cleaning them up. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again:

Kids are jerks, man!

So help me God, I know I will lose it around the seventeenth time they come to me whining that they’re “bored”…which in all honesty will probably be within 90 minutes of the first day of the summer break.

So I started to think it might be in my best interest to be prepared. My Facebook news feed is suddenly filled with posts of moms touting their creative, glossy, laminated charts filled with brilliant summer activities for their kids to choose from.

“Build a fort out of sticks and clay! Play in the fort for an entire day!”

“Make homemade playdough/marshmallows/rockets! It’s easy!”

“Whittle a new toy out of wood!”

“Build a pallet garden! Teach your children the art of growing organic. They will naturally be super interested!”

Read More…