15 Days Away

Our family just returned from two wonderful weeks of vacation. 15 days to be specific. We used all major forms of transportation: a train, a cruise ship, a rental car and to return home, a Boeing 737. It was so fun being together with our four children and various extended family members for a memorable fall getaway.

Here are some of the cities we spent time in during our trip: Vancouver BC, Victoria BC, San Diego, Anaheim, Flagstaff and Phoenix.

During our trip I laughed, played, ate too much and simply enjoyed God’s greatest gift to me… my family. Here are a few random thoughts / observations I made while I spent 15 days away.

I am very blessed

I’ve done nothing to deserve the amazing life I get to live. God has been good to me and I am blessed to be able to enjoy all He’s given me. My wife is amazing. My kids are so much fun. I am a blessed man and I’m living a better life than I deserve.

grandGod is good at making stuff

From the gorgeous Strait of Juan de Fuca to the vast Pacific the natural beauty we saw on our trip was astounding. We watched Orcas on an afternoon swim. We caught some incredible southwest sunsets and for the very first time saw the Grand Canyon. Wow. The Grand Canyon was amazing. Far beyond what I thought I would see.

I enjoy reading

I’m not sure I was fully aware of this before this trip. My normal routine includes watching Disney Jr., live sports, Netflix, Disney Channel, my DVR, a Disney movie, and some stand-up comedy.

My reading is limited to our church Bible reading plan, our Children’s storybook Bible, some scattered blog posts and the occasional book written by a pastor.

Not good enough. I discovered I am hungry for more and read a lot this trip.

Disconnecting is fun

Heading north of the border meant we wouldn’t be using our phones for texting and data. We could only use them when connected to WIFI. Being on the cruise ship meant our phones were essentially useless.

Both of those factors meant seven days of bliss. I couldn’t check email, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or any other technological vices.

Once we reached land in San Diego we kept the theme going and did our best to keep our phones away except for pictures. Lots of pictures.

Disconnecting was fun.

I like football a lot, but I didn’t miss it much

For two weeks I didn’t really know anything about my favorite football teams. Initially the thought of this was daunting. Once underway I realized something important: I like football, but didn’t miss it much.

Theme Park etiquette

At one point during our trip we were in a theme park for seven straight days. Theme park etiquette is important and here are a few pointers I picked up on:

• Water ponchos on water rides are weak – If you don’t want to get wet, don’t go on a water ride waterponcho
• “25 min wait” time is relative – this can mean 10 minutes or 50 minutes depending on the attraction. The signs could also read, “Your ride is ‘On its way’”
• No matter how hot it is outside DON’T use the urinal wearing flip flops
• Never make eye contact with other parents when their kids are having a meltdown. Look away and pretend you don’t notice… your number will be called soon enough.
• I’m never quite sure if I’m being well cared for by Disney or exploited… They’re fantastic when it comes to designing attractions for our children, but popcorn shouldn’t cost $12.75.
• When passing a dad pushing the same Bob Double Jogger Stroller you’re currently pushing ALWAYS do the head nod and wave like Bikers do (okay, that’s really a thing, but it should be).

I missed my church & recovery group

Being away and with my family was wonderful, but I really missed my church family. I didn’t expect it, but I missed the connection to my guys recovery group as well. Being a part of a community is more valuable than I realized.

You’re never too old to be young lady

One night after the Disney’s California Adventure park had closed I witnessed one of the coolest things I’d see on the entire trip. As our family was walking out we heard a commotion behind us on the virtually empty streets of the nearly vacant theme park. “Woooooooo! Yipeeeee! Wahoooooo!”

It was a woman in her early 90s zipping around on her scooter. She was riding full speed (approx: 7 mph) and lady2veering all over the open streets. She was having a great time. She laughed and smiled as she sped along. I managed to get a couple action shots of her.

I loved her young at heart attitude. I hope I’m as adventurous as her when I get older. Heck, I hope to be that way even now.

Team > Individual

I couldn’t have been gone and guilt-free without being part of an amazing team. I didn’t worry at all about work because I know the teams I’m apart of are doing well without me.

I’m thankful to do life and church this way. Team > Flying Solo.

Our kids are cooldisney

At one point during our trip with the kids asleep in the car Stacey and I talked about how much fun we were having. A major factor in that fun is that we truly enjoy our kids.

They are wonderful and at times terrible. Being of my optimistic outlook I’ll go with Terribly Wonderful.

Andrea – thoughtful & loving
Hailey – expressive & sweet
Lincoln – playful & kind
Nolan – good-natured & snuggly

Vacationing with our kids for two weeks was certainly work at times. But just like the actors say when they win an award, “It was a true labor of love.”

My wife is amazing

None of this happens without my amazing wife. She’s our planner. She’s our vacation budget Zen master. She works hard to make vacations fun, interesting and under budget.

I love taking trips with you Stacey. You’re the best. Let’s vacation together again soon.

How does Europe around Christmas sound?

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