I recently got back from a road trip with my parents, sister, and both sets of grandparents. We drove out caravan-style to Nebraska and Colorado to spend some time with extended family on both my mom’s and dad’s sides of the family.img_0809

We’ve made similar trips before as a family of four, but not for a few years now, and we never took both sets of grandparents with us. But it worked out really well! While I’m not crazy about extended time cooped up in a car, I had a really good time visiting relatives I haven’t gotten to see for quite a while. And I got some pretty good reading time in while in the car, so it was a win-win.

We stayed the first few days in Scottsbluff, Nebraska with my dad’s relatives. Jackie and I spent a good part of that img_0805time with our cousins. We went hiking in the badlands (and managed not to fall this time or get bitten by a rattlesnake), watched some movies, and got to fly in an airplane with our cousin. He even let me control the plane for a bit, but let’s just say my piloting skills still need some work. It was a exhilarating experience, though!

Our relatives showed us the best Scottsbluff hadimg_0734 to offer, complete with the requisite trips to the Scottsbluff zoo and “the Walmart.” One afternoon, we even helped shuck corn, making us true Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Our time there flew by (haha, pun intended), and before we knew it, we were off to the next leg of our trip!

In Aurora, Colorado, we visited our great aunt and uncle on my mom’s side, where we had a few more days to enjoy meals together, watch movies, shop, and sightsee. We stayed at their img_0810house and were so incredibly blessed by their hospitality and company. My aunt even had brochures and lists of places we could go while we were there. One day we drove to Estes Park to walk around a bit and have a picnic lunch, followed by a trip to the historic Stanley Hotel.

Another day we went to Casa Bonita for nostalgia’s sake, and it was every bit as cheesy and tourist-y as I remember it being when we first went several years ago, but it was a lotimg_0807 of fun to go back and spend an evening there with my family.

Then we spent one final night in Nebraska on our way back home to Minnesota, one in which we celebrated my great-uncle’s birthday with lots of good food, games, conversation, and even more family than before!

I had thought it would be stressful to leave for vacation only a few days after moving into our new house, but it was actually a welcome break. We had gotten enough done at the house that I was comfortable leaving the rest until after we returned, and I couldn’t wait to get away from the piles of boxes and remaining to-do list.

While on vacation, I found a much lower-stress version of myself. I didn’t have to worry about getting a long to-do list of tasks done every day. I just got to enjoy my time spent img_0808with family. I think I laughed more in that week than I have all summer.

We didn’t have everything planned out every day, and I was surprisingly okay with that. I was more flexible and relaxed, and it was refreshing. As much as I normally like to control and plan everything, it was a relief to get a break after so much stress and chaos from buying and moving into a new home.

As I move back into the rhythms of post-vacation life, I hope to hold onto the more relaxed version of myself I rediscovered on our trip. I’m going to work on that in a more intentional way going forward, and you can read more about that here.

Did you go anywhere fun this summer? I’d love to hear about it!

September 13, 2016

Jessie

I am a twenty-something recent college grad trying to understand what life in the β€œreal world” looks like, even as I trip over my own two feet quite a bit in the process. I am a firm believer in grace, fitness, community, nutrition, simpler living, travel, books, sunshine, kindness, creativity, living life with my people, and pursuing a full life in Christ. I like to spend my time cooking (and then devouring) healthy and delicious food, running outside, curling up with a good book and a cup of tea, and relaxing with friends and family. I'm a program manager for the maintenance side of a display fixture company by day and a writer/cook/reader by night. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a degree in Communication, but I'm still not sure what I want to be when I grow up. When I'm not writing, you can find me cooking up some new-to-me recipes in the kitchen (inevitably making a huge mess), watching a show on Netflix (lazy Sundays, anyone?), hanging out with my friends or family (they're the best!), or curled up on the couch with a big book (the best way to unwind, hands down). My idea of a perfect day would include all of those things-- getting in a run in beautiful weather, making a delicious and nutritious series of meals, playing games, watching a movie, or just chatting with friends and/or family, and curling up with a good book and a nice soy candle. And maybe some dark chocolate. Always some dark chocolate. It is life. I am prayerfully seeking to live every day with purpose, intentionally pouring into the things and relationships that mean the most to me. I want to make the world a better place, one day at a time, in whatever little way I can.

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