We. Love. To. Travel.
I can think of a million reasons why we shouldn’t go on family trips. Shlepping Zeesy’s food, a large age range of kids that have so many different interests and needs, significant behavioral challenges and I could go on….
It takes a huge amount of work and I need to be really intentional on what I want to facilitate, and at the same time, manage my expectations!
Menny just got home from treatment, and we have a pretty hectic summer coming up with us being spread all over the place. I felt it in my bones, we needed to come together in a very focused way to ground ourselves and reconnect as a family.
We had a very short window to make it happen. We needed somewhere close enough, but that felt like we were away. We found an Airbnb right outside of Ashton, Idaho, 15 min up a dirt road, 3.5 hours from Bozeman. Here is a link to the house we stayed in, https://bit.ly/3vNVeZt. It is beautiful with gorgeous views.
This is when quality vs. quantity really matters 😍 we were away for 3 whole days but boy was it just what we needed.
Commercial message: Sometimes, if we can’t go somewhere super exciting or we can’t get away for enough time, we tell ourselves that it’s not worth it. I’m here to tell you that getting away, even for a few days, can be very powerful for your family. Some focused attention is so important and hard to do at home with so many distractions pulling at us.
I get asked a lot, how do I create a cohesive family unit with many children with different backgrounds and all the many challenges that come with building a family through adoption. First of all, we are not always as cohesive or functional as I would like 😏 it takes a lot of work and there are many ups and downs, but travel plays a very significant role to make it work. Which is why I have a travel section on my blog, and we do it as much as we could.
Ok, let’s get to the point 😉 I’m going to tell you about this most recent trip to eastern Idaho.
This was our plan, my husband was landing from New York at 1:00 PM on Monday, we wanted to head out around 2:00 PM. I was worried about getting everything ready solo with the kids around. I was super organized, and I rocked it! Except, I didn’t, An hour and a half into our trip I got that terrible sinking feeling (if you are a mom I’m sure you’ve experienced this once or twice) and I realized that I left Zeesy’s food (she has a special medical diet, you can read more here) sitting pretty in the fridge in her special cooler. I had to break the news to my husband, not fun lol and we needed a plan. Driving back would be torture! Luckily, I was able to get my housekeeper to meet us and bring Zeesy’s food. We waited 2 hours for her to come and it did affect our plans, but we had a fun time in the park, and I really believe it was an amazing opportunity to model a few lessons for our kids. 1. We all make mistakes, it’s not fun but we survive. 2. Flexibility and resilience – things did not go as planned, we needed to pivot and come up with a new plan, that’s life! 3. Regulation – we all want our kids to be able to regulate their emotions and reactions to disappointment or when something doesn’t go their way, but do we model that? Here was my opportunity to model for them what that looks like, NOT EASY! Bottom line, I was regulated = kids stayed regulated, and we had a good time.
BTW I forgot to mention earlier, I chose to sit in the back with the kids as they are in a stage of constant bickering, I figured that with me right there in the midst of the action, it would help, instead of me being a referee from the front. It was a good decision. The more we can set ourselves up for success, the better!
We finally made it to our destination, a few hours behind and apparently, we weren’t done being flexible.
We had planned to do a BBQ for dinner, we brought with a portable grill, but we couldn’t figure out how to set it up safely. (Yes, I know that’s another whole discussion). We had frozen food with no way to cook it and it was already hours past dinner time. We discovered that the house we rented had an open fire pit, so we gathered sticks poked them through frozen hotdogs and roasted them over a fire. Something that could’ve been full of tension and stress, turned into an adventure. A memory that no doubt my kids will remember fondly!
Bedtime was super exciting as there was a triple bunk bed, what more can we ask for!
We were only there for two full days, so, I planned a sensory activity for the mornings and then we would go out. Tuesday, we played with slime (Elmers goo is my favorite). Here’s a link. https://amzn.to/2SlqMbs
Kids went into the hot tub and we just hung out being low key, well the Bruk version of low key…. while enjoying the beautiful outdoors and views from the house.
After lunch we headed out to Mesa Falls. We did a 2.5-mile hike (I ended up having to carry Chana Laya for the entire hike) but really didn’t get to see the falls, which was so weird. Turns out, we went completely the wrong way, and the falls were just steps away in the other direction! Woops lol. Sometimes you search high and low for something, and the answer is right in front of your nose…. The falls were absolutely stunning! And I am glad we didn’t find them right away or we wouldn’t have done the hike which was an experience 😂 sometimes the journey is where it’s really at!
We were pretty pooped after that, we went back to our Airbnb and settled in for a movie night with frozen grapes and ice cream. Pretty special and it really felt like a treat because we never do that at home. Dinner and an early bedtime, as the night before was a late one.
Wednesday morning our sensory activity was Orbeez https://amzn.to/35IQidK followed by coloring and more chilling ✌️. By the way tis important to note that these activities don’t last long for us but I still find it to be grounding and a great way to start the day, and it feels special on a family trip.
This time we packed lunch with us, and we headed to Island Park where we rented two razers (two 4 seaters) which I would describe as the new and updated version of an ATV or 4-wheeler. We had so much fun!!! We went up a mountain where we climbed 9,500 feet In elevation, some parts were really windy and narrow and oh boy was it scary and thrilling. We ended up at the peak with the most gorgeous views and it is there that we ate lunch. Didn’t hang out too long as it was way colder up there than we had expected. We made our way down the mountain and continued on to Henry’s Lake, another beautiful spot which we enjoyed very much.
We returned the razers and we were quite the sight, covered in dirt, evidence of a great time. It was an activity that I would highly recommend.
After dinner we had a family paint night. I brought paints and canvases and it was a great family activity that everyone can participate stress free.
If you remember, part of the goal for this trip was family connection and I thought a lot about how I wanted to do that. everything we did was to facilitate that.
We left the next morning and headed back to Bozeman. Like I said, short but oh so sweet.
We had planned to stop for lunch at Quake Lake but couldn’t find the turn off. So, we randomly pulled over on the side of the road and it ended up being such a hidden treasure. It was a great way to end our trip!
I love sharing our travel adventures with you, and I hope it inspires you to do the same!
The one thing that I learn over and over again is that the world is such an amazing place. There is beauty everywhere you look. You don’t have to go far or spend a lot of money. You just have to open your eyes and find the unique beauty that’s right in front of you!
If anyone is interested in a trip to Eastern Idaho, I will link a post from https://bit.ly/3d0L9Sk (one of my favorite blogs) that shares even more things to do in the area.