In Which I Learn Nothing

Y'all, I thought I lost my mind last summer.  I'm pretty sure everyone else did, too.  I approached the kids' summer vacation time with charts and folders and lists and PLANS.  So.  Many.  Plans.  I wasn't going to let my children boredom and aggravation defeat me.  And, yes, some of my plans changed and some of my lists got tossed out and pretty much all the notebooks I bought to keep copious diaries with which to make memories got left blank, BUT.  We were not bored.  Also, I'm here to fight another summer.  So clearly something worked.

The (general) success of last year has bolstered me so, y'all, this year I have planned.  Last summer was amateur hour compared to this year's plans.  It's making me a little bit terrified about next year.  Because, y'all, we are going on a road trip.  And by "we" I mean "just the children and I, because my husband has retained his facilities and also he has to work".  And by "road trip" I mean "we will be driving for two months in a giant ass loop over six thousand miles".  Mind.  Officially.  Lost.

I have a calendar, a diary, and a folder full of reservations and tickets and printouts.  I've got a spreadsheet on the computer and my phone to help me keep track of the budget and expenses.  I've got Rubbermaid bins for organizing our supplies and a giant cooler and suitcases with the clothes for each day in a baggie that can be taken out without throwing all the other clothes in a corner to be lost somewhere in Nowheresville, Illinois.  I have maps for each travel day with stops to see giant eggs and concrete snowmen and a Stonehenge replica (because of course).  I have fun activities for the long driving stretches and empty paint buckets for the kids to collect souvenirs and signatures of all the people we visit along the way.  AND YET.  The main plan is to be able to toss out any plan that doesn't work for us (...well, maybe not the budget plan) and have a giant, crazy adventure.

(SIDEBAR:  For some people, not planning is how they have their best time.  They exist in the joy of the moment and they love the thrill of not knowing what's coming up.  Those people are amazing and probably retain the glow of youth well into their 90s.  Kudos, Those Peopl!  For me, the truly insane planning for months ahead of time is how I give myself the best chance of having that same joy and thrill.  I know it's not for everyone.  I know there are going to be people who are going to give me some giant side-eye and say, "Girl, you need to chill and roll with it."  I know.  But I also know me and how to best manage my crazy.  Trust in my insanity, yo!)

The one thing I really wanted to do last summer that I didn't do, and I REALLY, REALLY want to do this summer that I don't want to not do again, is chronicle our adventures as we go.  If they suck, if they are spectacular, if they change, all of it.  My favorite day of the year is the day I take photos of our every day life, from the time we wake up to the time we go to bed.  I typically do it in April, when the epic soul suck that is winter is finally on its way out and we're all coming back out into the sun again.  I know a lot of people think that when someone is busy taking pictures of everything, they're standing outside of everything, they're not experiencing it.  For me, it's the opposite.  It makes me notice things more, little things, and I want to keep remembering those feelings. 

So for this trip, my first solo road trip, my kids' first non-destination-oriented road trip (we've driven long ways lots of times to go back and forth to family for holidays, but never traveled for the sake of traveling), I really want to experience it.  So.  Planning until my eyes bleed, check.  Enough camera gear to take All The Pictures, check.  Yarn and wine budget built in, check.  Y'all hold me accountable to sharing on the regular, and I don't see what could possibly go wrong.

(Shut.  UP.)


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