...because home doesn't happen overnight.

riviera maya

Last winter when it was -20°F and we were suffering from cabin fever, Steve and I booked a trip to Mexico. Sans kids. I had mixed feelings. I was excited to have something (warm!) to look forward to, but I couldn’t help feeling a little anxious about how it was all going to play out. Disrupting a family’s routine is no joke. Who will watch the kids? Who will get the boys on and off the bus? Who will supervise homework? Who will feed and check in on Cheetah? Who will make sure Mabrey gets to gymnastics and Everett gets to his tennis lesson? And, crap!, I need a passport! The logistics alone had my mind reeling.

Everett’s accident happened a few weeks before we were scheduled fly out. That only compounded my anxiety. How could I possibly leave my kids after something like that? The timing was all wrong. But Steve was quick to point out that Everett was fine. His wounds were healing and he would be back to school. Plus, the vacation was already paid in full, non-refundable. My bonus mom was practically shooing me off to Mexico, stepping in to take care of the kids. “Go! Have fun!”

The day before we left was insane. It was almost enough to make me want to call off the entire thing. Typed schedules, lists, laundry, packed bags and backpacks, a birthday present for Layne’s best friend, drop-offs, goodbyes, lots of hugs and “Oh! One more thing…” And that was before I even started packing for myself.

riviera maya

But you know what? It was all worth it. In fact, it turns out the timing was perfect. It was just what we needed, although it took me a day or two to completely relax. At home, I don’t sit down until after the kids are in bed for the night. Lounging doesn’t come naturally. But by the end of the week I had it mastered. (Piña coladas helped.) And guess what? The kids were fine. They even missed me which doesn’t happen all that often since I quit my day job.

For so long, I’ve felt that vacations without kids aren’t worth the hassle / chaotic preparation / expense. I’ve even considered them a sign of weakness. Shame on me! I’m slowly realizing that’s just the mom guilt talking. It’s okay necessary to take a break – whether it’s an hour or a week. Sometimes I need to step out of my everyday roles as chauffeur, parent, booger wiper, toilet cleaner, etc. to be just me with the guy I married. I don’t want to be one of those couples who don’t know each other when their nest empties. So I’ve started thinking of these chunks of time alone as investments. They’re investments in our sanity, our relationship, our family, our future. And we’re vowing to make them happen more often. Looking at things from this perspective really diminishes the guilt for me.

riviera maya

What about you? How do you view adults-only vacations? Luxuries? Necessities? Investments? Do you vacation without kids?

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

05.04.15 / Liked & Linked

weekend wishing

The weekend brought lots of good news which we welcomed with open arms. It didn’t hurt that the weather was perfect, too. Steve worked on tidying the garage. The boys played with the neighbor kids. And I taught Mabrey how to wish upon dandelions – a necessary life skill ;)

A few things…

*The mama behind one of my favorite homes.

*A DIY closet-turned-pantry.

*A young family’s renovation of an old farmhouse. (It’s <1,000 square feet!)

*Use an apple slinky to make curly fries. Genius!

little lenzi bedroom

*I want to shrink myself and live inside this adorable dollhouse.

*My favorite read so far this year. Have you read it?

*And, finally, since so many of you asked…that helmet. Please measure appropriately for a proper fit. You can read the review my sister wrote right here. (Steve emailed the company to tell them Everett’s story and thank them for making a quality product. The company sent Everett a replacement at no charge.)

I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

images: 1) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 2) LittleLinzi

I so appreciate everyone’s support and concern for our family on yesterday’s post. Your advice and willingness to help out financially have blown me away. I was not expecting that at all. At this time, we do not know exactly how much we will owe for Everett’s medical treatment. Things are in limbo and I imagine they will be for some time. I am optimistic that we’ll get them straightened out. In the meantime, it would make us happiest if you invested in quality helmets for yourselves and loved ones – and used and cared for them properly!

AI cards 1

Fact: I am not a big fan of store-bought greeting cards.

To me, they are impersonal, expensive, wasteful and usually tacky. In college, my roommate and I used the same greeting card over and over again, writing new messages in it to each other and exchanging it on our birthdays every year. It was such a fun (and cheap!) tradition. By graduation, there was no blank space left.

When I met Steve in college, I quickly learned that he had a knack for buying cheesy 99¢ greeting cards and crossing out or adding a word (bubble) or three to transform the generic message into something witty and hilarious. His cards always made me laugh.

AI cards 2

These days the kids make the majority of the cards we hand out. I keep a stash of blank cards on hand for unanticipated life events or quick, friendly notes. A current photo and a few handwritten lines can mean so much. And, at the moment, I have a slew of thank-you’s to write.

AI cards 4

That’s why I was happy to see Artifact Uprising‘s new everyday photo cards. The blank cards can be customized with a personal photo on the front, making them perfect for all occasions no matter how big or small. (The 5″ x 5″ size is perfect for all those instagram photos stuck on your phone!) As always, the company stands behind its mission to create tangible beauty via environmentally-friendly means. The cards are printed on sustainable, FSC certified papers.

AI cards 3

Today Artifact Uprising is graciously offering up a pack of 20 everyday photo cards to one lucky reader. The winner chooses the size(s). Mixing and matching is okay! Enter via the form below through Tuesday, May 5th. Good luck!

*This post is NOT sponsored. I just love sharing good finds and this is my meager attempt to thank you once again. Plus, the mini photo shoot and lighter subject material felt like a good way to ease back into things.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking