Have you ever come back from a vacation, or even, just from an outing, and thought, 'Well, that wasn't what I expected'. Or you thought of all the things that went wrong, didn't go your way, or just complained about the most insignificant things that, at the time, felt like huge set backs? I have. Many-a-time.
I remember when John and I went away for the first time, in 10 years of marriage, alone.... childless. We went to Oahu, and we were pretty excited for our first ever trip to Hawaii, and really, our first ever get-a-way by ourselves. To me, going to Hawaii was like going to a movie that was talked up to no end, and everyone you knew said "It was the best movie ever... you are going to love it!". But then you realize that the movie was all hyped up and you didn't like it nearly as well as everyone else did. That was how I felt about Hawaii...... at first. My thoughts of the unknown Hawaii, before we got there, was that it was gloriously sunny, plenty of room on the beach to enjoy the endless grains of sand, Hawaiian music playing in the back ground, and just pure tropical paradise. Oahu was nothing like I expected. So busy, a huge island that looked run down in many places and the beach we stayed at was tremendously crowded. (Many times I told John to cover his eyes). Plus, it rained a bit while we were there. It wasn't until weeks after we were home that I realized what a great time I really did have. Pearl Harbor.... everyone should be able to experience that if you come to Oahu. What a reverent, peaceful feeling we had when we left, and felt even more grateful to our men and women in uniform. The Polynesian Cultural Center was FANTASTIC. We were treated wonderfully there, since we were celebrating our 10 year anniversary, we got front row seats to the fire show. The talent is amazing, the students were gracious and we learned so much about the Pacific Islands. The mountains are stunning, and the green lush landscape everywhere is breathtaking. The hike to the top of Diamond Head, well, it was grueling at times, but the trek to the top was worth the spectacular view. As the months and even years have gone on, in retrospect, I look back and think, I really did have a wonderful time, and loved Oahu. Did all the advice and comments my friends and family gave me about Hawaii stand? They sure did. I couldn't see it at the time, as our trip was over, but they were all right, in their view of Hawaii. I see that now. I just wish I could have noticed it more through the humidity and nearly naked women on the beach.
My problem, is, is that I have a hard time focusing on the here-and-now, when it comes to taking a trip. I am probably the only one that has this issue. But I'm learning I need to focus on living in the moment, especially when it comes to taking a trip or going on an outing with my family.
This past weekend, we took an excursion to Vida, Oregon and stayed at a Bed & Breakfast on the McKenzie River.
This was our view from our back yard, literally just 20 feet from this gorgeous river. It was pouring down rain, and the kids were usually loud and antsy, but I decided that I needed to focus on what we were doing right then and there, and to cherish each moment that we spend with our children, even in the liquid sunshine and among all the chaos. I didn't want another adventure coming and going without my appreciating the moments we were living.
Our time away was only a short 48 hours, but during that brief time, we went on a hike along the Blue River Resevoir.
It was raining buckets, but I came prepared with boots and rain coats.... and we ventured off. I remember thinking to myself, I am going to enjoy this hike, no matter what. And that I did. We were fortunate to come across a new friend, one in which John, Josh and Reagan wanted to take home as a pet.
I was the one that first noticed him on the ground, and thank goodness I did. I am not one for touching slimy looking things, but Josh and Reagan and their dad are all for it. We couldn't come to a consensus if it was a Newt or a Salamander. Nonetheless, it was a cute little creature that we took time to fellowship. I asked the kids what Bear Grylls would have done with this fellow had he come across it. They quickly decided he would have eaten the critter. The kids were disappointed he was not in his same spot on our return. (I, on the other hand, was kind of glad, because I have a feeling that dad would have brought him home with us).
If that wasn't exciting enough, we came across some bones, and not just ANY bones.
It was a skull of some animal, along with other bones from its body scattered every where. I was okay with taking this creature home. I figured it wouldn't cause me any headaches. But this discovery led us to talking about the many creatures there are in these neck of the woods, and what to watch out for.
Among the bones remains and creepy crawlies, we found some cool looking drift wood that we brought home with us, and some beautiful green rocks, colors I've never seen before on a rock. We thought it'd be okay to bring some of them home too. My favorite moment of the hike was when Reagan was running and one of her boots fell off. Says Reagan, "Well, that's what hiking's all about." She had it right, with a big smile on her face too. She was appreciating the moment, and not complaining.
Our hike was full of learning, jam packed with tangible things for us to explore, and all in the rain no less. I LOVED THIS HIKE. We were dripping wet, but there wasn't a complaint coming from anyone's mouths. Hailey may have taken a tumble, and Josh earned some blisters, but it was a great time had by all.
It poured nearly the entire 48 hours we were there, AND snowed just a few miles up the road, but the scenery was just beautiful.
We were living in very close quarters, on pretty uncomfortable beds, no gaming systems allowed (by mom's choice), not much Wifi for dad (thank goodenss) lots of yelling, a fair share of fighting, mud puddles, and some generic eating out, but through all the tears, screams, rain and mud, I really did enjoy my time, while I was living it. I can look back on it and say that I truly did enjoy our adventure, while it was being lived.