Posts tagged Adventure
"Yosemite Abenture"

So California is in a drought. And by that I mean, it is illegal to wash your car. So that's pretty dry. But what I've heard is that Yosemite had the most precipitation that it has had in a decade this past winter... which means the waterfalls were flowing bigger, louder, and faster than they have in the past 10 years. It was a good time to be at Yosemite. For so many reasons. But especially for the waterfalls.

Unless you don't love "woud noises."

If that were the case, hiking in Yosemite might take a bit of courage.

And some momma and daddy arms.

A lot.

And by that I mean, mostly daddy arms.

Right now. This season. As we traveled with an infant and a two year old this summer. It was not the season for sight seeing. I mean, we saw some sights. And they were pretty. The kind of pretty that leaves you feeling small and vulnerable and in utter awe. But for the entire trip, we had to keep reminding ourselves (and by we, I mean 'I'), that the goal was not making it to the next waterfall or the next lake... the goal was happy adventuring. Which goes against every way that I'm wired. I am made up of more of my dad than I realized. If you are going on a hike-- the destination is the goal. The lake. The waterfall. The crest of the hill.

 Not so when you are hiking with wee babes.

Whose goals consist of climbing, and running, and stopping, and squatting, and picking up leaves, and chatting, and throwing rocks, and drawing in the dirt and eating Nutella and drinking juice boxes and not using their own walking feet.

Yosemite was an exercise in patience and enjoying the moment and making memories as a family.

Because "hiking" looked a lot like this:

But oh the pride that welled up with each mountain conquered.

And there were many, many mountains for these little baby legs to climb.

For all the patience and perspective taking that a trip to Yosemite required, we sure had a blast. We slowly but surely made it to Lower Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil Falls. We trekked out to Mirror Lake and we wandered around the trails at our own pace. Oliver cheerfully greeted every. single. passer by with a "HI! HOWSITGOIN?!" And it was pretty funny watching him try to engage with complete strangers. He struggled with timing and volume a bit... frequently his greeting was a tad early or a tad late... but when he nailed it, he really nailed it.

And Milo, bless his heart, went a little caveman on us. Any time he could find a stick, it was in his mouth. Nothing beats nature's teething rings. (I promise we intervened.)  There was absolutely no keeping these kids clean. And honestly, we didn't even try. Because why. Which made this fancy tub in our cabin a necessity. The nutella and the almond butter and the Yosemite that we washed off of these two every night was something spectacular.

We took many a bottle breaks. And a squirmy baby and a tired toddler both took a load off, wherever we happened to land. 

Every so often we'd release Milo into the wild. And by that I mean let him crawl around and get as dirty as possible and retrieve sticks and rocks and dirt out of his mouth over and over and over. And how did so much dirt end up inside his diaper?

We did a lot of rock throwing. Just so many rocks were tossed into streams and lakes and rivers and mud puddles.

The first day we explored in Yosemite, Oliver announced within the first thirty minutes: "This is best day EVER. It's TWEE (tree) day!"  And oh the trees we counted, and hugged, and high fived, because whatever keeps a toddler moving forward on their own two feet.

We learned poor Oliver gets car sick, as we drove in and out of the valley every day and he panicked in the back seat "No! I dont want to fwo up! I don't want to fwo up!" He never did actually throw up, but poor buddy. Every single time. We also learned that digestion slows down for him a bit while we are traveling... which led to some desperate attempts to relieve his discomfort, however we could. Full permission was given to make use of his pull-up and we pulled the car over a time or two to give him a chance to calm down and focus. All to no avail. Some serious intervention was required the moment we pulled into our driveway. But those views, when we took "intervention breaks."

Trips right now are by no means vacations... and should only be classified as "Abentures." But the memories we made with glow sticks when we tucked O in bed at night, and the Nutella that covered all our faces as we paused for snacks in the pineneedles, and the almond butter in my hair as Matt fed Milo in the backpack, and the pooping pitstops on the floor of Yosemite Valley with headphones on, and the cold feet from wading in streams and throwing rocks in rivers. Worth every tantrum from an overtired toddler and every inch of grime scrubbed off this little duo.

But seriously. Why do they wake up so early on trips!?

Beautiful Yosemite, You were lovely and exhausting and "woud" and just so, so big. Thank you for reminding us how small we are.

Shall we talk about expectations?

So we took a long weekend, packed up the boys, and the matchbox cars, and the play mat, and the potty seat, and the pack n' play, and the sippy cups, and a million other things, and trekked up to Lake Tahoe to a cozy little cabin tucked beside the fir trees. Matt and I peeked inside before unloading the boys, opening the wooden door on 495 Woodchuck Drive into a peaceful, serene cabin. Simple, clean design. Huge windows overlooking a forest of trees with similar cabins nestled beneath them. Sunlight streaming through the pine needles and into the little corner of the world that was ours for the weekend.

And then we proceeded to unpack so much life into that little cabin. In under 10 minutes, serenity transformed into beautiful mess.  Cars and trains spilled out onto the floor. Boxes of various snacks took up their usual spot on the otherwise spotless, white marble counter tops. The pack 'n play was reassembled beside the king size bed upstairs in the loft. A toddler sized pallet of towels and blankets was quickly made on the floor in the bedroom. The Sanders know how to turn a house into a home in a matter of seconds. We quickly gave up the idea of trying to maintain the crystalline atmosphere, although that was initially the plan. 

Because toddlers. And babies with diarrhea. And diapers. And more diapers. And socks. And toys. And real life. 

And this is where I need to talk to my own self about expectations.

Because vacation no longer means what it used to mean.

Vacation means memories, and laughter, and adventure, and stories we will tell for years to come.


It also means the tantruming of a toddler on a rainey hike, the taking off of a warm coat to nurse a baby on a cold and windy mountain side, the sleep deprivation of an entire family because when baby can't sleep, ain't nobody gonna sleep at 2 am in a cabin, and parents who occasionally get overwhelmed with the noise, and the mess, and the behaviors that come with this season of life and exchange angry words and angrier looks.


My personality would be tempted to hibernate during this season of babyhood. Because of the work. It is so much work to make memories and plan adventures.  And to be honest, most of our adventures backfired this trip. Because of rain. Because of sleep deprivation. Because of a hangry toddler or a diarrhea baby.

Several times Matt and I reminded each other that "We don't NOT do something because it's hard." (Pardon the double negative.) Because in addition to being hard, it was beautiful. And raw. And real. And life. And a season. 

There was popcorn on the couch beside the fire in the stove.

There were early morning snuggles with a squishy toddler and a cooing baby.

There were fist fulls of rocks thrown into the lake on a lonely beach.

There was a toddler running around the "Abenture House," eating "Abenture Chili," taking an "Abenture Bath," using the "Abenture Potty," and sleeping in an "Abenture Bed."

Even the backfired hikes, like the cold and wet hike/run back through the trees with rain dripping off our hair as we thawed out frozen noses and pink cheeks in the car, is a precious memory (in hindsight). Because we did something hard. Together. And we can look back and say "Hey, remember when we did something hard?" And we will all look back and remember that Sanders can do hard things together. (Ok, Milo won't remember and neither will Oliver in a month or two, but Matt and I will hold the memory for them.)

And I hope I have the courage to keep doing hard things with them. I hope I keep doing the work of adventures. Because our heart is to build a sense of identity as a family. A sense of "Sanders-ness" for our boys. And I have this growing sense that developing the culture that lives inside our home means doing the work to make adventures happen. Enjoying the ones that pan out. Living  through the ones that backfire. And making a record of them all, so we can look back and laugh, and wince, and remember what it is to be a Sanders.

For this season of life, vacations are work. A lot of work. 

Self, you need to adjust your expectations about this and decide to do the work. Because even the hard is sweet.