This year of travel has been a constant learning and growing process; if it’s not one thing it’s another. One lesson I have learned recently is that it is entirely possible to pack more activity, living, stuff, whatever you want to call it into a certain time frame than seems like a good idea. The trick is, you don’t think about it too much, you just do it, and you concentrate on the trees and not the forest.
We came home for a three week break after traveling for nine weeks in New Zealand and Australia. We were all ready for the comforts of home: beds, showers, space, netflix, and friends. We had one mini trip planned for our time at home. It had been on the books for the past year and was a five day trip to Utah to celebrate Opa’s (Scott’s dad) 75th birthday, but that was it. Time in our own beds would be shortened, but everyone was looking forward to the family reunion. Skiing and hanging out with cousins trumps being at home any day, no matter how long you have been away.
The kids had missed their friends especially during this last trip, possibly because New Zealand and Australia feel a lot like home. Grant was already planning to see friends but Ashley’s best friend had recently moved to Boulder, Colorado and Ashley was really missing her. I was even missing my friends. It had been almost a year since I had seen my best friend of thirty years and I was past wanting to see her and downright needed to see her.
We had three weeks at home and the potential travel days were piling up. No way would I have ever attempted so many domestic trips in a twenty-one day period in the past, let alone in between international travel, but something has shifted in me and after asking Scott simply if I was crazy to attempt such a travel heavy visit home, I began planning. We would arrive home and I would have 4 days to recover from jet lag then I would fly to Seattle for a few days, home for a few, and then take Ashley to Boulder and then on to Salt Lake City to meet up with the birthday party crew. Five days of birthday party and visiting with family and we would head back to San Jose as a family unit and then drive home for one week before leaving for South America. I could’t think about it, but I did book the tickets. Travel was not the only thing on the agenda either while we were home.
The kids worked on school. Grant recruited Ashley to assist him in dissecting formaldehyde soaked creatures for his Biology Lab assignments. It’s hard to take his Biology labs on the road and so after a few trip of carting random flasks, chemicals and seeds through different countries, Grant just saves the labs for our weeks at home and then binges on Bio.
I made it to Seattle and spent three wonderful, restorative and laughter filled days with my best friend and soul sister of thirty years.
After months and miles of hiking trails talking cameras, we surprised Grant with his very own video camera.
Ashley and I traveled to Boulder. These buddies were so happy to see each other that even the patchy sledding hill was no obstacle to a fun afternoon.
We were fortunate enough to wake up to a winter wonderland the morning of our flight to Salt Lake City to meet up with Scott and Grant. Denver International Airport was closed down and we got to spend another day with our friends.
One of the greatest things about Ashley and Aela’s friendship is Aela’s mom, who is my buddy. We met a long time ago when Grant and her son were in a two year old gymnastics class together, so imagine our joy when the girls got along so well. We started the morning off with a snowman. Aela was still asleep.
Ashley and Aela spent some happy hours shoveling snow.
Ashley continued on with her friend’s dad, clearing the sidewalks and paths of the neighborhood houses. Ashley shoveled snow for four hours and turned it into her community service project for her History class. She had exhausted her bestie, but the snow was too enticing for this California girl to miss out and so she asked me to be her playmate and I have never been so well rewarded.
Ashley and I spent a couple of hours exploring the newly transformed neighborhood.
It was a magical day and one of those times where you know it will never happen again and you must soak it all up. Growing up in Colorado, I have been forever relieved to be rid of the snow and living on the West Coast, but this day was different. My feet were cold but I would have endured frostbite just to continue the experience of my excited daughter in this fairy tale setting.
We had a great time in Boulder but the closure of DIA made for a very early morning flight to Salt Lake City and a frantic airport full of exhausted travelers.
We made it to Salt Lake City and then on to Snowbird ski area for a lot of fun with family. That’s the birthday boy with the blue hat and red ski suit. All of his kids, their spouses and all of the grand kids but one made it to this celebration.
Scott, the kids and Opa somewhere on the mountain and very happy.
Scott and his sisters, Robin and Jill, getting psyched up to do some crazy skiing. All of the Davis kids are excellent skiers, although they have different tolerances for adventure skiing. Here Scott and Robin have talked Jill (purple coat) into some sibling extreme skiing. Jill was relating the story over dinner calling Robin and Scott brave, rock star skiers. I told her that she was the real super star. I am certain that it’s the true superstars that continue on even when they are afraid or intimidated.
Father daughter ski time.
The birthday boy at his official birthday dinner and a poster created by his daughter Jill.
The cake with all 75 candles ablaze!
We left Salt Lake City in another snowstorm and flew home for a sunny week in California.
We tried to squeeze in some hiking at home to prepare for our trip to Peru and upcoming trek.
The hills around San Luis Obispo looked especially beautiful with their green glow and it was peaceful because as much fun as we had all had recently, it was nice to be in the quiet mountains hiking along a trail, just the four of us.