Tag Archives: travel

family time

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We just returned from 5 days (3 full) in Park City, Utah.  I was not sure this getaway would be a real family vacation – thinking that we would be trying to ski as often as we could fit in the short amount of time we were there and we would not have a lot of quality family time.  But, I was wrong.  We had a wonderful time, together nearly the entire time – William and I, the children, our nephew, and my mother (and our sister-in-law for a short time).  Even though my mother, our nephew, and Steven either did not ski or were in ski school every day, we still had lots of quality time together.  And, that was partly because we stopped skiing everyday at about 3 and had the whole rest of the afternoon and evening to spend talking, playing, and relaxing together.  And, the kids really needed to relax and veg out after 6 hours of skiing!

“Out West”, I was reminded again on this trip, is majestic.  The mountains are large and rugged, rising into the sky, seeming to reach into heaven.  Space is so large – large mountains, but also large sky, large prairie, rocks, slopes.  So different from the mountains we live in here “back East”. We were in awe the whole time.

We stayed in a beautiful, modern house, close to the slopes, and skied every day.  And, everyday we had bluebird skies and cold (but not too cold) weather. It was perfect conditions.  I couldn’t get many pictures because I was not willing to take my good camera out there (and I was more interested in skiing than photography).  I took a few pictures and videos on my phone, but the best pictures, the ones I wish I had on a hard drive, are only in my head.  One picture I hope to keep in my memory was of our oldest three children skiing in front of me, down a ridge on top of a mountain with a 360 degree view of the Wasatch Mountains, with confidence and joy – no one else in sight.  They outpaced me for nearly that whole long run (a blue trail, no less) – along the ridge, through the woods, and finally down a long, wide, empty slope – and I hope I can keep that beautiful, awe-inspiring moment with me.  My children truly impressed me with their skiing skill and confidence.

And, perhaps they come by it naturally.  William is quite a good skier and snowboarder, and my father was an impressive skier.  One night we got my mother to tell us some stories of my dad and his skiing abilities.  She said he was one of the best skiers she had ever seen, that he would ski down vertical slopes with speed and skill.  I remember learning how to ski when I was 5 (and my brother was 3).  I didn’t realize that my dad was a ski instructor at the mountain where and when I learned to ski, but I do remember watching him ski with grace and ease.  Unfortunately, he died less than a year later.  I like the thought that the love of skiing, and possibly some of his gracefulness on the slopes, may keep going in his grandchildren.

traveling, traveling

I’ve been a little quiet on this blog for a few weeks because I was doing a little international traveling with my daughters and mother. I thought I might try to try to post while I was away, but did not get a good chance (or maybe I did not make a good effort). Anyway, I thought I would write a little about my perspective on traveling and about this particular trip.

My grandmother (BJ) took me on my first trip overseas, to London, England, when I was 8 years old. I knew that most children my age had never been out of the country—for that matter, most adults hadn’t either. I remember the excitement of a new a different place—learning new words and ways, figuring out that there were places very different from my home and my realities. On that trip, we walked through Hyde Park, saw castles and the Crown Jewels, learned about British history, and marveled at the largeness and modern-ness of a city.

That trip spurred my love of travel—of visiting new places. But, it also came passed down from my family. My mother loves to travel (she is still in Europe until mid-August). My dad was an adventurer who loved to seek out beaches and mountains all over the country. My step-dad, though he claimed to dislike travel, spent most of his career in the US Coast Guard, and later as a contractor for the Navy, traveling the world. I grew up hearing his stories of places he visited and lived and receiving postcards from various ports-of-call. My paternal grandparents traveled extensively, and my maternal grandparents valued seeing new places, though they did not travel as much. Even my grandmother’s grandmother (who our Evva is named after) spent a few years traveling around the world with her young daughter in the early 1900s—unusual for a woman at that time.

All this to say, for most of my life I have valued and enjoyed traveling. But, something changed when I had children. I still value traveling, but I do not enjoy it as much—especially if I have to do it with children by myself. With William (and the children), travel can still be fun and a great family time. But my anxiety level has increased (more could go wrong, more depends on me, etc.), and the thought of traveling for a long time with little children can sometimes be dreadful! Though, reality is not usually as bad as the worry. I also value a homeplace more than before children and it can be hard to leave it. Most of our children are older now and travel is becoming easier—long car trips or flights are not dreaded as much, and can be enjoyable, leaving home is only for a short time.

Almost 2 weeks ago, I left the boys and William for 11 days to fly to Paris and meet my mother and our 2 girls. My aunt, cousin, and her 2 girls were also with us. We spent a few nights in Paris, 4 nights in Normandy, and 4 nights outside of London. There were a few difficulties with the trip (as with any trip), mainly leaving my little boys at home for so long (I’ve never been away from any of my children for so long). But, the benefits of the trip were great. The girls saw and learned a tremendous amount from the experience, from impressionist artist to geography to Tudor history of England. They met their British cousins, learned a few French words, and marveled at Monet’s gardens. I hope they have also started learning the fun, adventure, and benefit of travel. It is easy to not go to the expense and trouble of traveling. It is easy to stay at home, but there is something missing if we did not get away from our known and comfortable place sometimes. An understanding of the world beyond ourselves.

And, so on to the trip.
All of our time in France was spent with my aunt, cousin, and her girls. Paris was full and fun—highlighted by a visit to Saint Chappell, Muse L’Orangerie to see Monet’s Waterlilies, and a children’s tour of the Louvre. We drove up to Normandy D-Day beaches where my grandfather came ashore in August 1944. It was moving to see the beaches, but as with attending church with children, you loose something of the experience when you have to keep asking the children not to roll around on the ground, stop kicking each other, or quit playing tag (in the cemetery). The girls loved the beaches, though, and waded right into the water, promptly soaking their lower halves in the cold English Channel.

Contemplating an ancient carving at the Lourve
Contemplating an ancient carving at the Lourve
Trying to imitate the Venus di Milo
Trying to imitate the Venus di Milo

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American cemetery
American cemetery

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We stayed in a farmhouse outside of Lourvies which was a perfect, making us realize that while the big city is great to visit we enjoy the countryside much more. We went to a really wonderful market one morning, visited a distant cousin and her children at their beautiful old house, ate great food, walked around a ruined castle built by Richard the Lionheart, and spent a few hours in Giverny.

Our home
Our home
Wonderful meal with a view you can only get in Europe.
Wonderful meal with a view you can only get in Europe.
Our cousin's home -- a very old convent
Our cousin’s home — a very old convent
Ruined castle of Richard the Lionheart
Ruined castle of Richard the Lionheart
Giverny gardens
Giverny gardens

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Pool at our "home" (it was cold!)
Pool at our “home” (it was cold!)

In London, William’s aunt and uncle hosted us with great hospitality. We went to London one day to visit the Tower of London (Crown Jewels, armory – it was great). Another day had a big family BBQ where Anne and Evva got to meet cousins and play. They have 3 girl cousins very close to their age, so it was fun. Visiting with family and relaxing were the main activities and it was wonderful.

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Cousin doing a gymnastics show for the gathered family.
Cousin doing a gymnastics performance for the gathered family.

Traveling makes homecoming sweeter and now we will take our experiences (and our dirty laundry) and embrace the work and activities that make up our life.