Enjoying the Journey

happy anniversaryBack in my early twenties, when the internet was still in its public nascency and using e-mail was pretty novel, I used a quote in the auto-signature of all my outgoing mail.

“Enjoy the journey, not just the destination.”

It was a quote I came across while preparing for a nine-month journey home from Japan, where I had been living for the past two years. As someone perpetually focused on the outcome, I am consistently guilty of “achieving the product but missing the process.”

I’m not a live-in-the-moment sorta gal. In fact, quite the opposite, I’m more of a busy-myself-in-the-moment-by-planning-for-all-future-moments kinda gal. So you can see how the concept of enjoying the journey as well as the destination would be a novel one for me.

I have since matured out of using this quote in my auto-signature but I continue trying to follow its mantra.

Today is my 10th wedding anniversary. To celebrate, DH and I took a journey.

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Our Bags Are Packed And We’re Ready to Go

suitcasesIn fact, I’ve been halfway there since we booked our first, family overseas trip back in September. Because for me, one of the hardest things about settling down and starting a family has been, well, settling down…

Truth be told, I’d much rather be traveling the world, meeting new people and exploring different cultures, or at least still doing that WHILE having a family. Don’t get me wrong, the kid journey can be pretty amazing too but I’ve been eagerly waiting to have them participate in the bigger journey pretty much since I first conceived our daughter, 8 years ago.

Prior to that time, the world was an open road waiting to be explored. In our twenties, both DH and I did a fair amount of traveling in some pretty extreme locations, predominantly Asia but some in the Middle East too. We carried backpacks and our Angus MacGyver tool was the multipurpose sarong (which doubled as: a dress, a scarf, a sheet, a towel, a curtain). We thirsted for third-world travel, where we found life stripped away at its rawest and yet most complicated state.

Traveling became part of who we were and what drew us to one another, then also how we grew together. Now that we’re married, kids do the same thing for us. More

Seeing the World

DH and I once hoped to raise our kids abroad. A few years ago, when DH’s career focus shifted from overseas to California and Texas, that hope dimmed. Such is life, plans change and opportunities arise at mysterious intervals.

So, we have planted our roots in our cozy, New England suburb and begun to blossom. But by doing so, we realize that if we aren’t providing our kids with an international address, then raising them with international outlooks means finding other ways for them to see the world instead.

When life puts up road blocks, come up with alternative routes. More

Off We Go To Mexico!

In May, when my mom made the offer to take my family (2 kids, one DH and me) to Mexico for Christmas, of course we were excited but it’s easy to drag your feet on something that’s more than 6 months away when it’s the beginning of the best three months New England has to offer. We didn’t really buckle down to find accommodations or even narrow down a location until summer drew to a close and holiday bookings were beginning to pop up. But now it’s just one day away and we’re beside ourselves with giddy.

Since we have a 4-year-old and an almost 2-year-old, we had two critical criteria for the trip: 1. kid friendly, 2. all-inclusive. Surprisingly, in our distant pasts, neither DH nor I ever would have dreamed of staying at, let alone enjoy, an all-inclusive, large-scale resort but like I’ve said before, having kids makes you do wild and wacky things. So our choice adequately meets criteria #2. But I feel pretty certain it knocks the ball out of the park on criteria #1. I think we may have found one of only a few resorts that actually has a kids club beginning at age 2 (please don’t ask for our son’s passport at check in).  Regardless, on all accounts, we are fully prepared to relish in every kid-free and child-full moment of the next seven days.

Here’s what we have to look forward to: 12 activity centers, 10 restaurants, 9 pools  (plus 16 private ones attached to the haciendas),  7 bars, 5 beach cabanas, 3 lobbies, 2 kids clubs and a partridge in a pear tree. It’s my new favorite Holiday classic!

Add to this the fact that DH has been pulling all-nighters at work all week and you’re left with a total toss-up about who’s most giddy to be getting away (did I mention that there are kids clubs? every day from 10a-10p?). Anyway, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 5 short years since becoming a parent, it’s this: the moments apart from your kids can be as precious and priceless as some of the moments with them. Besides, our four-year-old is a bit of a despotic ruler when it comes to interacting with others so I have no doubt in my mind that in no time at all she’ll be running the kids club just like Napoleon Bonaparte.

So adios amigos! In just 24 hours we’ll be on our way to a fabulous, all-inclusive viaje…(I wonder if all-inclusive means they’ll finish up my packing and wrap the presents I’m neglecting by typing this blog post?)

Dear Santa…I need another week!

Though my DH would beg to differ, I’m really not that organized. Sure, I have some great ideas way in advance–and sometimes I am even savvy enough to share them with people who might actually put them into action–and I have great visions about how things should look in my life: where they should be stored, how they should be hung, when they should be sent; it’s just the execution of all these swimmingly great ideas is slow to happen.

Take thank you notes for example. When someone gives me a gift or does something really nice for me, almost immediately, I compose a heartfelt thank you note…in my head. Somehow, the mere act of thinking about what I want to say to them creates an artificial grace period that considerably postpones my actual writing and mailing of said note.

I think you’re starting to get the picture.

This past summer, my mom gave us the extremely generous Christmas gift of a week together (DH, the kids, me, my mom and her husband) in Mexico. Since my kids aren’t really in school yet (preschool and playschool don’t count), we immediately began making plans to maximize her offer by traveling outside of the peak holiday periods.

It is with both joy and dread that I inform you, we leave this Saturday.

And regardless of the fact that–since having our first child 4-and-a-half years ago–we have made a “year in review” wall calendar every Christmas, I still wait until AFTER Thanksgiving to begin reviewing and editing the 4,000+ pictures from the past year. And regardless of the fact that–since getting engaged seven years ago–we have composed and compiled holiday cards every year, I still wait until AFTER Thanksgiving to start “thinking” about them. And regardless of the fact that I have two small children and 12 other family members to buy gifts for, I still wait until AFTER Thanksgiving to start buying them (though in some cases, at least I thought about their gifts way in advance).

I’ve known about our trip for the better part of 4 months but 18 days just isn’t enough time to get everything done! At this point, even if Santa’s elves figured out a way to give me another week to get it all done, I don’t think it would help me much but it’s sure nice thinking about it. Maybe I’ll just get everyone a pinata…

 

Parenthetically speaking (NYC in a semi-photo montage)

If you’ve been loyal enough to stick with me this far, Thanks!

As promised, here are 20 highlights from the past weekend:

  1. no kids (my in-laws–who aren’t typically available to take them–took them).
  2. saw the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree going up
  3. had a room with a view (an incredible, Central Park view from a really nice four-star hotel)

    Central Park from the air

    Central Park from our room

  4. went paddling in the Park (totally unplanned and fabulously funny; there are actually A LOT of people who don’t know how to row a boat. We passed four rowing backwards [this is not one of them])
  5. conjugated “to drink” at the Loeb Boathouse outdoor bar (in hind site, it’s entirely possible this is what the above four had done BEFORE renting their boats)
  6. toured the Frick Collection (not the smartest move on a beautiful, late-fall afternoon while buzzed)
  7. met friends at a bar downtown (all of whom were a total surprise and carefully coordinated in advance)
  8. had dinner with family and friends at a nearby restaurant (ditto the above)
  9. slept in
  10. got a private tour of a good friend’s brand new Micro-Brewery: New Jersey Beer Co. over in North Bergen, NJ

    Founder & President, NJ Beer Co.

  11. had an off-the-chart dinner at a funky, swanky little joint (chosen because I clearly qualify for the 21 Club)
  12. caught a Broadway show (so I could wax nostalgic about my college days)
  13. hung out in Times Square (OK, so maybe M&M World doesn’t top your must-do list; for our excuse, see #1)

  14. slept in
  15. read the ENTIRE Sunday paper (not the WSJ but still, one of the few left to choose from these days)
  16. had an awesome brunch (personally, eggs bene and a good cup o’ joe would render ANY birthday blog-worthy in my book)
  17. rode the Central Park Carousel (actually ON a horse, not standing next to one)
  18. went to the MoMA
  19. spent 50, uninterrupted hours with my favorite person
  20. got reminded of why he became my favorite person in the first place

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