companions. a road trip story

736 miles

12 total hours in the car. 4 days. 3 hour stretches each day.

Our first family road trip. The purpose to give our family time together, to go on an adventure, to connect with some old friends, and to adventure all the way back.

Matt and I feel completely re=energized. We feel connected and empowered. The kids did great. We enjoyed being off work and just being together as a family. We had a good “plan” for each day but held everything very loose. I didn’t take out my camera once. Just a few phone photos. And it was just SO sweet. Roadtrips. A huge risk, but we had our expectations low with only penciled in activities — and our experience just blew us out of the water!!

You guys. If you could only see my huge smile and bouncing feet for how totally over the moon thrilled we are over this trip. SO GOOD!!


I can’t even describe what a huge success this carride was. OK. Full disclosure. 10 of the 12 hours were perfection. The other 2 hours were the kids crying, throwing things, or being insanely annoying. BUT. TEN HOURS were golden!! Also. Before you think it was because they slept. You’re wrong. Ethan slept ONE hour of all of it, and Evy slept 30 minutes of all of it. What on earth. AND it wasn’t even during our 3 hour lag in a day. It was the “we-have-10-minutes-from-lunch-to-our-friends-house!” (zzzzzzzzz).

So what did they do?? They did a lot of coloring (for HOURS). They did a lot of boredom – talking to each other or us. They looked at books. We did audio books. We did music. We did stickers. We did snacks. We did a pit stop only once each day (local library). We brought Ipads and offered screen time for the last hour of each chunk. So 10 hours of our car ride was not screen-dependent. That is a huge win.

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So on the 1st and 3rd night we stayed at a  cabin in Wisconsin.

  • The toaster didn’t work
  • The stovetop only went to super hot
  • The microwave I think was mostly for looks
  • The blinds fell off if you touched them
  • The pillows were noisy (just believe me)
  • The beds were like air mattress
  • The water tasted really weird. (woah)
  • The mousetraps everywhere were a bit alarming

IT. WAS. PERFECT. It was super affordable on a gorgeous campground. It felt like a true rustic cabin experience. We had nothing to do but just be together. We could walk the property. Or go by the campfire in the commons area. We went to bed at 8pm and everyone slept until 7am. Matt and I talked and talked and talked.

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Wait. What?

We found out last minute that with our cabin rental, we get free passes to the water-park 1 mile away for each day.

You guys. Can you just IMAGINE Ethan’s response to this activity. We stayed for 1 hour in the evening. And he didn’t stop jumping. He jumped everywhere he couldn’t even contain himself. He did the little ones by himself for like a minute. And then — it was the ADULT ONES>> like 5 stories-high-drop-in-the-dark ones. He was almost not tall enough but the lifeguards passed him through with Matt to go on them. UM. Matt was freaked out on most of them. And Ethan just giggled and yelled “let’s do it again!!”. I went with him on a couple (more normal ones, not the crazy in the dark ones), he was like “mommy. I might cry it’s scary” (wait. what?!). SO intense. He was on cloud nine. The faster, the higher, the longer, the crazier — the better.

Do you see the big orange one on the bottom photo!??! Just go now and look. No not the little one. The one that touches the ceiling and goes outside then back inside and is 5 stories high? YA THAT ONE? His favorite. What. On. Earth.

Evy. She was terrified of all the noise and sounds for the first 30 minutes. But once she figured out the little kid area was a big bath tub, she was good!

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We met up with 2 families during our trip to Illinois. One was our dear friends Matt, Rebecca, and their two boys that we visited a local library and pita place for lunch! It was only 2 hours but it was so fabulous to see them and catch up again. Good friends, it’s like you were never away when you’re reunited. (sorry, no photos to show you since it was rainy)

We stayed with our friends Jake and Cassie and gorgeous daughter Georgie for a night and it was amazing. Cassie is my soul sister in many ways and being with them felt like coming home. Their new home is perfect, their parenting and faith and hobbies and lifestyle and choices are all beautiful connections for us and inspiring conversation. Our kids did SO GREAT together! It was a short visit but one filled with love.

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Wisconsin is filled with beautiful parks. And we just so happen to have the one and only sunny afternoon together as just our family when we were driving back to the cabin and we decided to swing by Mirror Lake State Park to rent a double kayak and enjoy the beautiful weather together! Evy just touched the water the entire time. Ethan did well helping us out (considering he is used to his “own” kayak, they did well). They only lasted 20 minutes or so, but it was just enough for some soul care.

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On the last morning – we woke up at the cabin with beautiful weather. And we took a very short walk on the campground trail. Our kids are the slowest walkers ever. ever. ever. But they adore each other.

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We can’t pick a favorite moment because it was the entire event that made it wonderful. We love having our kids old enough to make these activities so much fun, and even better that Matt and I just enjoyed the slow pace and each other’s company.

The four of us together. We are each other’s favorite companions for everyday moments. Life is sweet.