936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting
Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
We took a road trip to Kansas City this past weekend. It was a little bit of a last-minute decision, made upon the realization that since we are moving there on October 1st, we should probably find a house to buy–our very first house. Oh, and a job for Grayson. Oh yeah, and we’ll need to learn the area a little bit. We should probably squeeze in some meetings with the mission organization Gray will be interning with. As long as we’re going on a weekend, we need to check out the farmer’s market. We can’t miss seeing our good friends there. Oh boy, we were in for a busy few days!
We set off on Friday evening, figuring the boys would sleep through the night in the car. I had been planning this trip meticulously all week, careful to not forget any last detail, any needed piece of baby equipment, or any unbudgeted-for expense. I figured that hours of planning and preparing for a trip such as this would guarantee success.
During our road trip, I learned a few tips and tricks for traveling with a toddler and infant. Most of all however, I learned that no matter the amount of planning and preparation, flexibility is key, and don’t hold too high of expectations for a perfect trip.
Pack a diaper changing station complete with diapers (in every needed size), wipes, and accessible snacks. Also pack a toy and book basket accessible to toddler for the drive. Include a few favorite toys, along with a few toys he has not seen in a while, so that they seem new and exciting.
Tip 2: Store a couple of new toys underneath the seat (out of toddler’s sight), for if things get really bad….
Tip 3: If you’re traveling to a land that dairy forgot, bring your own.
Tip 4: Don’t forget the most important piece of baby equipment: the espresso machine. Prepare yourself a latte for your first leg of the drive, and your partner 8 shots of espresso to assist him through the night shift.
Tip 5: Don’t over pack. Seriously, don’t. I packed a box full of kitchen items, intending to actually cook on “vacation” (yeah, right…). The only items we used from that box were the espresso machine parts. The less you pack, the less you have to unpack.
Tip 6: That part about driving through the night to help the kids sleep? Don’t set your hopes too high on that plan; for yes–they will fall asleep, but the moment you make a stop, or even pull off the highway onto an off ramp, they will awaken. And they will not go back to sleep…
Remember, flexibility is key.
During our visit to Kansas City, our perspective was a little different than with previous visits. We were coming at this visit with the mindset of moving there in a couple of months. As we walked through the market, I was price checking and taking mental notes of where to buy what.
For those of you in Wisconsin, the Kansas City’s Farmer’s Market is a good mix between the Madison Farmer’s Market (It is huge, and bustling with excitement), and the West Allis Farmer’s Market (Fantastic prices and an incredible variety of local products)
Don’t be shy to pick up some fresh produce even while on vacation. We purchased some fresh ingredients to enjoy dinner with friends that evening: Missouri peaches to grill alongside a whole pastured chicken (Gray de-boned and grilled the entire bird with fresh garlic, rosemary and chives).
Tip 8: Always pack or purchase plenty of wholesome snacks to have on hand. Before our trip I made a batch of Lemon Poppy Seed and Berry Muffins, Homemade Granola, and Homemade Peanut Butter. We packed those along with some of Zeke’s staple foods to keep him content during the trip.
Having these on hand kept us from pulling through drive thru windows in a frenzy to feed a hungry child.
I have come to greatly appreciate the food culture and farmer’s markets we have in Wisconsin, and I was definitely mourning the great loss we will suffer leaving behind all of this great food. However, our visit has begun to open my eyes to another great culture of food found right in Kansas City.
I could see on their faces and in their products just how much pride the vendors take in the food they grow. I was excited to see affordable prices on grass-fed meats, pastured chickens and eggs (we will finally be able to make the switch to local, pastured eggs!), and a great variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Another neat thing about the market was that, just like our markets, everything was local; but then on the outskirts of the market vendors can sell conventional produce, and at unbelievable prices! This means that I can purchase all of our local produce, and then the items we cannot get locally (like lemons, mangoes, pineapples), all in the same place without having to make extra stops at the market!
I’m going to enjoy getting to know this market and its vendors.
On our trip home we made an impromptu stop at a state park to let Zeke run around and feed Ellis. This brings me to my last tip:
Along with the local farmer’s market, seek out parks, lakes, beaches, or anywhere outside where you can breathe in the simple things of life.
Leave yourself a margin of time, that way you’re not too rushed or busy to stop and enjoy a new area when the opportunity presents itself.
We drove home right behind a storm front. Cloud towers were painted across the sky before us; the setting sun colored them a bright glowing shade of pink. As dusk gave way to a black sky, lightening flickered throughout the night stretched out in front of us.
Grayson made the comment that he loves that having kids gives us a license, and almost even requires us to stop and take in the simple things in life; to lay in the grass and gaze at the clouds.
No, The kids didn’t sleep through the night each night. Yes, there were tired and cranky at times (and mom and dad, too…). We made many, many stops for coffee. Not everything on our list was checked off as we had hoped for. The Jeep didn’t get perfect gas mileage. During our trip we did not find a house, and no job offers were made.
These things matter little, though, in what we did accomplish and experience. As a family we got the first glimpse of this next phase of our life. We have a better idea of the house we’re searching for, and Grayson did make some great contacts with possibilities for work. We spent precious time with dear friends. We tried new foods and explored new areas. We spent cherished long hours in the car together talking about our new life.
Two months. In two months everything changes. This trip made me a little more excited for the change before us, for what God has in store for my family next.
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!