travel

A Little (2 month) Update

I’ve been getting lots of questions about how we are doing, settling in, learning our new surroundings, etc. So I thought that one of my bi-annual blog posts was in order. (That is the rate at which I’m at on this blog thing. 🙂 )

So we arrived!! We made it to Phoenix in one piece, both physically and emotionally! 🙂 We have some really gracious friends who are out of town this month, and letting our family stay in (or take over) their house. This has been a gigantic blessing! I can’t imagine doing this transition while staying in a hotel.

We have been here almost 2 weeks, and that time has basically been spent keeping our kids entertained and looking for jobs. (I’m pretty much over re-doing my resume.) The best way to describe our first 2 weeks is a roller coaster. I’m not sure why we thought it would be any different. Our time here thus far has played out exactly the way we told ourselves it would be. And yet, there have been times where we are sitting across from each other in complete silence because there are no more solutions to be found and we can’t figure out why 2 Religion majors aren’t being offered jobs that pay $100,000/yr. (Sidenote: During your freshmen year in college, they should give you a handout that tells you how much each major makes, and whether you will be able to provide for a family of 5 with that income. I’m kidding…but not really. ) Our daily routine involves me looking at Jay and saying, “We’re gonna make it, right?” And He looks back and says, “I think so.” And then we hug. And we pray. And we pray. And we pray more. That’s it. I don’t mean to over – spiritualize it, but it’s the truth. That has been the glue that has kept us on the same page, and in our moments of overwhelming stress, from saying things we will regret 2 seconds later.

On the job front, Jay did get a job at REI. He is working part-time for the summer and just started today! He has also already done some guiding since we got here, which he absolutely loves. So for those pieces of the puzzle, we are so thankful! We are still waiting on that full-time benefits job, so we will just keep looking and praying.

The piece of us moving here that has met or exceeded our expectations is the Church piece. One of the reasons we moved out here was to be a part of a community whose values we love and really connect with, and it has proven to be what we expected. Yes, I know it has only been 2 weeks, and it’s always a honeymoon at the beginning, but for us, it was nice to have our expectations exceeded in regards to a community of people and the way they are loving our Father and the people around them.

So that is us, for now. I figured I would end with a couple of pictures from our first 2 months, because really, what’s a blog post without pictures?!?

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Taghia

I’m not what you would call an “outdoorsy” person. When I was growing up, we did do a little bit of “camping”. And by “camping” I mean traveling the country in a bigasabus motorhome with a TV, oven, microwave and refrigerator and staying at KOA campgrounds. I liked the IDEA of being outdoorsy, and I did have a North Face fleece at one point, which was my token outdoor gear. I was actually a little surprised that Jay wanted to marry me because he was a rock-climbing, LNT kind of guy and I was a comfy couch, toilet, showereveryday kind of girl. I think Jay had an agenda when we got married because the first 2 presents he got for me once we got engaged were a North Face rain jacket and a North Face backpack. I have to admit that I actually cried when I opened those presents. A backpack, really? For a birthday present? For the girl you had just proposed to 2 weeks before? I’m not sure you could get any-less affectionate then that.

Fast-forward 9 and a half years and I think I’ve come a long way. Showering everyday? With three kids, are you kidding? I actually pride myself on how long I can go without washing my hair. And while my wardrobe probably doesn’t scream, “take my hiking!” I can get by. So when Jay started mentioning how he wanted to have a family adventure to a remote part of our country, I was ALL IN from the beginning. The main concern I had was how to bribe our 3 small children to hike for 3 hours without having to carry at least one, probably 2 for most of the time. Around this time, we had friends from America that were planning a trip to visit us, so we suckered them into coming at the perfect time so that they could help us with our kids on this grand adventure! (JK, they were actually really happy to come and help. There was no suckering involved. OK, maybe a little! 🙂 )

There are no roads into this gorge. So we stayed in a village closest to where to road ends and then hiked in from there. It was so amazing! Thankfully, we had hired 2 mules to carry our packs, so the mule guys were happy to have our kids ride with them. This was a life-saver! I’m sure it would have taken us a good 5 or 6 hours if they had not been able to ride. Plus, there were some slightly treacherous parts and we had to cross back and forth over the river a couple of time. It would have been interesting, to say the least.

This place is BEAUTIFUL! They call it the “Yosemite of Morocco” and it did not disappoint. The most amazing thing is that it is practically empty. There is a village back there, but besides that, there were maybe 20 other foreigners there. Mostly rock climbers from Europe, as it is a premier rock-climbing site.

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The trip did not come without some of puking, LOTS of trips to the squatty potties, and some tears. But really, that’s pretty standard for our family and what’s an adventure without a good amount of bodily fluids. 🙂

How We Roll

People often ask us, “what is it like to travel with three little kids?” Or when we are at the airport, we get MANY looks…some sweet smiles, and some whattheheckareyouthinkingandihopeiamnotonyourplane looks. But to be completely honest, I don’t even really think about it anymore. Since having kids I think we have traveled significantly almost every three months, and so a flight over the ocean feels almost the same as a 2 hr drive to the beach (well, maybe not completely, but I pack the same amount of activities). Jay and I have often gotten on a plane and said to each other, “oh, we really should have packed something for the kids to do.” So when people ask me how we travel with them, my answer is honest, but not always helpful, ” well, if you start out not entertaining them a lot, they won’t expect it and will learn to entertain themselves.” Kinda harsh, huh?!?! But, for us, it has worked. Yes, part of it was just out of necessity ( we don’t have a DVD player in the car and we didn’t have an iPad for them to watch things on) and don’t get me wrong, when those things are available I love the quiet that happens when they are entertained, but I’m thankful that they have had to learn to do nothing well because it makes traveling all the more easy.
I think we have also learned to have tough skin, so when our kids are running around the airport and we look like we have lost control, we can smile at the person staring at us and not worry if they think we are crazy lunatics.
Exhibit A:

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Yes, I started a game of asking them to run to the sign and back. It kept them occupied while I was trying to keep one eye on them and one eye on our massive pile of bags by myself.

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The absolute worst part of traveling for me is going through security. We are always standing in a massive line and then trying to corral everyone to take their shoes off and sometimes pulling their blanket out of their hands, and breaking down the stroller, but once that 20 minutes is over, I breathe a sigh of relief knowing the worst is usually behind us.

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This flight we just took was particularly creepy and awesome. Let me explain. I’ll do creepy first.
Creepy. So as we were getting on the plane 4 Air Marshalls were getting off of our plane carrying masks and vests. No one likes to see that. So, from the beginning of the flight I was almost convinced we weren’t going to make it here. Then, almost all of the flight attendants were teenage looking boys. Weird. They barely do any kind of pre-flight safety stuff, and then without any notice we are taking off. At this point, I’m totally convinced something is wrong. So the plane takes off, yadayada, and I’m taking Hannah to the bathroom for a diaper change when I notice that half of the plane is EMPTY. So between our seats in the middle of the plane and the back seat there is almost no one! And when I get to the back of the plane I realize that there are 4 huge Air Marshall’s surrounding a guy who is Handcuffed!!! Ok, so I decide that while it is pretty unnerving to see a guy handcuffed on your plane, I feel a little better that we are surrounded by guys who could protect us, should anything happen. It was just weird, the whole plane ride, but let’s go to the awesome.
Awesome. 1. The plane ride was only 6.5 hours. Amazing! 2. This was our kids for about 4 hours:

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Empty Seats = Beds for All ( and a little bit of Dramamine never hurt anyone), except for Cole whose dad lovingly made him a bed on the ground. Our motto for the seatbelt sign?!?! If the flight attendant doesn’t say anything, then we are not waking our sleeping children.
So all that to say, we made it, and it was probably the smoothest traveling we have ever done. So thankful!
And last but not least, it always helps to be traveling to a country where car seats are optional because then your kids can ride home from the airport like this:

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