Remember Your Vacation with this Postcard Trick!

I road tripped 32 hours with a six year old and an eight year old and I lived to tell about it.  If you are anything like me, there are MANY THINGS about a family road trip you'd like to forget.  We will just agree here and not compare notes. This truth aside, what about those wonderful moments during a trip that fade to fog quickly after you have unpacked?  How can you remember all the little things that color the feeling of a past vacation?  I have a wonderfully unique tip from my dear friend Whitney Hibbits of Wildberry Sanctuary.  Of course I will share with it you: Keep your Vacation Memories with a POSTCARD QUADRANT!

Pick two all encompassing POSITIVE words or phrases for the top and right hand side titles, and two NEGATIVE (Or just plain funny) words or phrases for the left and bottom quadrant titles.  This is usually the most fun part.  One of Whitney's best was the word "Hecktrocity" .  I've also used a variety of colorful language.   After you pick your four titles,  plot moments and experiences from the trip in the left top quadrant for moderately troublesome, bottom left quadrant for things you wish weren't part of your vacation memory, the right top quadrant for the best of the best and the bottom right for not so great, maybe not sooo bad!
For example, in the "Estes Park 2017" postcard, my quadrants are Llama Petting, Sound of a River, Bear Mauling and Sound of Whining.  I plotted memorable but not so great parts of the trip (trying to figure our dinner logistics with 6 adults and two kids, our dog breaking through every barricade to get up on my uncle's bed...when he is allergic.) I also plotted the best parts ( Bear Lake Hike is upper Right  quadrant because it was smoother than Calypso Cascades Hike (lower right quadrant) where Libby was DONE twenty minutes from the best waterfall so we turned around and headed back to the car.)

Whitney shared this funny little thing she and her husband Richard use for their side trips and all in vacations.  It really resonated with me as a way to be intentional about vacations and my memory of them.  I have used this ever since...and often if I do not get the postcard made, I find the notes nearby and can apply it said postcard afterwards.  Whitney is cool for this but many, many other reasons. She brings out my wildness and is always encouraging. She is at times an old soul and then again a newborn free spirit.  She got my kids into every creek we passed and I try to remember this  wildness when my natural tendency is to keep things easy and tidy for me.  I miss having her closer, but she infiltrates my life with joy filled memories and wise adages like this postcard quadrant doohickey.

Should you find yourself near Barnardsville North Carolina, look her up and plan a visit to Wildberry Sanctuary where Whitney and her husband Richard help folks enjoy the wilderness playground of the hills, animals, honeybees and more. "Wildberry Sanctuary is a healing retreat offering summer day camps and therapeutic services for children in the foster system and their families, abused women and other people experiencing trauma.  We are located in the blue ridge mountains and want something that has the feel of our location, which translates to natural, rustic and healing. We have many structures made with weaving of branches, a creek that runs through the property and nearby forested area." Like their Facebook page, if you will!   Check out the views from Wildberry Sanctuary before it all began, here!

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Water Wars (NPR Michiana Chronicles WVPE 88.1 FM)

 You can listen to this radio essay by clicking here.

My family went to war this week with a neighboring house. We planned and prepared and plotted the attack.  We are civilized people and we warned them, we did the chivalrous things and then we told them how it was.  Although children should be shielded from all aspects of war, we used our innocent daughters to deliver the initial blow.  They carried the formal written challenge in a Turkish letter scroll carrier made of metal carved with filigree and finesse.  They chose matching dresses for their courier uniform.  They crossed the street and knocked politely.  (They did have to knock louder the second time, but they did not relent.) Our girls greeted the neighbor and stood outside after curtly stating “We will wait for your reply”.   The challenge was accepted.  The time of battle was set for 1:00pm July 4th, 2017.

You may realize I do not get out much.  I’m not too fun, I like things tidy and I’m the kind of mama who tries to avoid a mess.  I am a decent parent so I say “No” and “Clean that up” and “Eat your dinner, use your napkin why isn’t your napkin in your lapstoptalkingwithyourmouthful!”  I try to tip the balance in my favor occasionally.  For example;  I buy too many ice cream cones.  We go out in pajamas.  I bring home crafts and we fuss in the kitchen together.  I also have a secret: I like a good water balloon fight. 

I’ve purchased crummy cheap squirt guns that get ruined with sand at the beach, and we have struggled to fill water balloons at least once a summer. Then something happened:  Some company called Zuru made instant fills & seal water balloon kits (and charge the equivalent of college tuition for them).  I watched them in the stores all last year.  Too much money for something that would essentially last five minutes and then need to be cleaned up. Everything changed when we made our bi-annual Costco trip and they had 350 water balloons for $20.  The wheels began to turn and we declared war.  Or I sent a text message anyway:

US:  R u around this weekend?  There may be a family challenge pending.

THEM: Bring it. Down 1 kid so it’s even numbers

US: The House of Rochon may be challenged by the House of Novak to a water fight within the next  24 hours. 
I also included a Bitmoji of myself as Wonder Woman that said “BRACE YOURSELF”.  (If you do not yet “BITMOJI”, you might want to start!) 

I sent text messages to some of our other neighbors alerting them to the battle between the House of Novak and the House of Rochon.  I invited them to join in or to watch.  Many of our neighbors make the effort to connect regularly in large and small ways and it feels good to really know my neighbors.

My husband started looking over the directions for the water balloons, another daughter brought a laundry basket upstairs to hold our squishy, bulbous weapons.  My suggestion of running to Michaels for war paint was rejected.  The breakfast dishes weren’t going to wash themselves so I turned on Spotify and found the playlist “Epic War Songs for Glorious Motivation” and cranked up the volume.  Dishes aren’t exactly inspiring, but the music was.

Before long it was time to begin assembling munitions which included three mangy squirt guns in addition to our 350 Zuru water balloons in magic quick fill clusters.  My husband had the proper wrist finesse to detach the filled balloons, so he did that while I used our kid’s wagon to move laundry baskets of ammo across the street to our neighbors’ neighbor’s yard.  We set six year old Libby as the guard of the goods.  She sat in the wagon armed with a water balloon and a crummy squirt gun.  She was impossibly cute and ferocious. 

I made flower crowns for the Queen of both Households.  We got a selfie in them, which is great because they were decimated within five minutes.  I’d decreed the winner of this battle would be determined by which side was wettest and which crown was stolen first.  The crowns were just gone almost immediately and the House of Novak fell to their foe wetly with plopping sound effects.  There may have been a home court advantage in the form of a hose, but all is fair in love and war.  The House of Rochon offered us losers some pretty great brownies with whipped cream.  Brownies soften the sting of defeat. House of Rochon, prepare for a rematch…we can bring the brownies this time! 

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