Tell me I’m not the only one. Please? I have home soap, and away soap. The away soap is “good enough” for being away, but is isn’t what I’d pull out before a night on the town (usually from about 5:30pm - 9:00pm, that’s all I can handle) either. It’s like the “B team” of soap. If Kristi hadn’t made us all take a nap at 7:30am Saturday morning, a shower with the “A team” soap would’ve probably been the first thing I did upon returning home. Although the nap did feel good, even at a time when most people were either up for the day or just getting up. Do kids still watch cartoons on Saturday morning? Are they still as awesome as Voltron and Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles?

Yes, home. Back to reality, back to school, dishes, laundry, vacuuming the food particles and cleaning the mystery stains from a week on the road. Time to get get back at it, yet also time to spend a few minutes reflecting on the past week.

Don’t tell her this, but I really appreciated my wife. A few times I had a unique way of showing it, but I did. With new places, new roads, and numerous children it was stressful at times to take in all the inputs and turn them into a logical plan. A second set of ears was certainly helpful with that. It was also appreciated how on numerous occasions when a child was done, like I’m not taking another step done, Kristi would take said child and in a way I was not able to convince the child that they were in fact not done just yet. This woud’ve been a slightly different trip without her… and at least one (maybe two) kids who are still in the “Daddy can lift me up without thinking” weight class is probably grateful they got to spend less time tucked under Daddy’s arm while hiking. My back ls likely grateful too.

Although she’s entering an age when all kids transition from mom and dad know best, to mom and dad are so dense, I certainly appreciated Kayleigh’s ability to help out with Josh, and her other siblings as needed. Often times it was just a simple distraction or a hand to hold, but she was usually there with a smile on her face. Some nights this even meant sharing a bed with Madeleine at her side, and Joshua at her feet. I’m sure she’s glad to be back in her bed, alone.

Benjamin has a motor and it was awesome. He’s kind of like the tortoise and the Energizer Bunny all at once. He has a pace and he does it forever. He often was our leader and more often than not he knew where he was going which is a good quality when hiking. He was also always eager to lend a helping hand at home and more often than not shared an encouraging word with those who were struggling.

Madeleine is tough. After the great butcher block blunder had passed she was out on the trails walking, running, and perhaps doing a cartwheel or two. For her the week was great because she got to spend it with her family. The kid is nothing if not loyal and loving to her family… even if she too has weird ways of expressing it. She made me a nice drawing the first day we were there and was driven to tears when she saw her younger brother had colored over top of it. She’s loyal and fierce… glad she’s on my team.

Joshua. Without too much hyperbole his head was likely in a figurative blender the whole time we were away. New places, new rooms, new things to do and ALWAYS with the hiking. Though it drives me nuts every time he protests a ‘No’ with a “Well _________ I didn’t get to ___________”, I guess it shows he strong willed and an advocate for himself which is going to be needed. Despite what must have been somewhat tortuous for him (and for the others, they just know better than to complain) he always started hikes with a good attitude and a lot of spunk.

So while I’m happy to be back in the land of my “A Team” soap, I’m equally glad we got away to do something and see each other in a slightly different light than we are used to. For anyone who has read this far (thank you) I’d like to share one last thought. Your kids are likely up for whatever you are willing to push them to do. Yes it will look like a child did it, yes it will be wrought with complaining, whining, fighting, and multiple snack breaks, but we find our kids limits for all things are usually set by us. So I (and alone, Kristi has no clue I’m even writing this) encourage you to step out and do that thing you think your kids or family aren’t quite ready for yet. It will either be an incredible victory, or an epic fail, but I’m finding that regardless of success or failure it usually results in a fond memory of something the family did together. I’m going to pay so dearly for saying this because it is cheesy… but go make a memory.

Soapbox out.