What’s Working For Us….Usually

We’ve been traveling for a month now. Seems a bit hard to believe. But, we’re getting the hang of it. There are good days; there are great days; and there are days which could have been better. And, as we go along, there are traditions we’ve started and patterns we’re forming. So, in a nutshell, here’s what’s working for us as we make our way through Europe.

  • Leader Days. Each day, we have a leader. That person gets to make decisions (within reason). So, the leader might pick the lunch or dinner restaurant. Or which site we visit first. It works well because while others do provide input, ultimately, we know who is deciding. And, if people aren’t happy with the choice, they know they get a chance to be in charge soon. Except that we keep forgetting the order and spend about 10 minutes going back through the month to figure out whose day it actually is by which time everyone is starving, and no one really cares which restaurant we go to as long as it serves food.
  • Toasts. Someone started the tradition of making toasts at each meal. It evolved into the leader making a breakfast toast, the leader’s counterpart (kid or adult) making a lunch toast, and the leader making a dinner toast. Yep, nothing can be simple. And then, of course, if someone else has a toast to add, that’s ok as well. We did have to lay down a few ground rules involving toasts needing to be positive because “I am toasting to the fact that my brother wasn’t a jerk today” just didn’t cut it.
We will toast with whatever we have handy.
We will toast with whatever we have handy.
  • Driving. I have been incredibly impressed with Hubs’ driving. I was a bit nervous with the fact that we have a manual car here, but it hasn’t phased him. Nor did it phase him when he and another person backed out at the same time and ran into each other. But, I guess we had the luck of the Irish because the other person didn’t care at all, and our car was hit in the same place that was already marked on the rental agreement. Actually, the car is so banged up that almost the entire thing is marked on the rental agreement, but that works in our favor.
Roads like this in Ireland…
Often result in moments like this!
Often result in moments like this!
  • Old Friends. We have been incredibly lucky to meet up with old friends of mine, each from a different era of my life. It was pretty telling that Lisa, Martin, Hubs and I spent about 1/2 hour on our last night talking about how amazed we were that we had stayed with them for 10 days, yet we all thought it went really well. We even discussed politics and religion! Definitely people we would hang out with regularly if we lived in the same city on the same continent.
College roomie Emily who lives in MN. 21 years since we last saw each other, but why not meet up at the Harry Potter Studios?!
College roomie Emily who lives in MN. 21 years since we last saw each other, but why not meet up at the Harry Potter Studios?!
Post-college roomie Lisa -- we lived together in Montpellier, France. So happy to reconnect 23 years later.
Post-college roomie Lisa — we lived together in Montpellier, France. So happy to reconnect 23 years later.
Bestie from Seattle -- Molly. She and her husband were on a housing trip to London where they are relocating for 2 years. had to have dinner together!
Bestie from Seattle — Molly. She and her husband were on a housing trip to London where they are relocating for 2 years. Had to have dinner together!
  • New Friends. We have been meeting people everywhere we go. Missa B now has an artist she is writing to in Telford, England. Last night, the couple next to us gave us a dollar bill so we could sign it and put it on the pub wall. And, we had the joy of connecting with and staying with friends of our family. One night there were 12 of us sleeping in the house representing 4 nationalities.
    Irish, Spanish, French, and American
    Irish, Spanish, and American. Added French the next night.

    After 10 days, they were acting like they had been friends for years.
    After 10 days, they were acting like they had been friends for years.
  • Lodging. So far, we have been really lucky. We’ve had a mix of simple hotel rooms, hostel family rooms, charming B&B’s, and amazing homes. I think this B&B in Windsor, England was my favorite. Gorgeous farmhouse — we were the only ones there the first night — King and Queen of the Manor! And amazing breakfasts. Cannot recommend The Farmhouse in Windsor enough!

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This room opened into a the sitting room that had two twin beds.
This room opened into a the sitting room that had two twin beds.
The kids' room.
The kids’ room.

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  • Weather. Every day I read the forecast, and every day it is supposed to rain. We can count on 2 fingers the times that we have been caught in the rain. Once for the changing of the guards at Windsor, and today when we went to the beach. Both were short showers, however, and we were able to get on with our day. And, we even tried to chase this to find the pot of gold at the end! But, the leprechaun must have arrived first.

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  • Letting The Kids Run Free. Even when they haven’t slept much, these kids, like most,  need to run and jump. So finding places to do that has been critical to their our survival. Thanks to playgrounds, beaches, and ruins,  it has been relatively easy to find places to let off steam!
Climbing up an ancient ring fort.
Climbing up an ancient ring fort.
And jumping off it as well, of course.
And jumping off it as well, of course
If only any place had clothes dryers...
If only any place had clothes dryers…
  • Getting Along as a Family. We get along perfectly. All the time. The kids never fight. Ever. Not in the car where one could cross into the other’s territory but doesn’t. Not walking on the sidewalk where they could push each other into the street but don’t. Not sitting at tables where they could kick each other under the table but wouldn’t dream of it. Not going to bed when they could annoy each other and wake up neighboring rooms but of course don’t. Ever. And Hubs and I never get frustrated with them. Or each other. Ever.
See how well we get along?
See how well we get along?
Wait...one is missing, you say? Umm..yeah...he boycotted his family and sat in the back of the bus.
Wait…one is missing, you say? Umm..yeah…he boycotted his family and sat in the back of the bus.

In all seriousness, we actually are doing really well for being together 24/7. And, when we’ve been with other people for longer stretches, we find it comforting to be just the 4 of us again. When you can’t really escape each other, you figure it out. And threats bribes go a long way.

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13 thoughts on “What’s Working For Us….Usually

  1. Diana H July 22, 2015 / 9:32 am

    My favorite blog so far! And that’s saying a lot because I’ve really liked them. 🙂

    Like

  2. Tanya July 22, 2015 / 10:23 am

    Beautifully, charmingly written! It brings joy to our hearts and smiles to our faces. You can’t even imagine how much we miss you all. It was a treat to hear the children’s voices on the phone yesterday. Love you dearly.

    Like

  3. Lori L July 22, 2015 / 12:51 pm

    Sounds lovely! I’m glad its working out so well, I’m not sure my family could survive. 🙂

    Like

    • navigatorof4 July 22, 2015 / 2:33 pm

      I think you would be amazed at how you could, Lori!

      Like

  4. Gramc July 22, 2015 / 2:26 pm

    Great blog! Glad all is going so well. Keep up the blogs–in your spare time

    Like

  5. Wendy July 22, 2015 / 4:53 pm

    I’m so happy to hear it’s going well!

    Like

    • navigatorof4 July 23, 2015 / 12:29 am

      Thanks, friend! Miss you! Hope you are having a great summer!

      Like

  6. Liz July 22, 2015 / 9:19 pm

    How fun and beautifully written! I am trying to put a teething toddler to bed and had to stop reading because I kept laughing out loud and waking her. Such a great adventure and such a great family. Reading this makes me really miss seeing you guys at the end of every day!

    Like

    • navigatorof4 July 23, 2015 / 12:29 am

      So glad we could make those tough teething nights a little easier!!!

      Like

  7. Paul G July 23, 2015 / 7:47 am

    I really enjoyed reading all of the entries and the pictures are great. When you return home, could you have “hubs” put all of your pictures on a CD and send it to me? Europe sounds a little more exciting than Florida. Glad everything is going so well.

    Like

    • navigatorof4 July 29, 2015 / 8:14 am

      Thanks! We will have thousands and thousands of pictures, so that would be tough. However, Hubs has his own photo-based blog, so I’ll send you that link. Glad you are liking it. Hope you are doing great! You should be seeing some postcards soon if they haven’t already come to you!

      Like

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