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family Photo Travel

Back From the Brink

I just turned on my computer for the first time in 7 days. 

It still feels a bit funky. My fingers are stretching to familiar places but typing feels totally odd. Yesterday, I woke up to cuddle a freezing Jackson back to sleep. Today, he woke up in his crib to a warm bowl of oatmeal and a morning full of Curious George & Elmo.

The McLane Family is 500 miles from our little June Lake camp site, 8,600 feet above sea level and a million miles from yesterday.

I spent a week intentionally disconnected from my day-to-day life. I turned off my email, signed out of Facebook, never opened Wunderlist or even had the thought, “I should write that down.” For the first time I can remember I even let the blog go fallow for a week.

It felt good to rest.

When I wrote my last post I was on the brink. I was past tired. I was exhausted. I don’t know what comes after exhaustion but I was pretty much there. It’s not so much that the exhaustion was hurting my work as it was that it was hurting to work. Day-by-day the grind was like a bruise that kept getting punched. Even embracing a more regular Sabbath wasn’t helping. I needed real rest.

After a week of hiking, exploring, playing, laughing, star-gazing, and fishing… I feel better and found rest for the first time in a long time.

It had been a few years since I really shut it down for 6 consecutive days. I don’t know if it’s my insecurity, the desperate feeling we had to turn it around at my old gig, or what… but I do know shutting it down was the right thing and something I need to do more often. (I have 3 weeks of vacation planned for the remainder of 2012.)

Rush-free Play

As we drove home yesterday, Kristen and I kept joking about the fact that we all still liked one another. Camping brought us closer together. As we left June Lake we were all a bit sad it had ended. I think all of us had embraced a little fantasy that it didn’t have to end… that we could just head to the grocery store and restock for another week. (And hit the showers to clean up!)

I think that’s a sign of a good vacation, that you leave wanting a little bit more and having fully entertained the option of never going home.

Each day was filled with a slowventure where we made breakfast together, cleaned up camp, and went somewhere to explore. We had a simple lunch of PB&J or fruit, cheese, and crackers. Somehow we managed to make it home in time to make dinner and have a camp fire before bed. (Did you know marshmallows are a food group while camping? I think each of the kids ate their weight in marshmallow!)

Together, we saw some of Earth’s greatest treasures. Yosemite denies description. Photos cannot capture awe. The giant sequoias, the Valley, the Tunnel View, the Merced River, Tuolumne Meadows, the Tioga Road, even The Mobile… all are happy places.

We spent 2 days not catching a single fish but smiling the whole time. We went up and down mountains. And we played in lots and lots of streams.

I loved watching Megan and Paul get lost in ancient forms of play. They made bow & arrows and pretended to hunt chipmunks. They wandered in the woods collecting stuff. They stared deeply into the starry abyss. They played with fire.

And they were rarely bored.

It’ll probably take me a few weeks to really unpack my vacation. But all I know is that I need more of that more often!

 

Categories
family Weblogs

Kristen is Blogging Again

Yup, Kristen has got her blog going again. I know she plans on talking more about our families shift to an organic lifestyle, gardening, shell hunting, and fun stuff for our kids.

Kristen was a pretty successful mom-blogger when that fad was hot. She got burnt out with all the free product people sent us to review so I think she’s going to avoid that this time around.

She and I sat down yesterday  to talk about a new look for her blog… let me know what you think. We were looking to create something fresh, open, and elegant. (Yes, the shell is one she found in a neighborhood in Haiti. Only Kristen could find a shell in a path a mile from the ocean amidst all that garbage!)

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family haiti

Kristen Dances in Public for the First Time

OK, so in order to really appreciate this video you need to know that Kristen has no moves whatsoever. She loves music. She actually likes to dance and clap to music. But the poor woman… well, she has no beat. And this has long held her back from sharing her dance-worthy moments with the general public.

But put her in an orphanage full of children filled with joy– no problem!

Categories
Photo Video Clip

61 Minutes: The Kitchen

I’m learning to love time lapse videos so I thought I’d start off by making a series of my own.

Here’s an ordinary 61 minutes in my kitchen. A mom makes dinner, cleans up, takes the dog for a walk, a dad sneaks a snack, the kids come and do homework.

There is something extraordinary about the ordinary, isn’t there?

Categories
hmm... thoughts

Nine Things I Love on 09.09.09

090909

I’m not into numerology, at all. But I’m smart enough to know that this is the only time in my lifetime the calendar will read straight nines.  With nine being the operative number of the day here are nine things I’m in love with.

1. Simple routines. Every day, every week basically looks the same.

2. Mega-family time. This has been a big change in our lives. At least once a week we all do something together. It’s not always big, but it’s a big deal and I’m pumped about it.

3. The job lottery. More than a year into my time at YS and I still get fired up and think… I work there? For real?

4. Church peeps. You can’t sell this short. We dig our church peeps. I love feeling like I need to step it up to keep up with their faithfulness.

5. Riding the trolley. (relates to #1) That simple discipline has taken so much stress out of our lives. Big ups to SDMTS.

6. Vietnamese food. This is the next craze to sweep across the nation.  I’m a big fan of the noodle soup, pho. (pronounced “fu.” Yes, like half of the f-word.) Best food on the planet.

7. iPhone. I know something will replace it as the coolest device in my world. But it is an amazing tool for me. I can now go on vacation laptop free.

8. Nikon D60. I never thought I’d really love photography. I am no artist, but thanks to this little camera I can now take pictures that don’t suck.

9. My baby’s mama. Seriously, Kristen is a rock star. 12+ years of marriage and she’s still my best friend. She still laughs (politely) at my jokes and likes my crazy dreams.

Categories
family

Weekend Review

I’m still amazed at how much fun we can have in a weekend. It’s been since high school that I’ve had weekends off so consistently. Love it!

Friday night, we stayed home and rested. With temperatures in the 100s most of last week, the kids had been stuck in the house a lot. I’d even say that by Friday night they had a bit of cabin fever. Saturday morning, I got up early, did a little reading and writing, then took Megan and Stoney to dog beach.  It’s amazing how much fun we can have there. Stoney loves to play with his ball, but really he loves to socialize with other beasts. You forget that dogs are a pack animal until you let them hang out with other dogs. Stoney would like to be a dominant male… which basically means that he spends his time at the beach trying to get other dogs to submit to him. On Saturday, the funniest part was when two springer spaniel puppies spent 10 minutes messing with him. These 7 month old pups knew some of the rules of being submissive/dominant, but like adolescents, were playing with the rules. Stoney would chase one down and he would roll over to submit to some sniffs. While Stoney sniffed his belly, his brother would jump on Stoney’s back. Stoney would snap at the other and chase the other puppy. It was a riot. In the meantime, Megan and I enjoyed wading in the San Diego River. The crystal blue warm water was perfect. We could have stayed there all day… if Stoney didn’t want to chase and play with every dog on the beach we could have.

After a couple hours of beach time with Stoney, Megan and I took him home. We rested for a little while, had some lunch, then packed up the truck to go to the beach as a family. It was hot at our house when we left. Close to 100 in San Diego is twenty degrees warmer than normal. As we headed west towards the Pacific anticipation built up. To be honest, it was a tense drive! Megan and Paul were snippy with one another the whole way to the beach. Mom and dad were in that “head down, focus” mode! When we finally got to Torrey Pines State Beach we were ready to pour our energy into the waves.

As we gathered our stuff out of the truck to take to the beach Megan and I decided to lose our sandals. This is pretty normal and isn’t usually a big deal. But about 200 yards from the truck we were really in pain. It was so hot that I could feel the bottom of my feet burning, literally. Mom was able to swoop up Megan and carry her the rest of the way to the beach while I tried to trot there. It felt like I was walking on glass the whole way. When I finally made it to the beach the pads of my feet were covered in first degree burns. It’s hot! (They are now blistered up, yuck!)

We spent the next four hours playing hard in the surf. The water temperature was refreshing! And the waves were awesome by the shore and a bit scary at the break line. I had fun getting Megan and Paul on the boogie board by the shore. They caught little 2 footers and would ride effortlessly to the beach… like 50-75 feet in total. It was awesome! When they tired of that I’d head out towards the break line where the waves varied from 5-10 feet. With surf that big I got plenty of practice ducking the big ones. It felt so good to be in the water! I was able to watch the surfers from close up, chat with fellow boogie boarders, and catch the occassional big wave. It’s hard to describe the joy of catching a wave. It’s a lot scary as the wave is way more powerful than you… but completely exhilarating when you catch it just right and zoom along with the wave breaking behind you while you dodge tourists.

Exhausted, we left the beach about 4:30 and went out for pizza. It’s taken us a while to settle on a favorite pizza joint. Truth be told, San Diego has a lot of good cuisine but pizza is not their thing. When we go to Pizza Port, the pizza is good enough, the surf feel is awesome, and the kids love that they have machines to dump quarters into. While enjoying our pie we watched the local Chula Vista Little League team pound the Texas team to take home the U.S. Championship, it was good fun. We drove home, full and tired. Everyone was sound asleep by 9 o’clock!

Sunday morning, our small group decided to bring a little rejoicing to the church by hosting a surprise tailgate party. That was a great lead in to worship. I’m still lost in the idea that we celebrate sports figures but not religious leaders… it was fun to mix those two things up intentionally for a morning. I think it was a success.

After church, we went home and chilled for a while. We watched Chula Vista win the Little League World Series (woot!) and then went to Maddie’s 3rd birthday party. All of the church staff has kids about the same age, so it was a blast to see all the little kids party and dance together. Megan and Paul… were awesome in playing along with a “little kid party.” They really did have a good time. And it warms my heart to see that they feel like they fit in. The whining about leaving Michigan… finally dissapating.

From there, we went home and embraced the quiet. The kids convinced mom to allow them to camp out in the living room. They were in bed early and mom and dad retired to read and go to bed early.

I think it takes someone who never really got weekends off to really appreciate the simplicity and joy of a weekend off. Then again, I think everyone loves weekends and I’m just finally getting to join in!

Next weekend, college football. That makes me super happy.

Categories
family golf hmm... thoughts

The weekend that was

This morning my back and arms are sore, my legs feel heavy, my eyes don’t want to open… signs of a very cool weekend. I took the weekend off. For the first time in a long time I actually completely disconnected from work. It was much needed.

Last month Kristen scored some great tickets to San Fransisco on Southwest. We jumped on the opportunity to get away! We were really good about getting away without kids in Michigan, but moving 2500 miles away from that network has meant we haven’t had family or church family around to hook us up with some getaway-ability. We made this one happen.

Kristen and I have been to San Fransisco before. First in 2001 we spent a couple weeks in the bay area. We did a lot of the toursity things down in San Jose, Santa Cruz, Napa, and a day-trip to Alcatraz. Then when we lived in Oroville we did some more quick trips around San Fransisco to the parks and driving across the Golden Gate bridge. But we had never really stayed in the city or did anything beyond the true tourist stops. So we intended to change that.

dsc_0009We flew in Friday afternoon and made our way into the city on BART. After getting lost a couple of times we made our way to Japantown. I’m getting more and more “anti-chain” and while the Hotel Kabuki is part of a larger company it is still a one of a kind place. It was as Japanese as I’d like to go without going to Japan. When we checked in the manager told us that since we were hear for a romantic getaway he was upgrading us to a suite. (Always leave a comment when making a reservation!) So he put us in this funky suite with a living room and a bedroom seperated by these fun sliding panels. The kicker for us was that the room also came with a sauna. I never knew I wanted a sauna in my hotel room before… it was a lot of fun!

After checking in we went on a walk in classic Adam and Kristen style. We had no idea where we were going and 90% of our intention was to get lost. So we walked up Filmore Street, had lunch at a place called LeMed, and then got royally lost and tired walking around Nob Hill. San Fransisco is laid out like a grid, so you can never truly get lost. Plus, with iPhone’s in hand all you really ever have to do is open up Google Maps. We walked until we were tired and went back to the room to chill and recharge. (Literally, our batteries died!) Later we went out for a dinner. We started at a wine bar then wandered up and down Fillmore Street a few times before deciding on a Thai place. Literally, we walked until our legs could take it no more!

Saturday morning we got up early and met Dave & Justine for breakfast at a little diner. It was fun to hang with them. When Dave stayed with us in December he was completely miserable with his internship and San Fransisco in general. It was fun to see the 180 transformation… amazing what romance will do to a situation! We lingered around at breakfast, enjoying our visit, but finally had to end it when Justine had to go to work.

From there, we checked out of our hotel, explored the Kintetsu Mall (a treat all its own full of places to eat and unlimited Japanese boutiques, totally worth it!) Then we jumped back on the bus and headed to Union Square. Since that wasn’t our scene we kind of went nuts on the transit system for a while. First we took a cable car over to Fisherman’s Warf. I have always wanted to ride a cable car and it was actually more fun than I had imagined!

Again, Fisherman’s Warf wasn’t our scene. We’ve already “done that” and it’s a total tourist trap. So we jumped on a streetcar and headed out to The Castro. As a straight couple that may seem like an odd place to hang out! But it was a total blast. It’s ecclectic and fun. Since it was Saturday afternoon everyone was out and about, chatting on the street, walking dogs, and basically just enjoying a perfect Saturday weather-wise. We had an awesome lunch at the Anchor Oyster Bar before heading back downtown.

From there we just got on more cable cars and explored. We hiked up the famous Lombard Street curvy road deal and took a ton of pictures. Completely exhausted, we rode the cable car back to Union Square, bought a couple souveniers for the kids, and got back on the BART for the trip home.

We got home about 11 and promptly crashed after saying goodbye to Mandy and Jon. (Who earned their saint stripes by watching the kids… who had quite a good time without mom and dad around!)

Sunday morning, I skipped church and played in a golf scramble with Tic. Tic is leaving YS later in the summer and as much as I enjoy his company I knew this would likely be my last big opportunity to spend a chunk of time with him. We played horribly. Each of the people in our foresome had a few good shots, one fantastic shot, and roared with laughter all day until we finally finished at +2. It completely capped off my weekend!

So that was my weekend unplugged. With a big week ahead it was fun to fully do a weekend where we went all out all weekend. I invite you to check out our pictures from San Fransisco. More importantly, I hope you get the opportunity to unplug and get away with the one you love soon.

Categories
hmm... thoughts

Can’t Sleep

cant_sleep

Dedicated to Kristen, who always struggles to fall asleep.

HT to XKCD

Categories
family hmm... thoughts

The move is done!

Today was the last day of our lease at the old place. We really only had two items left that had to be retrieved. We had the base of our yard swing. Kristen loves this thing so I knew we had to get it taken care of right away. And we had our old car. Yeah, the one with the blown engine.

Tonight we went over there to get both. The swing seemed like the easy thing, so we loaded that into the back of the truck, no problem. Next, we charged the battery on the Camry for a while and after about 30 minutes of trying I got it started.

That’s when the race was on. Rather then pay $50 to tow the car I decided to drive it! Now, you need to know two things to appreciate this lunacy. First, we moved from the top of one hill to the top of another. So it was down 400 feet of elevation and back up the other side. (About a mile total) Second, the engine was running on two cylinders. That means there were two other cylinders busted and making huge bangs while the other two chugged along like a lawn mower.

So, down the hill and off we go. The brakes are super soft since I hadn’t driven the car since October. Yeah, big hill and bad brakes. Smart move.

Then, pulling onto University, I hear a nasty sound. As if a busted engine isn’t bad enough, the swing had fallen out of the back of the truck and was being dragged. I kept driving my car go-kart towards the house while Kristen figured out the swing. It was a freaky moment as we go separated. Not good.

I pulled into the bottom part of our neighborhood so I could check on Kristen. She was fine, just getting everything secure. So I started driving up through the streets with my loud banging engine. Driving up a steep hill with full knowledge that your car could stop at any moment is kind of fun. Not only was I trying to snake through my neighborhood, I was keeping an eye out for places to ditch in case I had pull over and call for a tow.

A few minutes later I pulled into our driveway and turned off the engine. A couple minutes after than Kristen arrived.

Kristen and I were giddy in completing our task. We knew we did something dangerous and it came out OK. The kids were nervous about the whole thing but after a few minutes were willing to celebrate with us. I told Paul, “Sometimes to do things adventurous you do it not knowing it’s going to be fine. That makes the adventure more fun.” He told me “OK” but I don’t think he was convinced.

Craziness over? Of course not! I needed to move the car a few feet to the right so we could park next to it in the driveway. Of course, the car wouldn’t start so we had to push it. Yeah, good times right there.

This was one of those nights where we shared a lot of laughs. Most importantly, our move is now officially over.