|This is Teddy scaling the sign at his namesake park: Theodore Roosevelt National Park.|
When you take children who are 4 and 5 on vacation, you expect there will be stressful moments. It doesn't mean you like them, but you at least know they're coming when you spend 3 weeks together covering nearly 6,400 miles. Some of those stressful moments included Teddy deciding he didn't want to sleep (which was only really bad 2 out of 25 nights), Teddy screaming in the car because he was miserable (although I think there were fewer hours of screaming than on previous trips) and the second half of that 7-mile hike with all the pesky bugs and heavy children to carry (which was the only hike where AJ was carried for any significant portion ... after he earned a ride down by hiking up more than 1,000 feet over 3.5 miles).
|Funny story: I almost pushed Teddy off this bridge. Oops.|
With that said, this was honestly the least stressful and easiest trip since we've had two children. Now, if you weren't Dave and I, I'm sure you'd think we're crazy. When I compare the amount of assistance Teddy needs to previous years, that alone makes the trips easier. Yes, he's much harder to change and he's much, much heavier than the earlier years. But he can feed himself (at least in the vehicle), drink by himself, sooth himself with a pacifier and pick up toys that he wants (using his feet, oddly enough, this year).
The biggest reason this trip was easier was that AJ hiked like a champ. He did nearly a 5-mile hike, which is his longest hike ever. He also did several other hikes up and down the side of a mountain. We discovered the trick to eliminating complaints is to get him focused on pretend play, which means Dave especially played a lot of LEGO Nexo Knights.
|This snowfield was legitimately the hiking trail. I love this kind of stuff!|
This trip took care of Dave and I visiting the last of the National Parks together in the lower 48 states. We've been to 48 parks, with only parks left to visit in America Samoa, Hawaii and Alaska ... all of which will be rather challenging and expensive with children. In the past 3 years, our boys have been fortunate enough to touch their toes in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (3 times for the Pacific). They've traveled more of our country than many adults will in their entire lifetimes. And they have memories that will last them a lifetime.
|Best dad ever. And Teddy love the ocean. He tried to wander into it every chance he got.|
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park
- Glacier National Park
- North Cascades National Park
- Olympic National Park
- Mount Ranier National Park
- Grand Tetons National Park
- Yellowstone National Park
- Badlands National Park
The way I look at it is that there will always be tears and stressful moments at home ... it's much easier to cope with them when I'm spending time in our national parks. These pictures don't even capture a handful of our adventures, so I might have to do another post of photo highlights. I'll leave you with this random photo that has nothing to do with Teddy or our family, aside from our hypothesis.
|We're certain these are the inspiration for the Truffala Trees in The Lorax by Dr. Seuess.|