Enjoying the Moment

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21 Mar Enjoying the Moment

IMG_1346“Malachi, you just gotta enjoy the moment.  That’s your challenge this weekend, k?”

“Yes, Dada.”

Over and over again, this was the challenge I set before my 7 year old son, Malachi throughout our #MunozFamilyStaycation this weekend.  Too often he asked “Where are we going next?!” WHILE we were doing something awesome as a family.  The kid is so used to surprises from his parents, sometimes he forgets just how rad his life is in that moment!  So right from the get-go, it became very clear what the theme was going to be throughout the weekend; Enjoy the moment.

If you know me or follow me at all, you know my life is pretty jam-packed with a little bit of EVERYTHING!  I co-own a graphic design and screen printing company.  I’m the Executive Director of an ever-growing charity.  I coach youth sports.  I play rec-league softball… you get the idea, lots of things, busy life, all that jazz.  Well, I took a look at my schedule and realized that we only had ONE WEEK in-between Malachi’s basketball and baseball season (not including Easter weekend), and then after baseball season is the crazy Gamerosity season where things pick up.  We HAD to do something as a family this weekend before life gets crazy again!

So I hit up AirBNB, jump on, cruise through VRBO, and all of these sites to see where the best, most convenient place to best serve our family.  In the end, it was going to cost at least $380 just get a place for two nights for our family, not including gas, food, and entertainment.  By the time I added everything up, you’re looking at $800-$1000 for a family of 4.  Money we didn’t have.  I knew that if I spent that money, we’d spend the next couple months regretting those expenses, believe me, I’ve been there.

So I had to look at my options.

Cat didn’t want to cook all weekend, because what kind of vacation is that?!  And really, a hotel or room that we’d rent is essentially saying, “I don’t want to cook, clean, or make my bed.”  No problem, we won’t do any of that!  How about… We just stay local, do some rad stuff together, and then come home at the end of the night to sleep?  Cat was down, so was I.  Let me just say, we had a blast!  Cat and I couldn’t have been more thrilled with the weekend, even if it didn’t quite go as planned.

But there’s no way that would’ve happened if we didn’t stick to the rules.

This obviously goes without saying.  Kinda.  You have to keep saying this to yourself over and over again.  Our culture has influenced us to measure joy by quantity, not quality, don’t let that happen.  Soak up each moment.  Remember the little things.  The way your girls’ hair flows in the wind.  The way your boys tongue sticks out when he colors.  The way your wife tries to physically absorb every ounce of sunlight.  These are the things stay hidden in your heart.  Don’t miss this because you might be late for a movie.  There’s always another movie.

Staycations aren’t often successful because it’s incredibly easy to “fall in line” and just simply do what you do every single weekend, so it’s really important to keep to your convictions about GETTING OUT OF THE HOUSE!  If you don’t, you’ll find you and your family huddled around a TV, in your sweats, wasting away the day.  Don’t do that, at least, not during the day.

Your family is living and breathing, your plans should be, too.  This means, it’s wise to have a “heading” with the understanding that you may go off course, but that’s okay!  You want some room to breath. This is about your time together, not how many things that can get done in one day.  So, if lunch goes long or the kids want to swing a little more on the playground, that’s fine, just roll with it.

The plan was to stay in Ashland. We’d wake up late, go to Morning Glory for an amazing breakfast, then have the kids watch the ducks and play at the playground at Lithia park.  After Lithia park, coffee and treats at Mix for a bit before we head back up to hike Lithia Park leading to an early dinner at Caldera.  Easy peasy.  But the night before I remembered that I committed to attending a 3rd party Gamerosity fundraiser event a friend was putting together.  No problem, we’ll just head to their fundraiser after Mix, and then, depending on the time, we’d head back to Ashland, or go to Rogue Air Park so the kids can jump around and have fun!  Well, this photo was taken moments before Natalia accidentally got double-bounced and sprained her ankle.  It was a freak accident but my poor baby doesn’t do pain very well.  We knew that it probably wasn’t a break, but it would definitely include a doctor visit to make sure there’s not ligament or hairline fractures we’re not noticing.  Poor baby, we felt terrible for her.  This obviously meant no Rogue Air Trampoline Park, and definitely no out-to-dinner event.  We got Talia to the house to get some Tylenol and get her foot elevated.  How do we roll with this?  I asked myself, “Is this it?  Is our Staycation over?”  I grabbed a sheet and laid it out on the grass in the backyard and hung out with my Puggle Dash while we figured out how the rest of our vacation was going to go!  We decided it must go on!  I put on Alvin and the Chipmunks Road Chip (It was about 6pm by this time) and Cat picked up some Outback Steak House and brought it back.  We just rolled with the punches and we still had a great time together!

This is a really wise idea.  I’m not Dave Ramsey.  Not even a little bit.  But the whole cash system is brilliant, especially on vacations.  It’s so easy to overspend with a debit card, but even easier with a debit card on vacation!  I pulled out about $600 cash, just to have on hand.  Each day, I put a specific amount in my pocket based on the expectations for that day (plus a little more, just in case).  There’s something very sacrificial about paying cash!  You see it go from your pocket, to the cashier, and out of your life!  It’s not like your debit card gets smaller every time you use it, you know?  It’s a great way to keep track.

Saturday, just after Talia sprained her ankle, we received a text from a friend inviting us over for a BBQ.  I asked Cat, she shrugged her shoulders and said “Sure!”  Their kids are teenagers and they took care of our kids while we hung out with the adults and had a blast!  I can probably honestly say that we wouldn’t have gone there had we had a “normal” weekend where all I probably would have wanted to do is take the after-church nap!

Parks are free.  Hiking is free. And most of the time, it’s these free things that bring out more of the beauty of your family than the things you pay for.  What do you learn about your family if you’re all staring at a movie screen?  Seeing how hard Malachi could push himself to reach the top of Roxy Ann, or seeing Natalia appreciate the beauty of our Valley from our vantage point are priceless.  Having moments where I get to see my wonderful family’s individual characteristics are wonderful!  Seeing the joy in Malachi’s face when we reached the top was really special.  Cracking jokes with Cat about inside things are free.  Laughing together with your best friend is super special.  Watching Natalia conquer her fears with the “big slide” or seeing the kids spin themselves in circles at the Playground… those things, you’ll never find out about your children by handing them a tablet so you can get 10 more minutes of nap time (we’ve all been guilty of that!).

IMG_1311Overall, In a weekend that included late breakfast’s, lots of coffees and chocolate milk stops, dinners out, snacks, Family Fun Center, lots of walking, a doctor visit, and a whole lot of unforgettable, special moments, we spent $405 this weekend.  Super reasonable all things considered.  Our lives are getting simpler as they’re getting busier.  I’m learning more and more about my quirky 7 year old boy and my precious 5 year old girl.  I’m sharing some special memories with my wife and am enjoying a relationship with her that I never thought I’d have.  She’s incredible and I’m so thankful she can dress up and do some fancy things with me, and she can be so easy going and enjoy the simple things.

IMG_1352You can’t look ahead and you can’t worry about how things may have been in the past.  You have to enjoy this moment right here.  Don’t worry about the next thing, excel at being present in this moment and find something meaningful to capture from it.  I guess I can thank Malachi for making me realize how important not looking for the “next thing” is from the very beginning!