Expectations + Excursions from Elsa's view .

When considering road trips with little ones, I think these words of Alexander Pope are very pertinent: "Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed." At the risk of leading you to believe that our world is very small or that our family life is quite boring, I'll tell you this little secret: a successful road trip, in our book, is one that includes a new-to-us destination, pretty picture opportunites, a toy shop, an ice-cream stop, and a Starbucks. And you know what? We really like it that way.

Now, we haven't always been that laid back when it comes to the great subject of road trips. And getting there certainly didn't happen over night. But things happen when you have titles like 'mommy' and 'daddy'. All of the sudden, you become quite thrilled to just be sitting still, in a car, with a warm cup of chai or a tall cone filled with Small-ville ice-cream. I realize, though, that parenthood isn't the only channel to affording someone the beauty of enjoying simple things. Maybe this will resonate with you as it did with me: "You are your own worst enemy. If you can learn to stop expecting impossible perfection, in yourself and others, you may find the happiness that has always eluded you." (Lisa Kleypas) Straight as an arrow, those words.

Expectations are funny. They can hit you out of nowhere can't they? For instance, Friday night as we suddenly changed our plan from heading to Mt. Hood to play in the snow to scoping out two towns that had been on our "want to see" list. Then, on Saturday morning, Jobie woke-up in full teething mode. Oh boy. And, over the course of a mere twelve hours, eight of which I was asleep, I felt myself falling into a complete pity party and an Eeyore sort of mindset as I pined away for our snow day and came to accept the alternate plan. (Even when I knew that we truly needed to postpone our snow day!) Here I had this glowing opportunity right in front of me-- time with my family and new places to be explored, and I nearly missed the fullness of it all because of a measly expectation.

And so, as I think about Kleypas' words, I come to grips with this reality: I may have fallen down a few notches on the ladder of expectation, but I've still got a ways to go. Here's to the next rung!

p.s. Just in case you're wondering who Elsa is and why this excursion was from her view, Elsa is our Volvo. We love her.


  1. a while back my smarty dad spoke of the word "anticappointment" (not sure if i'm spelling that right..?) but essentially the anticipation of something that leads to disappointment based on our expectations. phew. lots of big words this monday morning. anywho. really enjoyed your post & such a great reminder. xoxo

  2. Ali,
    Steve and I were *just* talking about your dad yesterday. We miss him. (And your mom!) I need to look up his blog. The post you're telling me about sounds like something I need to read! Thanks for your sweet words today!

  3. Ha! I know just what you mean. Those expectations, they'll kill ya. And just when I think I've learned to release them and go with the flow, something I didn't even realize I was expecting doesn't work out, and all bets are off! Oh, I hope I can learn these lessons now to spare my poor imaginary future children... but, let's be real, I'm sure I'll be humbled over and over again.

    Also, your pictures! I love every time you go on one of these road trips or day trips because then I get to experience them through your photos. So beautiful!

  4. Shanna,
    'my poor imaginary future children'. . .hmm. . . I have to be honest. . .I was just thinking and wondering this morning about that very subject : ) Hoping to hear something in the future about that : ) You are sweet to enjoy these pictures. I almost wrote something about how I'm pretty sure that I am the only one who thinks weeds on the side of the road can look pretty in an Oregon fog. . .but I'm glad to hear that I have company, I think : )

  5. Expectations are indeed a funny thing. I love that you still take road trips despite being parents, and that you let the changing course of them enliven you and not cage you. Families are never more fun than when they're doing things together.

  6. Bekuh,

    Thanks so much for your words. You hit the nail on the spot with your last line-- I think that is so important-- to just do things together, whether it's a quick trip to the park or a grand cross-country trip. It's something that I need to work on continually-- to be thankful for the little and big fun times!

    ps. I am so challenged by your "paring down" project for 2013. I am in the midst of trying to organize something similar for my home. Keep talking about it and updating us on your progress-- it's motivating others!

  7. this was such a beautiful post. Inspires me to think about leaving my city a bit more and getting out there to explore. It can feel so daunting with two children that we sometimes end up paralyzed at home and upset at the end of the weekend that we didn't discover something new. Thanks for the push out the door!

  8. These pictures are so storybook magical. I find it hard to capture all that I can see out the car window - the lens just seems too small. But I've come to realize that snapping those pictures is important because all of the US doesn't look like that. And I don't always know when I'll be back.

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