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Gone, baby, gone.

This is not going to be an “I’ve been a bad blogger” rant. In fact, I’ve done that too many times before. In fact, I’m far too easily irritated when someone hasn’t blogged in three days and those kind of posts come across my feed reader. Honestly, there’s this thing called LIFE. It gets in the way sometimes.

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Wait, maybe I should recant that. It’s all the stuff we try to cram in on top of the stuff we’ve already crammed in, down to the doing life just so I can post about it on my blog. Really. You’ve never said, I’m so blogging about this, and then started writing that post in your head (mind you, it’s totally distracting you from actually doing it). Come now. Yes you have. What about Facebook? Or Twitter?

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I’m guilty. Hands down. Too often I think my plate has become a platter. Over the years, I have come to better understand portion control and priorities. Regardless, as seasons come and go, certain things just don’t remain priorities simply because they were never really that big of a priority to begin with. There’s a difference between ‘pressing’ and ‘important’. Of course, that works the opposite way as well when we allow things that should be a priority to wane in terms of importance. It’s all about balance, blah blah blah. Actually it’s all about balancing priorities. If you’re making life decisions looking through the lenses of those priorities, than it significantly alters how you view the things you place on and take off your plate (or in this case, shift to the side).

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I don’t really know I can list all that’s on my plate. It’s about as big as the pile of laundry I finally dug myself out from under by the end of last week. Also in the spirit of digging out, here I am. Here I am. Sometimes it just takes a mega shift in what you are doing — stepping away, completing things you’ve been working at for far too long, failure — to shift perspective, to get a chance to work on your life and not just labor away in it.

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This winter I’ve been driving a lot. The realization it’s been a loooong time since I’ve really drove. Like not just an hour, or three. Like drove. Like Southern California through Canada and back. Like hitting 5 states in a singe day. Like a road trip, when your mind, thoughts, conversation, music… just wander into the vastness of nothingness around you. One night I was driving back from night skiing with a new friend with whom conversation comes easily. I’ve forgotten how enjoyable it is to just talk in light of the reality I spend the vast majority of my time with young children. I’ve forgotten how much I like to drive in light of the reality we have one car, stay close to home and walk nearly everywhere in our daily activities. That night was a precursor to the next month. Since then, we’ve driven about 1200 miles, most of it through the juxtaposition of vast open plains leading up to windy mountain passes. Much of it has been without three little additional bodies in the backseat, so uninterrupted conversation between myself and my husband perpetually rolls along with the passing miles.

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I’ve forgotten how much I like skiing. The past 5 years has been pared down to such a minimum, other things of higher importance has simply driven it to the sidelines. This year I have really skied. This year I have skied with Matt. This year we have skied as a family.

I fear many people view our commitment to skiing as a distraction, an excessive hobby, don’t understand why we prioritize it the way we do. I struggle with feeling misunderstood. I struggle with feeling I have to justify myself. Perhaps it can be a bit of a distraction, but only in the context of the fact that it has weeded out some other distractions and solidified why we do it to the degree we do. But moreso, HOW we continue to cultivate the other enjoyable things we juggle in life. I’ve always said this blog is a creative outlet, far more for my own sake as a catalog of where our life takes us than anything else. I’ve been surprised anyone actually reads it, let alone follows it. That fact always blows me away, often to the point of twinges of guilt like I’ve let the blog down, or a sad puppy waiting for handouts off the table. But priorities shift. If I don’t get a chance to blog, I don’t get a chance to blog. I don’t feel obligated anymore. Take for example, me sitting on the couch during nap time studying my ski instructor materials (sounds really exciting, no?) and got an email from a friend. You guys okay? Your blog is down. Turns out the domain expired (swear that was on auto-renew). That instance made me sad to wonder if the only way people are keeping up with us is through sporadic postings, then that is a reality check for us to make sure relationships are still happening and extend beyond the digital world. It’s far too easy to let Facebook/Twitter/Flickr/Blog friends remain Facebook/Twitter/Flickr/Blog friends without ever connecting to the real person.

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Yesterday we were driving back from two days at Steven’s Pass, winding the long two-lane road back down, over rushing rivers through torrentially pouring rain. We stopped at a roadside cafe to eat Fish & Chips and Chili Fries and beer with 8 other people. Afterwards I asked Matt if he felt Skiing this year had drawn us closer together. Hands down, he said, Yes. I am so thankful that it created those opportunities not just for us, but as a family. So much so, I don’t really want it to end. We brainstormed the rest of the way back, do we keep going? Do we let it rest until next year? Right now we’re leaning towards going for more… Mt. Hood, Sun Valley, Alpine Meadows?

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