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« Day Two of The Unplanned-Plan | Main | Day Four of The Unplanned Plan »


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sheesh lady, these are awesome! As unawesome as an unplanned plan in population 200 road trip sounds, the genuine smiles caught between moments of bickering just show how what we all need is a little time together. Adventure awaits.
I especially love the one of Annie in window sill...
And from day 2 ( I think) there is 1, perfect one of all 3, all looking, not "cheesing" greatness.

Thanks for sharing.


I love how the kids are meeting all kinds of wonderful strangers!
And I see your blog as perfect. You show both sides, I love that. I am only jealous of the fact you have 3 kids at home still that don't seem to mind getting their pictures taken.


I am pretty sure on the internet we all only show the highlight reels :) I love this idea of the unplanned vacation. When I was growing up we only did an unplanned vacation once. We now refer to it as the vacation from "He**!" Wasn't a good one!! Your family does know how to live it up and I love that you share the highlights with us.


Thank for being so honest about needing your own time. I am a mom that needs to cool down or just relax for a bit or I will lose it, and sometimes I do and I feel so bad. I got away from your blog b/c my computer crashed about a year ago. I just thought about the blog the other day and when I came back your kids are so grown! I can't believe how time flies.


We remember moments...not days! The less than stellar moments don't really matter... six months from now they will be lost in the haze...but, the moments will be remembered.


From a mom who's own head nearly popped off this morning when the kid who has had so many absences this year we've gotten truancy letters called home sick...thank you. I love your honesty and transparency, and it's why I've been reading your blog forever and will continue to read it for as long as you keep it.


As someone who isn't a mom (or even anywhere close) but who wishes/hopes/dreams of being a photographer- you're one of my biggest inspirations how how to balance god and life and family and photography. Thanks for being a a great model, even to people you don't know. :)


Long time reader,first time commenter!

I just love your blog because you are so honest and show us how real your family is. Despite all the "real ness" of it (like thinking you had married the biggest jerk ever- and anyone who doesn't think that at some point is probably a robot) the crazy amount of love and fun you all have shines through! I love that you are creating such wonderful memories for your kids to share when they are grown and have families of their own. My brother, cousins and I talk incessantly about all the fun things we did with our grandparents (who lived in Dunsmuir) and parents when we were little. Ringing the church bell at my Grandpas church, digging in the snow with kitchen utensils, making ice cream, going to the big city of Yreka! You and Josh are raising some great people, and I love that you share them with us! I also love that you and your children can laugh at yourselves and the ridiculous things that you say or do. If you can't laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?

I also love your tips that work too, and reading about the towels made me think of one that worked for me when my youngest son was going through 4 costume changes a day! He was 8 years old and elementary school didn't start until 9:30, he would get up around 6:30 and immediately get dressed. He would then eat breakfast and fool around in the house until it was about 10 minutes before we left for school at which point he would decide that what ever outfit he had on already was not suitable for what pressing engagement was happening in second grease and run and change into a completely different outfit. Of course, the first outfit went straight into the hamper. A the end of the day he would come home and out on another outfit more suitable for homework and chores, apparently. Then of course he had to have pajamas on for bed. As you can imagine it made for quite a bit of laundry in a week! So, on Saturday said child learned how to work the mysterious washing machine and dryer. After two weeks of doing his own laundry he was down to a more manageable 2 costume changes per day. All the hollering and beseeching on my part did no good and just made us both angry with each other, but him doing his own laundry took the novelty of changing clothes 4 items a day off really quick!

Love your blog, can't wait to see the rest of the photos of your trip and where you went next!

Carol Fleming

Oh my lord, I laughed so hard at your obit....My obit will probably read..."46 year old mom dies after flying off her handle bars because she was sick and tired of wiping up crumbs on the floor for the 100th time that day". Thanks for always including the "not-so-fun" parts of your life. Thanks for keeping it real!!!


I'm loving these trip posts! I want to go to the Painted Hills, never been there! Love yout obit too!:)


It is SO refreshing to know that your family is totally normal.....the BEST part is just like Mr. Roger's says...".I like you just the way you are!!!" Our expectations can often set us up for disappointment and the comparison game is definitely a slippery are so real, and I love you just the way you are!!
Today we are celebrating my in-laws 70 years of certainly has not been perfect, our family is far from perfect, but accepting that it has been love and perseverance that has taken them/us through it all.....makes it an incredible journey. Your journey is incredible....and I thank you for sharing it with us.


I cannot believe you were in sumpter, oregon and didnt ride the train while there. Its a wonderful, fun train! Glad to hear your vacations arent all peaches and roses either. Grin


I love your disclaimer! It's so easier to look at the pictures, but everyone knows that life DOES have volume. Thank you for calling it out and reminding me that, even if everything isn't perfect, you should still take pictures to help capture all the memories (AND it helps makes the good feelings/memories sharper!). Looks like a great trip...can't wait to see the next leg of the journey!


Those kids are so lucky to have you and Jos for parents!!


Yet another amazing referral by Erin Cobb. I love this your the pictures. I'm so envious you are doing this. Can't wait to see more.


Still loving your holiday pics and I too cherish times when siblings are being nice to one another. This week after what seems like months James (9) has been fantastic playing board games with his (7) year old sister Sienna. It does have something to do with the fact that I bought a new board game but seriously I was overjoyed. Check out the pictures of him playing drafts and he taught her how to play chess and he wasn't getting cranky with her. Let me tell you I cannot play chess myself so I'm very proud of both of them. 2nd post down (as of today) dated 04/04/2013. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia


Hi there,
Love, love, love your posts. They always inspire me to do better, to give, to be abnormal, and think outside the box. I love hearing your family stories and see how your family functions. My kids are grown (24 and 26) but I value your opinions and guidance.
Thanks for always being honest and sharing your stories.
Happy trails,



This post makes me feel "normal"! My kids are just as you mentioned! These thoughts/ feelings could have duplicated my spring break, only we didn't leave town and boy did we have the bickering and loathing! ;)

I have come to the conclusion that life is not a Hallmark movie and we are lucky to have the commercials.


Karen...I love your posts! Thank you for sharing your "real" life stories. The pic of you guys playing spoons reminded me to tell you about a card game my cousin found at the beach and now our whole family is hooked...young and old! It's called Five's hard to find but there's a speciality toy store not far from us who carries it and they sell it online. Google The Toy Box Ligonier PA...go under family or group games and you'll find it. So much fun!


Do all of your kids get the same items on their scavenger hunt, or is easy one tailored to their age, interests, etc?


This is why I love your blog! You keep it real, you give us real photos, you show that you can love your hubby and kids but sometimes wish you could levave them all!!


Love seeing this trip. GENIUS with the scavenger hunt. Seriously how did you happen to find things like "gold" from your list? Did you plan these things in advance then stumble across them or did you look around for items once there and then add them to the list? My kids would love this, but I fear I would totally screw it up somehow! Such a wonderful, memory filled trip. I doubt they will ever forget this.

Mandy Kirk

I know you say this is your highlight reel but it is amazing! Whenever I think of family trips and what we might do, it seems so overwhelming. All the planning, money etc. But I love the scavenger hunt and hitting up all these small towns and the service. You need to have Josh do a write up of the trip plans so we can all copy the idea in our own area :) I am sure there was fighting and all that goes into family trips, but what amazing memories you are making for your kids.

Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita

OK, first off - I'm LOVING this vacation!!! I wish I wasn't a planner now! And I totally don't feel it is too Highlight reel. Really. I have to tell you - you in the pioneer dress? Total Annie face! Wish I thought of the scavenger hunt idea when mine were smaller too. Sigh ... but the history geek in me is FLIPPING out that you actually walked on the Oregon Trail. I may be a little bit older than you, but really? I want to be you when I grow up.


We play spoons but stick our tongues out instead of grabbing spoons, makes for a much funnier game!! Thanks for showing that life's highlights aren't the only ones you're willing to share with us!


Your vacation sounds like mine except I have 4 boys and we drive in an extra long excursion. And sometime in the trip my husband will complain that my hearing is going (we drive 33 hours one way to WI in the summer) when in actuality I'm just purposefully not listening to anyone unless they are screaming and there is blood.
Sounds like you'll have a very memorable trip that your kids will talk about for years to come!

mandy friend

i just cuaght up on the last few posts and have to say i'm crazy jealous! i was seriously JUST saying to my hubby a few days ago that i wish we could just take a week and drive to all the small towns in the eastern part i haven't seen and saty at random! there's one called Union that looks adorable if you are anywhere near, i've stalked their website:) enjoy!


Dang it. You DID end up in Baker and I DIDN'T get to meet you! BTW, even though your kids are real and have fights, I think they are going to forget all of that someday but remember the awesome vacations their family took.


Still loving these trip're nearly to the border! Haven't been back there in a couple of years, so these make me smile, too!

Cindy Welch

Wow, someone feels just like me.... I think that the most important thing is the example of a loving, supportive mother, who shows life that is real. When my son Garrett was little, pre teen, I was so stressed, my husband yelled at him all the time (about baseball, he was good), I was the primary bread winner of the family and my husband took our children to their activities. One weekend, my husband was gone on a hunting trip and I was so excited, my son would not be yelled out during the game. As I sat and watched him, he kept look ing over his shoulder when he was up to bat. I thought why is he doing that. Later that night I asked him. He said "I was looking for dad". I said weren't you happy he wasnt there yelling at you. He said NO. I need him, he tells me what I am doing right or wrong. He's always got my back. 10 years later my husbands sister made a comment about the type of "yelling father" my son had. Wow, my son got so angry and told her " he shows his love by yelling", he has prepared me for the real world and there is not another person in the world that loves me more. He is a great father! A better father than his father was to him (true). So i guess what I am saying, is in the end they will remember good with the bad and be better for it. We are human and its ok to have me time, be mad and yell. its because we are passionate !!!


I don't believe that as Godly women we are called to be always quiet, nodding in constant agreement, highlight reel women. You can have a submissive spirit and an outgoing personality! ;) And we're even allowed to get angry. You're a great Godly woman. Anyone who has followed you knows that you are growing, and we're honored that you allow us to share in your journey!

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