It is always great to travel, but the feeling you have when you are back at your house is the greatest. The saying “Home Sweet Home”, is so true. We spent a week in Chicago and had a blast. We saw great friends, ate great food, saw a great city, and had fun. The one thing that I told Emily when we got together was that I had to see it all and she is doing her best with our budget to make that happen. Going into a trip like these where we spend 12-13 hours in the car we are always concerned with how the 4 and 2 year old we have produced will react. It is always a crapshoot to how they are going to handle the time on the road, but I have to say that they were champions on this trip. The week was filled with challenges and experiences that will be with me for a long time to come.
I used to always joke with Emily about letting Josiah lick a subway pole when we traveled to NYC so that Josiah would never get sick again. Well little did I know that our 2nd son, Porter, would take me up on that offer, but did it in Chicago. If all goes according to plan he should be coming through with his superpowers in the next couple of weeks. Traveling is tough with young kids, but it seems that we like to visit big cities and that adds an extra level of stress because there is so much going on around you. Josiah made the decision this trip that he likes big cities and all there is to do in them. He enjoyed the museums, riding mass transit, and walking around in the cold. He took it all in and showed us how mature he was for a 4 year old who has not grown up in cities with mass transit. Porter kept to the stroller the 1st couple of days because he was overwhelmed, but then he decided he wanted to be like his big brother and got very independent very quickly. There was always someone on Porter patrol and that was at times harder than controlling a classroom of kids. He seemed to want to find out about everything and normally that involved running at high speeds far away from where we were at the time. It made it stressful and adventurous all at the same time. I would never trade those memories for the world.
I started talking about how we did things like travel cheap and Josiah got fascinated by that concept of cheap. He would look at me every so often and say, “Why do we like cheap things?” I assured him that we did not “like” cheap things, but having two parents that work for the largest non-profit organization in the United States we had to find ways to save money so that we could do cool things like travel regularly. When we travel we always try to stay with friends and that takes a huge chunk of money away because hotels are freaking expensive and really boring. But, the cheap thing also brings me to the fact that we do as many things to cut corners as we can so that we can spend money on trips, fun, and new adventures. Besides cutting out shampoo from my end, I have also starting making our own laundry detergent. I know I know, how much more hippie could I be, but when you look at it, it saves lots of money that you are spending on some company that has said their product is better than what you can make at home. This site caught my eye and I haven’t looked back every since. I made my 1st batch in a 5 gallon drum and use it all the time. I know what is in my detergent and it saves soooooooooooo much money. I have spent about $20 for all the ingredients and even the bucket and the batch I made in August is still going strong. I still have about 2 gallons left out of 5 and it is almost April. The big question is does it work as well and the answer is yes. I have had no complaints from my crew when they get their laundry. It smells fresh and clean just as good as any detergent I have ever used. Not to mention it helps because there is not all those chemicals that come in the normal detergents. With kids it helps that it does not have all those things in them, not to mention I put in tea tree oil for antiseptic purposes. So far I make our detergent, shampoo, and baby wipes(here is the video we made with friends in Austin). I hope to be making soap by the end of the summer. That is little more work and I need to get some more supplies before I start the big move to make our own bar soap.
My kids are growing up with a hippie and I am sure that they will turn out to be like Alex P. Keaton and wear a tie to middle school, espouse conservative viewpoints, and probably hate all the things I have taught them. I am proud that my kids are taking an interest in the outdoors. Josiah is constantly talking about the next time we get to go camping or backpacking and now Porter is ready to take his 1st backpacking trip. I enjoy the fact that some of my interests are things that my boys like and I can teach them what I know and enjoy. Being cheap is not necessarily a bad thing. It mainly just seems to me that we are frugal at times and want to use our money for what we enjoy and not letting the capitalist pigs grab grab grab. I may not be as angry as I was as a teenager at the world, but I definitely do not want the people in charge to make any profit on us. As I am typing this my wife is making a shorts pattern from my kids shorts so that she does not have to buy one. The internet is wonderful! So please make something and save some money so you can spend it on fun stuff(what you think is fun may differ wildly from me). We enjoy travel and seeing friends, so there are corners to cut so we can be cheap and do it all.