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Jack testing out one of his really cool augmented reality toys from work.
Admittedly, Jack has a really cool job. He gets to work with some of the most cutting-edge virtual and augmented reality technology. But, along with all that awe-factor comes the need to showcase what it can do to other people, which requires him to travel. Sometimes, a lot. Last autumn, it felt like he was barely home and the past few weeks, it’s started to feel very similar. He had two back-to-back trips–one to Orlando, the other to Atlanta, leaving us to our own devices at the end of February and start of March.
Carribean food in Orlando…
One thing I’m SUPER jealous of is all the delicious food he gets to eat. While I’m too tired to do much more than serve cereal and boxed mac ‘n’ cheese (which the kids don’t mind at all), he’s eating all kinds of interesting, different, and unique foods that I can only imagine how delectable they are.
BBQ in Atlanta!

It’s made him a bit of a food snob but that works to my advantage when he takes me out for a dinner date–he knows what’s good and has converted me to more than one food I was sure was going to gross me out.

That’s a proper batch of boiled peanuts, straight from Georgia!
On top of incredible foodie experiences, he also gets to rub shoulders with all kinds of rich and famous people. Though I’d be a wallflower at the kinds of parties he goes to, even in the middle of all the fun, he’s thinking of me. He sends copious notes to me about the people he meets for use in my next books. He’s my biggest fan!
Partying it up!
I think when I miss him the most is when he sends pictures of his off-time when he gets to explore wherever he’s staying. Would I liked to have swam in that pool in the middle of winter, down in Florida rather than endure the last cold snap of winter at home without him? Uh, yeah.
With all the cool stuff he gets to do, it sometimes makes me feel a touch of pity for myself. I mean, when Jack is gone, EVERYTHING falls squarely on my shoulders. The tantrums about running out of carrots before ranch (or at least I think that’s why she was crying…)…
…remembering to sign and review and read and complete everything for school…
Crazy sock day! Except Zoey. She just wanted to be in the picture.
…the sick kids… 
…the kids’ activities…
The rest of us watching Claire at gymnastics.
That’s a heavy, heavy job, especially when I’m already carrying a baby 24/7.
…the baths…
Zoey snug in her bunny towel.

 …even helping with things that normally Jack does, like origami. I tried my best but that is not the way my brain thinks.

Even when Jack was home for the weekend in between his two trips, it didn’t seem satisfy. Cars needed to be repaired, the kids still had activities, animals needed to be looked after, laundry had to be washed and folded for the next trip…the time together was all too fleeting.
Gah! Sometimes, I hate cars.
For all my whining, it isn’t all bad when Jack has to be away. As much as they can, the kids step up and help where they’re able.
Claire teaching Henry how to crack an egg.
They started an assembly line of foot rubs, shoulder rubs, and backrubs to ward off the stress of having dad gone.
Everyone’s humor is still intact.
Gee, where did Henry and Zoey disappear to??
The kids spoil me in their own way, whether it’s unloading the dishwasher without being asked, getting Zoey ready, helping pack lunches, or doing my hair so I can feel fancy for an afternoon.
I try to keep things fun for them too by foregoing a lot of the work we might normally do and try to balance being the fun and responsible parent. Sure, the house might be messy and everyone is out of clean socks but it’s a good thing for me to remember that even though seeing clutter everywhere makes my eye twitch, some things, like my children’s’ happiness is more important. I’ll have them help me clean it up later.
Pizza before picking up dad at the airport!

In the end, we survived another stint of travel. It makes us all more thankful for each other, helps remind us that there are daily tender mercies and miracles if we’re looking for them, and makes us feel more compassionate for the single mom, the widow, and the military wife.

He’s back!

Just one more adventure we have under our belt yet are still glad to see over with. We’re pooped but we’re happy.

My feelings exactly…

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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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