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I’ve parasailed in the Bahamas, snorkeled the reefs of Hawa’ii, traipsed the rainforests of Puerto Rico, and danced the meke in Fiji; none of which – as awesome as they were – outshines one of my latest escapades: hiking up the great wall of China…with a twenty pound baby strapped to my front. Oh, and her kindergarten twin siblings at my heels.

And I had a blast doing it.

This new life, the one that comes with larger suitcases, excessive head counts, and hand sanitizer at the ready, is the antithesis of what I was nervous life as a stay-at-home-mom would be (though there are days when we stay in our pajamas and flaunt our very wild uncombed heads like they’re the new chic).

(Um…we’ll skip that picture).

The adventures of life are far from over. I behold a new sight, then get the added pleasure of watching my young ones behold it too. And dinner at home is easier to serve after they’ve braved foreign dishes like marinated octopus, Korean bulgogi, Peking duck, and Hawaiian poi (some of which received rave reviews, and others to which they replied, “Maybe I’ll like it when I’m older” – respectful kid-speak for “Ugh! That’s really gross!”).

Of course we travel less often. Nothing depletes the entertainment fund faster than three extra tickets, three extra plates, three extra attraction entry fees, and a host of “kid souvenirs” (a.k.a. easily broken toys). But when we go to a place where “memories that will last a lifetime” are on the list of amenities, we forego the stereotypical hype of getting away from our kids. We pack those extra bags, grab some mini Lego sets, make sure all the media devices have earphones and a years supply worth of batteries, and we board the plane.

Why? For many reasons. One, the time we have with them flies by in a blink, and even those days are not promised. So while we’ve got the time, we spend it with them. Also, we want them to know early on that the world is not confined to their little house and the small city it resides in. The world is huge…and their options in it are limitless. In addition, we adore these little people. They’re just fun to be around. And when it comes to the different landscapes and scenery, we just can’t help bragging to them about what a great job God did yet again. Of course we take time out as just a couple. But when we go big, they don’t stay home. We line our little ducks up and hit the open sky, or the open road, or the great big blue. Whatever the mode of travel, these kids come with, and I know we’ll treasure that choice as long as we live.