Meuz Family - 1, Captain Kill-Joy - 0

I once read a book entitled, ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff,’ and ever since I have been practicing letting go of things that aren’t really a big deal, sometimes with success, and sometimes not so much.  As I try  not to sweat the small stuff, I am also working hard to celebrate the small stuff. And in a season (that of 2 kids under 2) where small victories mean everything, I’d like to take a moment to enjoy a little celebration. You see, we’ve recently encountered a certain Captain Kill-Joy. Do you know him? He comes around every so often and tries to kill our joy in different ways. Lately, he hops in the back seat of our car (smooshed in between the two car seats) and taunts Tom and I, “ha ha, your kids rule your life, why even bother going out. You can’t do anything you like to do anymore. You should just stay home. They’re so little, they won’t have fun. Go home. It will be more of a hassle than anything. You’re too old and tired to do this.”  And on and on and on. Captain Kill-Joy, we’re not so pleased to meet you. Why don’t YOU go home.

Kids are in fact, a life changer, but one of the best life changers I've ever experienced. And it’s true, we are in a season where we can’t just hop in the car and go for a spontaneous mountain adventure like we used to. But kids bring a joy that is different than any I’ve ever known. It’s a joy that far surpasses any climb up a 14er, any kayak adventure around the Great Barrier Reef, any backpack trip along the ocean. And that joy comes in small, easy to miss moments, like when you ask Ben who loves him and he starts in on a montage, “mama, dada, nana, oma, opa, papa, bwake (blake), moon, Jesus, trash truck, tea, airplane…” or when you hold Blake in your arms and he looks up at you with his deep blue eyes and throws the tiniest, sweetest smile your way. Or, like this weekend, when you watch your kids' faces light up when you take them on a snow adventure.

All that to say, Tom and I are trying to find balance in it all. We don’t want to be those parents who act as if nothing in their life changed, who just keep on doing all of the things they were doing before kids, only now they haul their kids along with them. But we also don’t want to be the parents who stop doing anything and everything we love because our lives revolve solely around our children. We’re striving for a middle ground somewhere, a ground that allows us to take this season to focus on our kids while still making each other a priority and intentionally carving out time to do things that are life-giving to both of us.  That is the ground we’re looking for. And we may just have found that middle ground this past weekend in Breckenridge.

With Blake hitting the two-month mark, we decided to attempt our first weekend getaway to the mountains. Captain Kill-Joy tried to thwart our efforts. And as I was packing (Tom was out of town the 3 days before we left), the Captain whispered in my ear, ‘is all this effort really worth it?’ Well, as it turns out, it was. Take that, ya lil captain. Moments of playing on the floor with cars and trains were interspersed with moments of sipping hot beverages, while gazing out at the snow-capped mountains.  There were of course some tears, thankfully belonging only to Ben and Blake, but there were even more smiles and laughter to boot. We limited our agenda to one outing a day, the Snow Sculpture festival one day and snow-shoeing the next. And with a little side trip to a coffee shop to warm up after our snow fun, we got the added bonus of the cutest (we’re biased) hot-cocoa face you’ve ever seen.

In an attempt to avoid the horrendous I-70 traffic and maximize the kids’ sleeping time, we decided to go to dinner in Breck before leaving around 7, which is the boys’ bedtime. Captain Kill-Joy made one last hard core effort to take us down as both boys cried through all of dinner. We probably should have asked for to-go boxes right away and bailed, but we stuck it out. Then we hopped in the car, 1 out of 2 boys still crying and headed for home, only to be greeted by the bright red glow of brake lights. What? 8pm and there’s still crazy mountain traffic, you’ve got to be kidding me. But we cranked up the music and decided not to let the ole Captain have his way with us. We rolled in at 10pm, tired but not defeated. We looked at each other and said, ‘that was a fun weekend and totally worth it. When can we do it again?’

Meuz Family – 1, Captain Kill-Joy – 0.

Lessons Learned: You CAN do things you love even with young kids, it just may be a tamer version; Keep it simple; Always be prepared to bail on a plan; Always have good music in your car; Hot beverages can bring an ounce of calm to even the most chaotic of moments; Choose joy...always.