Thursday, November 14, 2013

50 by 50

(Yes, I know it has been a looooooong time since I last posted.  There's no better way than to start back by just jumping right in, right?)

Sometimes I lie in bed at night, unable to sleep.  As I lie there, listening to the heavy breathing of my husband...notice I said, "heavy breathing," not, "snoring."  Thank you, Lord, that he rarely snores!   Since the beginning of our marriage we have made it a habit to always go to bed at the same time whenever feasible.  Obviously, over the years, there have been exceptions with babies, illness, etc.  However, with my husband's busy work schedule that often takes him away from home, we made it a priority early on to appreciate the time that he is at home.  Usually, it is not a problem for me, but over the years we have discovered that I lean toward "night owl" while my husband does not.    This becomes much more apparent when the time changes in the fall.  Suddenly, it is dark when he gets home from work.  We eat dinner, it's dark outside, and he is ready for bed.  Seriously.  Early on in our marriage he would often want to go to bed by 8pm during the winter months.  Thankfully, we have gradually pushed back to at least 9 or even 10 most nights.  (Let's just not discuss how late I stay up when he is out of town.....)  Still, there are times when I just can't fall asleep so easily.  Then I begin to think and come up with ideas....and plans.  This can be dangerous.  Most of the time, by morning light, I've forgotten my previous night's thoughts or they just get pushed aside in the hustle and bustle of the new day.  But not always....

Now that you know way more than you ever wanted to about my sleep habits....back to last week.  As I lie there in bed, thinking, I started thinking about travel and upcoming plans we already have.  Then I started thinking about where I've traveled in the past and how we want to travel with our kids more (once the "baby" is just a wee bit older).  Then I started thinking about how many states I've visited or lived in throughout my life, recalling a few trips from early childhood to Massachusetts and Missouri, neither of which I have visited since. hit me.  50 states by age 50 or "50 by 50", for short.  Wouldn't it be cool if I could visit all 50 states by the time I am 50 years old?  And when I say "visit" I mean actually "do something," not just sit in the airport during a layover (Michigan) or drive straight through with only rest breaks on the way to another destination (Arkansas).

It's pretty obvious which part of the country I'm from, huh?

So, the next morning, the 50 by 50 idea popped back into my head and I decided to color a US map, indicating all the states I have already visited.  That's the "homeschool mom" breaking out in me.  :)  Based on my "mommy brain" memory, I have already visited 21 different states, leaving just 29 more to visit over the next 16+ years.  Sounds reasonable to me....Of course, my husband asked, "Are you sure you want to go to every state?  Like North Dakota?"  Good point, but I'm sure that every state has something interesting to offer.  I also like the idea of exposing our kids to different parts of the country. 

We already have tentative plans to make southwest (Grand Canyon) and New England trips with the kids in the next several years.  With just a little more planning, I think we could cover all the states!  I also think it would be awesome to take the kids to all 50 states before they are grown.  Before you know it, I'll be coloring 5 more US maps!

Will I succeed in my mission?  Only God knows, but it sure will be fun trying!  I've already got plans to knock out another one this summer.....

I'll try to update as the adventure unfolds......

Edited to add - My 9 year old just reminded me that I went to Nebraska and Iowa last year to visit my husband for our anniversary while he was finishing up a 4 week class.  23 down, 27 to go.  Yes, I edited the map.  No, I am not posting another picture....yet.