I’m Not 20 Anymore

I’m definitely not 20 anymore. But it was fun to pretend for a while.

It’s a real thing documented by social scientists – when adult children visit their parents, for example, everyone reverts to their old familiar roles. You know you’re not a teenager anymore but find yourself acting like one. Similarly, when you are hanging out with your friends from college, without thinking you revert to your 20 year old self. It’s lots of fun – but try to keep it up for more than a week and it’s also completely exhausting.

I cannot offer much in the way of travel tips for tourists in the Dallas area. We were camped in our friends’ driveway (if you missed the post about our campground frustrations you can read it here) so A+ for hospitality but they’re not exactly open for business. A Dallas travel guide this is not.

Our time in Dallas was an oasis. A vacation from the vacation, so to speak. It was cups of Korean milk tea around the table while the kids got in trouble out in the yard. It was late night games of Settlers of Catan with snacks and ice cream. We watched strange movies when the kids were sleeping and opted for lots of take-out dinners. We stayed up way too late talking, since our 20 year old selves did not have 7 kids between them and had no regard for middle of the night feedings or early morning searches for homework folders.

I won Settlers! I never win, ever. But this time I did! Micah was unimpressed.

For the first time in months, we went to the same church two weeks in a row. We were a part of a Sunday school class and went to a MOPs (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) Easter egg hunt. Our brave friends managed all 7 kids and sent Staffan and I out on our first date in a very long time. We opted for ice cream and a hike at the nearby Cedar Ridge Nature Preserve. Even the moms had a little date of our own at Starbucks, and we only came home a couple of hours later than we’d told the dads!

MOPS egg hunt
Our kids’ first ever Easter egg hunt. Note the fancy plastic bag he’s using to collect them – we were not prepared with a cute bucket or basket.


Cedar Ridge Preserve
Date Hike Selfie from an overlook tower at Cedar Ridge

The Dallas Zoo

The one touristy thing that we did was visit the Dallas Zoo. We went with our friends and their youngest son while their older boys were at school. We actually only saw half of it, because our kids were tired and had been to the zoo in Houston somewhat recently, so they started asking to go home. Staffan was especially disappointed – he could go to the zoo every week and never get tired of it. But we have committed to doing our “field trips” on the kids’ pace and interest level, so we made our way back to the car.

You say climbing structure, she says hammock.

The main reason they were so tired, though, was that we spent most of the morning in one of the best children’s zoos we’ve seen. There are many things that make the Dallas Children’s Zoo unique, but the clear favorites for our kids were the water feature and the bird feeding. What could top that? They also liked the keeper talk with an owl, and feeding the goats and fish. This was also our first experience with a trading post – where kids can bring in things they find out in nature, learn about them, and get points for them that they can use to buy other nature things that other kids have found. The more rare or interesting, the more points an item is worth. I realize now that there are many zoos that offer something similar, but it was new to us at the time and we really love the idea!

Dallas Children's Zoo
Shoes and socks off, pants rolled up, ready to splash and explore! They would have been content to do nothing else the whole day.


I think she could have hung out with the cockatiels all day long!


Emelie was loving this. Peter was less excited about this one hanging from his hair to eat from the birdseed stick.


The lorakeet feeding was in another part of the zoo, but after the cockatiels our new bird lover was all in… until right after this picture when it bit her. Hard. Even though she followed all the rules. Beware the lorakeets!


Another rare glimpse of the photographer.


As much as we love our life on the road, we are still finding our ideal pace. We made some mistakes with this early on, and because we moved too fast and tried to do too much, we were feeling a bit depleted. And it’s no wonder, especially on the heels of an international move and having a new baby. So even though acting like college students again is exhausting, there is a special kind of recharging that happens by spending time with people who know you well, where it’s safe to have deep, honest conversations. And what a joy to see our kids get along so well!

As the only girl, Emelie’s favor was particularly sought (wow, does that start early!) She confessed to me that, while she didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, Aaron was her favorite.


Huge thanks to Jen, Richard and the boys for your friendship and hospitality! Can’t wait to do it again!



2 thoughts on “I’m Not 20 Anymore

  1. Enjoyed reading about your time in Dallas and loved having you guys in Sunday school. We hope you can make your way back to this corner of the planet again soon!

    1. Thanks so much! It meant a lot to us to be included in your community for a couple of weeks! We hope to be back there again before too long!

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