Tuesday, August 2, 2011

On Vacation....Come Back Later!

I'm experiencing a new appreciation for family vacations. I'm on one right now, yay!!! Last time I went away was exactly a year ago, however, it only involved myself and half of my children. We were with extended family. There were many fun times, but not much family bonding--when I say that I'm talking about my immediate family. Of course there wasn't, we weren't all there!! The kids made memories with their cousins, which is important, but it didn't do much for our nuclear family unit.

I've heard of a new thing called a "stay-cation" where the working parent(s) takes their vacation time from work, but they don't physically go away from home. They might take some day trips with the family, but mostly it involves sleeping later and catching up on household projects that one never has time to do when working. My husband did this last year when I was away with the younger kids. He took the older boys to a professional baseball game and fishing for a day in the gulf, but mostly worked on unfinished household tasks. He recently told me he needed a vacation and hadn't been on one in years. So, I'm thinking this stay-cation thing didn't quite fit the bill of relaxing and recharging a person as a real vacation does!

We have a big vacation to a famous theme park planned for September. Again, this will involve only half the kids. This will be our family's fourth trek to this magical place and while I'm excited to share that with the kids, I know that I always come home feeling exhausted and... well.... needing a vacation!

So, when this opportunity basically fell in our lap to buy a week at a beach condo in Alabama from a family we barely knew who couldn't make the trip, we felt as if it was meant to be. Not only can we all go (except our oldest who is now out of the nest), but it's extremely affordable. A nine hour drive is a cake walk to seasoned cross-country travelers as our family is.

This is a real vacation. What does that mean? It means no worries about cooking, cleaning, laundry, straightening up the house, or driving kids to activities. It means sleeping in until we naturally wake up, doing whatever we feel like on that given day even if we're at the beach but decide to go to the pool instead.

It means sneaking in a little schooling without the kids knowing. Hey, who can resist a Confederate Civil War Fort right on the penninsula where we're staying!!
It means siblings bonding and sharing friendships over found jellyfish, sandcastles, and boogie boards!
It means stalking sea birds that look interesting enough to touch!
It means dealing with a sunburn when someone distracts you when you're putting on the sunscreen!
It means taking trips we normally wouldn't have the chance to do, like going on a Dolphin Cruise!
And visiting tacky-themed souvenir shops!
It means laying on top of each other to watch TV, it's Shark Week after all, and we don't have cable at home!
The only problem is that it can't last forever!!!