My favorite time of the year is the summer. Not so much for the extreme heat and humidity of my town, but for the relaxed atmosphere and time off that many of us can experience for at least a little while. Especially if you have children, the school year is full of, "I have to be here at a specific time, most often with a lunch packed and a snack as well." Summer often means that the living is easy, the bedtimes and mealtimes are more relaxed and you might even take a vacation.
Yup, a vacation. Often referred to in my house as, "Mom doing the same amount of work in a different location."
Once upon a time, my husband decided that we'd take our kids - we had four at the time - to Disney World. We weren't flush with money, and so we needed to do this trip on the thrifty side. Somehow we ended up in the cheapest Days Inn possible, with mold in the shower and on the carpet. We were so cramped that we slept three kids sideways on a double bed. We went to a timeshare presentation for free Disney World admission tickets, and I'd be a liar if I didn't tell you that I really lobbied hard to buy that timeshare - the thought of putting the six of us in the room with two double beds for one more night was that unappealing.
Vacations are all about memories, and that one created a special set, right there. From then on, I had a specific set of requirements for any future vacations. Clean and quiet hotel rooms with plenty of space top the list.
Last year I spent three weeks driving with five of my kids from Virginia to Texas, stopping in several places to visit with friends. It was a great trip, but at the end, we were all ready to be home once again. This year we've decided to stay home and let everyone come to us. It might not be any cheaper, but it's definitely less crazy making - at least for me. So-called "Staycations" can have their own appeal - in years past, we've mounted a piece of poster board on the pantry door and made notes of enjoyable activities. Movie stubs, flyers and other memorabilia have also been glued on - with the end result an enjoyable reminder of our "staycation summer o'fun". It's neat to reflect back on all the things we've done. In the end, vacations are all about creating special memories with the ones you love the most. Doing it in a resort or theme park just puts icing on the cake.
If I had all of the money in the world, I'd probably take my kids to Sandals or Atlantis in the Bahamas - somewhere all inclusive with children's activities - but until that happens, you can probably find us at the pool.
Will you take a vacation this summer? Where will you go? Or will you enjoy more of a staycation? If you planned a dream vacation, what would it entail?