Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Making Vacation Moments Matter

Last week we took a much needed break and got away for the week.  As a one income family in a 2 income world we know we can't do the Disney vacations and the destination vacations.  But that doesn't mean we can't have a nice vacation.  Turns out our choice is actually much more relaxing anyway!  (The very thought of traveling states away with 4 little boys and keeping track of them in a crowded tourist spot makes that kind of vacation much less desirable!)  We packed up the minivan and made the 3 1/2 hour trek to visit my in-laws on their farm.  The boys could hardly stand the wait.  They LOVE going to Grampa and Gramma's!  In fact, after 10 minutes, they were asking, "Are we almost there yet?"

Due to some plumbing problems at my in-laws farmhouse, we didn't stay in our usual accomodations this visit. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law live across the road and they took us in for the week. We camped out in their basement and had a relaxing week hanging out with the family. And my husband had time to fix the plumbing issues, making his mom pretty happy.

We didn't do anything extravagant, but our boys made memories.

We took them to a balloon festival and watched hot air balloons fill up with air and lift off right in front of us. The boys even got to touch one and look inside it as it was filling up. Pretty cool!

That's my little guy in the hat watching the balloons launch with his cousins.

The boys got to play in their cousins' new pool and slip-n-slide.

The boys roasted marshmallows and made smores for the first time ever.

The boys got to spend lots of time with their cousins.  Big E got to do sleep overs and camp out in the living room.  They all played together really well.  Pretty good, seeing as 4 of the boys are all within 16 months of each other in age.  My brother in law said that he looked across the road from his work on the farm and it looked like we were running a day care!  My sister in law and I got really good last week at counting to 6.  And best of all, we didn't make one trip to the ER!

My SIL and I got to go to a yard sale and I found a perfect pair of boots for E to wear to the barn.  He was so happy.  These "suburban" boys don't have barn clothes.  The boys all got to go down to the barn and see the cows.  O-Man couldn't stop talking about it and how he was going to help his uncle with the cows.  That was until he got within several feet of a calf.  And freaked out.  And he wouldn't go near the horse, though he made me climb under the barb wire fence and into the pasture with flip flops on.  D had no fear of the cows.  He is an animal lover.  C was okay until he was informed that the stuff he just stepped in with flip flops on was cow poopie.

We took the boys to church early Wednesday night and let them run around in the gymnasium since it rained all day.  They said "but we're not supposed to run in church."  All they know is a church that meets in a funeral home.  There's actually a place in some churches where you are allowed to run?  During prayer meeting, the Pastor asked for favorites during the song time.  Our church meets in homes for prayer meeting, and we aren't able to have a Sunday evening service, so they've never seen a "favorites" song time before.  Confused about what the Pastor was asking, D raised his hand, and when the Pastor asked him for his favorite, he replied, "Snow!"  Then during the Bible study time, O-Man was looking through his diaper bag.  I had forgot that there was a cup of water in there and it had tipped and leaked out onto the bottom of the bag, where I had stashed a spare pair of underpants for his brother.  I looked over and O-Man had this sopping wet pair of underpants raised above his head.  Oh boy!

We took the boys to the city and had a fun day at the mall, watching Toy Story 3 (we're big fans in this house of all things Buzz and Woody), visiting the Disney Store, eating a picnic lunch on the tailgate of my SIL's SUV in the parking lot, and riding the carousel.

Then we got to go to my sister's house and see my 5 neices and nephews.  The next day was my nephew's 3rd birthday so we took him his gifts and spent a few hours with them.  The boys had fun spending time with their cousins and even got to learn how to play on a Wii.

Here's 3 of them.  Aren't they gorgeous?  The babies are 2 and 3 now, only 11 months apart so my sister feels like she has twins, too.  Funny now that I have twins that are nearly 4 and my youngest is nearly 3, I feel like I have triplets!

On the way back to the country, we took the boys out to eat at McDonalds and splurged on happy meals.  I know, I'm such a scrooge, but I usually just get them dollar menu items.  While there, a lady asked me if we had triplets.  :-)  She was curious because she is pregnant with triplets.  WOW!

On Saturday, my other brother-in-law and sister-in-law arrived from SC, so we had the whole family together for about 24 hours.  Sunday, of course, was Father's Day and we got to attend our old church where my in-laws still go, and see old friends.  We had a cook out and the boys took one last dip in the pool.  Grampa shocked us all and jumped in with them, and even had a water gun fight with C.  It was a fun day, and the boys were sad to jump in the van and head home.

These are some of my favorite people.
What a blessing it is to have extended family like ours!

My Dad-in-law with his 3 sons on Father's Day.
My favorite is the one in the blue polo shirt.  :-)

And my wonderful man and my sweet boys on Father's Day.
I love raising boys with that man.

So, we didn't spend a lot of money or do anything extra exciting, but memories were made and moments were enjoyed, and all in all I'd say it was a vacation that mattered.

After all, it's family that matters.  Don't be disappointed if "all you can afford" is a trip to Grandma's house this year.  It may be the best kind of vacation ever!  My kids didn't complain that it wasn't the vacation of their dreams....they only complained that they had to go home.

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