This year, May seems to be a big month of celebration for me. We have Mother’s Day, the anniversary of starting this wonderful blog, and now our little girl’s first birthday. All of them even happen to be in the same week!
This is the third year in a row I have had the pleasure of speaking to all of you. I cannot tell you how much that not only thrills but also humbles me. Being able to share my stories and hopefully offer some help along to parents everywhere, the way is something I have grown to love more than I can express. I hope to continue down this path and only grow from here. The new blog will be a challenge and will make coming here, to my safe writing space, even more important.
From time to time I am going to write posts which will apply to and you will be able to find on both blogs. Why not, both give GREAT advice! Today’s post is a great example of this new feature.
Growth is something we all need to work toward in our lives. If we stop growing we stop living. While growth might be difficult or painful at times it is still a vital part of the human experience. With that said, here we go starting on year four!
Today I wanted to share my views on something that I think we need to survive in this world right now…vacations. There are days where I feel like the mood around my house is a pressure cooker and we are all about to explode. Let me give you a peek into my current situation. We have a 4 1/2 year old and a soon to be 1 year old. Both girls are amazing. They are funny, goofy, smiley, and kind. But they are kids. They can have temper tantrums, can be snotty, not listen, talk back (well the big one), and just be down right frustrating.
My husband goes to work everyday. He works out of the house, which is a new experience for us. He worked from home until September of last year so I always had help if I really needed it. I have been working from home since 2011 too. That is a LOT of together time. When we introduced our older daughter into the mix, it went fine at first. She was a baby. Then she got bigger, we decided number 2 was in order and chaos ensued. We saw that both of us working from home was no longer a sustainable option. Now, I am alone with the two girls for your standard work week. While I like this, it has taken some getting use to.
In the end we don’t see each other as much. He definitely does not get to see the girls as much as he used to. He was there for every part of our older daughters milestones, not so much for our younger one. This make finding the time and money to spend together essential. We are now a family that must make vacations part of our year. This could be something as simple as a staycation, where we act like tourists around our own town or something more elaborate like a cruise.
There are tons of ways families can find ways to take a vacation. Here are my Top 5 Ways to Vaca…
The first way to vaca is a Staycation. For us, right now money is tight. We are still getting used to my husbands new job, our youngest daughter has had some struggles in her first year which have required us to over extend slightly and life in general is expensive. We cannot always afford to be that family who jaunts off to Hawaii, as much as we would love too. Finding creative ways to getaway has become my mission.
Staycations are my favorite thing on the planet right now. They are simple, easy, and really make you appreciate your own city. You can either chose to spend a little and get a hotel or just turn your home into a hotel. When we do this we make rules. No housework or yard work! No sitting inside watching TV. Most importantly, you are not allowed doing things you normally do around town!
The point of a staycation is to get out and be a tourist in your city. Go to that breakfast place you have never tried, check out that museum, go to that zoo, whatever it might be. 99 times out of 100 you can find deals in your area. Groupon is one of my absolute favorite ways to find deals. Click here, Groupon, to sign up if you haven’t. Just so you know, we use it a ton so if you want to check it out and purchase one of your own I get Groupon Bucks which are awesome! Send your link to friends and you can get Groupon bucks too! Hands down awesome way to save on Staycations. They have everything from activities to hotels.
Chances are you live within driving distance from a big city. Whether that is Miami, Dallas, New York, Milwaukee, LA, Seattle, DC, or some variation of that. If you do, great! Head to one of those. Big cities can be intimidating but they can also be fun to explore if you plan it out. Make sure you know where you are going and what you want to see. With kids this is especially important. I might recommend making a big city trip a couples retreat. There can be so much to see in these cities. From beautiful museums and gardens, to amazing restaurants, and lovely parks or beaches.
If big cities are not for you, maybe you live near a National Park, beautiful beach or camping ground. If you like to camp and cannot wait to see all this beautiful world has to offer this is one trip which can be cost effective and fun. Getting out into nature can be super rewarding for your whole family. Just remember to plan for any downtime you might have. Kids and adults are pretty addicted to technology. While I am sure you can find a way to charge your tablet or phone you should try not to use it. Look around and find the beauty in both your family and your surroundings.
Theme Park Vacations:
The next way to vaca on our list is hitting up those lovely meccas called Theme Parks! We are lucky enough to be three hours away from the happiest place on earth, Disney! We have kids who are at a good age for it. Well, one of them is. We have learned how to get our baby through it.
Now if you do not live around Disney or have the money to spend there, it can be expensive but there are ways to save, there are plenty of other options. If it seems intimidating check out this blog for amazing ways to untangle the madness.
There are other options if Disney is not for you. There is Universal Studios, Knotts Berry Farms, Six Flags, Cedar Point, SeaWorld, the list goes on and on! You can make these multi-day trips or single day, whatever your fancy.
The last way to Vaca on our list is a cruise. Let’s all inhale and slowly exhale for me, Ahhhhh. Cruises can be one of the most relaxing ways to vacation. Whether it is alone with your significant other or with the whole crew a cruise might just be for you. There are specific family cruise lines, lines for lovers, budget friendly lines, splurge and experience lines. Chances are you can find something to fit every scenario. We have been on a couple and they have all been fun.
We took an Alaskan cruise when our daughter was 18 months old and it was a bit of a challenge to put it nicely. She had a tough time sleeping, there was not that many places for her to go, she HATED the daycare (which was also expensive). Our kids are great at traveling and this trip was a bit much for her. She was awake the entire time on a 21 hour flight. No, I am not kidding. OMG.
You get kids free time as long as they are over a certain age. (There is only one exception to this rule. If you have a child under 4ish I would recommend against cruising.) There is plenty of food, entertainment, and relaxation. You can get off at every port and do something or you can sit and cruise. Whatever your preference.
In the end it is all about spending time with your family. Finding time to relax with those you love can give you the refresh you need to make those long monotonous weeks worth it. Get out in the world an explore!
Kristin – The Perfectionist Mom
Hop on over to vacationsuntangled.com anytime to find this post and others relating to family travel, ways to save money, helpful travel hints and of course, DISNEY info!
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