After almost a decade of marriage, we took our first official family vacation…and lived to tell about it.
Just kidding. It really was a wonderful ten days. We did a variety of things with this mantra as our guide: Leave while everyone is still happy. Worked like a charm. Really. It meant that we didn’t stay at the theme park until they closed the gates, but I have only happy memories of watching my kids screech with delight as they went down the giant water slide for the gazillionth time. We did a lot, saw a lot, ate a lot, slept a lot, and laughed a lot. The perfect respite for us.
The first part of our vacation was spent in Northern Michigan attending my cousin’s wedding. Every been smack dab in the middle of nowhere? We have. It’s one winding dirt road after another–praise God for our new GPS we now affectionately call “Garmina.” Jessi was a beautiful bride and it was such a lovely way to have a wedding: only close family and friends all nestled into cozy cabins and rooms near a beautiful lake. It was a wonderful way to celebrate Jessi and Brandon’s new life together.
On the way home, we stopped at the Dunes of Lake Michigan to play in the surf and sand. The girls loved every minute of it for varying reasons. Emma was like a fish and we kept reeling her back in closer to shore. Ruthie loved diving and splashing in the waves as they pounded the shore line. Her suit was filled with sand and rocks by the end of the day. Olivia was happy to run up to the waves and then screech with delight as the waves chased her back to the safety of the sand. Poor Samuel was terrified of the waves, but was content to hang out with me on the towels and people watch. It was a great day.
A quick stop at home to do laundry and re-pack ended the first phase of our vacation. Next we headed south to the in-laws for some theme park fun. We loaded everyone up and headed to this Southern Indiana hot spot. It’s a nice, clean, well-designed park for families. We hit an unusually cool day for July and enjoyed smaller crowds and an afternoon splashing around in the wave pool. The next few days found us visiting the local zoo, the James Audubon Museum (where Olivia, our resident ornithologist, was enthralled), and in general, relaxing and enjoying each other.
It really was a wonderful time. Setting aside all the great images I will carry with me, here are just a few of the things the Lord impressed on me while we were away:
It really takes very little to entertain my children. Some of their favorite highlights of the trip included seeing a turtle in the lake, picking wild daisies, eating a sandwich at the beach, and listening to music in the car.
It takes very little money to have a nice vaction, if you plan well and remain flexible. We knew we wanted to go to the beach, so we searched for a motel with a government discount (half-price!) and then based the rest of the trip on that. We ended up finding a hotel with a free hot breakfast and a state park that only charged $8 for total access to the beach. We also stayed with the in laws to cut down on further expense and treated them to a home cooked meal one night in exchange.
I really love my husband. No need to explain that further.
It’s good to take scheduled breaks from your normal routine. Even if we can’t get away like this every year, it would be healthy to take breaks from the norm from time to time. It was a great opportunity for us to enjoy being a family.
God is faithful.
There are more photos of our vacation you can see my clicking the link at the side bar. We’re thinking the Smoky Mountains next year. Anybody have any thoughts about that or places to suggest?
Thank, Lord, for great memories, a great trip, a great husband and kids, and mostly for your faithfulness to us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.