We are planning what might qualify as our first-ever, real-live family vacation.

A few years ago we planned a visit to my folks’ house and detoured long enough to spend a couple hours with an old friend, then a night in a hotel and a half-day on the beach (in late November. We didn’t sunbathe.) before hitting the road again. Of course, Hubby enjoyed a bit of an added trip when he and my dad went to retrieve the wallet I’d left behind.

A snapshot from the last ‘half-day vacation.’

We wanted to go back again sometime, spend more than a half a day, but haven’t had the chance since then. Hubby’s folks and family try to make the trip yearly, but they prefer June/July, which is in the middle of when we can’t go, so we watched from afar (or from facebook) when they went this year.

I’ve kept in the back of my mind that once things quieted down (i.e. the garden was through, the chickens weren’t laying as much, and the cattle could ease off of daily rotation), we would try to go again. The eternal question is always, do we tack on a trip to see my parents (or more often, should we tack some vacation onto the family visit?)I’m known for my frugal, practical nature but I feel a real importance to this ‘luxury.’ I feel like our family needs this, that our marriage needs this. So even though it’s not typical of me (my brother, when I told him what we were planning, started asking if I was okay…), I started talking to Hubby about dates and lengths of stays, locations and preferences.

A spent bouquet Little Artist found for me on the beach while I stayed in the van and nursed Miss Pleasant. It was caked in sand and there was NO way to keep it decently. I asked her to arrange the flowers so I could take a photo, and this is what she did. My favorite keepsake of that trip.

At this point, we have reserved a ‘vacation house’ for about the price of a decent hotel. Except it’s, well, a house. Laundry facilities, and a kitchen, separate bedrooms, a place to sit. 🙂 I feel good that we won’t be eating out or eating snack food for every meal; that I can do laundry whenever I like and be ‘settled’ in one place.

For the first time I can remember, I’m actually looking forward to the trip. We’ve done road trips, camping in our motor home, things like that, but always I have done it more for Hubby, or for some reason not related to my pleasure. 🙂 Where the burden of preparation and execution far outweighed the enjoyment, where we packed up and moved to a new location every night so we could see every thing, where an hour alone in a dingy laundromat was my vacation from vacation…

This time though, this time I think it will be… nice. Day outings, but a place to come home to, where the kids can be and play that is more than a bed and a tv. Somewhere I can put together a decent meal without having to “go out” and spend $40.

And instead of tacking on a trip to see my folks, they might just make the trip to us for a couple days. And I’ll be able to say, “hey Mom, I’m out of chicken stock; could you bring some with you from your pastured chickens?” Best of all worlds, right? 🙂