Family vacations hold a super special place in my heart.
Every summer my parents would take us 4 kids on road-trips all over Canada and the United States.
On my 7th birthday we spent the day at Disney World, which was a pretty hefty drive from our home in Ontario.
But we did it, and we celebrated while eating tuna sandwiches on a bench, hiding behind huge park maps, because we weren’t going to waste valuable gas money on $12 turkey legs for 6 people.
Life lesson: Frugal vacations are some of the most memorable vacations.
(That’s me, napping through the road trip… that’s also back in the day when kids could sit in the front seats, not buckled in ‘ready for space expedition’ car seats.)
We drove and camped on repeat, stopping at cool places along the way.
We’d fight a little and laugh a lot, and we’d always get eaten by mosquitoes in our pop up trailer that was repaired on some occasions with duct tape.
And even though we were on ‘vacation,’ home rules still applied, and so we’d still get to practice good behaviour like, ‘you have to finish your dinner before you can leave the table.’
Vacation parenting 101.
I clearly remember staring at a very cold fried egg at a campsite picnic table for over an hour, until I begrudgingly gave way to obedience.
We camped next to the elk in Banff, and wandered around Lake Louise.
We saw Mount Rushmore, and I nearly got left behind while we were touring General Custer’s House.
We drove to PEI and pretended we were actually part of the Anne of Green Gables story.
And it all felt completely magical as a kid.
We’d buy pop in glass bottles (which you’d never do at home) and we’d eat Frosted Flakes cereal out of the box around the campfire.
And yes, this poor girl with motion sickness totally lost her breakfast in the parking lot of Mount St. Helens.
These were the summers of my childhood, and they will always be some of my very favourite memories.
So… when my husband said, “What if we went to California the first week of school?”
I answered with, “Are you serious?”
“I mean, the lineups at Disneyland should be better hey??!”
I could barely believe it.
“I could start school with the boys a week early…” because #homeschoolers
“YES, the answer is obviously yes!”
So we’ve prepared, we’ve researched, we’ve booked all of the things, we’ve triple checked that everybody’s passport is up to date, and we’ve watched the boys cross off the days on their calendars in great anticipation.
And we’ve packed. Yikes, but we’ve packed.
6 people, 7 days… that’s 42 pairs of socks, 45 diapers, 6 pairs of pool appropriate footwear, and swimsuits and flotation devices for 4.
4 car seats, a double stroller, 4 electronic devices with corresponding headphones, and one mama backpack loaded down with water bottles, band aids, sticker books and other airplane entertainment tricks.
I even packed a very skinny book that I’m hoping I might get to read a few chapters of.
Think about it. Vacationing… that thing where you pack up most of your stuff from your house and pay piles of money to transport it somewhere else, so you can relax and have an adventure. It’s kind of comical.
And oh so worth it.
6 people, 7 days…
6 people with fond memories of a family vacation that we get to remember and keep forever.
And I know that part is true… thanks to my mom and dad.