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The Big Picture

Why You Need a Vacation

Tomorrow is the last day of the Sims' summer vacation for 2011.  It has been nice and long.  And necessary.
Early in our marriage, we couldn't afford a vacation.  Or so I thought.  Then Captain Fun came to me and declared,  "I bet we can go to the beach for $350." 
"No way," I said. But if anyone can pull off a vacation for four for $350, it was Captain Fun.  Even back then, he was a pro at having fun.
We stocked the ice chest with sandwich fixings and fried chicken, brought cereal and milk along  for breakfast and filled the remainder of the meals in with cheap fast food--except for that one nice dinner out for fresh seafood, of course.  We stayed at Motel 6 in Pensacola, Florida--a reasonable drive from Memphis (our home at the time). And, of course, gas was a lot cheaper than it is now. 
That was seven (almost eight!) kids ago.  And over the years, every time I think we can't afford a vacation, Captain Fun reminds me of that first time I uttered those words.  And he still takes it as a challenge.
We have stayed everywhere from Motel 6 to the Marriot.  I prefer the Marriot, of course, but  have even resorted to KOA when necessary.  I still pack sandwiches, we eat a lot of pizza (a cheap way to feed so many) and just today we drove through McDonald's and ordered from their $1 menu: 11 McDoubles, 2 McChickens, 11 small fries for less than $25. (We had our drinks in the ice chest.)  It always freaks out the kid on the other end of the speaker when we show up, but they survive it.
Best of all, we're together--something that is getting harder and harder to do.  Our first day at the ocean, in fact, I was counting (like all mothers do) and was delightfully surprised when I reached the number nine.  All of my kids, I thought, right there in the ocean. Together.  My heart filled with gratitude.
So get out the ice chest. Check out Or pull out the sleeping bags. 
Whatever it takes, go on those family vacations before your kids are up and out.
Just tell them Captain Fun sent you.

5 Comments to Why You Need a Vacation:

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Jennifer on Monday, July 04, 2011 1:51 PM
I just love this post! And that you only spent $350 for a vacation! Hubs and I have ONE child and $350 is just the food bill on vacay sometimes! I think I need to follow your lead. Yeah... I'm TOTALLY going to follow your lead! :-) Stopping by from MBC. Saw your post heading and decided to drop by your blog! Can't wait to read more! :-) Have a great 4th of July!
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Margie on Tuesday, July 05, 2011 3:20 AM
Well, it was twenty years ago but I have found many short cuts to take all these years later. Glad you're inspired. Let me know where you go!

Laura on Monday, July 04, 2011 3:04 PM
...and that's just what we did in May! Took the last vacation w/ just us & the kids before our oldest gets married in August. It was so important to us to have that one last "fling" at the beach -- a memory we'll never forget. Too expensive? I think not... just priceless! Memories are all we are left w/ in some stages of life. Margie, thanks for the reminder that we did the right thing! :)
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margie on Tuesday, July 05, 2011 3:21 AM
Laura, can you believe our kids are old enough to get married? Never thought I would say this but the years really do fly. Glad you had a great memory. It is so important, isn't it?

Debbie on Wednesday, July 06, 2011 3:13 AM
Vacations are a must for childhood family memories. Rusty can't remember the day to day of being a little boy, but he can remember the beach trips! You are an intuitive Mom! Love Ya!
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