Life and Living

virgin river familyWhen we were little, it didn’t take much to excite the kids in my family. All my dad had to do was throw us in the car and drive a half hour away and let us climb and hike…and we were happy. Even just a walk down the block from Grandma’s to the river to wade in the muddy water, or an outing to the park was thrilling.

Sometimes we think we have to do a BIG thing to make an impact on our kids or families. We spend a ton of money and time to go on a week long cruise or some other exotic vacation our kids will always remember. Those big vacations can be fun, but my husband and I were quite surprised one time when we asked our kids what their favorite vacation was, and almost every single one of them talked about a small ‘daycation’ where we drove 2 hours away to a small resort town and hiked, swam in the lake, ate breakfast at a cheap pancake house, and then drove back. Other memories they had were of small moments near town where we took a few hours out of the day and picnicked at a reservoir or just walked along the greenbelt.

family outings 014That taught me that we need to stop being so concerned with doing huge, elaborate vacations. Time is what matters, and if we only spend time with our family every 5 years because that’s when we’ve saved up enough money and time off of work to go somewhere…then we are missing out on lots of opportunities to make memories.

Enjoy simple pleasures like climbing in a cool tree you find on a walk, or skipping stones in a pond. Utilize the places close to you and make memories. My Grandma once told me that when she was on a cross-country driving trip, she talked to a gas station attendant who had never seen the cool monument Grandma was there to see. But when the attendant mentioned she had gone to the Grand Canyon, Grandma realized she was the same way. Both ladies had visited places far from home, but hadn’t enjoyed the wonders right in their backyard.

IMG_9235 So get outside (or inside if you have neat museums nearby) and enjoy all that is close to you. Your kids might enjoy it more than a long road trip because there isn’t hours of driving involved asking: “Are we almost there yet?” Going close ensures you can answer with: “Yes, we are!”

Enjoy the small moments…picnics in the park, joyriding down Main Street, sundaes at Sonic with the windows down, walks in the rain. These are what make the difference between life and living.

Char Signature

26 thoughts on “Life and Living

  1. I agree completely. Several years ago, we took a nice vacation, and the boys were misbehaved enough that we told them the next year, we’d go to Columbus for vacation. They didn’t believe us. Well, we stuck to our threat and we spent a week in Columbus, two hours south of us. We had so much fun! And they’ve never acted up on vacation again. 🙂

    • That’s funny…but so true. We were expecting our kids to remember the BIG vacations we’ve gone on, but I think those are more hectic because there is more time in the car and packing to do, etc…that the little ones that don’t require so much effort stick in their heads more. And it’s nice to know about the area you actually live in and do the things that are there.

    • I’m glad you think so. You should. Your adventures you talk about right on the farm are amazing. Going on a long vacation somewhere far away wouldn’t be half so exciting (no devil roosters to chase you).

  2. Great way to spend family time together! I think your kids get used to whatever you expose them too. If you teach them that fancy vacations or a boat cruise are the standard, they’ll get bored with a picnic at your local park. I’m teaching my kids to enjoy their local resources, whether it’s a playground, a park with hiking trails, the beach, opportunities to spot nature, museums, or a fun and delicious restaurant. Fortunately for us, San Diego has a lot of offer so we always find something fun to do if we want to.

  3. Yes, I think we’re all guilty of that – we think that if something is further away it is going to be better, so we travel further! And people from further away travel to our area. My kids will often complain if I suggest doing something simple like going for a walk in the woods, but then they always have such fun in the end. Living in England though we’re pretty lucky that we can be in another country in a couple of hours, so we actually don’t have to travel far for a completely different experience if that’s what we want!

  4. Really good thoughts, Charissa, and something we all need to remember. Our family vacations were always spent traveling to see family and they were wonderful. But day trips around home are well remembered by all. They’re unexpected and a nice break when life gets busy. Thanks for the reminder!

    • I think that’s why my kids remembered that small daycation we took. It was unexpected, close by, and didn’t require tons of planning or driving. They always ask to do that again.

  5. I ditto the sentiments about the small stuff having big meaning. The biggest treat for my kids was a weekend with granny on her farm. Although I had some issues with my mother-in-law, I’ll give her the due she deserves – she made simple stuff seem like the greatest adventure.

  6. I love having so many places to visit that are close to home. And I love the idea that spending time together doing something fun can be done anywhere—not just halfway across the country or world. Now, if only I’d gotten the email notice of this post. 😉 I’m trying to work back through the reader, but it is slow going!

    • Sorry for your reader troubles. That’s a pain that you’re not getting notifications. Maybe I’m not either and am too busy to figure that out.

  7. Growing up we didn’t do ‘vacations’ – I’m sure we didn’t have the money. But I still have lots of great memories of parks, beaches, picnics, and playing in our yard with friends and my parents. We made the best of our time and my parents showed us plenty of ways to enjoy. Now I do love doing weekend day trips. Close enough to NY to enjoy all there is to do there, close enough to the other New England states for the beach, museums, sports, etc.

    Great post Char and such a great reminder!!

    • Consistency is better than spectacular once-in-awhiles. I love how your family did so many small things that made lots of memories for you. The memories are what counts.

  8. Great advice, and very relatable Char!
    I have been very surprised by the seemingly minor events that my kids say really impressed them. The little things really are the big things, aren’t they?

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