Every year, we have the same problem. We put off all of our house projects, hoping that we will be full of zest and energy during the summer. In May and June we are SO ready. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The days are about to be leisurely, and we will have time to sit and chat over coffee by 9ish. This is to be followed by a little work around the house, and then we are off to a fantastically fun afternoon trip. You see, we are both special education teachers. We are just as bad as the students as we count down the days, the hours, and the minutes until we can yell it: SCHOOL’S OUT FOR SUMMER!
We make a fun bucket list that usually looks something like this: Watch Hill, Ocean Beach, strawberry picking at Deeply Rooted, blueberry picking at Evergreen, outdoor movies in Canton, the Bronx Zoo, the splash pad in Plainville, a Rock Cats game, the Science Center, and of course Lake Compounce. Repeat. Add any free kid activity that I can find. Repeat.
This staycation sounds great, right? I mean, who needs a vacation when we are just doing a little work around the house and fun local activities all the time?
Add in the following and stir well: summer camp, swimming lessons, baseball clinics, Vacation Bible School, ear surgery, trips up to Shriners in Boston, Shriners in Springfield, the Yale Adoption Clinic, St. Mary’s Hospital, Birth-3 a few times a week, music therapy sessions, well visits with pediatrician, and the Smile Spot. When mixed well, sprinkle with construction: Our little fence that was supposed to take 1 day (per my husband), dragged on for 3 long weeks. The deck by the pool that was painstakingly replaced piece by piece meant that we couldn’t swim until around the 4th of July.
Did I mention that I have 6 kids? I was going to bed exhausted. While my husband worked on projects around the house, I felt like a single mom. This was not the fun summer that I had planned on, and time was ticking away.
I needed a vacation from my staycation.
We weren’t really planning on going away. Could we really swing travel with 6 kids; with THREE two-year-olds? Were we totally crazy to even consider such a thing?
36 hours before we left, I booked a week in OBX. Since it was a last minute timeshare rental, it was dirt cheap and worth every penny. We pulled the kids out of camp, canceled B-3, music therapy and medical appointments, and set up pet care. My husband finished the brakes on the car minutes before leaving. I instructed each child to pack 5 outfits, toothbrushes, and any electronics/loveys needed. We threw the 3 pack-and-plays and a double stroller up on top of the car, a couple of suitcases, and we were off.
The place was amazing. It offered: three bedrooms and three bathrooms, room to run, indoor pool, outdoor pool, kiddie splash pad, trails, game room, activities, the beach. A washer/dryer in the unit? Oh my goodness perfect. This was just what we needed to regroup without distractions.
After our week was completed, we packed up and drove down to the Florida beaches for week 2. Yes—we got another dirt cheap timeshare rental. This is the only way for our large family to travel since there is no way we can sneak into a hotel room unnoticed. We are *slightly* noisy. There are tons of free and cheap activities in Florida, and we took advantage of everything local. Mini golf? Check. Feed the gators? Check. Walk up a lighthouse? An exhausting check. We saved money by cooking for the kids in the kitchens, and getting the occasional yummy takeout for adults.
After a quick stop in Savannah, GA (Candy Kitchen anyone?!?), we drove home all day and night. We are back to medical appointments, weekly Boston trips for the clubfoot casting, speech, and I have to hustle to get ready for my next half marathon. We have exactly 7 days until school starts and I have a list of day trips planned. We are actually heading out to the light show at Lake Compounce in a minute. I have yet to unpack my own backpack, but we are making memories—and that’s what counts.