Mary Beth at RevGalBlogPals writes: I'm showing my age...this was an anthem of my high school years. Wanna hear it? Give this link a try.
Love this song from my h.s. years as well, Mary Beth! We must be close to the same age! I am writing this as we are on our way to our first family vacation in a while – three days at Starman’s aunt and uncle’s house, a beautiful and spacious home on the shores of a little lake in Michigan – we are all looking forward to some time away! I just got back from the Festival of Homiletics this afternoon, so for me it is nice to have a weekend without responsibilities, a weekend to play with my daughters and Starman, and to be with relatives who have become good friends.
While you're bopping along to that (or perhaps holding your ears...?), let's think about VACATIONS! I certainly am!
1) What did your family do for vacations when you were a child? Or did you have stay-cations at home?
When I was a very small girl, and in elementary school, my dad’s friends the Browns invited us up to their cabin in Maine every year, on Sebago Lake. We looked forward to this week all year. I never realized it was the only vacation my parents could afford, and they never talked about it that way.
The Browns had a canoe and a motorboat and three children in their teens who seemed impossibly grown up. The teen boys (on whom of course I had huge crushes) would take us out in the motorboat, and Patty, the girl, would play endless games of Sorry with us and have turtle races and tell us great ghost stories that centered on the path that went off into the woods behind the cabin, where there was an abandoned Model T Ford, filled with weeds and vines. Every night at supper, everyone would take turns saying the blessing – when I was about 7 I finally had to take my own turn. I was nervous and excited at the same time. After I was done, I remember Mr. Brown telling me I did a good job. Little did he know where that would lead! My parents are still in touch with the Browns – their oldest son is a Presbyterian pastor. They are a wonderful family.
2) Tell us about your favorite vacation ever:
That would have to be our honeymoon – 20 years ago this week! My husband spent the 12 weeks immediately before our marriage in Australia – in 1989 this meant email communication and a fax or two. We left the day after our wedding for two weeks at Disney World. OK, I realize this will lower my esteem in some peoples’ eyes – but we LOVED it. We had spent more money than we had to get a card that gave us three meals, a round of golf every day, a park hopper pass, and some perks like renting a little single person motorboat to zoom around the lake. We arrived late Sunday night and were greeted as we entered the hotel: “Welcome, Mr. and Mrs. Starman, we have been expecting you!” And it was the same the whole week – we were treated with courtesy but not fawned over, we were comfortable – and we were alone together for two weeks – the longest we had ever spent together! We played golf, we swam, we enjoyed getting to know one another again after Starman’s long absence. Bliss!
Last year, we went back with our three girls and my parents, and again we had a wonderful time. There is something about WDW that allows me to relax, and to live in a moment, like I have trouble doing almost anywhere else.
3) What do you do for a one-day or afternoon getaway...is there a place nearby that you escape to on a Saturday afternoon/other day off?
These don’t happen very often nowadays…our weekends are spent cleaning house, taking the girls to various activities, and of course, at church – but last Sunday night, before I went to the Festival of Homies, we walked down the street for dinner at the local Lebanese restaurant, followed by some gelato at the gelateria down the street (where we ran into some school friends of the girls). When we got home, I snuggled on the couch with the three and we got out the Little House on the Prairie TV show DVDs and watched an episode together.
During the summer, I try to have at least two days with the girls during the week, and we like to take road trips – to the zoo, which is huge and fun, to the Natural History Museum, to the botanical gardens, or to hike in our beautiful Metroparks…hopefully bringing friends along. These trips are becoming more fun and less work as they get older!
4) What's your best recommendation for a full-on vacation near you...what would you suggest to someone coming to your area? (Near - may be defined any way you wish!)
Um, well, as much as I like living here, vacationing in this area of the Midwest isn’t the most exciting thing I can imagine. I guess a week at Lakeside, a former Methodist campground that has turned into a wonderful little community on Lake Erie where you don’t lock your door or your bike, there are two ice cream stores, a beach, mini golf...and a Cokesbury store. For this time in our lives, with small children, it is a nice safe place to go, with beautiful views of the lake, and nice evenings in little cottages. Bonus – we have our annual conference of the UMC here! Much better than the last place we lived, where the AC was at a college in the middle of cornfields where the wind never stopped blowing and there was no place to take a walk.
5) What's your DREAM VACATION?
For right now, with the girls the ages they are, another Disney trip would be great! We camped there, which was just our style. For just Starman and me, two days at a little B&B we found in Maine, off the beaten path, with a good hike up Mt. Chocurua in between and visits to all the LL Bean outlets on the way. (we get to do this later this summer to celebrate our 20th!). We have managed one night at this B&B in Fryeburg. MEPeace With Inn for the past three years. It is wonderful!
Someday, I would love to go back to Africa and Europe and do missions work and really get to know the people...yes, it would feel like a vacation to me.
Bonus: Any particularly awful (edited to add: or hilarious) vacation stories that you just have to tell? ("We'll laugh about this later..." maybe that time is now!)
Well, we do laugh now, but – when Brown Eyes was 2 months old, Freckleface not yet three (and not potty trained) and Skye 5, I had the bright idea that I wanted to spend two full weeks camping in northern Michigan. It rained and was in the 50s all week, which was bad enough, but even worse was that we had some relatives who lived in a nice house nearby – and they didn’t even invite us in out of the rain! We had that little 1985 tent trailer – basically all that it held was our beds – we had to cook and eat outside, and of course, deal with pull ups and a little potty and a bathroom that was a five minute walk away…a long way for a three year old! Now I know we were a rambunctious bunch – but one day, we met these relatives for pizza at the local restaurant, and after lunch, it was pouring rain. They got up, and left us at the table, with no where at all to go, while they went back to spend the rest of the day in their nice, warm, dry house with two bathrooms and a washer and dryer. We drove to the local Wal-Mart and just walked around for two hours waiting for the rain to let up. I was pretty angry, and we didn’t go back there for about 3 more years!
Thanks Mary Beth!