We typically travel to the Blue Ridge Mountains, because we just love it there.
This year has been a little different for us. We took a couple short trips early in the year, and the "Vacation" line in the family budget was...ummm...low.
We had enough in our budget for our family to spend about 2 nights in a cheap cabin (hotels are typically way too expensive and inconvenient for a family of 10).
I really wanted it to be a vacation time of resting, spending time with the kids, and watching them play. So I was looking for lodging that would give the kids room to roam safely and a place that would be secluded enough I wouldn't have to worry about keeping them quiet while they ran around like wild little Indians.
The more we thought about it, what we really wanted...
Was already right here at home.
So, after searching a bunch for affordable lodging, and weighing in on the option of spending time at home, we decided to plan our first-ever "staycation." We reasoned that we could afford to take a 6- day vacation at home or a 2-day vacation away.
I'll take the 6-day plan, thank you!
So, for about 6 weeks, we talked it up with the kids and started jotting down ideas for the special things we would do that week. Some of the kids weren't really sure about it at first, but soon they started getting pretty excited as we put things on the list we don't normally make happen.
The idea was to keep it simple, focus on spending time together as family... and remember that Momma is quite pregnant, so she can't run around like a crazy person. ;)
This was our list of possible things to do:
* campout with tents
* take a daytrip to the beach
* airsoft gun battles
* roast marshmallows
* play cards
* watch a movie
* go bowling
* use the telescope to look at the stars
* eat off our good china dishes
* drink homemade hot chocolate
* shoot fireworks
* take a daytrip to the mountains
* eat icecream
* attend a Clemson football game
* go out to eat
* play in the pool
* lay in the sun
* play football and baseball
* put on a play or a puppet show
Next, we decided we better set a few ground rules. Without them, Gregg and I could see how easily he and I could get caught up in the idea of "getting things done around here"...and it would rob our family time.
Here were the basic ground rules we set:
* No computer games
* No facebook or blogging
* No lawnmowers or any other type of yardwork
* No unnecessary mechanical work
* Only limited phone calls/texts/emails
As the time for our staycation approached, we planned out a loose schedule for each day. We tried to base it on having a restful day, then a busier day, a restful day, a busier day type schedule. Some of the items on the list were eliminated (like shooting fireworks...and a daytrip to the beach - just too far to go...) We also ended up modifying it a bit to try and accommodate the pending possibility of rain mid-week.
Here's an overview of our time together:
Tuesday, Sept. 24th:
* Slept late
* Played airsoft
* Mother/Daughter crafting
* Reading time (just mom - during the games of airsoft)
* Set up tents and sleeping bags in the back yard for a campout
* Prepared a fire for roasting hotdogs and marshmallows
* Played card games
* Roasted hotdogs, cooked "hobo bags", and roasted marshmallows
* Finally settled into our tents around 10:30pm
Gregg was one of the biggest kids of all...
With all these boys running around, you could sense the clouds of testosterone emitting from each of them during their "battles"...
Our resident "thugs"...uh, I mean, soldiers ;)
Kedesh and I took a little time to smell the flowers...it took her 3 times smelling the marigolds before she realized they smelled a little "ucky"...no matter...at least we took the time to smell them!
Samuel and Silas doing an "Indian chant" around the fire :)
Now THIS is how everybody roasts hotdogs, right?...Or maybe it's just our family...
Nathan enjoying his "hobo bag" - a mixture of beef, carrots, potatoes, and spices...
Samuel, getting ready to roast his marshmallow...
Yummy...but dangerous. This momma was just a little freaked-out with all the little ones running excitedly around an open fire with long, pointed sticks. I tried to be calm - I really did. Only one injury that, fortunately, proved to be minor...
Getting settled for the night...5 in one tent...
5 in the other...
Two hours later, we heard the rain start! The weather report had shown that the rain wouldn't arrive until almost dawn the next day...so much for predictions!
Kedesh was the first one awakened and rescued...everyone else followed...Gregg and I were totally ok with this. The kids were ok, too. They had all fallen asleep in the tent and agreed that they had gotten the majority of the fun out of it by then, anyway. :)
Sleep tight...don't let the bedbugs bite!
Stay tuned for Day 2 of our "Staycation"...