There are a great many opportunities throughout life for a person to learn valuable lessons in which to build their character. Adversity and circumstance shed light on the truth of who we are. The worst mistake someone could make is to not gain any knowledge or advancement from the trials in our lives. It is how we grow. It is how we go from darkness to light.
Every parent strives to give something to their child that will improve their life. Every parent also strives for simplicity. We always run the chance, throughout everything we do, that it may somehow explode into a swirling vortex of hectic chaos. There's one thing I know about chaos: it’s…uh, chaotic. So where does that leave us as far as unique and fun experiences for our children?
Great Wolf Lodge invited us for a visit a couple weeks ago, but Nate got called into work at the last minute. I was momentarily panicked about being alone at this epic indoor waterpark with four little kids, but I realized that the situation was more or less the same as usual. Once you find yourself outnumbered as a parent in a big family, it's chaotic fun no matter what the specific balance is! I rolled with it, and soon realized that Great Wolf Lodge had a TON of cool things specifically catering to big families like our own.
Man, that's a click-baity title if I've ever read one! I hope you're not all expecting some epic Ziplock bag solution to help bring vegetables camping, or carrots sprayed with vinegar to make them last. I've tried all that stuff. It didn't work. Nope, our "hacks" nowadays tend to be more of the grab-and-go sort. Nate and I have four kids so when we say we have a simple solution, you're always going to find straightforward, honest, REAL answers even if it's something like "go to Target and buy this thing." Ka-bam. Problem solved. It's not always creative, it's not Pinterest-y, but it'll get the job done as fast as possible and it'll usually save you money.
Visit California recently reached out to me for my experience and expertise to help spread the word about National Plan for Vacation Day. They wanted my take and advice on helping people better use their unused vacation days. I love traveling with my kids - especially in southern California - and proposed a plan that they loved and agreed to sponsor for our blog. So this is my take on how to use those stowed away vacation days to improve your standard of living!
I feel like vacationing together is the Amazing Race of friendship tests. It COULD go well. You might double your fun-having capabilities and emerge champion in epic memory-making! On the other hand, it might implode into a bicker-fest. Your besties might decide to claim the master bedroom for the duration of the vacation rental, leave their hot curling iron on the bathroom floor and scream about you owing them $1.63 for your family's excessive ketchup use on barbecue night.
The boys have had a Hawaiian calendar up in their room for the last year, a gift from a friend of mine who lives in the islands. Several times over the last few months, Sidekick has pointed to one of the streaming waterfalls or sandy beaches in the photos and asked if we can visit. "One day," I promised, "I'll take you to Aulani and you can see ALL the special things about where I grew up."
Nate and I have been trying to find ways to help the kids explore their heritage more. I feel like one of the best ways to instill a love of history and humanities in children is to start with their direct ancestry. Make it personally relevant, and then branch out from there. We've actually been booking quite a bit of travel lately to show the kids various places that are relevant in explaining exactly how their family came to be.
Every dog will have its day and every day will have its dawn. A cold, bleak, bleary dawn meant only to torment those of us not born to the fragment of the mutant population known as "morning people." You know, the ones who wake up singing This Little Light of Mine as they dance their way into the warm shower. No sir, it's only cold showers for me. This sensation, of course, is only multiplied when camping.