We all need to get away. Especially in the midst of Winter in the midwest. I have come to learn and very much appreciate the value that vacations bring to a family. They do not need to be extravagant trips to other countries. In fact, with 4 kids, that does not sound like a vacation at all! It simply needs to be time set aside for your family to re-connect and step away from the everyday rut that you can sometimes get in.
We just returned from a mini- vacation, and it was wonderful! We traveled 4 hours northwest to a ski resort at Boyne, MI and spent 3 nights there. It was the kids’ first time skiing, and they loved it! I do not ski, and our 4-year-old who is not very adventurous was not interested in attempting it, but the older 3 and Jeff had the times of their lives. Jeff really enjoys skiing and has only skied one other time since we have been married. He was super excited that the kids are at an age where they can do it – and do it they did!
Jeff’s expectations were blown “off the mountain” figuratively speaking. He said all three did so well and just kept going on and on about them. It’s not very often that he is the only one with them – especially when doing something for the first time – so it was unusual for me to be on the receiving end hearing about the kids.
Skiing aside, it was just a nice time to get away and take a break. We were able to rent a two-bedroom condo with a full kitchen and pull out couch that fit us well. There was also a heavenly jacuzzi tub in the Master bathroom, and I used that every evening!
I packed some easy meals – thank you Costco for your ready-bake chicken alfredo! (Hey, I’m on vacation too!) Another fun thing was that I took all 4 kids to the “junk food” aisle at the grocery store and let them each pick out anything they wanted to bring. You must know that we rarely shop this aisle. From oldest to youngest they picked out, Twizzlers, Goldfish, Chips Ahoy, and Cheetos. The joy that this treat alone brought to the kids was priceless. Do I like buying this kind of food? Not really. But once a year for a winter vacation get-a-way, heck yes! We packed games and movies and had a lot of lounge time, just hanging out and being together as a family.
When we checked out of our condo we headed to Petoskey, a town about 20 minutes north, and enjoyed a factory tour of Kilwins Chocolate Kitchen. This is where they make all the chocolate candies that they ship to all the other Kilwin stores around the country. It was interesting seeing the “assembly line” for chocolate caramels as they went from caramel, to chocolate dipping, to chocolate coating, to hardening, to sorting, to packaging. And to top it off, there were free samples. Score!
We had a snowy drive home, but we made it safely to our favorite pizza place and enjoyed a nice ending to a fun family getaway. It wasn’t long, we didn’t need to travel far, but it held value. It was time together as a family without normal everyday distractions. This family vacation was time well invested. Now to plan the next one…