Tag Archives: marriage

Have Kids, Will…Go RVing

Where has the time gone?  Is it Groundhog’s Day already?  This past Christmas (2014), I took my family on an RV trip for the first time ever.  Despite having four boys and a fairly outdoors-oriented husband, we are not much of a camping family.  And let’s face it, staying in an RV is just camping on wheels.  I used to actually like camping and worked really hard to convince the hub to go along with it.  He called it “pretending to be homeless” and saw zero appeal.  Somewhere in our 19 years of marriage, he came around (sort of), just as I was giving it up.  Being perpetually sleep deprived is not conducive to sleeping on a hard ground. In a tent.  With a toddler (or two) and a snoring man.  But, I am cheap.  (I mean, frugal.)

When I was thinking about what to give my boys for Christmas, knowing they really don’t need anything and we are limited on space, I immediately thought of a trip.  The prospect of travel is always appealing to me, but paying for six plane tickets is not.  So, after some research, I decided it was high time we tried out an RV.

It turned out to be not so bad.  In fact, the traveling part was quite nice!  We were able to pop popcorn in the microwave, get cold drinks out of the refrigerator, take naps, and use the toilet…all without stopping.  It got to smell a little bit funky, but there was a TV with satellite channels, a card table, a bigger table for games of Scrabble, and plenty of space to stretch out and read.  Lots of distractions!  Of course, my intention was to split the driving as equally as possible, but I somehow managed to scrape a shrub, get stuck in a parking lot, nearly side swipe a guard rail, and generally make my husband nervous every time I drove.  So instead, I did a lot of reading and game playing with the boys.

We made our way from Maryland to Florida within a two-day time frame.  Santa delivered tickets to Universal Studios, where we spent two and a half days exploring Harry Potter’s world, riding roller coasters, and eating crappy, expensive food.  It was wonderful!  Then we went to Gatorland (the best, weirdest amusement/animal park EVER), and into St. Augustine.  During this time, we spent the nights in our rented RV at a few different RV parks.  I had looked into KOAs ahead of time and reserved spaces at a couple in Florida.  They were all clean–impressively so–and family friendly.  We found some great nearby restaurants, which saved me from having to buy groceries and cook on the RV stove (my Christmas gift).

As far as camping goes, this was definitely the way to do it.  We’ve stayed in tents, camping cabins, and deluxe cabins.  But for the distance we traveled, camping in the RV was a fun and fairly stress-free experience.  Can you really ever call family vacations stress-free?  I think we did okay.  It felt really good to come home and take a private shower, get some time away from the constant spell casting, courtesy of Olivander’s wands, and to sleep in my own bed.  But, we made some really good memories for a bunch of die-hard Harry Potter fans, and satisfied my itch to go RVing.  Being in 75 degree weather didn’t hurt, either.


Have Kids, Will…Play Hooky

About this time every year, after all four boys have gone back to school, my husband will suggest we play hooky together.  Just us.  Alone.  It’s a proposition he makes with a wistful longing in his voice and a twinkle in his eye.  Like something forbidden and extra indulgent, he’ll devise a secret plan to get me to go along with him…on a datein the daytime!  I usually concede because, really, who doesn’t want to spend most of the day on a boat or at the beach without the kids and without paying a babysitter?

After a summer filled with fun vacations and much-needed “down time” at home, plenty of sunshine and water activities, as well as whining, fighting, and bleeding (as in noses, knees, fingers, and toes), we need a break.  When school is finally in session it’s the perfect opportunity to take one.  So, yesterday, we did!

Our clandestine plan was put into action without the kids knowing.  I dropped them off at school as usual, but with my bathing suit smartly hidden and my paperback tucked into my purse.  The idea of quietly reading on the beach without interruption was titillating! Meanwhile, my husband packed his truck with beach chairs, surf boards, and a cooler full of beer, sandwiches, and Prosecco (he thought we were really going to party!).  Then he met me at a hotel parking lot near the school, which added to the sense that we were being kind of naughty.  We drove to the beach with the windows down and music blaring, savoring our mischief.

Even though we were on a tight schedule, being an hour and a half away and needing to get back in time for pick-up, our precious few hours on the beach were refreshing.  As much as I love taking my kids to the ocean, going without them feels pretty good, too.  I’m not advocating regularly shirking responsibilities at work, but just like on those rare occasions that I skipped school as a teenager, doing something just a little out of the ordinary creates a kind of spring in my step.

Of course, once the boys saw all the sand in the car and the pink in our cheeks that afternoon, we were totally caught.  That’s okay–they should know that their parents still have fun together.  I hope the same for them someday!