Friday, August 10, 2012

Vacation vs. Trip: Traveling with Kids

 The scenery that kept me company during my early morning jogs.

It took me years to realize a vacation with kids is not a vacation, it's a trip.

A vacation means the traveler can:

-sleep in late
-dine at extravagant restaurants
-lounge poolside
-read novels
-engage in meaningful adult conversation

A trip involves:
-arising when the little ones wake (usually at the crack of dawn)
-eating at dining establishments that "supersize" portions and serve courses with plastic utensils
-chasing a toddler around the deck of a pool, getting drenched over and over by the endless cannonballs from older brothers.

That's a trip.  

A trip is what we took to Asheville, North Carolina...with our kids.

You (the ones without kids) may ask, "Who in their right mind would even take a trip?  It sounds like a lot of money and work.  Where's the fun in that?"

True.  Trips with kids require oodles of energy and money too, but the payback for the family in precious memories makes the whole experience priceless.

To be honest, we did have our "inconvenient" moments.  The car ride was energetic and argumentative at times.  I heard "He ...(fill in the blank with some heinous offense)" an endless amount of times.  I kept thinking if my mom was the vindictive type (which she's not), she'd find a certain satisfaction in knowing my own children were putting me through exactly what I put my mother through on childhood family trips.  I vividly recall spending hours squabbling with my siblings over personal space and other equally important matters on countless family vacations.  I'm truly surprised my mother still speaks to me after some of those trips!

But despite the moments of chaos/complaining/arguing, we truly had a wonderful time in North Carolina.  

Highlights included:

 Dining on authentic Southern cuisine at Asheville's Tupelo Honey Cafe.  We ordered fried green tomatoes served over a plate of hot grits...yes ma'am it was tasty.

Making connections with my boys..kisses and hugs.
 Wandering through an endless array of souvenir shops.  Connor's face mirrored how I felt trying to pry them from each store or talk them out of buying "fool's gold."

 climbing up to the top of Chimney Rock and to the falls below.  Connor was paralyzed with fear and clutched the railing for dear life.  Fearless Cooper felt at home on the top.  He even suggested, "Let's play hide and seek."  I almost passed out at the thought.

 reaching the apex of Mt. Mitchell (highest point east of the Mississippi River).

Touring the Biltmore Estate

Other favorites:

-Staying at my friend Emily's cabin in the mountains of North Carolina.  Without a TV, evenings were spent watching the sun fall behind the mountains as we passed the time doing puzzles, boardgames, and reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

-Morning runs that cut through rural North Carolina landscape.  I'll admit, I was very apprehensive about running through rural Appalachia.  I feared stumbling into bears, rattlesnakes, crazed mountain men, meth dealers (Chris suggested this fear), and distracted drivers.  After a few runs, I started to relax and truly appreciate the scenery...rugged mountains, rocky streams, lush vegetation.  It was absolutely gorgeous.

We arrived home today exhausted but grateful for an amazing trip.

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