Family Vacations, if anything, are memory making experiences that are chock-full of laughter, new experiences and situations you never see coming. And they are a MUST on the bucket list of adventures!
Growing up in our family of 8, the definition of a family vacation meant eating at McDonald’s Restaurant in a town 17 miles away (our small town didn’t have a McDonald’s). Or joining a friend’s family of 9 at their lake house in upstate New York.
Family vacations have come a long way since then but the fun and the laughter remains the same.
I smile just sitting here, remembering the summer vacations our family of 4 has embarked upon. Where else but Mexico can you and your kids be riding a bus on a city street destined for a tour excursion and look out your window to find you are driving alongside an open truck filled with 15 military army personnel loaded with M-16 rifles staring you down! (That’s when you know you aren’t in Kansas, much less the United States anymore!!) The look on the boys faces (and mine I’m certain) was priceless.
What Mexican excursion were we on our way to, you might ask? Four wheeling in the back country of Ensenada. Talk about a dust bowl!! My husband and I had one child each on our four wheeler monstrosities, barreling down the back roads of open country. We had our bandanas covering our mouths and noses to ward off the dirt. Had I known, I would have come armed with 4 pairs of goggles! It certainly made for a great photo on our Christmas cards that year. Some moms get to take their daughters to Build-A-Bear or American Girl stores. Boy moms like me…we get the gift of mud and dirt and roaring engines. Probably the best memory for the boys was letting them take the wheel of those all terrain vehicles when they were under the age of 16. It took a few years off my husbands and my lives, but the boys pride and confidence grew 2 feet taller that summer.
“We always have the best vacations, Mom” my oldest son mused. Bennett is a roller coaster enthusiast so each year we’d pick an amusement park we hadn’t been to and build a vacation around it. Six Flags Ohio, Cedar Point, Kennywood, Six Flags Magic Mountain and Universal Studios (The Incredible Hulk) were memory-making excursions.
What activity do your kids enjoy? Why not make it a family memory?
Not to be outdone, our son Austin at one time was a major shark enthusiast. Shark Week on the Discovery Channel was a major event in the Bedford household. So we thought it would be fun to go deep sea fishing in the Atlantic Ocean. What child doesn’t enjoy fishing! Mom caught an eel (oops, we threw it back in) and Dad and brother Bennett caught some tuna. Austin (he was the tender age of 7) had the fortune of standing next to the guy who caught a shark.
“This is great!” I thought. What a life experience for the boys! In theory, having your children be on the same boat a live shark has been hooked and brought aboard is thrilling. Austin’s face was right up next to that sharks very large teeth however – and sharks aren’t immediately dead upon arrival!! Austin may have had a great time but all I was thinking was, “Get away from that shark! Those teeth are real! And that tail is thrashing wildly.”
This year we are staying in town, because Panama City Beach has all the makings for a fabulous family vacation: mini golf courses, go carts, pools, museums, miles of sun and sandy beaches. Even if you have a limited budget, a package of hot dogs and marshmallows grilled over a charcoal grill have all the ingredients needed to start up a conversation, play a game or tell a scary ghost story around the fire. Take time to enjoy life’s simple pleasures. The joys of reminiscing about them years after the kids have left the nest I guarantee will bring a smile to your face and warmth to your heart. And that… as we all know…is truly Priceless.
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