A week ago Saturday Travis and the kids and I headed to Minneapolis for our first ever family vacation. Originally it was to be just a three-day business trip for Travis, but knowing his company was providing him with more than adequate accommodations for the stay, we had decided that we would all go along for a little change of scenery. When we decided to extend our stay by an extra day, suddenly a business trip/change of scenery turned family vacation!
I was indescribably excited during the days leading up to our departure. I kept finding myself taking note of which toys the kids had been particularly enjoying and counting down the days until I could pack them up for the trip. I was really looking forward to the undivided attention I would be able to give my kids when I didn’t have laundry and cleaning and cooking to worry about.
All my packing for the trip was premeditated. (Did I mention I was excited?!) The last couple years when we’ve gone along on similar but shorter overnight business trips, we always seemed to have so many loose ends that made the loading and unloading of the car both hassling and embarrassing. So this time I utilized three different storage tubs in addition to a cooler and our suitcases and completely eliminated all those annoying loose ends. I was pretty proud of myself when both my husband and the bellhop were impressed by my work.
We arrived at the Mall of America in Minneapolis around 2:00 on Saturday afternoon, and I think it was probably close to 3:00 by the time we were able to find a parking spot and actually make our way into the mall. While we were there I did a little shopping (for maternity clothes, of course) with some Christmas money I had been saving, and my husband even surprised me with a little extra cash for my purchases. We also bought some other fun things like a new game, smoothies from Orange Julius, pretzels, and souvenirs. Travis picked out a cute new outfit for Amariah (which she held on to in woman-like excitement and let go of only when offered a smoothie), and Abel chose a pack of dinosaur toys which proved to be a source of great entertainment for the rest of the trip.
When we checked into our hotel that evening, I was completely awed by our accommodations. As I entered our one-bedroom suite and gazed through the double doors at the plush king-sized bed, and then as my eyes wandered to the cute little kitchen and attractive living area, I thought to myself, I would be so mad if Travis hadn’t brought us along! Abel kept asking, “Mom, whose house is this?” and later informed me, “Mom, I want to buy this house!”
The kids slept together on the sofa bed, and that seemed to be the highlight of the trip for them. Though they share a bedroom at home, they’ve never slept in the same bed; but boy, did they think that was fun! The double doors to the master bedroom and the sliding, mirrored closet doors were also of great interest to the kids and served as the culprit in more than one finger-pinching episode.
Sunday night we met up with some friends of ours who live in Minneapolis and were encouraged by their godly fellowship. Monday through Wednesday Travis had work and training to attend (which earned us these nights in our “house”), so these were the days my hope of spending more time with the kids was fulfilled. In the mornings we went down to feast from the elaborate breakfast bar, and groceries I had brought along provided quick, easy, kid-friendly lunches (Hey, it was their vacation, too!).
Overall, our little vacation/change of scenery proved to be a very refreshing experience for us as a family. When I was growing up my family wasn’t able to take vacations–and I never felt like I was missing out on anything. But, as I light-heartedly told Travis on our way home, I think vacations are more of a necessity now that I’m an adult. To which he responded, “Yeah, for a kid every day is a vacation!” (Which makes Abel’s statement from that last morning a little ironic: “Mom, I don’t want to leave vacation!”) Now I have to admit that, in classic Angela style, I failed to take any pictures during our trip. But I think the memories of our first simple little family vacation will stick with us for years to come.
As for our next family vacation for which we’ll be loading up a family of six… I think I better start premeditating my packing methods now!