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Family Vacay 2014

So. We are back. Thank God for traveling grace!

This is probably going to be a long, rambling post. Consider yourself warned πŸ™‚

This year’s vacation was a road trip! My parents drove from Cali to Houston, picked up my niece and nephew (ages 12 and 9) then drove to MS where LG and I joined in the fun. We then drove from Mississippi through Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia to arrive at our destination – McGaheysville, VA.

On our first day’s drive we stopped in Birmingham, strolled around Kelly Ingram Park taking in a bit of civil rights history then went over to the Civil Rights Institute where we happened upon a performance that a theater camp was putting on detailing the civil rights era. Let me tell you something – those kids were phenomenal. They ranged in age from 10 to high school seniors and they were a talented bunch. I couldn’t believe that they’d only put in two weeks of work for their show. They’ve been received so well that the Civil Rights Institute has requested they perform throughout the summer and not just for the week-long run they’d originally scheduled. I wish I could remember the name of the group, but if you are going to be in/near Birmingham this summer, I strongly suggest you catch one of their performances at the Institute – and it was free πŸ™‚

We spent the first night in Knoxville, TN then drove another six hours to our vacation destination.

McGaheysville, VA is home to the Massanutten vacation resort and is where we spent a week in chill (mostly) mode.I thought Massanutten was absolutely gorgeous. I’d never been in the mountains of Virginia before and everything was so green, so lush, just idyllic. There were deer bouncing around and fat little groundhogs chilling everywhere. The thing I didn’t like was that everything cost. And I mean everything. I wish I’d been better prepared for that. I knew it, but I didn’t know it, know it. The kids went to the waterpark, we all ziplined, they went “mining” for gems. There were a bunch of other activities to participate in, but we didn’t because like I said – they cost and with three kids those costs add up quickly! If I were to go back, I’d definitely budget differently. I’d love to tube down the river and maybe go horseback riding.

We spent a day in D.C. and it was crazy. I should’ve planned better. We toured the Capitol building. Then walked to the White House and the MLK memorial. Those three things – plus a brief detour for lunch at the world’s most hood McDonald’s (security with a gun AND a bullet proof vest?!?!) – took us ALL day. I don’t know how that happened, but I’ll take the charge for it. We got in at least 12 miles. By the time we made it to the Smithsonian? They were closed. And I was really hoping that we’d be able to pop in to at least two of them. Oh well…moving on.

The rest of our time was spent on the grounds, at a group dinner (there were 32 people in our group with all the cousins, in-laws, family friends, etc.), and at the African American Day in Harrisonburg, VA which we hit up on our way back home.

My next vacation? I want to relax. This was a do your own cooking/laundry type deal and I don’t want to cook, do dishes, or laundry on my next vacation. I want to lay around, do the activities I want to do, and leave the chores at the house! The cousin who organizes these trips (same group we went to Spain with) is vehemently opposed to cruises. And while I get her arguments against them (and even agree with some of them) I think for a group as varied as we are, a cruise would be a good, relaxing choice. We shall see….

On the way back to Mississippi we stopped at Ruby Falls and Lookout Mountain. Absolutely breathtaking. Ruby Falls is an underground cave that just so happens to have a waterfall in it. Lookout Mountain – specifically Rock City – was once a private garden that’s been open to the public for years. I know a garden doesn’t seem particularly spectacular, but it was. It’s huge, has all sorts of paths, caves, sculpture, and greenery and from the top? You can see seven states – NC, SC, AL, GA, TN, VA, KY. I didn’t even know such a place existed and I’m so glad we stopped to see both of these points of interest.

Now. Let’s talk about the dynamics of vacationing with one’s parents, child, niece and nephew. Whew! My parents are not used to kids and the kids are not used to my parents. I felt a little trapped in the middle because I’m used to both of them πŸ™‚

My parents? They fuss. A lot. And I really didn’t want to hear all of that on vacation. There’s a lot to be said for correction. But not all the time.Β  My mom was all “well, they’re way different than y’all were as kids.” Well, of course they are. They’re being raised by different parents in different times. We were different kids than our parents were but I don’t remember my grandmothers fussing at us like that.

In my parents defense, they haven’t had kids at home for a long time. They are used to getting up and going on their own schedule and not dealing with the mess and noise that kids create. And I get that. Look forward to it. But for the next decade or so? It is what it is.

Last night at dinner my mom told me there were some things I need to work on as it relates to raising LG. LG is too soft, has too many options, I’m not consistent enough, and I explain too much to her. And here I was thinking Smoochy was the lenient parent -_-

LG is kinda soft. She’s a sensitive kid. She doesn’t have siblings so she’s not used to that dynamic and when she’s teased she cries. Smoochy and I have talked to her about this. “You can’t take what people say to heart, stop crying, tease back, you have to decide for yourself that you’re not going to let things bother you, etc., etc.” I really don’t know what else to do. I don’t want her to think there’s anything wrong with being a little sensitive – I have those tendencies myself – but I do know that she can’t cry every.single.time. she’s upset. She cried nearly every day in K and 1st grade. We’ve made GREAT progress. We still have work to do. I think she’ll grow out of it.

And yeah, I need to be more consistent with her. Been working on that.

But. (You knew there was a but coming, yes?) I deliberately try to be…softer with LG than my parents were with us. I remember feeling tense a lot as a kid. My dad in particular is very critical and I never thought anything I did was good enough. I want LG to feel and know that she is good enough. Always. So maybe I err in being too accepting of what she does. I don’t know. Yes, we have standards and expectations of her but I refuse to flip out over every single thing she does or to stress myself or her out on a regular basis.

I told my mom I was trying to find a balance between being so critical and uptight and being overly lenient. She told me I’m not there yet. Sigh.

Talked to Smoochy about it. He basically said that our parents raised us well, but that we are not perfect and that we will all raise our kids well and they won’t be perfect either. Pretty much Smoochy, pretty much.

Anyhoo, all in all we had a good time. I’m glad we had this experience. And next time? We need separate lodging!

Do you vacation with your parents and children/nieces/nephews? Do you parent the same way your parents did? What do you/will you do with your children that’s similar/different than what your parents did with you?

(Photo dump tomorrow)










22 thoughts on “Family Vacay 2014

  1. Good post.
    I like the idea of family vacation on a cruise; maybe one day we will do this.
    We definitely parent differently than my parents did and it’s way too long to write.

  2. Been there done that. Separate lodgings help. We all do what we think is best for our kids. I raise/raised mine similar to my mom but I try not to be so critical and nag. Do what works for you.

    • Definitely doing separate lodgings next time. I enjoyed everybody. I just didn’t enjoy them all together at the same time if that makes sense! Thanks for the encouragement.

  3. I’m not a fan of road trips. I haven’t been on one in years and it was just from Inglewood to Sacramento! lol.

    I think I parent a lot like my mom. I try my best not to fuss about every little thing but I need my baby to know always that I’m the boss, at least until she’s grown and out of my house. Right now we have a good balance of parenting and play and I hope I can keep that going.

    • My aunt used to live in Sacramento. We listened to the same tapes (!!!) every trip – Spinners, Natalie Cole, Motown’s Greatest. It took a long time for me to be able to listen to those tapes without an attitude! πŸ™‚

      I’ve always said parenting’s greatest challenge is finding that balance!

      • Lol not the tapes. We always left in the wee hours so us kids slept most of the trip.

        Finding the balance is a struggle

  4. I remember going to Ruby Falls and Lookout Mountain as a kid. I need to go back as an adult though!

    I’ve never vacationed, as you described, with family. We’ve done trips to events (weddings, funerals, graduations, etc.), but not a vacation. I’m sure that was tough to deal with.

    • It was all so pretty! I need to post pictures, but they really don’t do the natural beauty much justice.

      It was fun…and tough. I’ll spend this week at work recuperating!

  5. I have been to Ruby Falls.. I have never traveled/vacationed with family. I think I parent similar to my Aunt and Uncle’s style of raising me. Similar values but there are differences b/c I’m raising boys and they were raising a girl. Also, I’m in a “big city” while I was raised in a small town. So there are different dangers here. Honestly, I think they did good with raising me. I was a happy kid and I’m a well adjusted adult (I think), so if I do the same maybe I’ll have similar results lol.

    • I think my parents did a good job with us which is why I am open to their suggestions – I just don’t agree with some of them πŸ™‚ I really enjoyed the city/suburb convo on the Twitter!

  6. Sounds like you had an action packed vacation. You might need a vacation to get over your vacation. πŸ™‚
    I have only vacationed with my parents during family reunions. Safer that way. Lots of people around to deflect the attention away for me. My Dad ias always cool. My Mom thinks I’m too hard on my son, and that me and my Nephew are very silly for educated people. I just roll with the punches.

    • I surely am in need of a vacation. Unfortunately I’ve whittled my vacation hours on down and now need to concentrate on building them back up. I will definitely make the most of the upcoming three day weekend!

  7. Every other year my family goes to Williamsburg for a week. My parents pay for the condos (separate lodging). Everything costs there..but they do have a pool and great grounds. And of course the beach is only about 45 min away. I actually enjoy it because we are all together for an extended time…but of course we have separate lodgings πŸ™‚ And its only around 20 people with kids.

    Road trips to me are tiring. And you guys ALSO did stuff while road tripping. I would have flown and said I will see you when you arrive πŸ™‚

    • LOL! I enjoyed the road trip. When done at a leisurely pace, I’m cool with them. I don’t like rushing from place to place! Williamsburg sounds nice – we may need to look into that for next time. Who am I kidding? I’m still lobbying for a cruise πŸ™‚

  8. We vacationed with my Aunt and Uncle for the first time recently. We’re trying to schedule a vacay with my sisters and their kids. Hubby asked if I was going to invite my Aunt and Uncle and I said it wouldn’t be a good idea. I don’t think I can handle both dynamics at once. And it’s not my niece and nephews I’m worried about, it’s my sisters! LOL. My family is fairly small so we’d max out at 10 or so.

    • I think having such a wide span on ages definitely impacts the vacation. This was my grandfather’s side of the family – we are going to try something with my grandma’s side next year. Should be good. Good and ghetto!

  9. Hey glad to see you back. It sounds like you need a vacation after your vacation. I think a lot of the times, our parents forget that we are grown too. They forget how hard it was on them when we were kids and don’t cut us enough slack. As far as LG being too soft….I think our kids should be “softer”. Playing the dozens, checking, teasing, and just being mean is not good in the long run.

    • Thank you! And thank you for that on being “soft,” I have a tendency to agree! And when do I get to tell my folks I’m grown ’cause they surely don’t remember that πŸ™‚

  10. I’ve vacationed with family but not on a road trip. We’ve rented a vacation house or cabin or just gone to a resort. I think I’d be cranky about the prospect of driving with youngish children.

    The cruise sounds nice. We’ve been tossing that idea around for our family vacation next year. I’ve never done one and while I probably wouldn’t opt to do one on my own, it could be fun with a group. And a little less intense than traveling together while offering a variety of options and opportunities for alone time.

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