Holding Butterflies

Not too tight, not too loose

Research and Planning

Deciding where to go and what to do isn’t a straightforward proposition. We’ll decide what kind of break we’re in need of. Then we start looking for places that fit the bill. Then we might come up with a couple of things to do. Then we’ll circle back and look at our “what” again, to be sure we think it’s still valid. It takes a couple of iterations. I think.. Read More

Mobilizing the Army

Let’s talk about packing. As the mom, the vast majority of the actual getting-the-clothes-into-the-suitcase falls on me. I have learned a LOT in moving the small army that was four preschoolers cross-country. It makes my four big kids now seem like a breeze. Here are my best tips: If you forget it, you can buy it when you get there. If you can’t buy it, you can do without. When.. Read More

Ten days is our new favorite.

If a week is good, ten days are even better! Ten days:  Just a little longer Pros: The luxurious feel of extra days longer than a week, almost as restful as two weeks but much less expensive, ability to add a second destination, at least one day of travel not on a weekend–less crowded Cons: More expensive, can be hard to find a place that doesn’t rent by the week.. Read More

Epic in a Week

  A week has always been our default vacation length. Vacation rentals and other places seem to encourage it, and it is really easy. One week: The typical vacation length Pros: Easy to schedule, long enough to get a mental break Cons: Not quite long enough? Resorts often will reinforce the week-long idea, trying to book most of their arrivals and departures on the weekends and discouraging mid-week arrivals. For.. Read More

Can you do epic in a weekend?

We’ve never had the flexibility from my husband’s job to take a truly extended vacation. It was my dream to take a year off and travel the world with the kids, but now that high school graduations are on the horizon that is a dream that goes back on the shelf. You know what? That’s okay. We continue to have deeply satisfying vacations without leaving for a year, or even.. Read More

How to Approach the Logistics

The typical questions you ask yourself when you start planning your vacation are the logistics: Where you stay How you travel to your destination When and how long you go Who you go with What your schedule is while you’re there I think of the logistics as the tent poles that hold up your vacation “tent.” The richness of the vacation is inside the tent. The trick with logistics is.. Read More

What makes it “Epic?”

I think I might have gone down a rabbit hole yesterday on the whole idea of working out various interests. Respecting each individual is important, but we’ve gone there and done that. Let’s move on. What exactly makes a vacation truly great? We’ve found that it takes three things: We’ve chosen something and somewhere that fills a need for our family’s life right now. We’re taking the right attitude towards.. Read More

Week in Review, 10/4

It’s late, so I think I’ll try a list of the high points, or just things to remember, from the the week just passed: It was homecoming week at school, which meant the kids dressed up every single day. When you wear uniforms all the time, a week of choosing your clothes was exciting! And exhausting. I’m so glad we are back to uniforms tomorrow. I painted! These were my.. Read More

Keep the Biggest Picture in Mind

It’s okay, really, that every single trip and activity isn’t accommodated on a vacation. Decide on your “what,” and then look for other ways to accommodate interests throughout the year. We’ve found that if we think of vacation planning holistically–all the stuff everyone in the family likes to do throughout the year–the big trips feel less make-or-break. We manage expectations and actually have a lot more fun. Matthew loves to.. Read More

Competing Interests

It’s great if you’ve figured out your “what,” but it’s likely that everyone else’s “what” is different from yours! How to handle that? I’ll tell you what we do. Mom and Dad decide. Really!  When we start thinking about our next vacation, everyone chimes in. “I want to go see [insert historic site here].” “We haven’t been scuba diving in ages.” “Let’s go hiking.” “That last place was TOO HOT… Read More