Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Ahhhh Vacation

Ironically some of my best memories of vacation were the times I wasn't doing anything special at all. Like driving across country for fourteen hours and trying not to start something with my brother. Although, there was a very interesting moment on a long distance vacation I won't soon forget.

I was bored out of my mind and we were in two separate cars. I think we were about to move to Argentina from Georgia and were taking the "good" car to my grandparents for them to have. Anyway, on the way, mom was occupied and I decided to get creative. I grabbed my jump rope and quickly tied up my wrists and ankles. Then I lifted my hog-tied limbs to the window. With a panic stricken look and mouthing the words "help me! help me!" I floundered for a few passing cars. I got more than a couple of double takes and then decided I'd better stop. Mom didn't know about that dandy til years later. Wasn't pleased.

My favorite memory was a trip we took to the Black Forest in Germany. We were living in Saudi Arabia and it was less expensive to tour Europe than fly home to the States. So we went. I remember the half mile walk to the beginning of the forest and my discussion with Dad that it seemed impossibly longer than half a mile and was it really more than a mile if your legs were shorter like mine were. Then we discussed how many feet were in a mile to which I insisted Quinn was lying. He wasn't.

We stepped foot into the woods and there was no one else around on the path. The trees shot straight up, high into the air with few branched on the way. Mom said the canopy blocked out the light which is how the forest got its name. Quinn said that what the Black Forest needed was a little White Out (liquid correction fluid). Mom laughed, repeated the joke and said how clever he was. He beamed. I sulked because I wanted to be clever too so then pondered how I could make Mom laugh. Got nowhere.

At one point I had to "go" and Mom introduced me to squatting. I was not so talented at it and instead of hearing of my cleverness, I got a disgusted look. I laughed anyway and sloshed with soggy shoes through the woods. Later for lunch, mom had made special Nutella sandwiches. As an impromptu thing, she hid them in tree crooks, between rocks, in a tree hole (yes they were in plastic baggies) and we scavenged for them. Best. Memory. Ever. Mom is still surprised that this memory is so vivid for me. It was a great day.

Ha! Just thought of another. Quinn had graduated. Mom, Dad, and I went to Hawaii for vacation and SCUBA diving. We were miffed that at Pearl Harbor the Japanese tourists wanted to take our pictures over the wreck. We got into the car and drove to the top of a volcano look out. More tourists. On the way down, Mom had to "go" (gee there's a theme here). Dad pulled over. Mom opened her door and mine to provide coverage. She checked both ways and "went" just as two tour buses rounded the bend, stopped and cameras flashes poppoppop! taking pictures of her going. Dad and I busted a gut laughing.

Kinda like the time I almost drowned because I was laughing so hard when we all went SCUBA diving in Indonesia. Dad and Quinn were in one boat, Mom and I were in the other. She was so tired from diving that she could not haul herself into the boat. With two Indonesian men pulling, one on each arm, she finally flopped belly first onto the small deck, butt in air. Dad snapped pictures. She had tears of laughter streaming down her cheeks and joked about being a beached whale. How we hadn't expected to see whales on this trip. I hung onto the boat edge for dear life cackling and Quinn fell back into the water gulping mouthfuls.

Vacations as an adult are so different now. They aren't the same carefree chuckle-fests they used to be but we strive to make them special for the kids anyway. We hug a lot. We laugh. We create games on road trips which they beg to play again and again. We don't have the means to travel the world, but the family walks to the park, picnics in the backyard, and even house cleaning as a family have provided us memories which are truly special.

This summer will be no exception. We move this week. And after we unpack the beds and kitchen, we are hopping back into the car and driving to Texas where we will see Mom and Dad. They will take them all over the place and then we drive up to Minnesota to visit with MIL and the girls' only surviving great-grandparent, George (they've lost three this year). On our way back home, we will visit their godparents in Iowa, dear friends of ours. Upon returning, Scott will be installed as a vicar and the girls gear up for the year 'round school system. Gonna be busy, but I see ample room to create memories. Don't you?



  1. Memories are the little things...not the big things.

  2. That's so true. My parents did these great big things for vacation but the parts I remember are small. Like in Venice wondering if I would fall in the water if I jumped on the plaza hard enough. Or climbing broken walls of old English castles and secretly looking for treasure between the cracks. In Spain it was the memory of a seven stoned turquoise and silver bracelet and the aquaducts.... Not the whole trip, jut the snapshots of thought and feeling the things inspired.

  3. That is so true, Anny.

    Excellent post, Kelly. It sounds like you've had some great family vacations. Memorable moments and lots of laughter... a great combination.

  4. Great upbeat take, Kelly! I'm impressed.

  5. Impressed? Oh hell, I hope not. I'd hate to disappoint anyone. But seriously I had a great warm childhood and I want to impart that to my kids. These last couple of weeks have been gloomy with move crap so this was a great subject to remind me where my heart really is and what's really important. Thanks to Anny for starting the week off on a positive note.

  6. The Black Forrest sounds beautiful. I'd love to go there. You were lucky as a kid that you could visit exotic places. Sounds like you have many travels in your immediate future. Long car rides can be very interesting with kids involved. Ahhh the good old days. LOL

  7. You have some wonderful memories:)

    My vacations aren't so relaxing now, as I'm dealing with kids too, but I agree with you there...I make an effort so that the kids' memories are wonderful. My happiest 'vacations' now are when everyone leaves me alone for the day:)

  8. I sure wish I could see some of those places as an adult. I didn't fully appreciate them then. Now I'd be ecstatic to go.

    Ahhhh car trips. Gas. Road food. ain't it grand?