Why I should never take my teens on vacation

When my children were young I took them on vacations.  It was a struggle as they were still in diapers.  As a matter of fact, I took Joe Cool on a family vacation to Barbados and Puerto Rico when he was almost two, and I took both of them on vacation to Puerto Rico when Joe Cool was 4 and The Genius was 2.  I potty trained The Genius while on that vacation.  I just let him walk around diaper-less, and within a week he had it figured out.  Don’t judge, we were in a house with no carpeting so clean up was easy.

The Genius (in a diaper) carrying around the neighbor's kitten.
The Genius (in a diaper) carrying around the neighbor’s kitten.
Joe Cool hanging out.
Joe Cool hanging out.

I took them on vacation as they became older as well.  I have taken them to the Poconos, Shenandoah, and Orlando (a few times).  They have always enjoyed themselves and since we usually stay at RCI resorts they have participated in activities like arts and crafts, putt putt golf, basketball, etc while we were on vacation.

Last week we took them to Massanutten Resort for Spring Break.  We arrived, brought in the luggage and groceries and this is where the two older teens ended up:

Joe Cool and The Hunter relaxing
Joe Cool and The Hunter relaxing

On day two it was pretty quiet.  We did get them out of the condo to go to the Massanutten indoor water park. But they wanted to come home after only 2 hours because “It is boring and the little kids are annoying”  This is what they did the rest of the day:

boys relaxed

The Genius (who is 13) was not happy because he was having a good time and the older teens ruined his fun.  (Don’t worry I bought him a three day pass and made sure he went back and enjoyed himself two more times).

On day 3 we all went and made tie dye shirts.


Then the older teens spent the rest of the day like this:

teens day 2 and 3

Day 4:

Day 4
Day 4

Day 5:

Day 4 and day 5
Day 4 and day 5

On Day 6 we got them out of bed to go out just for a couple of hours.  Joe Cool and The Genius went ziplining. Otherwise they spent the day like this:

teens day 2 and 3

Fun right???  Sigh…

On the other hand, Joe Cool, Bluebell and I had a ball!  We made tie dyed shirts, we played Candy Bag Bingo.

candy bag bingo

We went to the rec center and played pinball.  I worked out and walked. Bluebell took two camera classes.

The Genius made glycerin soap:

(r) fish in a fish tank (L) a spider with mango scented oil.
(r) fish in a fish tank (L) a spider with mango scented oil.

He made a stepping stone:

Beautiful stepping stone for my garden.
Beautiful stepping stone for my garden.

And won this super cool light playing games in the arcade.

Won with tickets earned at the arcade.
Won with tickets earned at the arcade.

His older brother even spent some quality time one evening teaching him how to play Black Ops….oh joy!

ps3 evil vaca

I did get the older two boys out a couple of times.

Joe Cool and The Hunter out of the condo.
Joe Cool and The Hunter out of the condo.

But The Genius had a ball!!!

The Genius ziplining!  (He did this two different days)
The Genius ziplining! (He did this two different days)

I may just take only The Genius on vacation next time!

At least he gets out of bed.



My 15 minutes of fame

I recently wrote a post about Sequestration and how it was going to affect my family.  I wrote the post in the middle of February as Bluebell and I were just finding out about the furlough and how many days it could be.  We were crunching the numbers to figure out what we could do to change our budget in such a way that would allow us to stay as close to our lifestyle as we were able to and still absorb the loss of $800.00 per month or what we thought would be about 12% of our monthly income.

This post was syndicated on BlogHer, and I was thrilled.    Then I made a  comment on a story written in the Huffington Post and to my surprise I received an email from one of their reporters asking if he could call me and talk to me about how Sequestration was going to affect our family.

We talked on the phone and then to my surprise he asked if he could drive down from Washington DC to visit with us and interview us for a story.  I was thrilled.  I am just an average lady, and this made me feel like a movie star.  A reporter coming to talk to us?  We are just average everyday people trying to raise a family and live our lives as well as we can.

We agreed for him to come talk with us, and he drove on down.  When we answered the doorbell, a very nice young man named Arthur Delaney came in and talked with us about Sequestration and how it will affect us.  He asked intelligent questions, and seemed very interested in what we had to say.  We talked about our kids, and our lives.  We showed him our plans to make our garden bigger this year so we can be more self sustaining.

All in all we had a pleasant time with him.  We learned a bit about him as well.  Our kids came home just at the time that we were through talking and after he saw our boys he could tell why we were so concerned about our grocery budget shrinking.

After Arthur left and headed back to DC Bluebell and I had a good feeling about the story he would write, yet we were anxious as well.  Did he “get” us?  Did he understand our concerns?  Did he understand that we weren’t complaining? That we know we are blessed, but that we are concerned because we have to  tighten our belts?

A big part of the story, in my opinion, is how thousands of workers in the Hampton Roads area are going to be furloughed at the same time.  If we have to tighten our belts, then they probably do as well.  And if thousands of people are tightening their belts at the same time, it can have a devastating effect on our local economy.  THAT was the story I wanted Arthur to write, and crossed my fingers that he had understood.

A few days later Arthur called me and told me the story was being published the next day.  So on Saturday March 30th , I took a deep breath and opened the link to the story.  I read it, and immediately thought Arthur had done a great job.  He had understood that we feel blessed, that we know others are worse off then we are.  He “got” the bigger picture of the impact sequestration will have on the Hampton Roads economy.  He had spoken with a professor from Old Dominion University and gotten his take on the affect sequestration would have on Hampton Roads as well.  I called Bluebell and told her to read the article.  She did and liked it also. So I was excited about the article.  Then something happened that I didn’t expect.

The comments started.  I suppose I should have expected it, but so many people had such negative and to be honest, even downright  mean things to say.  I tried and tried to just turn the other cheek and not engage any of the comments, but I finally buckled to my own internal pressure.  I made a few replies of my own.  Of course the people who were just being nasty I ignored, but the ones who had apparently completely missed the point I replied to.  And the ones who had read the article with intelligence and had UNDERSTOOD the point I applauded.  After a few back and forths with a couple of commenters I realized that no matter how much I tried to reason with them and tried to get them to see the big picture to the Hampton Roads economy, they just weren’t going to hear me.  They just wanted to be mean.


All in all, even with the nasty comments, and mean people, I am glad we were able to share our story with a larger audience.  Not for ourselves, but so people understand how a small effect can have a larger ripple effect when it happens to thousands of people in the same community at the same time.

So now I have had my 15 minutes of fame, and I am okay if I never have any more.  Although it was cool, and I enjoyed it, I am not sure that my ego could take anymore mean people telling me I am stupid for not just putting toe molding on my floor.  Seriously, read the comments for yourselves…..  They COMPLETELY missed the point.

Big shout out to Arthur Delaney of the Huffington Post.  He was professional, classy, smart and respectful!  He has a lifetime fan in me!