Hey everyone! I am separating our vacation blog into several smaller ones...less time for me to get it typed out and less overwhelming for the readers...if we have any. :)
Before I get to our actual vacation, I need to vent. I debated about not even doing a blog about the vacation. I was actually VERY close to not blogging about it and not saying anything on Facebook about it. It seems like this year EVERYBODY is giving us a hard time about our vacations. We really didn't go on much more this year than any other year so I don't know if it is because everybody says when you have kids all of the traveling stops and we are proving them wrong or what. Let me back up to before Dave and I were married: we agreed before we walked down the aisle that vacations were very important to us. They didn't have to be super fancy or expensive, but getting away from the stresses of everyday life and work and reconnecting as a couple (and family in the future) were very important. In today's world with the divorce rate so high, we want to protect our marriage as much as possible and we knew a vacation away from stress and time to just spend together was very important. So not too long after we had been married, we had the opportunity to purchase a time share. We went into the presentation thinking it would be a rip off, but Dave crunched the numbers (if you know him, you know how good he is at that)and found that if we really did want to vacation as much as we said, it would save us money in the long run.
So at the end of each year, Dave has to put in for his vacation for the next year. In a way, this is a pain, but it also helps us plan what we want to do and start saving for it. (i.e. this Cali vacation was booked and paid for in February). We also put our tax return into a higher interest savings account and that is our vacation money. Now, for this year, which people have been giving us a hard time about:
Hilton Head, SC: This cost us the place for the week (we stay for a whole week for less than what most people spend on a hotel for one night) and half of gas to get down there since we rode together. We invited my family and they offered to buy the food for the week since we were letting them join us. We did go out to lunch one day, but that's it.
Ohio: This was just a long weekend using Dave's days off so he didn't use much vacation time. We stayed with family so no lodging or food costs. This only cost us gas and activities that we did.
King's Fest: We camp to save money and cook all of our meals.
TLC: Dave used vacation time for this, yes, but this was a chance we had to take some teens to a really good conference. One teen got saved, so I'd say this trip was worth it, but it wasn't a "vacation."
Upstate New York/PA: Again we stayed with family so had no lodging or food costs.
California: This trip was probably a bit more expensive only because we decided to do more exploring. Our lodging again was less than one night in a hotel for the week and we bought groceries and cooked most of our meals. The only reason this was a bit more was because California is really big so we spent more in gas to explore different places, but who knows if and when we'd get out there again. We also flew, but Dave found super cheap rates to fly out there.
So hopefully people will understand and stop their "Again???" when we are leaving for another vacation. And if they don't, well, I've decided they can think what they want, we wouldn't trade the family time we have together exploring more of the country for anything and I'm going to enjoy it and cherish it regardless of peoples' reactions.