The kids have their sixth snow day, starting Spring Break a half day early. Why they were having a half day instead of a full, I don’t know, but it encourages people to leave for vacation earlier.
I used to be in the camp of believing that kids should not be removed from school for vacations. That was when the ink was barely dry on my teaching certificate and I didn’t have children. I still don’t think it should be done often, but those childhood years fly by so fast that I’ve had no problem pulling our kids out for the three Disney vacations we’ve taken over the past ten years. The most affordable time to go is when school is in session, and the last vacation we paired with a long weekend to only miss two days of school. We’ve treasured the memories of all of our family vacations, all the more because DH didn’t have vacations when growing up. Our town offers a huge variety of excellent summer camps, but to me it’s so much more important to spend that money on experiences shared as a family. We essentially only have our children for 18 years, so why wouldn’t we make the most of those short years?
Our vacations tend to be nerdy. We go to zoos and museums, usually go to state or national parks and hike, and walk a lot. The first trip to Disney was a tag-along on a conference where DH was presenting. On the conference days, the kids and I were taking pictures of birds to identify and learn about when we got home and had the bird book to consult. My two youngest love to go through the junior ranger activity books, though they’ve only turned them in for badges once. They’re too old for the program now, but a good share of the books are on line, so we can print them out for fun on future trips. We go to amusement parks and other things that are just pure fun, but those are in the minority.
This summer we’re headed to Arkansas and one of my highlights will be a day at the Ozark Folk Center. Here, we will get to see artisans spinning wool, making pottery, basket weaving, leather craft, and tons more. Three of us are extremely excited about this stop and the other two are interested. I was quite happy to find this park. We’ll also be hiking a lot, which will be fun until we’re gaining elevation. I love nature walks, just not elevation gains. We’ll stop in Hot Springs and learn about the American tourism boom around the natural springs in the western half of the country. The stop which DH first added for my benefit (to keep the whining about hiking up mountains to a minimum) is Crater of Diamonds State Park, where we get to look for diamonds in the rough. The geologist in me is pleased (majored in earth science), and the woman in me is hopeful for a big one to have cut and worn. We’ll see how everyone’s patience is when I start digging down deep and sifting in earnest.
Monday and Tuesday we will be taking our oldest to visit universities. Hopefully it will help her start to see things she does or doesn’t like and help her decide where she truly wants to go. She has a first pick but has never been there on a school day. It’s huge and may be intimidating, so visiting a few smaller schools should prove beneficial. Her first pick is DH’s alma mater and we’ve been several times on weekends to feed ducks and let DH stroll memory lane. We’ll be visiting that school for DD2 in a few weeks. They have an annual open house for future veterinarians which we haven’t been able to attend in previous years. A visit on a school day will still be in order, along with one more school. When we’ll fit these in is up in the air, but to do all four in one week would have been overwhelming for all of us.
For now, it’s time to go enjoy the day off – doing laundry, housework, and cooking.