Happy Friday! Hope you've had a great week. We sure have, after all we've been on vacation. As our vacation nears its end, let me share some thoughts from the week...
#1: I need to do a little commercial for Drury Inns and Suites (with the note that I've had a similar experience at Residence Inns). I've found that it's worth our money to stay at this sort of hotel and to pay extra for a suite that has a separate bedroom. What does this get us? A place that feels much more like home than a hotel room...separate space for children to go to sleep early when moms and dads aren't ready...full hot meals for both breakfast and dinner (just that savings makes it worth the difference you pay here!). We've had a great week at our Drury home away from home.
#2: St. Louis, though only a few hours away from home, has been a great vacation spot. And so let me do a commercial for St. Louis and their many family friendly experiences that are FREE! The St. Louis Zoo...yes, free admission. At that price you can even eat lunch inside the zoo. The Science Center...yes, free admission. Lone Elk Park...no charge, just a donation box and you get to drive through as elk, deer, and buffalo roam free around you. Grant's Farm...yes, free admission which includes tram ride through the park. The fudge making show at the Fudgery at Union Station is also free (well, at least until you get so tempted that you buy pounds and pounds of fudge!) and lots of fun. This is just the start of the list.
#3: Okay, I suddenly feel like I'm sounding cheap. :) However, those of you who travel with families understand that FREE means a lot. And what it's meant for us is that we can easily say "yes" to things like carousel and train rides...and it's vacation...who doesn't want to say "yes"?
#4: We've hit several other wonderful spots that did charge admission fees, but haven't found anything that wasn't worth it. We've been to places like: The Gateway Arch, The Magic House, and NASCAR Speedpark (an oversized NASCAR arcade). As people who don't live in the big city, it was also great to get our kids exposed to public transportation - thank you, MetroLink.
#5: One of the wonderful things about vacation is that we are moving on a different pace. We haven't been late once this week because we had no schedule. What a gift to just be where we are as long as it is fun. A great example is Turtle Park (yes, just a park with lots of large turtle sculptures to climb on). We just hung out there, climbing and running until we'd met all the turtles and we were done. We didn't leave because it was time to be somewhere else...just because we'd enjoyed the turtles as long as possible.
#6: This week has been exactly what we needed. Just time to be together. I'm really glad, especially as hectic as the last few months have been, that we did this.
#7: One last thing...vacation has been a great time for me to get sucked back in to my kids' view of the world. I've done far more "stopping and smelling the roses" than usual. As I mentioned before some of this inevitably has to do with not being on a schedule, but I'm convinced we can do a little more of it even in our usual busyness. So, my vacation challenge to myself (and to you) is to pay more attention to the things that capture our little ones' attention. It's amazing what we'll find there!
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