TMI Tuesday: Is it really a vacation when you just visit family?!?!

Ahhhh …. A new post that is nothing but personal and trivial ramblings.  I have been wanting to add an occasional post like this for awhile, but I can’t imagine who would want to read the posts that aren’t filled to the brim with pretty images, giveaways or great finds.  I mean … I LOVE reading other people’s blogs that are more than just the pictures.  I also love reality TV and I am a people watcher.  HHMMM … I might be on to something here.  I guess I just enjoy getting to know people through the everyday moments that make up their lives.  So, after a little inspiration from Kelly Klatt in her tip she wrote for the Prop Junkie blog (HERE) … here I am …. sharing a little bit of myself.  I am hoping my sarcasm comes across playfully, otherwise this will be painful and I apologize in advance.

(I am just going to jump right in and start this as if you are already know me.  Really, where else do I start?  My wrists can’t handle typing from the beginning and besides, beginnings and endings are usually boring or sad … it’s the middle that’s fun! Yep, I totally stole that last part from Hope Floats! Hopefully I didn’t jumble it up too much. I love that movie.)

So, back to the topic at hand …. Is it really a vacation when you just visit family?!? My answer is oh heck NO!  I love family.  Wait … I love the sentimental idea of family, but to spend well deserved time off with family, in my case on a farm, is NOT a vacation.  Especially if it involves taking your children!  I love my 4 sweet peas.  They are the best part of me, but who really wants to travel in a car with two toddlers?!  Not me.  I mean sure they are cute enough, but 8 hours strapped in a car seat would turn anyone cranky.  As parents we shiver at the thought of what it will do to an already on-the-edge-of-a-breakdown-at-any-moment toddler!  My best advice … get a car with a TV and DVD player.  Best invest my husband has ever made!  Ear plugs are totally an encouraged option too.

I mean look at them … This is after all of 5 minutes of sitting still!  There were 480 minutes to deal with during our road trip.

But wait … I am getting off topic already.  When I day dream of vacationing, honestly, I am just daydreaming of quiet, lazy, carefree time with no bottoms to wipe, no bellies to feed and no chores to be done.  This isn’t what I get when the vacation is with family.  Sure there’s plenty of good catching up time and some fried food, but there are still bottoms to wipe and bellies to feed. Plus, now you are totally out of your normal workable space and the toilet is too tall/big and the babies fall in, the internet is a step-up from dial-up and your blog won’t load because it has a bazillion images and there are only Mash reruns recorded to watch.  Getting an idea of how my “vacation” went?

I did get about 20 minutes of quiet, completely alone time just laying in the grass under the shade of trees that stand on a century old farm. Not a car, plane or basketball-playing neighbor kid to be heard.  I learned how to make my Mother-in-Law’s famous peach cobbler and onion rings.  I got about 45 minutes of shooting time in with my two littlest loves and got images that I will treasure of them on their Grandparent’s farm. A farm that their Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great Grandfather started.

I love being a photographer, because it’s these images that will become my memories when I’ve forgotten everything else from our “vacation”.

I can’t wait to show these images to their Grandparents. Their excitement will make all the not-so-fun parts of our vacation fade away.

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Jennifer - June 26, 2012 - 10:56 pm

I did not realize, somehow, that you and TFJ were the same. Apparently I live under a rock. But to point, LOVE personal blog posts! I am working on relaunching my blog and was trying to decide whether to include personal posts or only professional/photography related posts. Really I was thinking of doing a “Weekly Walker”, because my son just cracks me up. Sometimes it’s nice to inject a little humor or reality into the workplace, right? Even if the workplace is the blog of a hard working mommy?

Darcy P - June 26, 2012 - 11:15 pm

I love getting to know you :) Thanks for sharing. I love your style of writing and your wit!

Nina - June 26, 2012 - 11:37 pm

To my mind personal stuff nowadays is not only welcome, but a must. What are professional blogs, web-sites? Primarily – social interactive platforms, where you mostly communicate, not just presenting your work. Who wants to talk to a portfolio? But when you can see a person behind, human being, with the tiny details and semi-tones on their lives – this is when it becomes alive and hence – interesting.

For those not interested in the life behind – there is always a selection of gorgeous printed photo books to enjoy in solitude. :) ))

Jennifer Hustead - June 27, 2012 - 5:18 am

Love it! I’ve always said travelling with your kids is a business trip, not a vacation! Great post, and if you have more like this in you, bring it on!

Dana - June 27, 2012 - 7:54 am

Wow, you seriously just posted this about quality time with your inlaws, for not only the world to read, but your husband’s family as well? As the saying goes, the Internet is forever….these words can’t be retracted now that they are public.

I think part of your feelings are coming from defining this as a vacation-first of all, is going anywhere with children, especially young children, really ever considered a true vacation? You are still being a mom, mama, caregiver, provider, chef, laundress, educator, and chauffeur no matter what town you are in unless you are privileged enough to bring along a caregiver for your kiddos.

I have five children and certainly was never able to afford extravagant vacations or bring-along help and, unfortunately, never visited anyone or anyplace where upon my arrival there were people to takeover my mothering responsibilities while I “vacationed.”

However, some of our best spent time was not at the destination but during the trip to the not-so-exciting destination. We did not have car TVs, DVDs or other portable gaming devices to entertain our children. We played games, sang songs, looked for license plates from as many states as we could find, went through the alphabet too many times to count either naming and repeating as we went a list of fruit names (a-apple, b- banana,…), or the game where you say A, Annie sold apples in Atlanta, to which the next person added B, Bobby sold boats in berlin…again growing the alphabet list longer and longer. Or we just searched along the ride for words starting with each letter of the alphabet to see who could get through it the quickest…as recently as a three hour car ride alone this weekend with my 13 year old we did the same. These togetherness activities truly never get old.

It was on these kinds of trips my younger ones quickly learned their math facts as I quizzed the older ones. They learned the capitals of the states. The younger ones taught us all the cute, silly songs from preschool. When there were less kids and they were younger we played color games like I spy. As they all got older, we blasted the radio and sang songs of every genre you can imagine.

My children are older now and knowing that I spent that quality time with them INSTEAD of allowing them to close their ears off to the world–and me–is something I am thankful for and happy about. It truly was some of our best time together, because in addition to silly fun, I had their undivided attention for hours on end-they couldn’t escape LOL. I could tell them stories, give them little life lectures, tell them why they couldn’t run and hide in the middle of the clothes rack when we went shopping the next time. They learned about their grandparents or whomever we were going to visit.

And one last note…my father passed away this past March…someday all too soon your mother-in-law will not be there to visit…her lessons, her recipes, her hugs and her mundane southern ways and fried foods will be gone. Not to be preachy, but trust me, enjoy them while you can because God willing you and your children won’t have her forever.

So yes, a well-deserved vacation for just you or you and hubby to someplace exotic, nearby, alone,tropical or simply someplace other than the south might be delightful, but for now stop and smell the flowers, watch those sunsets and enjoy those car rides. After all, didn’t you kind of sign up for that when you moved 8 hours away from your inlaws and decided to grow a family? Other “kinds” of vacations may or may not come, but for now put those darn electronic gadgets away–cherish these times, because in 10 or 15 years you will look back and realize these are the best of times :)

Jessica Henry - June 27, 2012 - 10:03 am

So, so cute!! What a wonderful set of pics! And yes, traveling with toddlers is NOT fun! We travel from Birmingham, AL to Miami to see family….our brain is about fried by the time we get there! LOL But it makes for some interesting and memorable conversations later! ;)

Tabitha - June 27, 2012 - 10:26 am


Be careful before you start preaching. You DON’T know everyone’s back story. Now, step down off your soap box and join the rest of the world and enjoy the day.


Dana - June 27, 2012 - 2:13 pm


As I noted, I wasn’t trying to preach, just give some insight from a mother of five who has and still spends quality time in the car with her children. And I also wanted to send the message that life is beautiful and often times too short. So back at ya’ girlfriend, no need to preach to me.

Unfortunately texting, typing etc don’t directly convey tone so I will forgive your misinterpretation of my thoughtful message. I thought by saying “not to be preachy,” adding a LOL and ending with a smiley face people would understand my positive attempt at sharing insight. Re-read it with a gentle, soft voice in your head from a mom who passionately loves her children and misses those hours in the car. They all grow up way too soon. And if you knew more of my backstory, maybe you would understand where my intentions were coming from on this beautiful day that I am fully enjoying!

But thank you for your feedback, I will recall it if and when I post publicly in the future. Constructive criticism is a wonderful tool!

:) :) :) :) (lots of smiles = happiness and no soapboxes)

Sara Lleverino - June 27, 2012 - 2:42 pm

I once heard that if you have your kids, you are taking a “trip.” It’s a “vacation” if you don’t have kids.

Sounds to me like you went on a trip. Still, it will be nice memories :-)

Nichole - June 27, 2012 - 3:19 pm

Loved reading this because I too have endured such “vacations” recently… a trip is more like it. And while everything Dana said is lovely and beautiful and absolutely agreeable in theory – the world and our kids are a very different place than then. Nothing you said in your post bad-mouthed your relationship or visit with family and was nothing that I’m sure you wouldn’s say right to your mother-in-law. I take trips like these both far (my two sets of inlaws are both 2k miles away) and close (my grandparents are a short 150 miles away) yet that’s exactly what they are wonderful trips visiting relatives, taking care of the kids in someone else’s environment, making the pictures the best memories, etc… you couldn’t have written this any better and I’m sure wouldn’t wish it any differently (now that you’ve survived :) )

Tabitha - June 27, 2012 - 4:26 pm

Awww …. Thank You Nichole! :)

Tabitha - June 27, 2012 - 4:26 pm

You are SO right Sara! This was a trip, but my husband will still call it a vacation. LOL!

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