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Thursday, May 23, 2013
Family Vacation to TexasPosted Monday, January 14, 2013, at 10:28 AM
What's the best way to promote family togetherness and harmony? A family vacation, of course! Sometimes even homeschool families don't get enough time to spend together, so whenever we can afford it, we pack our kiddos tightly into our van and head for the hills. This time it worked out to take our vacation in January, so we decided to drive south in search of warmth and sunshine. Besides, I have two aunts in Texas that we could stay with to cut down on hotel stays.
Traveling with six kids can be expensive, but we've become experts in vacation frugality. Our best new idea this vacation was to Crockpot several of our meals. We purchased an inverter, hooked it up to our van's battery, and stretched an extension cord to the back of the van where my Crockpot sat on a shelf, secured with bungee cords. All through the day, we were tormented by the smell of supper cooking as we drove. By the time we stopped at our hotel to eat, we had worked up quite an appetite.
Because of the amount of stuff we had to pack, we took out the third row of seats in our twelve-passenger van and built a shelf. Under the shelf we stored a large tub full of sleeping bags, suitcases, and backpacks. Pillows went on top of the shelf along with two crates, one for food and the other for bath towels The cooler squeezed between the shelf and the door, with another tub perched on top full of toiletries. We were so organized that we were quite impressed with ourselves.
Since we took out the backseat, the kids all had to sit next to each other. Now, I don't want to give the impression that our kids don't get along, but when everyone is in everyone else's personal bubble for hours on end, they do tend to get rather touchy. Sometimes they find it downright impossible to keep their hands to themselves. I just kept making the kids trade places when they would annoy each other too much. It helped a little. I'd like to think they all learned how to get along during the trip. They probably didn't, but it's a nice thought, so I'll just think it anyway.
We played all sorts of fun road games along the way to pass the time, such as the popular letter game where you find words on signs that begin with the letters of the alphabet in order. We never did find Z, though. We also played a rousing game of "Herd." In this game, you call out "Herd!" when you spot a herd of cows or horses. The rules are simple: There has to be more than one, and there has to be a fence around them. It's really easy to rack up points in this game in Texas.
During our vacation, we saw many interesting places. We visited the Alamo, after having watched the movie with John Wayne a week earlier. My youngest, Timothy, was very excited to see it, but was a little confused because he didn't realize they had video cameras back then. I explained that the people in the movie were just actors on a set like in a play. I think he thought it was more like a reality show. I can see it now--"Survivor: The Alamo Edition." It could work.
On the way home we stopped in St. Louis to see the Gateway Arch. We had driven past it many times when we lived in Missouri, but we'd never had time to stop. This time we took the tram to the top. I am terrified of heights, so it wasn't easy. There are these little windows at the top and you have lean way over to see out them. I had this awful feeling when I leaned over that my weight was going to topple the Arch and that we were all going to come crashing down.
We had a great time on our vacation. Even though we had rain one day, it was sunny and warm for most of them. We enjoyed seeing family members that we hadn't seen in long time, and others I had never met. I heard stories about my family that I had forgotten or was too young to remember. There is so much to see and do that we could have stayed a month and not seen everything. I can understand why some there want Texas to be its own country. It would be easy to live there and feel that the rest of the country is somehow unnecessary. It's truly a beautiful country and I hope we get to go back there someday.
Homeschooling -- The Next Generation
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