The Little Things – Thoughts For This Holiday Season

With the holiday season coming up, I have been thinking about ways to bless my kids. That has caused a lot of reflection on my own childhood, and the more I think about it, the more I come to one conclusion: It’s the little things.

This winter, as you are traveling or staying home, you can make this the best holiday season your children have ever had by doing small things that convey how much you love them. The key is to do things that your children will remember. As I look back at my childhood, I do remember a lot of the big things that my parents did. When I was 16 I got a drum set for Christmas, which was epic, because I was in drumline. My memories from being a small child are a lot different. I don’t necessarily remember the amazing gifts I got, or trips to Disneyland. What I really remember are the small, but genuine acts of kindness that were displayed to me by my family.

My brother and I as kids. Adorable, right?
My brother and I as kids. Adorable, right?

If I think about my own children and the things they remember, a private tea party with Mommy ranks way higher than a trip to the zoo (although they do love the zoo). Why? Because tea parties involve me spending time with them, baking cookies, making tea, and sitting around chatting about whatever they want to chat about. I know you are starting to get the idea, but to emphasize my point, I am going to share a few things that I vividly remember from being a small girl. They are in no particular order.

The Little Things

1. Uncle Mike drew hearts and smiley faces on my peanut butter toast.

2. Aunt Sherry never made me feel like she was watching me because my mom was working, it always felt like she was having me over just because she wanted to spend time with me (I actually never made the correlation until I was a teenager). She made me the BEST peanut butter sandwiches.

3. Aunt Stephanie let us all sleep over, like every Friday night, all through summer. In the morning she always made us heart shaped waffles!

4. Mom used to take us for walks around the neighborhood and we would all talk. That is one of my earliest memories.

5. Dad would drive me to far away practices, even though he was exhausted. One time he drove me to a hockey game, and it ended up being an away game. It turned into one of my best times with him because we spent the whole day alone, and he ended up teaching me how to drive.

6. My brother would dress us as an astronaut with me and spend hours playing space ship. Everything was made out of cardboard, including our helmets.

7. Uncle Dave singing. Him and my dad both have amazing voices. He also would give me the biggest hugs!

8. Aunt Ellen always made me feel important. She listened carefully to whatever I had to say. Plus she was the best preschool teacher ever! I hung out with her before class some mornings and she would make me oatmeal.

9. We used to have holidays where there were too many people were smashed into a small house, the more people the better. I always felt loved, and like I was part of something big that mattered. My favorite part was being around family and friends, the presents were always secondary joys.

Now look back at my list and try to find something that costs a lot of money. These memories involve time and sacrifice. That is what makes a child feel special. I hope during your big holiday plans, that you make time for big memories that won’t cost you a cent.

Happy travels,


Rewind: Vacation Before Smart Phones and iPads

dalek hates facebook and twitter

Rewind: Vacation Before Smart Phones and iPads

Last night Travis and I were watching an old episode of Doctor Who, and there is a scene where the daleks tell the reunited trio of Mickey, Rose, and the Doctor, “Social interaction will cease!”

What does this have to do with traveling? Well the Doctor is the ultimate traveler, time traveler! But besides that, it reminded me of a rule we like to institute when we are on vacation with our kids.

Rewind to my own childhood. My parents didn’t even have cell phones when we went on vacation! The first thing you did when you got home from vacation was spend an hour calling all your relatives and letting them know you were ok because while you were out on the road, you didn’t call anyone. You certainly didn’t text, Facebook, or tweet about your trip. What did we do then? We spent time together! We talked to each other! We sang silly songs and made up for lost time that work and school had taken away from us.

Fast forward to the present. There is a huge, I mean seriously huge, temptation to spend a great deal of your vacation time on your smart phone. Let’s be honest, it can be a distraction from your family vacation. You can be out in a totally new place, alone with your kids, and you can get in touch with everyone you left behind. But if you spend too much time surfing the internet or posting fun vacation pictures on instagram, you are missing out on quality time with your kids.

Travis and I have made a rule that if we are traveling with our kids on vacation, we only spend time updating Facebook or whatever, after the kids have gone to sleep. We also limit the amount of time, because we can go on the computer anytime at home. When we are out, it is a huge priority for us to spend time together.

I’m not saying you should leave your cell phone at home, but when you are on a family vacation, make it a priority to spend time with your family! Make memories with your children. Spend time talking to them. Traveling creates so many wonderful opportunities to teach them and find out what things are really important to them. Don’t waste this chance, I promise you won’t be sorry! Cyberspace will be there for you when you get back.

So remember on your next vacation, “Social interaction will cease!” at least the kind that reaches outside of your family unit.

Happy travels!!