Friday, January 6, 2012

Our year of Family Vacations and TIPS too!

At the beginning of last year, Chris and I made a resolution to make more memories traveling together as a family.   Chris is a workaholic provides well for us and most of his time is spent in the office.  (I actually LOVE his strong work ethic!) ;) However, we still found a way to accomplish our goal! Instead of lonnnng refreshing family vacations, we took a few a TON of short weekend getaways.  We also took advantage of every holiday weekend.  Chris is still on his little smartphone and laptop doing business on our vacations, but it works for us!  Taking mini getaways is also helpful for families because it doesn't interrupt kids' school and extra activities.

source unknown, please advise

When our kids were this little, we started a luggage collection for each of them from Pottery Barn Fairfax luggage collection.  We slowly added new pieces to their collections until they had the complete set. I strongly recommend this to any family with kids!  It has helped keep our vacation packing and traveling very organized and simple.  Organization is KEY to successful family vacations. 

look at my cuties!!

With this luggage, each child has different bags for different needs: snacks in the small bags, toys in the duffle bags, and clothing in the suitcases.  We don't usually take EVERY luggage piece on all our vacations, but they are all still helpful when we need them.  

Each boy gets a different color and their names are embroidered onto each piece.  This is also helpful in staying organized. 

We followed the same color pattern with sleeping bags.  These warm sleeping bags from LLBean also have their names monogrammed on. We've had these for years and they have held up so well!

I've put together a quick list of travel tips before taking off on your next family vacation!
For more info on finding treasure spots to dine while on vacation, see this previous post.

Chris and I feel it is important to show our boys the area RIGHT around and near us so they can understand where we live, and grasp the history and geography of it.  Integrating learning with travel is also a priority for us!  I was raised traveling and learning a lot and I want the same for my boys!  The more they experience the land where they're being raised, the more they can identify with it as theirs. 

Because of this, we traveled a lot in our home state of Colorado, in Utah, and also in Arizona, the state Chris and I were raised.

To kick off the year, we went to Colorado Springs, Colorado, and visited Garden of the gods,  the Air Force Academy, the Olympic Training Center, and Focus on the Family headquarters.

Later that spring, we took a road trip to Arizona to spend Easter with my grandparents.  The boys just adore them and look forward to visits to their home sweet home! It was a cozy place to spend Easter.  On our way there and back, we made a lot of memorable stops.  We traveled through Indian land, touring Monument Valley and also Montezuma's Castle Indian ruins.  But our favorite stop was at the GRAND CANYON!! It was the boys' first time to see it and I will remember it forever.  It was such an exciting family time.  We surprised them by taking them on a helicopter over the canyon!  It was an experience of a lifetime for each of us!

For Memorial Day, my other set of grandparents came to visit our family.  I'm so appreciative that they make the long road trips to come see us all! The boys get giddy anticipating their visits.  We took a day trip to a neighboring town, Glenwood Springs, via AMTRAK train!

For our anniversary, instead of just the two of us escaping, we took the whole family of FIVE to Aspen, Colorado, for a western, horseback riding adventure.  We loved every second, experiencing life as cowboys on a sprawling mountain ranch.

One of the best trips of the year was a weekend trip to Park City, UtahPark City is my new lover.  I want to marry it and live there forever.  It is beautiful and full of my interests!  Chris and my brother had a long distance rifle shooting competition there (which I shared about here) and we also attended an INCREDIBLE table styling main street event (which I shared about here).  Aside from those events, we took the super fun alpine slide down the mountain, we did a zip line, and we watched talented athletes train for the Olympics. This is where the 2002 Olympic Games took place. This vacation ROCKED.  Seriously.

 In midsummer for Father's Day, we took a couple traditional camping trips and got dusty.  No shopping malls or nice hotels, just tents and fire smoke.  The boys kinda sorta like this type of thing.

A huge travel highlight was our houseboat trip on Lake Powell! Thankfully this vacation was longer than just a weekend. ;)  Chris and I were born and raised here and it will always be HOME. (I've shared about a previous trip there here) These incredible houseboat experiences are compliments of two incredible people that we are blessed to know! I will be sharing a lot more about this summertime vacation and these friends in an upcoming post!   Our time spent on the lake were some of our most loved moments of the year. The peace found there is unlike any other. Our entire family agrees that there is no place like Lake Powell, there is no place like home. 

Ohhh, that's not all!  We have been a giant traveling machine! To see BEAutiful photos and details of other vacations in 2011, you can visit these following links.  I have entire blog posts dedicated to a collection of other favorite travel we did in 2011!

 click on any link below to see details

- Thanksgiving R & R in Gateway, Colorado

 - Aspen Holiday kickoff (part I) and snow day (part II) and sleigh ride (part III)

When the vacations are over and bags unpacked, collecting memories in jars is the perfect way to hang onto vacations for always.  To make your own Vacations in a Jar, see this previous post.

Okay lovers.  That is a wrap for this family on wheels 2011.  I think Chris and I accomplished our goal.  Maybe just a tad overboard...just a bit...but I have a crazy habit of that anyways. ;)   But time and experiences are the most valuable of all, and looking back, we are thankful that we made these times for each other and our aDORable boys. 

Because before long, our little people go from these little much bigger guys.  :(  So, as I always say: make every minute COUNT.


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This post is linked to: House of Grace Best of,   Under the Table & Dreamin, Think Pink Sundays, Seasonal SundaysMet Monday, Making the World Cuter, Tuesday Tutorials and Tips, Tasty Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy, Tip Junkie, Get Your Craft On, DIY Design, Works for Me Wednesday, Blue Cricket Design, Transformation Thursday, House of H, Tablescape Thursday, Show off Your Stuff, Strut Your Stuff,   Show and Share Day, Foodie Friday, Frugal Friday, I'm Lovin It, Tickled Pink, Friday Flair, Design Dazzle, Be Different Act Normal, Funky Junk Interiors, Weekend Wrap Up  DIY by Design


The Mac's House said...

Oh my goodness, this is just the post I needed to read. My husband is a self professed workaholic, so much so that he now has an office down in the basement to work weekends on deadlines. I love this idea and I'm so IMPRESSED with how much you were able to do in a weekend. While I can't say that we would be able to do this much, it is a goal of mine to get away for a few adventures this year. I'm writing down some of your helpful information.

Thank you so much!

Jane said...

How much fun! We traveled like that when the boys were smaller...and before sports (primarily competitive soccer) interfered with our lives (but we loved this, too)
I LOVE the luggage idea and wish I had thought of it when the guys were young. I know what I am getting for our grand kids!!!

ps Check out Leigh's posts on touring Old Florida...She had some wonderful ideas about what to visit...can be used for trips anywhere.

Anonymous said...

You have taken some very nice trips with your boys and it will be something they always remember..Family time is the BEST..Have a great weekend..

caveman said...

Amazing. Lets do it again in 2012!

Sommer said...

Lisa I could have written your post minus the traveling! Where in Colorado are you? We live in Highlands Ranch! My husband is also a work horse putting in the equivilant of two jobs most weeks. Also having three kids I find it difficult to find travel accomodations for the five of us. We always end up having to get two rooms which is costly. So hubby and I have always traveled alone each year. But this year we scored a two bedroom villa with a pull out in Costa Rica and we leave next week! First trip with the kids and I'm so excited but nervous too. I grew up spending summers in LP and we always head to CO Springs for the hot air balloon festivals in the fall. I love your luggage collection. I will have to do that. We had to borrrow luggage from a friend for the kids to use this trip. Thanks for sharing all this, what fun you all have!

Unknown said...

I love that you travel as a family and find so much enjoyment in that! :) It's such a wonderful thing to do. My husband and I love it as well and have many great adventures all through california, but this is great because we'd love to expand our destinations!

The Tablescaper said...

Great memories. Great photos. My family's helicopter experience was quite different. I don't think our fellow helicopter riders were any too pleased.

- The Tablescaper

. said...

so many trips.. and they all look so fun with great, great memories. i know 2012 will be packed with sooo much more fun! looking forward to seeing where you go!

Anonymous said...

I think you are raising em right :)
Those trips will forever be cherished.

Brook said...

It looks like you all had great fun! We plan to vacation in Park City, so it was fun to read what you had to share. I smiled when I saw your St. Louis jar. We have lots of FREE family friendly things to do here. :)

Anonymous said...

Our family did a road trip this year with the destination being the Grand Canyon which certainly lived up to its name. I would love to go back in a different season just to see the difference. I love the way you spend time with your boys.

Laurel @ Ducks in a Row said...

As a Colorado-an I love all the places that you went to in Colorado! Plus - I love having kiddos have their own luggage! What a fun year.


These are great tips and I just love your luggage collection! I think it's just brilliant that not only did you consider the financial impact (buying them a piece or two at a time) but that it helps you stay organized too! The travel pack idea is great too! For long car rides I usually use the Remote Access app from my employer, DISH, to keep my son entertained. I just put on a movie or show for him and I get a quiet child for however long it lasts. DISH just announced today that they have been able to make the Blockbuster Movie Pass content available on the iPad as well. Since I also subscribe to the Movie Pass I have a feeling that we’ll have original content for him to watch in the airport, on the plane, and on the taxi ride to our hotel. These really are great tips; I’ll definitely be trying a few of them on our next trip, especially the vacation in a jar idea! Thanks for sharing.

aggieam01 said...

Ah, a woman after my own heart! My husband is also a workaholic and our boys and I are always itching to travel. You have taken some beautiful pictures, seen amazing places, and are making wonderful family memories. Kudos to you!!!

Cathy said...

Your boys are adorable! Thank you so much for the tips you shared about travelling as a family. We'll be enjoying our own family vacation in Phuket villas soon.

Unknown said...

OMG! looks like you really had a moments of your life.Going out with family is the only happiness which can be cherished at every moment just by reminding.Even i am planning to move make a trip but i will be sending my stuff with the help of Removal Companies Londonwhich will take care of my all household stuff.