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week in the life: vacation is never what you imagine it will be

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Our favorite month of the year is September, so naturally this is when we decided to take our yearly vacation. Not only do we love the fall season, but we also liked that we could find a place at a discount. Also, the week we went had beautiful, 80 degree weather. Oh, it was supposed to be heaven. Renting a cottage on the lake. Reading books by the window. Looking out onto the lake. Taking naps in the afternoon.  Right? Why didn’t I cherish those times more when I was with my family before marriage and children?

Ha.  So I knew that this wasn’t going to be one of those kinds of vacations.  I still had my mom duties, but I was hoping for some moments of solitude during nap times at least :) However, we had never seen the place that we rented. I signed up for it on a whim, believing that Vrbo and Homeaway would know what they are talking about — the place had , many wonderful reviews. And then we got there. And I was about to burst into tears. It was awful in so many ways. More than I could name.  Many little awful parts. {Okay, just a few quirky ones: no dishwasher and the sink spit out bits of water at a time so washing dishes took an eternity, there was not one mixing bowl to make pancakes with, no salt or pepper, there were three, yes three, non-working huge tvs just sitting in the middle of the living room, there was trash on the beach, etc, etc, etc.}

And here is another absolutely hilarious reason why this place was awful: the stove top pulled out, circa 1960. This oven was ancient — and a fire and head injury hazard for my little ones…


The stove from hell. {Queue screeching horror music.}


We were going to stick it out — all of our complaints were small. But then, Monday morning, 7 am rolls around, we are all asleep again, {after a night of both children getting up multiple times} and next door, a huge dumpster crashes to the ground, saws start sawing, drills start drilling, nail guns start gunning?, hammers start hammering. It was like they were building a skyscraper, the noise was so loud and sudden. {We had seen the construction the previous days, but thankfully, no one was working, so we didn’t think much of it.} Both kids started crying. I turned to my husband and told him that we were leaving!! We left within two hours.

And my husband and I, upon arrival to our humble abode {our own lovely, small house}, had never been more happy to be home. Our house is quiet. On a dirt road. Much more calm than the loud construction site on our “vacation”.

Do we have to get away to be happy? To realize how blessed and wonderful we have it?

I like to think that I thank God for my life and my home and it all every day. But this vacation just reminded me more. Getting out of our comfort zone can do that to you, I guess.

Lessons learned. Just don’t do it. Don’t trust others’ opinions. Don’t spend your money on a place your don’t know anything about. We learned the hard way.

The week ended up being beautiful {we got the remainder of the money back — the lady who owned the house was very kind — and we blamed it all on the construction — it’s hard to say “your place is a dump” to a person’s face you know?}.  My husband still had the week off, and we went to a lake close to us. We remained unplugged — both of us!! — we read books. We had bonfires. We had peace and quiet.

Lessons learned. Vacation can be anywhere as long as you are with the ones you love — it’s true!  Super corn-ball, but I love my family.

My son still got to sit in a row boat for a couple hours at a time.


We still got to visit the beach.

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Doesn’t the view look perfect? Pictures can be deceiving. This place was awful. But it’s nice that my husband and I can laugh about it.  We didn’t let it ruin our whole week.  {And we agreed that he will find a place for us next year.}


Have you ever had a horrible vacation?  Vacations just aren’t “vacations,” with kids, are they?  No matter if you’re at the nicest place, it still is hard work.  We, my husband and I, will have our break late next year, after my daughter turns 2 and I am done nursing.  We are going to try our first cruise together {i.e. no cooking, cleaning, anything!}, but even looking forward to that dream vacation — yes, I have been planning this for two+ years — I know that things will never be perfect.  Just glad that I can laugh about the imperfections.


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  1. The construction, rubbish and TVs would bother me.

    But seeing as most of our lives we have had no dishwasher and only rainwater I am well used too the hassle of hand washing with limited water.

    Anyhow, perhaps I am just used to ‘righting it’ our holiday place is a 100 year old hut out the back of our farm – it takes two days on horseback to get there and it has no electricity, no stove, no water, just a dirt floor, bench and bunk beds.

    We LOVE it. We wash everything in the river cook on a fire and basically pretend we are pioneers for a week.

    But boy do I love coming home to a stove!

    1. Thanks for visiting, Genevieve! Your hut sounds heavenly — if that is what you want and expect :) For us, the pictures, etc were misleading! I am not a rustic type of girl — though I do love to backpack and am in the Army Reserve ha! Thanks for sharing, Amy

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