When you have kids, people are constantly reminding you that “they grow up so fast.”

Thank goodness!!!

Don’t get me wrong.  I have enjoyed and cherished every stage of my children’s lives so far. But I will admit that I’m liking this stage better than some others. Especially during a family vacation.

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Babies are cute and cuddly. They are also terrible travelers and require a U-haul trailer full of accessories.

Toddlers are humorous, entertaining, and equally worthless on a trip. They can’t hold their attention for more than a few minutes.  They throw tantrums and need to go to the bathroom at the absolute worst times. I remember trying to make our kids wear diapers in the car, long after being potty trained, just for my convenience.

But now the kids are at an age where we are having a real family vacation. Sommer and I are actually having fun!!! Instead of trying to find the local parks for see saws, kiddie slides and merry go rounds, we’re booking white water rafting trips, ATV rides into the mountains, and horseback rides in the beautiful Arapaho National Forest.

We’ve only eaten fast food once, and we can go to restaurants that have more options than burgers, hot dogs, and Mac and cheese. Although those entrees still get ordered by members of our dining party.

On our rafting trip, we rode with a family from London and started taking about different vacation destinations.  A few years ago, they took their 3 year old and 6 year old (at the time) on a 6 week global adventure. The mom bashfully admitted that after the trip, they asked their children what their favorite memories were. The honest answers from both were the hours spent at the hotel pools!

There are still issues that need to be dealt with when the five of us are spending more than a week together day and night. But it’s also easier to blackmail, threaten and negotiate with these people that are old enough to know the potential repercussions of their actions, but also too young to have any real power in our final decision making.

That’s awesome!

What’s even better is that we can actually leave them alone in the rental house from time to time. Sommer and I have taken a few bike rides to town for morning coffee, bar hopped for a little Happy Hour, and we might even get to go out to dinner tonight without the kids.

When we get back I’ll probably tell them one of those little lies, like “we missed you.”

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