Stepping out of the norm sometimes gives you a new perspective on things, and sometimes you find it’s just same sh*t different place. Just because we went on vacation didn’t mean I didn’t have to cook, clean and discipline the kids. But when I wasn’t doing that stuff I was having a lovely time at the beach, frolicking in the waves, finding bugs in the yard with Fritz and chefing up the fish BD would bring back from his fishing excursions. People came and went. We played Mini Golf and I even caught a few fish myself out on the high seas. We ate lobster drenched in butter. We went to a afternoon soiree on a great lawn of a Hamptons estate and visited the Light House on Montauk point. It was a great vacation all and all. I even came home baring wisdom—as you should from any decent vacation. Here’s what I learned…
1. Home really is where the heart is. Actually, this isn’t the first vacation I came home from feeling this way. Whenever I step into my own home, our home, I feel the instant sensations of relief, happiness and love. As much as I like traveling to new places, enjoy renting a house or staying in a hotel, there really is nothing like home. Also our house is clean! I only realized that all my housekeeping really payed off when we walked through our door yesterday. The rental we stayed at—while charming—was a little grungy and in slight disrepair. I was happy to see my cool grey paint, modern decor and vibrant art all around me. There’s no place like home.
2. Overpacking is for the birds! Why do I do this? I’m officially noting that when you vacation with kids, if you pack smart, you can all wear exactly 3-4 ensembles (including swimwear) for a weeks time. While it’s critical that you have access to a washing machine, I’m telling you, that when traveling with a family of four, this is the way to go. A light pack in the clothing department saves you a world of trouble when you arrive home. Keep it simple, and keep it cute!
3. Shop before you bop (out of town). This is for vacations where you are driving to you’re destination. Every time we’ve stayed at a rental the first thing we do after we arrive, is go back out for groceries. It’s kinda an ordeal after you’ve just traveled a great distance. Look, you’re not in your usual, familiar grocery store and if you’re from the city, large grocery stores can be totally overwhelming. These factors make for all kinds of bad decisions in the grocery store when on vacation. You figure your on “break” so junk food is ok, which it is, but when I do that first vacation shop I always end up with a cart full of Oreos, Lucky Charms and Cool Ranch Dorito’s—things I NEVER buy at home.
This vacation I had the foresight to grocery shop at my familiar Trader Joe’s before we hit the road. I bought the usual healthy stuff we have at home. I filled a cooler with the perishables and a few bags filled with enough food to last us a week. It was brilliant—if I say so myself. We didn’t have to run out for an epic shop when we arrived and absolutely made healthier choices. We brought home an occasional pint of ice cream, some cookies, farm stand corn, meats, milk beer and a few essentials, but we had everything we needed right from the jump. I also came prepared with this nifty item:
4. Rich is a state of mind. When you go to a place like the Hamptons you really see how the other-half lives. While we stayed in the more down-to-earth fishing and surfing village of Montauk, you inevitably make several trips to the other towns—Bridgehampton, Southhampton, Stinking Filthy Richhampton. It’s not like New York where money is concentrated and blocks away there are housing projects—in the Hamptons it’s everywhere. It’s in your face. The cars, the clothes, the incessant exercising, the overpriced farm stands, the small quaint Tiffany’s shop on Main Street, the $25 lobster rolls, the contemporary mansions, the caftans, the plastic surgery, the beautiful people, it’s all around you.
I’ve spent a good part of my life chasing fancy. I am not fancy though. And there’s no better place to come to that realization than the Hamptons. But you know what? I feel rich. I feel rich because I would be as happy in a tiny cottage as I would in an estate. I feel comfortable whether I’m wearing Chanel ballet flats or $2 flip flops. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy luxury as much as the next gal, but I’m discovering that “rich” is what you make it. It’s beautiful kid’s, a good marriage, a comfortable home and overpowering love. Material things give you a blast of happiness, always leaving you craving more, more, more. Real wealth is cultivated through friends, family and good times.
5. I learned the secret to eating out with two kids! Another family that came up for a visit passed on these instructions for a meal out with the kids: 1. Sit down and immediately order what ever the kids will be eating. As in, when the waitress asks you what you’ll be having to drink, you order two spaghetti and meatballs with sides of broccoli, 2 glasses milk and two wines. 2. You take your time and look at the menu while the kids are sipping on milk and munching bread. Put your orders in as their dishes arrive. 3. When they finish their meals immediately order dessert. This should be timed perfectly to arrive at the same time as your entrees. While the kids are content with eating dessert you get to eat your dinner in peace. 4. Don’t push it. You skip your dessert and hightail it outta there. A parenting secret revealed!
Last, but not least, I look at each vacation as a fresh start. When I return home I get to start on the good foot. I usually make a list. Basically, each vacation is like a New Year’s eve. I make resolutions for my return home. So here I am cleaning house, blogging and being better, faster, stronger. I am rejuvenated…for the time being. Good thing we’re going on another in 2 weeks!
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