Life as a single Mother-Empty nest, Dating, Ex-husband, Best Friends, Full-time Employment, Unemployment, night school...How do these all relate to one another? Come with me:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

We hit the sunny beaches where we occupy ourselves keeping the sun off our skin, the saltwater off our bodies, and the sand out of our belongings. ~Erma Bombeck

Single mothers are often faced with the dilemma making the paychecks or the support stretch enough to cover the monthly bills, put food on the table and keep the kids clothed and warm. To do anything extra, anything out of the norm, can really be too expensive to even think about doing. Birthday parties, Christmas and other holidays could be financially draining.

Then trying to explain to young kids why it is possible for other families to take week long vacations to Disneyland, Six Flags or even more elaborate places such as Europe or Mexico.

We have taken many road trips, droven to local and semi-local parks and sites. It was an inexpensive way to get out of town, see things we can't see at home, and spend some real quality time together. Many good times and a lot of great memories have been made.

Most every year I would receive a decent tax refund; enough that we could plan small trips. And most every one of those years, something unexpected. would come up. We were glad to have the money, when repairs were needed. But we vacations always seemed to get postponed or forgotten. Would have been fun to see some of the places the kids were learning about in school.

During the past thirteen years we were able to take a few great trips.

The year of my divorce, my parents had worked out a trip to Disneyland for my sister, and I and our families. It was a great reprieve from the stresses for us all. And I was so grateful to my parents.

A few years after that trip, my children took a really long road trip with my ex's parents. They drove through the Yukon and up to Alaska to see their dad for a week. I hope they were old enough that they will remember that time forever.

Five years ago, we were lucky enough to save up enough money for the four of us to take a longer road trip to Las Vegas. It was perfect timing when Vegas was running marketing towards children and families and creating a real family atmosphere.

We rode amusement park rides, toured museums (including Madame Tussauds ),  we toured the casinos and ate some great food. Thanks to and some pre-planning, we were able to see and do a lot on a small budget.
We even ran into a free art show of some 3D art in Caesar's Palace mall. The internet is a great source of information from other frugal parents and their tips. We got a suite  off the main strip cheaper than the big hotels and were able to cook some of our own meals in our room also saving money.

The last trip we have taken, also a road trip was nearly across the entire country. Three years ago, my son graduated from Basic training for the army the summer between his junior and senior years of high school. He called and said that we were invited to his graduation, or he could just fly home.

I decided right then, we would find a way to get there to pick him up and watch him march on this very important day. And we did.
The girls and I were able to drive through eleven states, see some of the most famous sights of this country, we stayed one night with a friend and many inexpensive hotels.

We watched his ceremony and he saw much of the country with us on the way home from Kentucky. It is a trip we will never forget.

 And now, in less than a week, we will be embarking on our first trip to the islands. My parents are celebrating their landmark 45th wedding anniversary and once again, my parents are making it possible for my sister, I and all of our children to take a cruise to some really beautiful places to help them celebrate. My son won't be able to come as he is still serving our country across the globe. And we will miss having him there. But we are so excited to spend some time together in some really gorgeous scenery.

It seems that things are appreciated more when they are well earned and infrequent. I will miss them so much when they are grown and on their own, and I cherish all of these moments with my children, my parents and my sister. Life is short.

I don't want a moment to pass by without all of my family knowing how I feel, the beach will make it even better!


  1. I am SO excited for you!!!!! I can SO relate to this post!! this year I am using income tax to take the children and I to a hotel and tourist attractions just an hour from our home! 3 days away and its a BIG deal! SO enjoy enjoy enjoy!!:)

  2. Great pics, you've had some fabulous trips. I'm a big fan of getting out in nature and just enjoying what's around us. Disneyland is fun, but it's expensive, especially if you stay in the D-land hotel.

    Have fun on the islands!!!!!! I love tropical trips.

  3. Debbie- I think that anywhere that is not home, and away from school and work, is a great place to be. Have fun and you may be surprised at the fun in your own backyard.
    DH- Yes, we have been lucky enough to see a lot of great places. And I agree there is so much to see right here at home. But an adventure away once in a while can be fun too. I think I may just love tropical trips too. :)


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