Things I Learned On Vacation

We just got back from a truly restful vacation. This is what we were hoping for, and we are incredibly grateful for a lot of rest and relaxation.

Over the course of the ten days we were away I discovered several things.

1. Sleep is really important.

I obviously know in theory that sleep is important, and have often lauded the benefits of good sleep, but I discovered on vacation how very important it is. We slept better in the last ten days than we have slept in a year. I could not believe how much better I felt physically, and how refreshed I woke up in the mornings. Sleep really is that important.

We made a decision to make sleep more of a priority. With a heavy academic load, my husband needs sleep to be at his optimum physically and mentally. I realized that I, too, need to make sure I am getting enough rest in order to be at my optimum. The main reason we are not getting good sleep is outside of our control and we realized being in a quiet house on vacation how much sleep we actually were losing. Short of moving, I am not exactly sure what we can change, but we are on a mission to try to get better sleep.

2. Smoothies are a nutritional lifesaver.

This is going to sound like an ode to the smoothie! We are no strangers to smoothies at our house, and it is an excellent way to add in a lot of good nutrients to your diet. I had not, however, thought of it in context with vacation. We would come back from the beach tired, hot, and hungry. The kids, though, were too hot to eat anything very substantial.

The smoothie was the perfect refreshing drink right after a morning at the beach. I was also less worried about the kids less-than-healthy diet while on vacation. I knew that at least once or twice a day they were getting a solid amount of good food by way of the smoothie. It is definitely worth throwing your blender in the car for a great vacation food.

3. Don’t fight the kids internal clocks.

Our kids are early risers and rather than fight it, we decided to go along with it. As it turns out it was perfect for being at the beach. Most mornings we were at the beach before 8:30 and since apparently most of the world sleeps in on vacation (ahem, our kids didn’t get that memo) we had it nearly to ourselves. By the time it started to get crowded we were worn out and ready to head home. We also missed the hottest part of the sun and nobody burned, including me, which is nothing short of a miracle.

4. A simple life means it is easy to take pleasure in the little things.

Once you jump off the Ferris wheel of consumerism you realize that one of the benefits is that it is easy to get excited over little things. We gave the kids some beach toys from the Dollar Store, and it was extremely exciting to them!

Brian and I both enjoyed small things like some foods we don’t normally eat. And of course the two times we went out were a big deal for all of us. It doesn’t take much to make an exciting memory.

5. Time is a cherished thing.

Time to rock Silas a little longer. Time to sit and watch while the kids play. Time to play an impromptu game of floor hockey. Time to read. Time to sleep. Time to just be together.

Removing the clock for a week was like giving our family the gift of time. No schedules, appointments, or events to keep up with. Just being.

My kids could not get enough of the water. They were fearless. It was so fun watching them delight in the waves over and over and over. Brian and I enjoyed lots of reading and simply enjoying each other and the kids. It was a much needed, relaxing week and now we are ready to get back into normal life with renewed energy.

And after a week off of blogging I am ready to get back into it. I missed you all and I am glad to be back!


  1. My husband is a light sleeper, so we run a fan every night to drown out some of the noises. Maybe that would help?

  2. I’m glad you had a good time and that it was truly restful. Have you tried using white noise in your apartment? When we lived in apartments we used our box fan to shut out the noises coming from the other apartments.

  3. Elva Farrell says:

    Sounds like you had the best kind of vacation. I’m so glad that you were able to get away. I did miss your blogs, though. So I’m glad that you have come home. :)

  4. Welcome Back! You were missed, but I am so glad that you were able to get away and rest. :)

  5. Andrea Cavanaugh says:

    I noticed The Gift of an Ordinary Day in your reading pile. :-) How is that book? I have not read that one, but years ago I read Mitten Strings for God by the same author and really loved her writing style and her thoughtfulness about life.

    • Johanna says:

      Yes, I didn’t get to it until the end of vacation so I haven’t finished it yet, but so far I am really enjoying it. She has a beautiful writing style.

  6. Glad you got a break. Welcome back!

  7. I am glad you are back, too! And so glad you were able to have a relaxing vacation.
    Sleep and smoothies would make any vacation great. :-)

  8. Rebecca says:

    Great post. This is so true in general, too. I am learning that a small, old house is much less stressful with 5 little kids than a nice big new house. I mean, if they smear blueberries in the carpet, hey, it just matches the myraid of other stains. No worries. And I have learned that big, new, beautiful houses don’t mean clean houses…they usually just mean more space for accumulating more clutter. Maybe just maybe the Lord knows what he’s doing after all…huh.

    • Johanna says:

      “I have learned that big, new, beautiful houses don’t mean clean houses” I have learned that the magazine houses don’t stay looking that way!

  9. Rebecca says:

    And I’m glad you had such a restful vacation. You certainly needed it!!

  10. So glad you had a great vacation and that it included stopping at our house! I can’t wait for our own vacation two weeks from today! So needed…

    • Johanna says:

      It was SO good to see you!! Very glad you all are going on a vacation soon. Highly recommend. 😉

  11. Glad you’re back and that you had a great time together as a family–sounds like it was relaxing and enjoyable for all! =)

  12. I love all the pictures. Thanks for the idea about taking something along for making smoothies (we use a Magic Bullet as our blender, so that is very portable).

    When I was little and our family vacationed at a beach, my parents always took us to the beach only in the early mornings, sometimes in the late evenings. Not being there when it’s crowded is worth it, though since I’ve been married and had kids, we’ve only gone in the off-season, and it’s even less crowded.

    • Johanna says:

      This year we didn’t have a choice, but the mornings still ended up being fine. Someday when we can set our own schedule though I think I would prefer the off season too!


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