Monday, October 11, 2010

Ultimate Family Vacation

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It's easy for me to draw a picture of my idea of the "ultimate family vacation" - although of course the ULTIMATE vacation would likely include something more upscale than the vacation I'm going to describe - but for me, the "ultimate family vacation" would look very much like the trip we took this summer to Los Angeles and Phoenix.
Los Angeles is a favorite place of ours, and has been for a long time. It's sort of funny that way, because the kids have only been there once as a family before now, although the two oldest have each been there on additional time each on business trips with Dad. And add to those visits the fact that a favorite television show for my clan is "Emergency!", which took place in L.A., and voila! Favorite place status!
We stayed at the Beverly Garland Holiday Inn in Universal City, which I cannot recommend highly enough. It has this "old Hollywood" glamour to it somehow, although it has been recently updated and is gorgeous and classically Los Angeles in its design and color schemes. The outdoor pool features "family movie nights", and the kids get to swim around and watch great flicks from the pool on an inflatable screen. This was a big hit with my clan.
Add to a trip to Universal Studios, which included a walk-through of the Engine 51 station (Emergency! Engine 51, anyone?) and a fantastic afternoon. Our boys range from 8 - 15 years of age, and all of them had a great time between the rides and the shows. And we went to Venice Beach, which only happened because I had to visit one of the most wonderful paper shops on the planet - Urbanic Paper Boutique. Even better, we were there for "Cupcake Saturday", which made the boys' day. Killer cupcakes.
What made it the "ultimate family vacation", however, was what ran beneath all of these activities and places. All 6 of us relaxed, and talked, and spent time with each other, and although we are already a close-knit family, this time together wrapped us even closer. Early mornings at the pools, some long drives in Los Angeles County, the drive from L.A. to Phoenix - there were moments of conversation and camaraderie that never would have happened elsewhere. It was like time out of "real" time, and it made this trip a vital part of our family memory. So much so that we plan on doing it again - probably next year. : )
Don't forget to enter the “Do What You Love” Sweepstakes, for a chance to win your own ultimate family vacation. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.