There’s No Place Like Home

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My little family (not so little really) decided to take en extended weekend to Fort Worth over the 4th of July holiday. My daughter had been asking for over a month to go to Dallas and visit family, so we conceded. Seeing as how we weren’t going to take a vacation this year, we decided our extended weekend would be our vacation.

We filled the kids days with play time, park time, and the zoo. We took a small train around Fort Worth for the kids to enjoy. Nap times were interrupted and often much shorter than normal. Going to bed times were pushed back much later from their normal 7:30 to a time around 10. A few days of this and three children, and you can only imagine the temper tantrums that ensued. And by the time my daughter split her head open on my parent’s coffee table the day before we were set to leave and was rushed to the emergency room, I decided I’d had enough of “vacation”.

There really is no place like home.

Vacations, trips in general are great and fun, but often times I feel I need a vacation from the vacation. A day or two to decompress before my world starts up again. Am I the only one? Probably not.

So, I have come up with a few ideas for those of you who would rather “stay-cation” with your family. If you have little ones, this may be the way you want to go.

  1. Museums- Often many larger cities have children’s museums. If not a children’s museum, visit an art museum or a science museum. I understand not everyone lives in a town with a large museum. Check around, maybe your town has a small museum that tells about the town history. Kids love anything different.
  2. Water Parks- Not into water parks, that’s okay. I’m not either. See if your town has a splash pad. Most are free to the public. No splash pad? Turn on the sprinkler. Kids love those too.
  3. Zoo-What kid doesn’t love the zoo? One location that houses animals from all over the world. You’ve traveled the world in one afternoon, and didn’t have to pay the expensive airfare or endure jet lag to do it. You can’t beat that.
  4. Parks- My sons always want to go to the park. They can spend hours sliding the same slide over and over. It’s great exercise, a great way for them to get their Vitamin D, and best of all free for me. Just don’t forget the sunblock.
  5. None of these things in your area? That’s okay. Grab some cardboard boxes, some pool noodles, and some tape and make an obstacle course. This is where Pinterest becomes your best friend! There are endless ideas for outdoor activities, and all it takes is a little planning. Your kids will love helping you plan the fun.
  6. And last but not least, while you may still be at home and not on a “real” vacation, mix yourself up something fruity and spirited (or not, but that would just be silly!), and sit back and relax. Drink some coffee or tea. Read a book. Take a few days off, even a week, and enjoy saving your money from such an overpriced time of year and just be.

 

Erin6Erin Bevan was born and raised in Southwest Arkansas. She spent her teenage years working for her aunt at the local gas station flipping burgers and making milkshakes dreaming of the day when something better would come her way.

Fast forward ten years later, she found herself stuck inside an apartment in South Korea while her daughter went to preschool and her husband went to work. Alone and unable to speak the local language she turned to books for a friend. After reading a few hundred in such a short time, she decided to try her hand at writing one.

That first one sucked, but by the fifth and sixth book, Erin started to get the hang of this writing thing. Getting the first contract in her inbox was a dream come true. Now, with three babies at home, she squeezes in stories one word at a time, one sentence at a time, one day at a time. She’s a full time mom, a full time wife, with a little writer sprinkled in whenever she can get the chance.

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Swans

This last weekend, I had a conversation with a swan. Okay, so it was a one-sided conversation, but the swan appeared to be listening. I was on a bay with some friends and a swan family came to within 12 feet of me.  As they floated nearby, I had the impression the male wanted to show off his cygnets. Most of the young were gray balls of fluff, although two were white.

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Now, I don’t know how many of you have been around swans, but they are much bigger than geese and a bit intimidating. They will drive other animals out of their territory by coming up out of the water and flapping wings that can be ten feet across. Later that day, we heard the distinctive whoosh of the wings from inside the cottage and I was glad I hadn’t done anything to annoy our early afternoon visitor.

This wasn’t the first time I’d seen swans. I was fortunate enough to visit Bruge, Belgium where the regal birds are a reminder of an unfortunate decision. In fourteen eighty-eight the citizens of Bruge put to death Pieter Lanchals, a town administrator for Maximilian of Austria. When the king discovered what they’d done, he ordered the people to care for the swans on the lakes and canals for eternity. The punishment was fitting, as a swan was a part of Pieter’s coat of arms.

The swans have become a wonderful element of Bruge, along with the lovely city center, which has remained basically unchanged since the sixteenth century.  When I visited, the downtown was alive with wedding parties. It’s a favorite picture hot-spot with its stone buildings and canals, as well as home to an amazing bobbin lace industry.

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This fairy tale location is perfect for swans. And the majestic birds are the center of many a tale, from stories such as the Irish “Children of Lir” to Hans Christen Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling.” Some of the legends have even been the basis for phrases we use often. A swan’s song comes from the belief that a mute swan will sing a beautiful song at its death.

Mmmm, The Ugly Duckling. I haven’t written a romance with that theme. Maybe it’s time. After all, swans understand soulmates, they pair bond for life.

To learn more about me and the stories I like to tell, visit www.Dawn-Ireland.com. My newest release, Highland Yearning is available for pre-order. I had fun writing this light-hearted time travel set in 1775.

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