life Travel

Boring Vacations and Real Estate Craziness

April 14, 2022
so many colored pencils unearthed in the craft room excavation
This crew is shredding documents for $1/bag

I feel kind of bad that both winter break & spring break were taken as boring non-vacations this year, for the most part. And not because of COVID, either.

Both times, I enrolled the kids in some sort of camp for a few days (which they enjoyed actually but I felt a little guilty when it sounded like most of their friends were on big family trips).

Neither time have Josh and I been fully off (he worked the new years’ chunk of winter break, plus yesterday + today; I worked 7 days straight during Christmas week in December ’21).

Neither time has our nanny been around, and she has taken actual vacations out of the country (as is her right!).

But I’m also (mostly) glad we didn’t try to cram in a trip to DC right now. Getting ready for our move is important and necessary, and honestly I’d rather defer spending on flights/lodging until we are done with the money hemorrhage that has been moving and making some minor improvements to our house.

Obviously it would have been better to buy a house in 2019 (and rent out our Miami Beach house) but hindsight is 20/20 and we got it backwards. Just a million dollar (or more) misstep. Oh well . . . I guess that is why we are not in real estate for a living.

I do have to say that I hope next year that we can have more family vacations, both for winter + spring breaks. They don’t have to be anything crazy (Floridian destinations are great, especially in the winter).

PS: We are 3 days into a 6 day series of private swim classes for G. She made some major breakthroughs yesterday. My dream of 3 kids in the pool without a parent having to go in is coming to fruition!

PPS: My schedule worked really well yesterday *including* the nap. Would totally do that again with a similarly unstructured block of time. I just don’t have that many days like that!


  • Reply Amanda April 14, 2022 at 9:34 am

    Based on my experience (as a child not a parent) I don’t think there’s any way your kids will remember a couple of school breaks with no trip in the future. Especially if future years involve relatively regular family vacations!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 14, 2022 at 5:35 pm

      thank you for the voice of reason 🙂

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns April 14, 2022 at 9:43 am

    I never went on vacations as a child and I don’t feel that I was deprived of anything! They were not common in the area where I grew up, though (rural ND). We didn’t even get a spring break – just a few days off around Easter which were usually converted back to school days to make up for missing school on snow days! I don’t think your kids will remember a year without vacations and it shows them that sometimes you have to make compromises because of work or a big move! When our kids are in school, there will be times we will not be able to go anywhere for spring break if it falls during the first 4 business days of the month as that is the busiest time for my husband. So they’ll learn that sometimes, work takes precedence, as is the case when you guys are on call. Similarly, we did not take many vacations when I was a child because my parents ran a business together so it was very hard to get away. That showed me that I never wanted to be self-employed, or at least not in their line of work (they owned a electrical/HVAC company). We had a business phone that rang in our house at all hours of the day when I was young. It taught me that I would much rather be an employee with a bank of vacation time and an ability to disconnect from work! So I guess this is a longwinded way of saying that occasional sacrifices can be instructional for kids!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 14, 2022 at 5:35 pm

      Oh wow – very interesting how that impacted you as a child! And I did not realize you were from North Dakota! It actually took me a while to figure out what “ND” meant!

  • Reply Louise April 14, 2022 at 9:51 am

    I agree! Don’t beat yourself up. We took our 7-year-old to Vietnam for 2+ weeks pre-Covid and had an absolutely amazing time. He can barely remember a thing… Doesn’t mean we aren’t planning loads of great stuff again now because we loved it so much but I just don’t think their memories are that strong at that age.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 14, 2022 at 5:34 pm

      Very good point – maybe 9-10 they get more solidified. That sounds like an amazing trip (and agree 7 is a great age to start longer travel)

  • Reply Grateful Kae April 14, 2022 at 9:59 am

    Stop it! You just took them to Disney World!!!! 😉 They are just fine, I assure you. 🙂 I know what you mean, though- we’ve done that in the past, where if we’ve pulled them from school to travel at a different time, it has meant we are “just” home then during the actual break. Even if we’ve literally just traveled, it can feel a little funny if it seems like everyone else is away. Home/ staycations can be just as nice though. And in this case, with your move, it sounds like absolutely the right choice. I wouldn’t dream of traveling right in the midst of a move. Why add more stress?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 14, 2022 at 10:05 am

      Hahah I forgot about Disney! Good point! And we did go to NC in November but it wasn’t the best trip so I kind of blocked it out 🤣

      • Reply Linda April 14, 2022 at 7:07 pm

        I was a SAHM when our kids were in grade school so we couldn’t afford to take fancy trips over breaks unless it was to visit family. A spring break trip meant a couple nights in a hotel with a pool. I don’t think it’s necessary at all to make every school break a vacation. It’s good to spend down time at home and my kids learned to entertain themselves. My daughter did have a classmate that traveled a lot and I remember my daughter asking me “X is going to Morocco. When are we going to Morocco?” I was like 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 Never!

  • Reply Amanda April 14, 2022 at 10:29 am

    Cramming in some vacations just for the sake of going on vacation wouldn’t make anyone happy. In the brilliant words of The Lazy Genius, live in your season. Everything that goes into moving is HARD. Add kids and its exponentially harder. It sounds like you have some summer trips on the horizon, and now you can enjoy the anticipatory fun of planning trips for next year!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 14, 2022 at 5:33 pm

      very true!!!

  • Reply Noemi April 14, 2022 at 1:37 pm

    We almost never go on trips during the school year. I am just not inclined to plan them – they cost so much and require so much time to plan and pack for and then to unpack for. I’m always more tired after a trip break and I need those breaks to decompress! But I also get that time off (as a teacher) so maybe I’d feel differently if I always had to just put them in camp (not all our breaks coincide so this does happen). I do sometimes feel like everyone else is taking trips, and I start to feel shitty when my response to “no, just staying here” is met with an overview of their week in Hawaii. But we travel during the summer, when I have the margins to plan and pack and unpack without feeling totally overwhelmed. I just try to remind myself that we take one or two bigger trips instead of several smaller trips.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 14, 2022 at 5:33 pm

      Not gonna lie, hearing about Hawaii would make me jealous too!

      I think for us the best can be a tiny little trip (like 2 nights somewhere) and avoid lots of solo parenting. But the last 2 school ‘breaks’ have contained a lot of the latter.

  • Reply Brooke April 14, 2022 at 3:31 pm

    I just saw a meme this morning about how Floridian’s only vacation in Florida, so your comment above about Floridian destinations is so fitting! I think part of of it that the state is just so dang big – if you live in SoFla and want to drive, it’s ~8hrs before you hit another state. Anyway, trying to cram in vacations into school breaks is an exercise in frustration. Do NOT allow yourself to feel bad that you and your husband work during these breaks. Kids need time to chill as well.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 14, 2022 at 5:32 pm

      Yes, plus many Floridians are here b/c they don’t like to be cold, so leaving in the winter seems nonsensical 🙂 (Of course, sometimes it’s worth it to see family or ski etc!).

      Love Amelia Island, Sanibel/Captiva, the Keys (esp Islamorada area), Vero, and I’m sure there are a million other places that are awesome that I haven’t experienced yet in this state.

  • Reply Elisabeth April 14, 2022 at 3:38 pm

    Is there anything more satisfying than the sight of freshly sharpened coloured pencils?
    I swear that picture in your post lowered my stress level by 25%.

  • Reply JMH April 14, 2022 at 4:34 pm

    We also did not travel for spring break and put the oldest in camp. We had a staycation in San Francisco and it was the BEST. Travel with kids under 5 years old is hard so I have no regrets! Although planning a trip to San Diego for next spring break…

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 14, 2022 at 5:31 pm

      That is true. I did somewhat joke that missing out on travel when Genevieve was 2-3 wasn’t the worst time frame imaginable!

  • Reply Stacy April 14, 2022 at 5:07 pm

    COVID had impacted us, so our spring break has been spent in isolation. No symptoms for anyone thank goodness but it was definitely disappointing to cancel our vacation and not see extended family, However, in a way it has really forced us to relax. We have slept in everyday, took long walks and read a bunch. I feel like I will actually return to work relaxed as opposed to post-vacay frazzled. Sometimes a non-vacation can be a vacation after all!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 14, 2022 at 5:30 pm

      that actually sounds lovely! so glad you haven’t been significantly sick!

  • Reply Diane April 15, 2022 at 12:25 am

    I don’t think you ought to feel badly at all! Do you think you would feel guilty about staying in town if none of your kids’ friends were going on vacation? I do get what you mean, though. I’ve been feeling like everyone is going on a big fancy trip or booking international travel except me.
    If I were to be honest with myself, though, my wistfulness (wistfulness, not guilt!, as I think you said once on your podcast) at not traveling over school breaks is more about me wanting to get away than anything I think my kids are missing. I’m definitely having a little bit of wanderlust these days…
    Honestly, I think my ten year old would love to just spend spring break at home, sleeping in. We did manage to get away to the Smoky Mountains for a couple of days for our spring break, but despite some amazing hikes and caverns, what the kids loved the most about the trip was the fact that every room in our AirBnB had its own tv!

  • Reply Coree April 15, 2022 at 3:54 am

    Oh tell me about this swim intensive? My son goes to weekly swim but we don’t have regular pool access so we haven’t been able to reinforce things. I wonder if I could hire someone over school holidays to do something similar. We live by the sea so swim is definitely a priority for me.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 15, 2022 at 7:42 am

      It’s common here to hire a private instructor to do ~5-6 days in a row of lessons, like a boot camp, to get kids water-safe :). We did this with the big kids; A was swimming at 4 and C before 4. We are currently doing this at our community pool and the instructor has been great.

      Note, she does NOT use the method where you throw the kid in and watch them almost drown, it’s normal swim lessons just 1:1.

  • Reply Irene April 15, 2022 at 8:48 am

    I mean, moving is really not fun. It’s ok to wish you didn’t have to do that. We are seeing family we were supposed to see over Christmas (they got COVID) and so far it’s not going amazing. I feel bad for even writing that because the family we are visiting has it waaaaaay worse but it’s hard to spend $2-3k and feel like everything is going wrong and wish we could have come a different time.

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