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What They Did On Summer Vacation

By Melissa Summers

Just now I asked my kids what we did on summer vacation and they replied, earnestly, “Nothing.”

Which is weird because I remember a few trips I spent hours packing for and doing laundry after. I also remember several hundred dollars spent on activities and pool admission. Ah, childhood.

Getting no good answers from my own kids I thought I’d ask some bloggers what they did on their summer vacations and I didn’t even make them write 1000 word essays.

Sarah at Whoorl took a trip that, were it me, would require a lobotomy before attempting.

Whoorl family summer vacation

From Sarah at Whoorl

We weren’t sure about attempting a 14-hour road trip from Southern

California to Sun Valley, Idaho with a toddler (especially after he developed head-to-toe hives two hours into the drive due to a new food allergy), but the remaining drive was virtually painless.

My favorite part of our trip was being able to forget about the computer and explore a new area through a toddler’s eyes. I’m pretty sure nothing beats watching your child’s face light up with delight while experiencing mountains, dandelions and rocky rivers for the very first time.

Lindsay at Suburban Turmoil took her family (minus the younger kids) river rafting. My rafting experience was centered around my goal not to fall out. I admire Lindsay’s proverbial “Balls”.

Whitewater rafting

From Lindsay at Suburban Turmoil

The rafting trip down the Chattanooga was definitely the highlight of my summer (besides the part where I fell out of the raft, I mean). It was pretty challenging, particularly the part where we climbed down into a 15-foot hole in a rock in the middle of the river, swam through an underwater tunnel, and popped back out into the rapids, but at the end of the day, I was really proud of all of us for doing it together. I also enjoyed having a day off from our little ones, who stayed with their grandparents that day.

From Clair at Loobylu

Claire, from Loobylu, took her family on an international trip to Canada from Australia. Funny my family spent time on the US side of Lake Huron…of course it was just an hour north of home.

toddler standing on the beach


Both girls had a ball – we were extremely spoilt by good family, good weather, good food (I have never seen such huge and cheap containers of blueberries… and need a tub of wild strawberries? Just step out into the yard!) and comfortable beds (so important for the making or the breaking of a holiday, don’t you think?). Now I am already imagining our 2013 Trans-Canadian mega-holiday… Vancouver to Prince Edward Island. Maybe we’ll even find some gorgeous place to set up home along the way. I do like to dream.

From Tina at SwissMiss

Tina from Swiss Miss also took her family on an international jaunt. To, where else, Switzerland.

giant gnome


We went to a tiny amusement park in the area I am from. My parents used to take me and my sister there when we were litte. When I say amusement park, don’t think of big Disney World style parks, it’s a tiny tiny park that has been around for f-o-r-e-v-e-r. Driving there, with our 2 year old Ella in the back, my sister and I kept reminiscing about the rides we used to love. We both kept talking about the ‘talking garden gnome’ trash can that says “I am hungry, feed me!” and “THANK YOU” in a really deep voice when you feed him trash. We both rememered the gnome being huge. We couldn’t believe that most of the rides that we used to enjoy are still there, as well our friend the talking trash eating gnome. I was surprised to see, that he was not at all as big as I remembered. In fact, he’s quite small. But then again, seeing my daughter Ella Joy standing there, looking up to him, it all made sense. Life is all about perspective.

From the Bossy Family

Georgia from Bossy took her family camping. We also went camping, but did not fare as well.



The very best part of the camping vacation was togetherness. And the fact that their pop-up trailer situated the family three feet above the mud. Of course, understand that Bossy’s vacation standards are slipping.

From Gabrielle of Design Mom

Gabrielle from Design Mom had an epic summer trip. I guess anytime you take five kids on vacation it’s epic.

wall climbing


When Ben and I purchased seven plane tickets to Utah (seven!) in early June, we paused for a moment and wondered if we wouldn’t rather spend that enormous amount of money on tickets to Paris. Or on a beach rental in the Hamptons. Or at a resort in Mexico. Any kind of vacation more exotic than visiting the familiar state we grew up in.

But the reality is, the thing our kids want to do most for their summer vacation is see their cousins. And their cousins live in Utah. And this is the same reality for every family I know that is raising their kids far from their siblings and parents — summer vacation = pilgrimage home.

Happily, Utah is the home of amazing national parks, endless mountain ranges, non-stop outdoor activities and family-friendly everything. And no one even flinches when we show up with a crew of 5 kids. So if we have to be there, at least it’s a fantastic place to spend a summer vacation.

We went all over the state. From the very southern border to the very northern border and back south again. Everywhere we went was cousins and friends and aunts and uncles and grandparents. And we loved it.
One of our favorite evenings was spent at the rock-climbing gym. A perfect air-conditioned place for kids to expend their energy when the summer heat is draining. We’ve been to climbing gyms before, but there were some big advances during this visit. 6-year-old Olive made it to the top of the wall for the first time. And then repeated that feat again and again and again. And 3-year-old Oscar, although he didn’t like being attached to the ropes, was all about wearing the harness and could even scurry up the very beginning wall on his own.

But the thing that was especially nice relates to the fact that the wild, wild West is still way more laid back (read: less paranoid about law suits) than the East Coast. Which means, that after a quick and thorough training, it was Aunts and Uncles, Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma, that were running the ropes for my kids and interacting with them. Cheering them. Encouraging them. Knowing when they needed an extra challenge. Knowing when to help them down.

In New York, the climbing gym is still a favorite spot for the Blairs, but the ropes will always be run by a random employee.

What did you do on your summer vacation? Tell us, or link to your pictures.

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About the Author

Melissa Summers

Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa’s Buzz Off.


Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa’s Buzz Off.

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