The Krieger family lame-cation

A few weeks ago Tom was looking at his schedule and realized he had a bunch of vacation days he needed to use before the end of the year. Since one of the rules of the Krieger family is that letting vacation time go to waste is a crime, he started trying to figure out the best way to use it.

We thought of a bunch of ideas. We thought about a road trip to summit a peak, we thought about just staying home, we thought about heading to the mountains. But everything just seemed a lot less fun since it’s so cold outside, and I’m really insufferable when I’m cold.

There’s an indoor waterpark near Richmond, so we decided that was the way to go — until we did a little research. It seemed fun, but like it would be a lot more fun if our kids were older. Then Tom said, sort of dismissively, “You know, our kids don’t need all this. They’d be just as happy with any indoor pool.”

And I was like, dude. You are a genius.

So we decided to go to Newport News to stay in a hotel just for the indoor pool.

I told that whole long story because just saying, “We went to Newport News to stay in a hotel for the indoor pool” sounds lame, right? And telling the story justifies it. That is how our Krieger family lame-cation was born. WE ARE NOT LAME! But we did go to a hotel an hour away for the indoor pool.

We went to the Residence Inn at the Newport News Airport where we got an awesome two-bedroom suite for free thanks to hotel points. And, thanks to hotel points, a few free meals at the hotel, and our unshakeable frugality, our lame-cation was under $100.

And, thanks to our awesome kids, our lame-cation was actually incredible. It was our first-ever vacation as a family of four, and start-to-finish, including wake-ups at dawn, it was, maybe, one of my favorite vacations ever.

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We arrived late Sunday night, and spent the first hour and a half trying to get our kids to sleep. At 9:45 p.m., with both kids finally asleep, Tom and I had a husband-wife pep-talk about how, even if our kids don’t sleep, we were still going to rally and make the best of our lame-cation.

The next morning they woke up and I don’t think their reaction would have been better if they’d woken up in the Magical Kingdom in Disney World. They ran around the hotel shrieking. David COULD NOT believe it. He ran into the bathroom and came out announcing, “MOMMY, THEY HAVE A BATHTUB IN HERE! DID YOU KNOW WE HAD A BATHTUB!?!??!?!?”

Hotel rooms are totally different for kids than adults. Because David was amazed by the tub, and I walked in the room and was like, “Tom. Be quiet. Do you hear that? SHHH!Do you hear that tickticktick? I think that’s the ice machine making a tickticktick. I can’t survive in these circumstances. GET ME A NEW ROOM!!!”

But, ok, David was right. The hotel was awesome. Tom finagled our way into a two-bedroom suite (usually you don’t qualify for two bedrooms if you’re using points) and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back.

We turned the heat up to 76, and I’ve never been happier.

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(This is the ONLY picture of me all weekend.)

We ate breakfast in the lobby and were in the pool before 9 a.m.

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See David’s face? That’s what his face looked like the entire time.

He jumped in the pool, jumped in the pool, jumped in the pool, and jumped in the pool. Then begged Tom to throw him in the pool.

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We swam for almost two hours when Mary Virginia suddenly started crying and motioning to the side of the pool. She climbed out then waved her hand and said, “Bye, bye pool!”

Then she walked over to the windows and tried to push them open and get out. That’s a little bit hilarious, right? The girl is 18 months old and she was acting like she’d just called an Uber to come get her.

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Meanwhile, when we told David it was time to go he wrote the pool a sonnet and vowed that he would return.

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In true lame-cation style, we went to the mall and got lunch at Chick-fil-A and let the kids play in the play area.


[See the blur in the bottom right? That’s David falling.]

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But that’s not lame, right? Because Chick-fil-A is delicious! And the kids were thrilled with the play area! Why is there so much pressure to go on creative and wild adventures? THIS WAS NOT LAME!

My kids, who hate naps, took three-hour naps.

After more pool and dinner, we wrestled, popped a bag of popcorn and showed the kids how to throw it in the air and catch it with your mouth. Then we told the kids the best thing about staying in a hotel room — you don’t have to crawl under the couch to pick up all that spilled popcorn.

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The kids dove into bed. And me? I was in bed by 8 p.m., knitting and watching Real Housewives while Tom looked at spreadsheets and compiled data.


I recommend lame-cations. If you can do it, do it. Every family needs to drop agendas and just be together. It was like a 48-hour date with my kids and my husband, a time to just enjoy them. We don’t ever really do that. We always have somewhere to be and we’re always a little late and a little hurried. Tom and I are always tag-teaming with the kids and just trying to get through the day. This was a shift. A break. And it was especially nice at this busy time of year.

Also, I just can’t say enough about the luxury of setting the thermostat at 76.


  1. Sarah O'Dell December 12, 2014

    I. Love. This.
    So much!! I want to do this!! My kids would be so thrilled. We stayed at a hotel once on the way to
    the beach and Logan was so thrilled he just kept running around yelling “It’s a HOTEL!! Its a HOTEL!!”

  2. Ashley December 12, 2014

    This is awesome! Tonight we went to Bass Pro for free Santa pictures, carousel rides and endless “sits” on four wheelers. Then we went to Chick-Fil-A (a rare treat thanks to some yard work john had done for a neighbor)and finally drove around to look at Christmas lights. I felt like we had gone on a vacation! I didn’t have to prep/cook/clean up supper, the kids were mostly happy with a change of pace, everyone ate dinner AND I didn’t have to clean up the floor after the meal. I told John as soon as we got home, “my tank is so full!!” Your lame-cation sounds awesome. So glad you guys got to do it!!!

  3. Lara December 12, 2014

    We have done lame-cations before too! They’re GREAT.

    As a kid, my parents took us on incredible camping vacations across the country to national parks and the like, but whenever they asked what our favorite thing was, it was inevitably the one night we spent in a hotel and the hotel pool. They were always like, “well, we could have done this vacation a lot cheaper.”

    Also, yes, to the thermostat as high as you like. That’s always the first thing I do in a hotel room too. It feels so luxurious.

  4. Elissa December 13, 2014

    AMAZING! Seriously that sounds amazing. I feel that many of our “vacations” or get always are rushed and too stressful with kids and trying to see things. So really, I think we need a Lame-cation. It would be wonderful to have nothing to do with an indoor pool in winter. Also, I’m not a huge fan of water parks so this is much better and I’m sure the pool wasn’t crowded. So nice. But I must say, this would have been totally different if it wasn’t a two bedroom suite so THAT really is the ticket! :-). Glad you all had a great time!

    • Amanda K. December 15, 2014

      your vacations ARE amazing, though!
      you’re right, the pool was empty besides us!
      to be honest, i read one of your blogs about having to share a hotel with maddie and i told tom about it. we had two bedrooms AND a living room AND a kitchen, it was crazy. if we hadn’t been able to do that we would have had a one bedroom and tom and i would have been on the pull-out. i could totally have handled that, but two bedrooms was crazy. i don’t think i can ever go back 🙂

  5. Giselle December 15, 2014

    Cute! Indoor pools are the best during the winter! We lived in a hotel for three months after our house flooded so we aren’t huge fans of staying in them right now… However, our son, who turned three during out stay, loved living in the hotel. It had an indoor pool as well and he thought that was the coolest thing! Even now when we drive by our hotel home, he says, “I love our hotel!” Sorry kid, not going back!

  6. Sarah Donegan December 15, 2014

    So true! We stayed in a hotel with an indoor pool in Chattanooga and the girls acted like we had won the lottery!

  7. Tawnya December 17, 2014

    My husband and I have totally been talking about taking a vacation like this, a little shopping, lots of time playing in the pool with no real schedule… sounds amazing! Haha I love how kids are amazed by the simplest of things!!


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