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.
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.
(This is the ONLY picture of me all weekend.)
We ate breakfast in the lobby and were in the pool before 9 a.m.
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.
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.
Meanwhile, when we told David it was time to go he wrote the pool a sonnet and vowed that he would return.
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.]
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.
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.