“Are you just going to wear pajamas all week?” “Yes.”

“Pants are overrated.”

“Your armpits smell like steak.”

The crazy quotes from the kids over winter break either make me shake my head or giggle. With kids ranging from seven to sixteen, I know that the days of close-knit togetherness over Christmas vacation are numbered. Sometimes my boys being all together with nowhere to go is so sweet. Or silly. Other times it is sinister.

“Did you just dump out four totes of Legos?”

“He has played that song twenty times in a row! My wall is shaking!”

“We tried to fix the Wii cord and sparks came out!”

(Maybe we don’t really need a retro round of rock band. Let’s not even talk about Nerf guns or overly competitive games of Monopoly.)

Day to day we look in the mirror, and we look the same. Likewise with our kids. They look just as they did yesterday, but over the years, we see the big changes. We see kids who were so cute and little turn into big kids who make their parents look short in family pictures.

This year’s Christmas vacation may not have been flashy, but it might have been the most relaxing. No traveling this winter. No Disney cruise. No snowboarding.

Instead, there’s basketball practice for the teenagers. Pajamas all day long for the youngest one. Finding toys we forgot we had. Playing games we rarely have time to play. Star Wars movie marathons. Homemade cinnamon rolls. Spending all morning doing cow chores with Dad for the little middle one. Scraping wallpaper for a bedroom makeover for the big middle one.

I’m pretty sure traveling next door to the neighbor’s place for sledding and pizza was as much fun for my kids as going somewhere miles away this year.

I’m pretty sure going out for supper with old high school friends in a small town bar and laughing until my stomach hurt is just as memorable as any other venue.

While I love to travel and break out of the routine, sometimes staying home has its perks. Sometimes everything we’re searching for is really right in front of us. Family. Friends. A comfortable couch. Fuzzy socks. Hot chocolate. A flicker in the fireplace.

When time opens up on the calendar, we’ll be up for another adventure somewhere away from home and we’ll have a blast. But for this year’s winter break, a staycation unadventure was the best place to go.


Diane Karr

Diane Karr lives on a family farm in south central Nebraska with her husband and four sons. Besides chasing after her busy boys and the farm, she volunteers as a church organist. Diane graduated from UNL in 1996 as an agribusiness major, shares stories about farm life at RealFarmWifeOnTheCountyLine.com, and is a volunteer for CommonGround Nebraska. She also enjoys Husker football, hazelnut lattes, cooking and baking, boating, photography, and spending time with family and friends.