I was always envious growing up of the families who went to the beach every summer.  It seemed like such a fun tradition to have–every year meeting up with aunts and uncles, grandparents and cousins, all while spending the days relaxing on the beach.

For whatever reason though, my family never adopted that tradition.  We would take vacations here and there, but there was never a set summer event that we knew we could look forward to each year.

Now as an adult with my own children, I still look at other “regular” beach-going families around me and feel some envy.  Blame it on cost, time, or disinterest from other family members . . . for a variety of reasons we haven’t been able to adopt the regular beach vacations either.

I know I sound pouty, and there are times when I certainly have been.  I appreciate you letting me be real and vulnerable with you here though.

As the years have passed, I have sought to grow out of my beach-envy and instead develop a heart of greater contentment.  Our family is what it is, and our circumstances and financial situations are what they are–and wasting energy wishing they were different only steals away joy in the gifts of Today.

Learning contentment in our social media, post-sharing society though is difficult. It always seems that someone else is doing something better or experiencing something more fun.

So I am here to share with you today that instead of a family beach vacation this summer, our finances and time availabilities led my husband and I to instead plan a short “stay-cation” for our family.

We took a 2 day Ft. Worth Staycation earlier this week, and it was lovely 🙂

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Ft. Worth is only about an hour away from our house, but for my kids it still felt like a major trip.  While driving there on Monday morning my middle one kept asking what state we were in–an hour’s drive in his little mind felt like enough time to cross the country!

We visited the Ft. Worth Zoo and enjoyed a relaxed day just being together.

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To make it feel more special, we booked a hotel room in the city’s downtown, where the boys could look out of the room and see the tall buildings and city lights.

We swam in the tiny hotel pool, and they loved it.

We looked over the dining area balcony at the cars driving by and people walking to work, and they were in awe of the “big city.”

We let them all sleep together on the pull-out sofa bed, and they thought it was the coolest bed ever.

Who needs the beach?

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The next day we spent some time at the Historic Ft. Worth Stockyards, watching the cattle drive and exploring the local candy shop.

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The boys raced each other through a giant wooden maze and then took turns riding 50 cent coin-operated horses and bulls in the shopping area.

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We had lunch out a local BBQ joint that was filled with old west memorabilia, and tried out that famousTexas beef brisket (being a Memphian, I still side with pork as the superior BBQ option).

Then we drove the hour back home, picked up our dog, and rested with a movie.

My boys had a wonderful time, and so did my husband and I.  It wasn’t a fancy trip, but just being away together and doing a few things that are different from our normal routine was enough.

So if you are a regular beach family and will be heading out soon on your vacation, I wish you (with an envy-free heart) a wonderful trip and hope you make lots of special memories.

And if you are a family that, for whatever reason, can’t pull off a big family vacation this year, I wish you some quality time and hope you can find a few ways to break your routine and enjoy the more simple pleasures of things you have right around you.

Contentment leads to great joy, and joy is my hope for you all this summer.

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