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Tsh Oxenreider

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Tsh Oxenreider is the full-time blogger behind Simple Mom and the founder and creative director of Simple Living Media, a blog network dedicated to helping people live intentionally (while throwing perfection out the window). She thinks a library card, a Netflix subscription, and a passport are some of the greatest parenting tools in the universe.

She’s a wife to Kyle, mama to Tate, Reed, and Finn, and is the author of Organized Simplicity and One Bite at a Time: 52 Bites for Making Life Simpler. She is currently working on her next book. Tsh and her nomadic family currently live in Bend, Oregon, but several dots around the globe have also been called home (her 7-year-old has been on 53 airplanes and counting). Together, they love to travel, read books, go camping, and make homemade pizza for Friday Family Movie Night.

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It’s Time to Take My Own Advice

By Tsh Oxenreider |

Though we’ve traveled a lot as a family since the span of our existence (my oldest is seven), it’s been a long time since we’ve gone on vacation. As in, a trip just for fun. We’re really good at tacking on fun things to do en route to some other sort of trip: a drive through Yellowstone on our way to Aunt Carly’s house; a day at the beach in Greece as we renew our passports to return to our home base.

But we don’t often take trips just…because. Because we need to decompress. And to have some good quality family time. And guess what? We’re feeling it.

Our last “pure” family vacation was November 2009, when we went to Paris, France. Our oldest was 4, our youngest was almost 2, and I was 9 weeks pregnant with our third. It sounds more exotic that it was; it was the cheapest flight from where we were living.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was Paris, for goodness sakes. We had an amazing time, and the two little ones had the time of their lives. Tate, our daughter, still loves Madeline, the Seine, and goes through Eiffel Tower withdraw (we were there five days and spent approximately two hours at the tower, so, you know… it wasn’t her second home or anything).

As I write this, I’m acutely aware of how blessed we are as a family. We have chosen to route our spending towards travel—we deliberately have only one car and are in the process of remodeling a very modest fixer-upper. We simply prefer to spend our money on experiences.

We are also blessed to have the shape of a life that allows margin for travel. Our kids are young, we homeschooled this year (we just finished for the school year), which allows for flexibility, and both my husband and I work from home. This is not accidental.

But we haven’t traveled together in a long time. Our youngest, Finn, has yet to board an airplane (he’s a late bloomer, according to our family’s normal), and certain items of agenda in our life have prohibited a decent vacation. And starting about two months ago, this has become a problem.

Our days have been spent working and schooling, nearly round the clock save a few late hours for sleep. Kyle and I, unaware until recently, have worked ourselves into the ground. It’s our fault, for sure—we love our work, and it’s hard to say no to things you love. We’re also smack-dab in the middle of a home renovation. We’re feeling the burn… And we want to prevent burnout.

Our kitchen, as of today.

Book deadlines, websites to build, expense reports to approve, and editors to guide have meant a certain flavor of life that doesn’t sit well with us. We haven’t seen the well-rested, happy-in-the-morning us in awhile… And we miss us.

So when Babble gave us the opportunity to travel as a family, we couldn’t say no. It was an answer to a prayer, to be honest—a forced break from our go go go; the gift of sweet time as a family. Balm to our rubbed-raw lifestyle.

We leave later this week, and later I’ll chronicle our voyage on a cruise here on this blog. Yes, that means I’m still working a little bit… But it’s a different kind of work. It’s a work I get to share with my family, in between rest and walks and books. A chance to sigh a little, to “forget” the phone in the room in order to watch my children splash in the water.

I’ve long believed—and espoused—that taking regular breaks for soul care and family time are essential to your health. I’m looking forward to actually taking my advice, for the first time in a long while.

Do you have vacation plans this summer? Or maybe staycation plans?

A big thanks to Norwegian Cruise Line for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.

Read more from Tsh at Simple Mom, or follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest.

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About Tsh Oxenreider

tshoxenreider

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh Oxenreider is the founder and creative director of Simple Living Media, the editor of Simple Mom, the voice behind The Simple Mom Podcast, and the author of several books. While she's working on her next book, Tsh lives in Oregon with her husband and three kids and enjoys sunshine, running, and good coffee. Read bio and latest posts → Read Tsh's latest posts →

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17 thoughts on “It’s Time to Take My Own Advice

  1. Sarah says:

    I think this is wonderful! We haven’t traveled for awhile either and are certainly feeling the itch to GO. I had my first (and only so far!) baby just over 6 months ago, so traveling feels even MORE necessary. We want to start traditions of family vacation and exploration and adventure.
    Our planned trips so far are a 17-hour drive for my sister’s wedding (but we’re turning into a week-long vacation in Oxford, Mississippi) and a week at the beach in a huge and beautiful beach house with family and their kids.
    There are also mini-trips coming up, and I don’t think we’ve said no to anything yet!

  2. renee @ FIMBY says:

    Have a wonderful trip Tsh! I’m so happy for you. Do take your advice. Keep yourself sane and happy. It’s so worth it!
    And heck, I can see why you like writing for Babble and agreed to do it after all this time (smile).
    Bon Voyage!!

  3. Christie says:

    I’ve lived in Oregon for 19 years and have not yet been to Crater Lake. We’re headed there this summer.

  4. Stella says:

    I love your line: “We simply prefer to spend our money on experiences.” I completely agree — life is too short. You should see as much and do as much with your family while you have the chance!

  5. Louise says:

    That’s awesome! Have fun and keep us posted… I’m considering a cruise for when they get really cheap in August!

  6. Dana says:

    My parents always made a point to take the family on one “just for fun” trip every summer – even if it was just for a long weekend. Some of my best childhood memories are of these trips!

    Have a great time!

  7. Emily says:

    Sounds like you guys are going to have a great time! Last time I went on a cruise it was a blast—i’m sure your whole fam will love it! Can’t wait to read all about it!

  8. Jen E @ mommablogsalot says:

    Since we can’t afford “big” vacations right now we try to get by with small day trips or weekend excursions to places nearby. We try to go camping at least once a year and of course trips to visit family. Not having any family nearby, those trips are a must. The “big” trips will have to wait but for now I like our habit of small vacations to unwind. They do the trick!

    I hope you enjoy your upcoming vacation – it sounds heavenly!

  9. Hillary says:

    Oh this sounds glorious! I can’t wait to hear about it ~ We finally booked a week-long vacation (no work, no phones, no email, no facebook!) and I am counting down the days…
    Enjoy!

  10. celia says:

    We’re finally taking a vacation this autumn. We have only traveled to visit family since we got married seven years ago. We travel often, but not for relaxing or enriching vacations. (Military life means we’re hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away from our relatives… And added bonus? They don’t travel well. Ugh.) We’re headed to Andalusia, and I’m EXTREMELY excited. We’re staying in a flat in Malaga belonging to my aunt and uncle, and will be there for two full weeks. Day/overnight trips to Sevilla and Granada are in the plans. Our kids will be six and three. I have no problems taking them to Europe with us. (We are family after all!)

    Bon voyage! I hope you have a restful and lovely vacation. :)

  11. coleen says:

    congrats, tsh. enjoy!

  12. Archer says:

    I look forward to hearing about it! I’m sure your adrenal glands will enjoy the vacation too.

  13. Micha says:

    Wow, this sounds great! I love traveling too. This year we will be in Italy (not so far away from Germany, but for me the first time after 20 years.

  14. Amanda says:

    “We miss us.” Sigh. I know what you mean. I hope you enjoy your trip. Please send the trip karma my way soon.

  15. Magen says:

    Oh I totally connect with this. Today I pointed out that our last real vacation was YEARS ago. Everything else has just been tacked on to trips we had to make for funerals or weddings. This summer we are going to take many weekend trips and rejuvenate our souls :)

  16. Alissa says:

    We are currently expats in Asia. At the end of the summer, we are moving back the States! Wootwoot! Not necessarily a vacation, but we have had lots of little ones in the last two years we have been here. And I think going to an American grocery store (for the first months at least) will feel like vacation :) Enjoy! Can’t wait to hear about your trip!

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