Family isn't just for the holidays...

Family, they are just for the holidays. Sometimes you love them. Sometimes, you need a vacation away from them. Some are family by blood. Others have been adopted in because of the love and commitment you share. Regardless, family deserves to be celebrated all-year-round.

Summer is your opportunity to get away and do new things. Summer is also the chance to catch up on lost time. Prioritize your time this summer and make every moment count. You have been saving up all year. That week-long trip can’t come fast enough. While that week-long trip is your opportunity to get away from all the chaos, planning a quick weekend trip can be good for the soul. They are great for catching up on lost conversations.

Plan a Weekend... or Two.

Setting aside differences and embracing life’s curveballs are a key way to gain momentum towards life’s successes. Sure, life gets busy. Excuses become more frequent, and time to yourself seems to be a more cherished pastime. Summertime Is no different. Typically, summer offers more leisure time. The year’s preserving of vacation hours have led up to this moment. You sacrificed those weekends and extra breaks for a summer trip away from it all.

Summer is the time where there should be no excuses, no rules and no regulations. Amidst the chaos of day-to-day work, summer camps, travel teams, pool parties and all the other stuff that gets piled on to what should be a relaxed schedule is the accumulation of all your stress. The desire to take a break is inevitable.

Sure, your kids are off, but all that means is you’ll have to hire a babysitter or sign up for summer camp to keep them occupied until you get off work. It’s not much of a break for adults, but it can be.... for at least some time. There is no homework, bedtimes or packing lunches. Summer is the time to take advantage of the inconsistency and take off for a few days here and there.

Yes, those week-long trips to Hawaii will always be the envy of your eye, but for now, it is the envy of your wallet. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Make the most of what you have. Consider some alternatives. A weekend trip to the beach is a lovely getaway. Have your parents meet you there. It is one way to catch up with family in one of the world's most relaxing destinations. If you play your cards right, you parents may even watch the kids, so you can get in that date night or mid-day couple’s spa package that is loooooong overdue.

Collect Memories NOT Regret.

Family time can often be a little stressful. Going to visit your family this summer may not be your idea of relaxation. Carting kids, pets and all life’s responsibilities over to your in laws is not for the faint of heart. We aren’t here to talk you out of it, just to state facts.

No matter the struggle, time is precious, and we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. Today is the day to call and check in. This summer is your opportunity to make weekend trips. Bills must be paid. However, when it comes to the extra luxuries in life, your kids will cherish new places and new memories more than that brand-new car. This summer, collect memories, so you never have to live with regret. Experiences are a priceless gift that can never be taken away from you. Material things lose value. Choose wisely.

We all make the excuse- not this time. Well, this time may be the only time, the only opportunity. Make the most of the opportunities you have. If you look back at your childhood, more times than not, you’ll remember moments not things. Some of the most moments may be good and some not so much. Nonetheless, they stuck with you. It is important to remember money is needed to survive, but time together and memories made make life worth living well. Don’t live to work. Work to live.

The UNDERRATED Get-Together

As a kid, you either loved them or hated them. The family get-together consists of grandma’s red lipstick kisses, grandpa’s yelling at the TV and someone always has to bring up politics. Oh, the wonder...

On a brighter note, family get-togethers consist of A LOT of good food, games and sometimes gifts. Depending on the family, those family get-togethers could range from a quaint gathering at the house to a full-on block party consisting of your “closest” family and friends.

FACT: They don’t all have to be the same. These family get-togethers can be planned in the form of a staycation. Host family at your house. Backyard party games like jumbo scrabble or card games over a DIY sundae can be exactly what summer called for. Take in nature with a picnic or a barbeque at the beach. The fun is up to you, and if traveling isn’t ideal, a staycation will be just fine.

Family staycations are often underrated. It may not be a week at a tropical beach in the Bahamas, but it is an ideal time to catch up and enjoy some quality time together. Plus, it is in the comfort of your own home. Vacations are wonderful, but the best sleep is in your own bed.

THE Family Reunion

Family isn’t just for the holidays. Let’s face it. Sometimes we don’t get to see family on the holidays either. You may not have the resources, or you may just not have the ambition. Family reunions are a great way of making up for lost time. They can vary as much as families do. Whether you are hosting or traveling, you best be prepared ahead of time.

If you are taking on the daunting task of hosting or planning your family reunion over the summer, make sure to give your relatives ample time to prepare their travel, budget and everything in between. In order to do so, you’ll need to plan around a year in advance. It’s good to send out questionnaires to see what everyone’s preferences are. You aren’t going to make everyone happy, but if you prepare yourself, there will be less opportunity for negative input.

You’ll need to have three ideas for places and dates. Hold a vote and go from there. If you are willing to host the reunion at your house, make that an option on the questionnaire. It can be a potluck. The main dishes will be a joint effort both in the kitchen and at the grill. This will save both time and money at any family event.

Another option for a family reunion is a tropical cruise. If booked out far enough, the prices will be reasonable, and food is included. For those family members cruising solo, encourage them to book together for a cheaper room. It should all be involved in the planning. Whether you are coordinating or pitching the idea, most likely you’ll be pulled into facilitating who does and does not book. You’ll be the WHOLE family’s accountability partner. It’s ALOT. Be prepared and organized.

If cruising is not your family’s thing, encourage everyone to pitch in and plan a trip to the mountains. With everyone chipping in, it would be reasonable to get a large house. Everyone can bring some groceries and coolers with drinks. This way, you’ll have plenty of room, food and things to do.

Places to Go. Things to Do.

There are plenty of things to do with a visiting family member this summer. Escape rooms are one option. Sure, spending time trapped in a room with your loved one may not seem like fun to you, but it can be. Put your competitive spirits to the test. If you and your loved one have always competed over the years, this is one of many new challenges top experience together.

Museums are another fun thing to do with visiting family members this summer. If you are the one traveling to family, suggest it. It is a calm, neutral environment. It offers ample opportunity to talk and learn something new together. Hands-on museums are great for kids after a long trip. They’ll be entertained for hours. Local art museums are better suited for teens and adults. Once you are finished, meet up at a local hot spot for lunch. This quick summer trip gives your family opportunity to do something new together. Plus, these experiences involve new food and delicacies!

Camping is great for those family getaways this summer. State parks are one of many good locations to consider. It is important to look into the rules and regulations of any start park you may be considering. For example, some state parks have nitty gritty rules pertaining to alcohol, campfires and whether or not you can swim. Some rules even include your pets.

Why It’s Important...

There are several reasons why visiting family this summer is important. Sometimes the craziest of relatives can even make it fun. Even when you are talking about them, they are happy that you are still talking about them. Typically, the most outgoing and over the top relatives are the ones that keep things from getting stale. Family trips are never dull when they are around.

It is the small pieces of the puzzle that add up to the bigger picture. Secrets- not gossip, but secrets are one of those little pieces to the big picture. Being able to open yourself up to vulnerability is a key part of what makes bonding with family so special. Whomever it is that you are the most comfortable with, they deserve to feel appreciated. Don’t miss those opportunities to talk. Most importantly, don’t forget to take the time to listen because those conversations will stick with you no matter where life takes you.

Visiting family beyond the holidays and into the rest of the year is vital to build memories and the revisit nostalgic moments. Some of the best times in a person’s life are born around a dinner table or in a living area. It’s a place for talking. It’s a place for open conversations and laughs... lots of laughing. Taking time out of your year to be there in person is something you’ll never regret. No one can take those memories from you. Yes, phone calls are so important, but nothing beats that face-to-face conversation. Hugging your loved one is something that can’t be replaced.

Above all else, cherish the time you have together. Even with the utmost effort, we don’t always get the time we would like with our family. That’s why it is so important to appreciate the time you do have. Family is not just for the holidays. Family is all day, 3-6-5. Pictures are moments captured in time. When you visit your family, when you are there, those moments come alive.

Forget about how annoying it will be to pack everyone’s bags. Forget about how long the drive or the flight is. Forget about your stressful day at work. Forget about all the little nuances that make you want to jump out of skin. Forget about how the last thing you want to do is be asked how much longer it is going to take.

The moment is now. Time... well, it’s not guaranteed. Regret comes from not taking opportunity. Regardless if it goes the way things were planned, the chance you took to make memories and open your heart to more is something you will always be thankful for. Whether it is a learning lesson or a trip you will never forget, it is yours for the taking. If you don’t take the first step, you’ll never know where life can take you- as a person, as a loved one and as a friend.

Our florists at Wild Strawberry & More in Okemos, MI, are here to help make your family feel loved beyond any distance. We understand that time, money and life isn’t always on your side when it comes to visiting family. We want to help bridge that gap in the best way we know how. Flowers have a way of conveying a message. Let us know the message you are looking to send. We are here to help.

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