Our family took a much-needed vacation to Palm Springs this weekend. We’ve been running at a pretty fast pace, and when Mark mentioned that he wanted to go out of town for the holiday weekend, I insisted that we do something mellow. We had the opportunity to take some incredible trips last year (Maccu Picchu, Disney World), but they were not restful vacations. They were great, but also rather exhausting. I wanted to do something that involved laying by a pool and reading magazines and that did not require the herding of children.

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We decided to rent a house in Palm Springs through Vacation Palm Springs. I had worked with them a few years ago for a travel feature I did with OC Family, and we had loved having a whole house to ourselves. We ended up renting a mid-century modern house in an iconic retro neighborhood for about the same price it would have cost to rent a hotel room big enough for 6 of us.

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Our first night there we watched the Palm Springs fireworks. This was a treat, since for the past 10 years we’ve done a block party that involved legal fireworks – which aren’t quite as stunning as the real thing.

My friend Sarah James and her family joined us . . . her family has a house nearby so we just hung out at each other’s pool during the day.  This picture pretty much sums up the weekend. It was heavenly.

What is it about kids and pools? They were in that thing from the moment they woke up until it was time for bed. It is the one activity they seem to never get bored with.


Karis had been in swim lessons for the month of June and made little progress, but suddenly in Palm Springs she figured out how to swim on her own.

Our pool also had a diving board, which was so much fun. Sarah and I sat nearby, capturing shots of the kids (and husbands) and calling out encouraged as we sipped our drinks.

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The guys decided that the boys needed to learn to backflip, too.

It was insanely hot, so we took plenty of breaks. We baked cookies . . .

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We had dance parties . . .

We solved the world’s problems over adult beverages . . .

We forced the children to pose for photos . . .

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And then we went back out to the pool. With trashy magazines in hand.

It was truly one of the most enjoyable vacations I’ve ever had, and I think the keys to our success were: 1) no agenda, 2) having friends with us, and 3) having a house where we could cook our own meals. It was so nice having several days where I didn’t have to bark at kids to get in the car or to clean their rooms.

What did you do for the 4th?