Spring Break Getaway with Teens

The week before spring break I asked Andi, 15, and Joey, 13, want they wanted to do for spring break. I gave them at least two dozen ideas of places within a few hours of home. CoSi Museum in Columbus? The Airforce Museum in Dayton? The Science Museum in Louisville? Hiking in Hocking Hills? The Columbus Zoo? The Kentucky Horse Park? Shaker Village? Explore Yellow Springs, Ohio? Play in the waterfalls at Clifty Falls? Paintball? Ziplining?

You would think they’d be excited, right? Nope. They both looked at me like I was crazy. They made all kinds of jokes about just sleeping their spring break away. Honestly, my feelings were kind of hurt that they weren’t excited about going out of town with me. I decided they were going whether they wanted to or not and I would pick the spot. My 19-year-old step-son Joel announcing he was going did help the other two get on board. They love spending time with their big brother.

So I decided we were going to Cave City, about 3 hours south west of Northern Kentucky.After doing some research, I booked a cave tour, rappel and zipline at Hidden River Cave. After that we stopped at the Kentucky Action Park to go horseback riding. We went back to The Action Park the next morning to enjoy the ski lift, another cave tour, an alpine slide, a rock climbing wall, go-karts and more.

I could go on and on about how much fun we had but I think I’ll just let our pictures tell the story.

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Not only did we have a lot of fun, we truly enjoyed being together. It was our first real trip with Joel, that didn’t involve a Military graduation. I enjoyed watching the three kids interact, talk, laugh, tell jokes and just be silly. One of the best laughs was when Joey used Andi’s prescription face cream to brush his teeth and announced “this toothpaste tastes like crap!” It really was an awesome time!

Money Saving Tips:

We saved more than half with a Groupon for the activities at Hidden River Cave. Save money at The Adventure Park by buying a day pass for $25 per person. This allows everyone to enjoy everything at the park, except for horseback riding and ziplining, all day long. Horseback riding was actually really affordable, only costing $18 per person for an hour. If you are going to zipline at The Action Park, get a couple buddies together and buy three zips for $100. I was extremely impressed with The Action Park because they offered free day passes, free horseback riding and free ziplining to active military. We were able to save a lot of money since Joel is in the National Guard.

Have you been to Cave City? What was your favorite adventure?

The Best of 2013

The end of a year is a time for many to reflect on the last 12 months. It’s a time to be thankful, a time to look at what you would do differently, a time to reflect on relationships and a time to look at your accomplishments. It’s also a time to plan for the new year. It’s a time to set goals and make resolutions.

My regular readers know that I’m a glass half full kind of gal. We might be given a bad hand from time to time but what we do with that is really what’s important. So today, I am thinking of mine and my family’s accomplishments in 2013 and all the things we have to be grateful for. So many wonderful things have happened in 2013… too many to list in fact but I will give you a few highlights.

1. March 3, 2013 was probably the most important day of 2013 for me. It was the day I met Nick, the man I will spend the rest of my life with.

2. I am grateful for where Histiocytosis, the rare disease my son has been inflicted with, has led my family. I know it might sound crazy but hear me out… I was a person filled with worry and anxiety prior to Joey’s diagnosis. Histio put life in perspective for me. There is no more stressing out about the small stuff… shoot, I barely worry about the big stuff. I know that life will work out. It always does. I now live anxiety-free and it’s awesome. Of course I wish he didn’t have Histio but we are dealing with it.

My Histio Family

My Histio Family

Joey has chosen to be an advocate for the Histio Foundation and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. He knows he is one of the lucky kids with Histio (no chemo, no organ transplants and he’s going to survive) so he wants to fight for those kids who can’t. My family (cousins, siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews) and friends have come together to support Joey in his fight. We have virtually met hundreds of people going though Histio and physically met dozens. We have developed an amazing support group and built incredible friendships.

3. My new family, Nick’s family, dealt with something extremely difficult this year – the loss of Nicholas to an accidental heroin overdose. This would rip most families apart but we didn’t let it. Although we deal with the daily pain of this loss, we have come together to fight the heroin epidemic through NKY Hates Heroin. We have been part of the solution and supported each other during the grieving process.

nick specht

4. I am grateful to watch mine and Nick’s five children grow into wonderful young adults. Joey started middle school and Andi started high school. They have both done amazing with the new challenge. Joel joined the National Guard. Jordan graduated this year and committed to going into the Coast Guard in the spring. Josh finished his junior year of college and created a plan for himself. I’m very proud of all five kids.

holt stegner

5. We have had a lot of new life in our family. Nick’s niece brought our newest family member into the world just last week – Keegan. Nick’s nephew and his wife also had a child this year. Two of my cousins announced their pregnancies and are due in late spring. Three of my cousins had beautiful baby girls this year. I love being surrounded by all the babies, playing with them, feeding them and then giving them back when I’ve had my fill.

first cousins

First Cousins (minus five)

cousins xmas

Second Cousins (minus six… 2 on the way)

This year has definitely thrown some challenges at us but we our strong and have made the best of each situation. 2013 has also brought some pretty wonderful things and people in our lives. I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for the Holt/Stegner family. Bring it on!

What is your best of in 2013? What are you looking forward to in 2014?

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