Call me crazy, but I use cloth napkins at every meal. I know many of my friends who proclaim the goodness and simplicity of paper goods, still, I take pleasure in setting my own table with cloth napkins and so I do, ( and have the laundry to show for it!). A pretty table can make meal time a celebration of just coming together to share fresh food.
More than most families, we spend a lot of time at home recharging our batteries, and so I look to make the everyday special, wherever I can. During the summer I string patio lights along the top of our bookshelf in the living room, where we gather to read and play games.
We decorate our home with art, my secret Mom celebration of how my girls have grown, and how they express themselves through the beauty of their art makes me smile.
Summer is filled with special family time, but it wasn’t until recently that we experienced our first real family vacation. From the time my girls were little, our annual summer trips were spent traveling from Arizona to The Cleveland Clinic. Traveling was stressful, and there were needle sticks, tears, consultations with doctors, and kids getting sick from the stress of it all- sprinkled with room service hotel food, and treats from the gift shop. That used to be our summertime normal.
And then slowly, things stabilized . We began to see local docs and fit in specialist appointments during the school year.. medicines became routine, and although we still face certain challenges at the idea of getting away on a real vacation, suddenly seemed possible.
After much research, I found a family resort hotel at a drivable distance from Scottsdale. Bacara Resort & Spa near Santa Barbara ( My husband and I got married in the courtyard of Four Seasons Santa Barbara).I chose Bacara for it’s beauty and all encompassing attributes- family activities on site, meandering paths, location near the water, good food and excellent customer service. I read hundreds of reviews, made lists upon lists and finally as experts recommended contacted the hotel to request the fridge for medicines and make sure we had an accessible room.
What happened next, was a reflection of GM Kathleen Cochran’s commitment to customer service, and the culture of the Bacara Resort & Spa. Our deluxe luxury room was upgraded to a 2 room suite because “ it was available, and why wouldn’t we do everything we can to make your stay easier and more enjoyable” . Everything about the property was beautiful, and the way we were treated, over-the top amazing.
Upon arrival there were gifts of wine and cookies! Olivia and I took a guided nature walk along the beach, the kids loved the birds in residence, the flowers and herb paths, we swam, and although the property was full of hills and inclined paths, we had few problems navigating the paths with Zoe’s wheelchair and the golf cart escorts. On one morning, a golf cart took Zoe and I all the way to the edge of the beach, where she experienced the ocean for the first time. Our girls ate an early dinner in the dining room and my husband and I shared a simple meal later each night on the patio. And for a family with extensive needs and for a Mom whose usually tired and stressed out- it was an amazing first family vacation where we made memories that will last a lifetime.
Just weeks ago, my husband and I stole away for an overnight staycation. It was our first night alone and away together in over 8 years. Only a 15 minute drive into the desert, we chose one of The American Express Fine Hotels, The Four Seasons at Troon here in Scottsdale. Proof the restaurant there, is one of our family favorites, there is a rocking kids’ menu, a soda fountain/ ice cream bar and a fun, family vibe. But our romantic getaway.. 24 hours felt like 3 days.
We ate, we drank and rested in the sun.We drank cocktails by the pool and in the middle of the afternoon! We sat with silence and watched the sun set in the desert, we took an afternoon nap, and slept in quiet luxury, awaking to the desert’s beauty and the smell of bacon cooking over a campfire. It was long overdue and the kindness of the Four Seasons staff was much appreciated.
And so, this Fourth of July we are packing up the Perryman family for our first family staycation back at the Four Seasons Troon in Scottsdale. Stealing our moments where we can, we have promised the girls extra trips to the ice cream counter, swimming in the resort family pool and we hope to glimpse fireworks at night from the balcony. There will be no talk of work, therapies or exercises, school or medical stuff. There will be no house to neaten, laundry to do, or dishes to wash. The summer special from the Four Seasons was too good to pass up, because after all.. summer is about family time, and celebrating the every day.
The lists are made, the medicine is packed. Zoe’s manual pink wheelchair is in the car, and Olivia’s crutches are by the door.
For all the challenges we may face, there is no greater blessing or value than being able to vacation at a resort where every guest is guaranteed to be treated extra special, regardless of your needs.