I guess there are some advantages to having a big family and a not so big income. Our kids do have a lot compared to some, but they don't have a lot compared to others. For example, my kids have never been to Disneyland (well, Kenna got to go when she was 3...), but non of the others ever have. We just cannot afford those kinds of vacations. Up until a few years ago they had never been camping either. For a long time we just never went anywhere or did anything.
These last few years we have taken the kids camping...and let me tell you! They absolutely love that! They love sleeping in a tent, love exploring the mountains, love playing in the various lakes. I guess that's one advantage to not doing much is that when you do finally get to go it's all fun and games to them.
We recently started a tradition of going to Vegas to see my sisters. Up until last year most of my kids had never met any of my sisters or their cousins. Jon and I decided that had to be remedied. We went to Vegas last may and the kids spent 90 percent of their time in the pool at the hotel. They could not have been any happier...seriously. They thought they had died and gone to heaven. For this I am so grateful. We did not have to go to Disney world for them to truly appreciate a fun vacation and make the best of what they had. They loved meeting Lori, Lisa and Tracy and their 3 cousins down in Vegas and they often still speak of that trip. When we told the kids we would be going again they nearly came out of their skin. Even Jessi who was only 4 last year was jumping up and down with glee....she could not wait to go back to "Las Begas"!
Jon and I may not be able to provide our kids with lots of big toys ie: boats, wave runners and elaborate vacations...but we are able to provide them with fun experiences that they will come to appreciate more and more as the years go by. Maybe someday we will be able to take them to Disneyland and they will probably have a wonderful time. But I can bet ya that at least one of them would say at any given time that it would be more fun if the cousins could be there, or if the grandparents could share it with them. All in all I guess what I want my kids to take away from all these things is that the place is great, but its the people with you, sharing it with you that are the greatest...