No, this isn’t a post about the former HBO series, or Mormonism, or polygamy. This is a post about the benefits of extended family vacations. My immediate family takes two per year (one ski trip with my husband’s family, and one beach trip with mine). I’ve just finished zipping up the last suitcase to prepare for our flight home after spending a week in Alta, Utah with my husband’s family (the littlest ones were already in bed before this photo was taken). IMG_7121

Three generations (19 people in all) came from California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania to live under one roof. We skied, played games, held daily “inspections” of the kids’ rooms (a contest with prizes–and, shockingly, my son and his cousin won), and caught up on a myriad of the past year’s trials and tribulations.IMG_7123

For some, this type of vacation may sound like a nightmare. Granted, it was not particularly restful, and the volume reached a feverish pitch around the dinner table. But the minor moments of discomfort were far outweighed by the many benefits of being together.

The kids (teens included) actually put down their devices for tremendous chunks of time and skied, played chess, Scrabble, and Guesstures, and hung out conversing with the adults (gasp) in front of the fire. The eldest generation reminisced about the decades of experiences in Alta. We were all treated to fabulous meals by the staff, forcing some of us with pickier palates–gently clears throat–to try new dishes. Kids learned to manage roommate issues. Differing parenting styles had to bend in order to avoid conflict among the nine kids. Abundant exercise and inspirational views filled all the senses. Heck, I even got a bunch of snuggles from my teen daughter (who has never been the snuggling sort).

As always, at the end of this week, I feel renewed kinship with my husband’s entire family, all of whom are unique, accomplished, and fun-loving individuals. I’m also thankful to Dan and Dusty (who run the house) for helping me with more research on competitive snowboarding and backcountry skiing. Finally, I’m grateful that we all are leaving this beautiful yet potentially dangerous mountain range without injury! FullSizeRender(28)

If you’ve never organized a major family trip (or reunion weekend), I highly recommend it. There may be a stray tear or argument, but your heart will be bigger when you leave.

xo-Jamie