Our Super Relaxing Holiday Getaway

posted by Andrea | 01/3/2014

Our Christmas Vacation

Ever since we’ve been married, our Christmases have been pretty jam-packed, super busy, and somewhat crazy with traveling, hosting out of town family, working, holiday parties, moving, new babies, etc. etc.

2006: Our first Christmas and I was still working full time at a new job so I hardly got any time off

2007: Dave’s family flew in from out of town so we were hosting them all week on top of other holiday parties, working, etc. (and our house was really small!)

2008:ย We were traveling and out of town for most of this Christmas.

2009: We hosted 5 different holiday parties plus were finishing up some renovations at our first house.

2010: We moved to our farmhouse over Christmas break… enough said!

2011: We had a 4-week old baby who cried all the time, 2 international students living with us, and we ended up hosting a bunch of holiday parties again

2012: We were just finishing up our kitchen renovation, dealing with a 1-year-old who almost never slept, Dave was in the middle of his basketball season, and once again, we ended up hosting tons of holiday parties.

So while I would NEVER consider any of our Christmases to be bad or super stressful, they have always been very full of activities, parties, shopping, baking, and running around.

However, the Dekker’s 2013 Christmas was a totally different story!

We didn’t host any holiday parties.

We REALLY simplified our gift-giving.

I did almost no shopping — aside from the grocery store, Craigslist, and Amazon.com.

We limited the number of activities and parties we agreed to attend.

We simplified our holiday decor.

We never traveled more than 30 minutes from our house (many days, we stayed home all day).

Dave took one full week of his 2-week Christmas break off from basketball.

We didn’t do any house projects (except a few fun decorating things for Nora’s new room — which I promise I’ll show you sometime soon).

Icy weather conditions granted Dave an extra day of Christmas break and canceled many activities and church services — allowing for even more rest and relaxation at home.

My sister and her husband stayed with us for a few days — and totally entertained Nora so Dave and I could run a few errands, do a few things around the house, and have full thought processes. ๐Ÿ™‚

Nora slept abnormally well for a few nights, which means Dave and I got to catch up on a little sleep.

All of that would already make for the most quiet, calm, and relaxing Christmas break Dave and I have had in a long time.

But on top of that, we were also treated to a fabulous mini getaway via the Homewood Suites by Hilton – Grand Rapidsย (and yes, it’s less than 30 minutes from our house, so no real traveling was involved!!)

homewood suites by hilton

In general, I’m not a huge fan of traveling or being away from my house overnight — especially over the holidays.

I don’t like driving or flying, I don’t like packing and unpacking, I don’t like planning the trip, I don’t like being crammed into a small hotel room (especially not with kids), and I don’t like eating out at restaurants for every meal (I know, I’m weird — Dave reminds me of this regularly.)

However, with the Homewood Suites by Hilton, most of my traveling woes were negated (besides the packing and unpacking part!)

Not only is the Grand Rapids location just a few minutes from our home, they also offer a FABULOUS hot continental breakfast AND scrumptious week-night dinners — which are all included in the price.ย Plus, they have a fully-equipped kitchen in every unit so we could make some of our own meals and snacks without having to go out for every single meal.

yummy breakfast


And if you’ve ever been stuck in a teeny, tiny hotel room with your entire family, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the hugely spacious interiors of these rooms.

Not only did we have plenty of room to play with toys, read books, watch TV, eat snacks, etc. but Nora even had her own bedroom — which definitely helped with the sleeping situation.

All of this — and I haven’t even mentioned the pool yet (which was a huge hit with Nora).

They just finished a huge pool renovation (they made it a salt-water pool) so this was extra nice, especially since we had the entire pool area to ourselves a few times!

say cheese

so much fun at the pool

Dave and I even implemented a no-work rule while we were away (and it’s pretty rare for both of us not to be working on anything for an extended amount of time), we didn’t plan any specific activities or events, and we basically just enjoyed all theย Homewood Suites by Hilton — Grand Rapids amenities.

This mini 4-day, 3-night getaway was the perfect addition to our super simplified 2013 Christmas — and such a fun way to celebrate our little family of three before we add one more (in less than 9 weeks — yikes!)

31 weeks

We even got one kidless night out of the deal!

We decided that since Nora has never spent a night away from both of us, we should probably give her a little practice before the new baby arrives. So she got to stay with her two cousins at Nana and Papa’s house (Dave’s parents) Saturday night.

Dave’s parents live even closer to the hotel than we do, and since her cousins were already going to be there, we figured it might make it more fun (and less traumatic) for Nora.

There were still tears shed, and I doubt Dave’s parents slept super well; but at least we can say that she survived a night away from both of us and away from her own bed. If nothing else, now I won’t feel as anxious when I’m lying in my hospital bed with a new baby, worrying about how Nora is handling everything.


Thanks so much to the Homewood Suites by Hilton – Grand Rapids for hosting our family; for the amazing accommodations, the fabulous food, the generous gift basket, the gift cards, and the amazing new pool renovation (OK, so that last one technically wasn’t specifically for us, but we sure enjoyed it!)

This getaway was the icing on top of our super relaxing Christmas break… and just what we needed before gearing up for two crazy months of work, school, basketball, church stuff, finishing up house projects, and preparing for the new baby.

homewood suites

And for anyone wondering, there are over 300 Homewood Suites by Hilton locations across North America — and they are all geared towards making longer stays more comfortable. With their spacious rooms, full kitchens, hot meals, fitness centers, Suite Shops, Home Office, conference rooms, and lots of other amenities, your family (and business) travel will certainly be a pleasure. Plus, they have some pet-friendly rooms ๐Ÿ™‚

Here is the contact information for the specific Grand Rapids location we stayed at ย — just in case you want to come visit the lovely West Michigan area!!

Grand Rapids Homewood Suites
3920 Stahl Drive SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Telย 616.285.7100

This Homewood Suites location is owned and operated by TMI Hospitalityย — who graciously gifted us with this fabulous getaway. However, as always, all content in this post is in my own words and my own opinions!


Filed under: FamilyMarriageHolidaysTravel

Leave a comment


  1. Sarah


    Nora is beautiful, so glad you had a little change of pace-that is the best reason for a little vacation I think!


  2. Lori


    So glad you and your family had a relaxing getaway. The hotel suites look incredible! You look beautiful and can’t believe only 9 weeks left! You mentioned how you “simplified” your gift giving this year. Could you please go further into that? Also what you received as gifts? You always seem to get useful, creative gifts instead of more “clutter”. I thought I “simplified” this year but still ended up spending alot of time and money.
    Happy New Year to you and thank you for an awesome blog that I look forward to reading everyday!


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Lori!
    I actually talked about how we do gifts in a post the week before Christmas. You can read it here: https://andreadekker.com/how-the-dekkers-do-christmas/


  3. Courtney B


    We stayed at a Homewood Suites over Christmas with out 2.5 year old and 6 month old. It was great! We loved the free meals, everytime we went down to the lobby the 2.5 yr old thought it was time to eat again. We put him in a crib in the living room and the baby in a pack n play in the closet and it worked perfectly!

    I definitely would recommend them for families!


  4. Jennifer M.


    Sounds so lovely and what great rooms! How in the world did you ever get a gift like that? Sorry for asking, but I wish hotels gave those out more often. I would love to be given something like that to try! Wow! Maybe it’s just me but that would be the greatest gift for my husband and I, if we lived closer, had someone to look after our five little kids, and we could just get away for a little R and R. Got to love it!


  5. Amber


    When I travel to Ft. Collins, CO for business, I ALWAYS stay at the Homewood Suites. It is super convenient, and I love all the amenities they offer. Salt water pool – that’s new for me, but it would be fun to try! Glad you enjoyed your stay!


  6. Tragic Sandwich


    We stayed in a Homewood Suites on our vacation this summer, and I loved it! It was our first time, and we would definitely look for another opportunity to stay at one of their locations. (I meant to blog about it at the time, but it was a very taxing summer). The room was great, the service was excellent, and we made use of the breakfast buffet every morning–and dinner one of the evenings, which helped keep our costs down even more than we had expected.


  7. Alicia


    Aw, that looks so much fun!!


  8. Debbie S


    I will for sure check out Homewood S. now. We do a lot of traveling and I would have never
    looked into one of their places before. Thanks! Glad you got such a great treat plus and great Christmas break!


    Andrea Reply:

    Yeah, me either — I didn’t even know about it! We will definitely be looking them up if we do any sort of traveling again. It’s SO nice to have the hot breakfast and dinner included in the price — one less thing to think about!


  9. Chris


    That literally looks like a little doll dressed in pink sitting in that chair.


  10. Jane


    That’s great! Most of our trips when the kids were little were close to home! The Holidome was always entertaining and getting away – even for a night – was refreshing. We stayed in a Homewood in Columbus last year and really liked it!


  11. Linda Bolt


    Cool getaway! Enjoyed seeing the photo of the cousins. ๐Ÿ™‚

    We’ll definitely keep this in mind for when we go visit our dd at Calvin.


    Andrea Reply:

    This hotel is probably 2 miles from Calvin — it would be the perfect spot to stay! ๐Ÿ™‚


  12. Candis


    Very nice, glad you got a chance to getway before the baby arrives ๐Ÿ™‚


  13. Katy


    Looks like a fun trip! My daughter received the same pink little dollhouse for Christmas that Nora is playing with in the picture, and she absolutely loves it! Glad Nora did well on her “sleep-over” with her cousins! Happy New Year ๐Ÿ™‚


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Katy, That doll house was a gift for Nora this Christmas too (from my parents). She LOVES it — which is why we just had to bring it with us to the hotel ๐Ÿ™‚


  14. Denise


    It all sounded wonderful until you said the pool was salt water. That’s a deal breaker for me.


    Holli Reply:

    Have you been in a saltwater pool? It’s not like the ocean. The salt is much lower concentration (similar to that in tears) and is used to release chlorine gas (via electrolysis) instead of dumping in chlorine. They have virtually no smell and are much “nicer” to your skin and swimsuits too!


    Andrea Reply:

    Yes Holli — we couldn’t even tell it was salt water, and it’s MUCH kinder to your skin, hair, and swimsuits than chlorine!


    Andrea Reply:

    I’m guessing you’ve never been in a saltwater pool before — you can’t “taste” salt and it’s MUCH nicer than chlorine!


  15. Jen


    I think we are twins separated at birth-I don’t enjoy traveling either-for all the same reasons! So glad you were able to get away and enjoy some “down time”! Happy New Year!


    Andrea Reply:

    Haha — yeah, I really dislike traveling ๐Ÿ™‚ Dave would probably do more traveling if I loved it — but he’s also content to stay home too. Maybe we’ll do more traveling someday when we’re retired and all the kids are moved out… maybe!


  16. Paulette Smith


    So glad you were able to get away! Nora is such a beautiful child and I so much enjoy pics of her and your little family. It’s such a pleasure to read your blog and observe a good, solid family working hard to create a beautiful life. I read your blog first every day and am always inspired.