But we didn't do that this year.
We decided to visit a city we've not been, a place we've only seen in photos.
We went to Lisbon.
We flew from Brussels directly to Lisbon, took a cab to our hotel, got settled in and headed out to see the city.
Hannah and I sort of fell in love with the mosaic pedestrian sidewalks; each tiny, irregular tile placed faultlessly with purpose.
We stayed at a beautiful little hotel near the city centre, with a big uphill climb.
At the end of long days of sight seeing, we raced and lunged upwards, then collapsed onto the chairs in the lobby, hamstrings and quads on fire.
When visiting Lisbon with kids, the zoo and Oceanarium are must see spots.
The zoo is where Shawn and I had our first Portuguese "bica," which is what they call espresso, but from what I understand it's not the actual Portuguese word for it.
But it doesn't matter. I'd recommend it all - the zoo, the Oceanarium and the bica.
Shawn: How often does this Chemical Engineer like to talk about elements?
If we've never given our children reason to think that we are nerds, well, that joke and this photo should do it.
The entire city is an art museum.
"Azulejos," from the Arab word for a small, polished stone can be found in the most inconspicuous of places.
Someday when she's grown, Hannah will remember this as the day her dad taught her to navigate the train station.
Our first stop was Cabo da Roca, the Westernmost point of Europe.
When the Greek philosophers first mapped the world back in 2 A.D. they noted that Cabo da Roca was the end of the world.
I showed Hannah where we were on a map.
"Oh, so right here in this spot, this is the closest we can be to America while we're in Europe?"
From here we went to the Pena Palace, and despite the fog and rain (which I'm told is very common this time of year) I couldn't help but be a bit visually overloaded, not knowing where to look next, with all the vibrant color and cartoon-like features.
I love traveling with these guys. One of my greatest joys as a mom is taking my kids to a new place, showing them a significant piece of history, teaching them to appreciate someone else's culture. It can be demanding and exhausting and takes a level of planning that adult only travel does not, but man, is it ever worth it. I read somewhere that travel is the ultimate education. May each new country they visit, each new food they taste, each new language they hear somehow shape who they'll become.
You're one of our favorites.