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My first vacation in years... yes, in this economy

The memories are worth the guilt

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By Deborah Perry Piscione for Betty Confidential

Hello, my name is Deborah, and I took a lovely vacation in the midst of this doomed economy. There. I said it, and you know what, I don't regret it one bit.

Sure, I had TONS of guilt even mentioning our plans to escape to Maui amidst conversations dominated by layoffs, bailouts and foreclosures. But dammit, we needed it--recession or no recession, we needed to get away to reconnect as a family.

We haven't had a REAL vacation in years. Over the last four years, we've been too busy having kids, moving across country -- from D.C. to California -- starting new jobs, building a company, trying to keep our heads above water, trying to keep a roof above our heads in cost-PROHIBITIVE Northern California, and dealing with a child who suffers from fibril seizures. Did I mention sleep deprivation, or am I just too tired to remember that I am tired?

We are tightening our belts and trying to be fiscally responsible right now just like everyone else, but do we have to forget about LIVING LIFE until things swing back up? Some things are just more important than money, like -- MEMORIES ... and sanity!

While vacation takes on a new meaning when you're traveling with 3-year-old twin boys, we knew that it would probably be our only one for quite some time and wanted to make sure we found a place that would actually be relaxing and fun for all of us.

At the recommendation of a stranger (we have not had much luck of recommendations from friends or family over the years, so we thought we'd try the stranger route), we found just that -- Marriott's Maui Ocean Club. Spectacularly nestled between a pristine beachfront in the heart of the spectacular Kaanapali Beach Resort and the vibrant green, volcanic hillside, it was amazingly beautiful, but probably more important at this point in our lives, it was FAMILY FRIENDLY. (End PR-sounding pitch, but we fell in LOVE with this place!)

Lots of hotels and resorts claim to be family friendly but fall short of much beyond crayons and a kids' menu in the restaurants. Marriott's Maui Ocean Club, on the other hand, was really designed with families in mind.

First of all, our suite (with the most spectacular views of the volcanic rolling hills) had three bedrooms and three baths, because the property is partially set up as a timeshare with rooms designed for longer and more accommodating stays. That meant we had space! We didn't have to turn the lights out when the boys went to bed at 7 p.m. and try to whisper without waking them. Instead, we had the whole rest of the suite in which to relax, watch a movie, order a bottle of wine and reconnect!

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