Thanks all for valuable info and input. I am too a dad who wants tocruise with the family. After spending a year in Iraq I am ready to spend time with them. On my last R&R I purchased a 36' catalina. It is an older model because it is what I can afford. I know some other families with kids have gotten catalinas because the seem roomier than most and family friendly. My kids are 8 & 4 the youngest loves to sail and the oldest is not too trilled with it but he loves pirates. I am going to do several trips with each getting progessively longer and further away. We have a 25' catalina on a lake we have spent nights and weekends on. It is a bit cramped by the end of the weekend for 4 pp. Still it is an adventure and to the kids it is like camping. We home school as well so that issue is nonexistant. I keep the kids involved with sailing and we play game so they learn and have fun at the same time.
I told my wife that if she wanted to leave me just don't take the boat. She can have everything else. I'll just sail to Brazil then and get into ome trouble.