Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Oh Family Vacay!

This post is looooooong over-due.  However, since I'm itching for another summertime trip reminiscing about ours from May will have to do for now.

If you ever watch our wedding video one of my bridesmaids, Lori, repeatedly talks about future family vacations.  We've imagined them since we were fourteen years old.  Fast forward 15 years from those high school days and 3 years from that wedding video and we took our first family vacation together with two other couples in 2009.  It was on that trip that Joe and I announced we'd soon be a family of three (little did we know we'd actually be a family of four!) and on that same trip we celebrated the recent engagement of one of the couples and the upcoming wedding of another couple.  Beach days were lazy, corn hole games were competitive, hot tub sessions were frequent, nights were late, days were casual, walks were long, bikinis were abundant, dinners out were enjoyable, and the drinks flowed easily.

The Sheltons, Davises, Watsons, and Stewarts
2010 brought new babies, a wedding, and a move among the four couples, so 'family vacay' was put on hold.

2011 brought more new babies and alternative summer trip plans, so once again 'family vacay' was put on the back burner.

2012 had promise, but with new jobs, tight budgets, mismatched schedules, and quite a few little ones running around 'family vacay' took on a whole new look.  But the makeover was a welcomed one, and while 'vacation' has taken on a new meaning in the last few years, IT. COULDN'T. HAVE. BEEN. BETTER.  It really was pure, simple, inexpensive, quality, sunny FUN.
The Hales, Watsons, and Sheltons

Schedules were loose; mealtimes were delicious, chaotic, or late; toys were everywhere; bedtime was a process; mornings were early; beach visits required a pack mule; corn hole and Caronas were non-existent; and walks along the shore were few.  But the water was crisp and welcoming; the sand was hours of fun; the pool, basketball courts, shuffleboard, and playground filled the late afternoon; nap times were a time to recharge; and the togetherness of friends and little ones was bliss.  For the first time since the boys were born, this trip was more fun than work.  We were so thankful our friends traveled from afar to be together for a week as we welcomed summertime.  The space was perfect; the amenities kept everyone happy; and the boys successfully slept in bunk beds (the bottom of course).  Whew!

Of course we all felt like just when we hit our stride and settled into 'vacation mode' by mid week it's time to start packing up in just a couple days.  

Our loads to the beach dwindled by the day as we realized what we needed and didn't need.  
We rotated dinner duty and avoided any trips to a restaurant because dinner in public with four little ones is more like punishment than a treat.  

Naps were a tag team effort so Joe and I could take turns having some time to ourselves (although I quickly learned I can't spend ALL DAY on the beach like I used to!).   And in between kids cuddled, shared toys, and played played played.

There was also plenty of time for exploring, coffee shop visits, and ice cream treats.  The best part is that it was all within a ten minute walk.
We met other families and cooperatively dug giant holes that kept up to fifteen kids occupied for HOURS at any given time during the day.  The adults talked.  Uninterrupted. For unheard of lengths of time.  While One Step Ahead offers some clever and practical items for every vacation need under the sun, we learned all you need is a shovel and a couple buckets.  Win win win.
We came home relaxed, happy, and ready to go back again.  Hello, summer! 

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