I realize its been over a month since I’ve blogged. And July was a very busy and fun month for us. But as I looked through the photos to start choosing which ones to upload, I got overwhelmed with the sheer amount of things we did! There was the 4th of July! Baking at cousin camp! The zoo! The children’s museum! The pool! It was overwhelming.
So I’ve decided to just write one blog about our favorite event of July: our beach vacation in North Carolina.
We saved for this vacation for a year. And we dieted and lost weight for this vacation for over a year! And it was TOTALLY WORTH IT.
My least favorite part was the traveling bit. Getting through the airport with 3 kids and 3 carseats and our luggage and important papers and blah blah blah was not pleasant. And then we had bought tickets on Southwest, so there were no assigned seats once we got on the plan. Strangely enough, nobody wanted to take the seat next to me while I was holding a screaming baby Jace. That worked out well, as we had an empty seat next to us once he finally fell asleep. Overall, the kids did ok on the flight. But I wouldn’t recommend it. Nor Southwest’s in-plane wifi.
Once we landed, we picked up our rental van. It had a cool DVD player so the kids could watch movies we rented at Redbox – so we turned baby Jace’s seat forward facing so he could participate too. (He actually didn’t really give us the choice, he was going to crane his neck to see that show anyway, so it seemed safer to just put him forward facing for the trip – we’ve since but him rear facing again).
And then the last bummer part of the trip was that its really hard to have 5 people all sleeping in the same room (with various other adults and children sleeping in other nearby rooms behind thin walls). Baby Jace needs to cry/talk/scream/babble himself to sleep, especially around 2am. But he can’t really do that in a room with 4 other people. So there were definitely some rough nights. Both Jordan and I each had to spend a whole night up with him while everyone else slept. It was rough. He was so tired one morning that he fell asleep on the outside deck.
But that pretty much covers the negatives of the trip. There were SO MANY HIGH POINTS. We seriously had so much fun. During the day, we’d go to the beach and play in the ocean.
My favorite ocean swimming day was one time when it was low-tide, and we found a tide pool full of fish. Much squealing and strategy ensued as the children (and adults!) all worked together to catch the fish and put them into a bucket. I think Jax and his cousin Jay loved one fish to death, but the rest were returned to the ocean mostly unharmed. We even caught this one really awesome fish that would bury itself in the sand to hide from us. It was a total blast.
And if we were tired of the sand, we’d swim in my aunt’s swimming pool (her house backs right to the ocean).
Every evening, we’d all gather together for a big family dinner. Each family took turns cooking dinner on one of the nights. It was really nice to only have to buy food and worry about cooking one time that week, but get to eat delicious meals every night. Plus, big family dinner times are always fun.
At one point, my parents took all the grandkids for the lunch/nap shift so that we could all go out to lunch together as siblings.
During the middle of the days, when the babies would need to be napping, we’d go back to the rental house and hang out. The cousins all played with toys while the adults played video games or read books or took naps.
We spent one day fishing on the pier. We took the traditional selfie-ception photo like we did 4 years earlier.
And everybody cast out a line and caught a fish or two. Fishing with kids is hard, but we managed it.
Jordan and Austin liked it so much that they went out again the Friday before we left – just the two of them. And on the last cast, Jordan managed to catch a LEGIT SHARK.
Four years ago, we were all catching baby sharks on this same pier. Nobody caught a shark this year except Jordan – and it was no baby thing. He sent the photo in to the pier owners, and they said they’d put it up on their photo wall of fame. We looked it up later, and its a sharp nose shark. Jordan had a blast, which made me really happy.
Most evenings after dinner, we went back out on the beach to just walk. Of course, “just walking” to 4 year old boys means definitely getting wet.
They got nice and messy pretty much every night.
And we learned that baby Jace HATES having this clothes wet. And since none of the kids wore swimsuits…. they pretty much ended up walking back to the house in their underwear every night.
And baby Jace just went completely naked.
I think the evenings were my favorite time of day. Once the beach fun was had, we’d all trek back over to the house and give the kids their baths and bedtime routines.
And then as each family finished up putting their kids to bed, we’d all end up out on the big deck sitting in rocking chairs and talking as we waited for everyone to finish. We attempted to cause a couple typhoons on the other side of the world with our synchronized rocking. And we were always competing for the best deck chair.
Once most of the kids were in bed, it was time to play games!
By the end of the week, we even had the “grown ups” coming over and joining in the games. We’d warm up a bottle of cheese sauce and go through two bags of chips every night while playing games together (mostly a big group game called “Secret Hitler”).
It was a really fun way to end the evening.
This vacation was a total blast – it was the right mix of activities with family time with beach time with doing-nothing-at-the-house time. Our fridge was loaded with a ridiculous amount of alcohol and “-beritas”, and everyone chipped in to do mundane things like take out the trash and unload the dishwasher. We almost never get to be together as a big huge family, even during the holidays. So this week was just a little slice of heaven on earth.
Except that heaven will definitely include a separate bedroom for baby Jace and no airplanes.
Jordan and I discussed on the way home that we need to make these kinds of trips a priority for our little family. And so we have a separate budget line item to make sure we can do something like this (though maybe not on this scale) every summer while our children are growing up.
It really was a wonderful week.