The First Half
My last post gave you a look at how we started our vacation- and yes. It was awesome. Relaxing, enjoyable, and still included all four children and four of my in-laws. The Lauren from 5 years ago would tell you that she’d be ice skating in hell before she’d go on a vacation with that combination of individuals, and I am happy to say that she would be shocked and appalled at how wrong she was.
So here it is: my list of how we managed to not only survive, but genuinely enjoy every day of a 7-day vacation with our whole troop, and not even once wishing we’d stayed home. Check it out.
Normally, the women in our family (and that includes my mother-in-law) are manic, type A supermoms. We overplan, overextend, and overcommit ourselves to the verge of insanity- ours, and everyone else’s. I will admit, I fully expected my MIL to present us with daily itineraries, and was pleasantly surprised to find that each day’s activities pretty much consisted of two choices: beach, or pool. The kids were absolutely in love with this. They played at the beach to their hearts’ content, and enjoyed the pool downstairs just as much.
When we’d had enough sun, or when the summer showers got the best of us, we had some indoor activities too. Puzzles, some sports on TV (for the dads of the group), and some pretty serious rounds of Go Fish. Seriously, Cora became a pro thanks to this trip, and asked for a deck of cards for her next “special treat.” Who knew.
There were some backup ideas, like beach walks to see the sunrise/sunset, hanging out on the screened porch telling stories, riding bikes (not the kids) and going to tour the lighthouse (Tybee has a beautiful historic lighthouse), but those were not planned out by day or hour- we just pulled them up when the beach/pool dichotomy got old.
This was basically the core of making the trip enjoyable. I think if we’d been trying to stick to an itinerary with our little troop, I’d have been pulling my hair out and ruining my liver. I prefer this alternative.
I will admit that I spent a lot of time at the beach house with whichever kid was napping or didn’t want to be at the beach. This was mainly by choice, because I’m honestly not a big fan of the beach. I actually enjoyed just being in a quiet house, reading my books and listening to silence. It was awesome.
The real beauty of this trip, though, was that between grandparents and an aunt/uncle combination, there was always entertainment for the kids, so we got a much-needed break without being away from the kiddos. Basically we took whichever kids wanted to join us for activities we chose, and had no unhappy campers at all. The guys enjoyed a golf outing, my brother in law and his wife got some them-time in, and the kids had plenty of swim time with grandparents. We also got a date night out of it- once we got the kids squared away one night, we snuck off to a fabulous French restaurant and enjoyed Coq au Vin and champagne, which is a very rare treat for us 🙂
Another great discovery. A well-equipped kitchen in a beach house is a beautiful thing. The quickest and easiest way to get my blood pressure up is to take my kids to a restaurant. Don’t get me wrong…they are very well-behaved children. They have nice manners and eat a wide variety of foods, and treat servers with great respect. But they’re also little kids who have short attention spans, fight with each other like normal siblings, and are uncoordinated in their eating, so we usually leave restaurants with someone crying, someone spilling a drink, and someone not getting a chance to finish their dinner. That sucks.
This is where the type A supermom strengths were used. My MIL came up with the great (no seriously, it was great) idea of cooking dinner each night, with us taking turns. We had snacks and sandwich stuff for lunches that we packed, and she also packed the delicious sweet treats she’s known for. By planning a menu ahead, we hit up the grocery store and she cooked what she knows are favorites among our little clan. This let us eat on our own time, have undisturbed naps for wee ones, and made for enjoyable after-dinner drinks and chats among the adults while the kids had free reign of the beach house. To top it all off, there was a Whole Foods not far from us, so our clean-eating lifestyle remained intact. Bonus!
See? Nothing really fancy or tricky. It just took letting a few things go. Based on how relaxing this was, I’m thinking my inner control-freak needs to take a hike a bit more often.
That’s all for now…more to come in the next post!