On Sunday we returned from our first family vacation! Joey and I took Beckett to the beach in SC when he was just over 1 but that was work related and only for a day so it wasn’t actually a vacation. We haven’t taken vacation, like take-a-week-off-work-and-go-somewhere-the-entire-time type of vacation, since our 1 year wedding anniversary 4 years ago!! I think with the year we’ve had so far, this family vacation was so needed for us. We wanted to take an anniversary trip since we just celebrated 5 years but I was supposed to be around 7 months pregnant so we weren’t sure where we’d go that would be fun and also safe for me (hi, Zika). We tossed around a bunch of ideas but we never booked anything, mostly because we didn’t really want to leave the kids. I’m actually really glad we didn’t because it turned out to be so nice to just set off with my favorite 3 guys.
Joey and I aren’t travelers. Anytime we’ve ever gone on a trip we’ve always decided to come home early because we hate being away from home. We were so hesitant to add on the extra days in MS before we went to the beach for that reason. We thought we’d be ready to come home by mid-week, but to our surprise we didn’t long for home at all. We felt so at home at both of our destinations that heading home early didn’t even cross our minds. The kids were also wonderful the entire time so that helped out a lot!
On Saturday, we set off for Mississippi where our sweet friends live. We hadn’t been there since they got married 5 years ago (the weekend after us!) and it was so fun to spend time with them in their little hometown. When we arrived late that evening, we were greeted with hugs and a homemade caramel pie. Amanda and I have been friends since middle school and our husbands totally hit it off the first time she brought Michael to Bristol from MS so we take full advantage of the time we get to spend together since they live so far away. Our crew took over their house and they didn’t bat an eye. Their hospitality was just beyond what I expected. They cooked us the best home cooked meals every day (I’m talking breakfast, lunch AND dinner for the majority of our stay) and we just made the sweetest memories with them. As always, Joey and Michael spent time trying to plot a way for us to move down to MS so we could see them more often. 🙂 We sat out back listening to music, watching the little boys play in the little pool while the big guys played baseball. We put the boys to bed, had s’mores by the firepit and told ghost stories. We laughed, had meaningful conversations, and just enjoyed every bit of our time together. I’m so happy the Pegg’s opened their home to our crazy and I’m thankful for the sweetest friends we do life with.
Tuesday morning it was time to head to the beach! We all hated to say goodbye but we were excited to get down to Gulf Shores for the next few days. We rented the cutest beach house across the street from the beach and it was perfect. The house was literally brand new and felt like home. We could have used a little more space for us (it was 2 bedrooms and we took the one with the King bed instead of the larger room with the 2 Queens since my mom, stepdad and brother were coming) but the house itself was perfect. We got there a day before everyone else and it was nice to enjoy some time as just the 4 of us. We arrived about 30 minutes before we could get into our house so we checked out the beach for a few minutes before we were able to unload the car and check out the house. Our only complaint was that the pool was 3′ and 5′ deep. I would have preferred a zero entry for the kids but after a couple of days B was swimming all over the pool without us thanks to his puddle jumper. Lincoln hated the water (which was a shock because he LOVES the bath and water table at home), so I definitely think a kid-friendly pool would have been better for him. The house did have an outside shower though so that was so nice when we were walking back in from the beach.
After checking out the beach, we got ready and went to The Wharf to walk around and have dinner. We ended up playing a round of mini-golf and rode the ferris wheel too. It was a simple way to kick off the next few days of vacation.
Wednesday morning I sent Joey for doughnuts and coffee before we headed over to the beach. It was overcast and the temperature was perfect so we sat out on the beach for a few hours before we went in for lunch and to welcome everyone else. The kids LOVED the beach. I was actually shocked at how well Lincoln responded to the sand. They played and built sand castles and knocked them down immediately. It was so fun for me to just sit back and watch them being so happy. It rained most of the afternoon so we were all bound to the house for a few hours before we got ready and went to dinner. Me, Joey and Tanner walked down the beach that night when we returned from dinner and got the boys ready for bed. It was a nice way to end the evening.
The next few days were spent by the ocean building sand castles, jumping waves, playing in the pool, parasailing and eating wayyyy too many doughnuts (or maybe that was just me? Seriously though, we got doughnuts from a place 3 of the 4 full days we were there they were so good and sold out SO fast!). Lincoln took the best naps on the beach (thanks ocean sounds!) and probably ate too much sand. When he was tired he’d lay his head down on the sand (pictured below) and crawl up to us so we’d hold him where he’d just sit in our laps until he fell asleep. We joked that we wish he was this chill all the time because he’s NON-STOP at home. Beckett was up for anything and didn’t hesitate to jump into the ocean with Uncle T to jump some waves. I even ventured out with them the first day and had so much fun!
I’m so thankful we were able to take this first family vacation. I want to make it a point to find somewhere we love and feel at home so we can have a spot we take our kids to each year. The time away from our responsibilities at work and home was much needed for our family and I feel extremely blessed that we were able to make it happen.
Side note: We bought one of those beach wagon things and it was the best money we spent. Having to haul all our stuff + 2 kids across to the beach would have taken 5 trips without it. Lincoln rode in it with some of our things and LOVED it. If you have kids, totally worth it!
We were going to hire a photographer to take some family pictures but they are expensiveeee down there so my brother and I brought our good cameras and took some of our own. I’m glad we chose to save the money because I’m pleased with what we got, despite my flat and wind-blown hair. Ha!
If you’re thinking of taking a vacation, go for it. Don’t think about it any longer. Do it! The kids are only little once (and the money is worth it for the memories). They may not remember their first vacation but you will never forget it.