Friday, August 22, 2014

Vacation Recap

This was our first year taking a "real" vacation with all three kids. Up until this point the thought of it nearly exhausted me. It was still A LOT of work and Rob and I were exhausted by the time we got home. We may have even joked about needing a vacation from our own kids, but overall it was still wonderful and I am so glad we had the chance to get away and make these memories with the children at these ages. It is something I am looking forward to in the years to come. 

Orange Beach, AL was our destination. We chose here in part because we are somewhat familiar with the area after living in Mobile for 7 years but also because our good friends, the Nicholson family, who still live in Mobile were joining us. This is one of the biggest reasons why taking this trip was more manageable. Even though they have 2 very little ones of their own, it was nice to have 2 extra sets of eyes helping us with our own crew!

We knew that traveling 12+ hours with 3 kids was not going to be the best part of the trip so we stopped in Birmingham on our way down. After this first night I wasn't too sure I wanted to continue on our journey! First we got locked out of our hotel room...truly locked out. Not even the hotel staff could get our door open.
And we had just taken the children swimming in the indoor pool, so we were locked out in our swim suits with hungry children and no wallets, cell phones or keys! Thankfully they were eventually able to get us into a new room and retrieve our stuff. But then as Ellie and I were cuddling in bed she sat up and then slammed her head back on me resulting in a black eye which I got to sport the entire week!

Thankfully that first night was not a predictor for how the rest of the week would turn out and we ended up really enjoying ourselves and soaking in this time with the kiddos.

The condo we stayed in was a child's paradise. It was brand new and had all sorts of great and spacious features. By far the boys' favorite was a huge water slide. They could (and sometimes did) spend all day on it. I wish I had gotten a good picture of it. So many people were amazed at Carson going down all by himself. Especially for the first two days before my safety conscious self demanded he finally put on his puddle jumper. The slide emptied into a lazy river which Eleanor and I claimed as our favorite. There was also another good sized pool which the boys loved swimming and jumping into and an indoor pool and a splash pad. Plus the beach!

Brady and Rob discovered hunting for sand crabs at night, which Brady loved and would beg to do nearly every night. We did go down as a family one evening with the other kids, but I don't think they understood, nor were interested in what was going on!

One of the things Rob was most excited about was getting to eat at some of our favorite restaurants. Twice we ate some Moe's Original BBQ. And of course we made trips to the touristy Lulu's and the Hangout. Most nights, however, we and the children were perfectly content eating in the condo on the balcony. Dinner out with 5 kids in extremely busy restaurants isn't always fun!

The fourth of July fell on one of our last nights there. We got to watch two fireworks shows. One from the balcony of our condo and another from the opposite side of the condo building. The children were not quite as interested as we had wished, but we were happy to not have to take them out anywhere. It was nice to not have to fight any crowds and be in the comfort of our own home (for the week).
Driving home, we were brave and decided to drive the whole 12 hours...which of course ended up taking 15 hours! And if I remember correctly our talkative little Carson didn't sleep once. If you have even been so lucky to ride in the car with him for more than 20 minutes you can understand our pain. 

Look at those cuties ^^^!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Right Now

Today my oldest baby starts Kindergarten. Just a few moments ago I helped him onto the school bus. Such a big boy he is. I am dying inside and am counting the minutes till he will be home and I can hear all about it. This has been such a hard and emotional decision for us...what type of schooling is best for him and us. For the longest time I was convinced we would homeschool. Rob thought it was a pretty good choice as well. We even attended our local homeschool conference. We also thoughtfully considered keeping him at the private school where he attended preschool. But ultimately decided (at least for this year) to try out the same school district that Rob and I grew up in.

The last few days have been busy. Soaking in our last few days of summer vacation, buying school supplies, filling out paperwork and lots of worry and anxiety on my part. Yesterday I sat down to write Brady a short letter to add to the other journals I've written to him over the years. And last night we attended Meet the Teacher Night at school. I love that sweet boy more than anything and I am so proud to be his Mama.