Life With Nine Kids

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Beach Vacation

Family Picture Gulf Shores 2015 ~8 kids and a baby on the way
Our beach trip was great. There were ups and downs of course... I somehow actually expected everything to be perfect and it wasn't (I know go ahead and laugh), but it was totally okay and I did not have my expectations ruin the trip in any way. One day it rained, two days were super duper windy but we had some beach time anyway, one day there were horrible biting flies, one day was pretty perfect. It was interesting comparing the things we liked last year and this year as well as the things we didn't like. The trips were at the same place with totally different pros and cons! I realized the crappy spring weather we got last year was made up for in other ways during that trip. Crawfish and frog leg feasts, for example, were out of season in September but not in April. While both trips were quite windy, the fall trip had MUCH warmer weather and water. Anyway, what I'm actually trying to say is that it's great to have perspective!
You know what WAS perfect this year!? I finally got my family photo on the beach (see above) and I am a very happy momma for it! We haven't had a good one on the beach since Penelope (8) was a baby (see below). I was thrilled. Last years picture was so windy that my hair was standing on end. See. 

Mexico 2007
 I dubbed our trip the 'fun animal trip.' We saw two sting rays in the ocean (Ricky and Charlotte found them while snorkeling and Ricky stepped on one!), some of us saw dolphins, we collected up sand dollar and small crab critters. We made 47 dollars in 'sand money.' We let them all go back to their home in the ocean. Charlotte (18) caught a BIG crab in our swimming pool! That was really fun. She said it was scary. It kept looking at her and snapping it's claws at her. She had to get it from the bottom of the pool and it took her a half hour to wrangle it. The kids told us something was in the pool that looked like a crab and that it even pinched some of them. We didn't believe them! Poor kids! I checked it out after a few minutes and sure enough there was totally a crab in the pool.

Beatrice, only two, had a rough ride to Alabama. It took us 19 hours to drive there instead of a more usual 12. We were pretty calm about it, taking it all in good stride. Over the course of six days I flip flopped between going back next year or waiting three years before traveling that far again (until the new baby is three because we don't ever want to road trip with a two year old again). I flip-flopped a dozen times as if I had to make the decision right then. It's my nature. One minute I was ready to put down a deposit for next year and the next minute I was saying how we are having a stay-cation the next couple years. I think vacationing with kids is like giving birth, you need the reality of how much work it is to wear off before jumping in and doing it again!
A moment for just us

We spent a lot more money on vacation than we wanted to. (Doesn't everyone?) But we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Rolling into Alabama at 6 am after driving all night we wanted a nice breakfast. Breakfast at Cracker Barrel was $112 for us all, but it was worth every penny! We had such a lovely time and enjoyed each others company so much. We almost went to the Waffle House nearby but in the parking lot we decided not to. There was not much space inside at all and we were SURE to be gawked at. I suggested Cracker Barrel across the street because they don't bat an eye when an army rolls in. And sure enough they didn't. We were treated to breakfast royalty and the wait staff acted like a family with eight and half kids waddles in the door every single day. We had fun browsing the gift shop after breakfast which gave the kids more time to stretch out too. 

We shared the ever so lovely and spacious purple house on the beach with our friends and their kids. All of the kids got along so well and had so much fun. I couldn't believe how much fun! I expected normal kid stuff and for everyone to tire of each other at some point but it didn't happen. The beach house we shared is very spacious though so we were never right on top of each other. The kids and adults alike had lots of good fun. It was wonderful to have friends to vacation with, we have never done that before! We had a private pool too, so when the kids weren't swimming like fish in the ocean they were swimming like fish in the pool.

Ahhh that water, those waves, and kids. Love!!
With Friends
In the days leading up to vacation I had the normal tiresome job of packing and prep work. It is so much work getting all of us, the house, and the animals ready for vacation. I asked my husband WHY were were doing this vacation again and said maybe we should have stayed home. He said, "Because you said you have to have pregnancy beach pictures." I smiled, "And why do you give your wife everything she wants?!" Then he grinned and kissed me on the head. Those small loving gestures keep me falling in love with him over and over again. I love him so much...

And sooooooo my mini maternity shoot. 33 weeks pregnant on the beach, thanks to my dear husband...

On the way home Beatrice understood much better that we had traveled far to someplace and we needed to get back home to our animals. We timed our trip home carefully, made two stops before dark that were about two hours apart (one was at a park to play and one was dinner), and things went much better. She actually didn't even cry once (whined a couple times). She is an amazing child and once she understands something she seems to really understand! She talked about home being 'far away' while at the beach. Now she tells us the beach or purple house is 'far away.' She is very smart and cute.

In a total of 19 hours driving there and 12 hours driving home I pitifully only drove 3-4 hours of it. Ricky did all the hard work. On the way home this exchange was funny:
Me: I don't think I'm much of a road tripper
Ricky: I know you're not
Me: Well I like the idea of it but...
Ricky: You like the "idea" of winter too.
Made me laugh so hard.

I am extra glad he was able to drive all the way home because this baby belly is moving up quickly into my diaphragm and ribs making sitting harder. The baby is bouncing around in there like crazy when I sit straight up. I can breathe okay...but I am slowly noticing a big difference in that too!
Pulling into our driveway at 4am the first words I said were "Home is where the farm animals are." I missed our place a lot. I am always amazed how nice coming come feels. We were all awake getting home, and the kids (especially Bea) were so happy with our familiar home. There is something so cozy and appreciating about being home after a week of being gone! I had even put fresh new sheets on the bed before leaving on our trip so that we would come home to a clean and cozy bed.

Ricky and I barely remember anything as we all crashed out. When we woke up at 9am it felt like we all slept for just a half hour. It was so weird and hilarious! It was like we were gassed out. (Kinda scary to be out that cold with kids in the house though!) I woke up to the kids crashed out everywhere all over the floor, which isn't *that* unusual, but it seemed extra funny that Bea and Everett were sharing and sleeping on a body pillow in the hallway. They were out cold! I would have taken a picture but I was still too tired. 

Ricky hasn't stopped working 12-14 hour days since we got home. He's been quite busy for months now anyway, but there is a even larger price to pay for being out for a week! Plus he is trying to prepare for taking time off when the baby comes (due on Halloween!) and then the holidays will come fast right after that.  Things are good but also tired and a bit crazy around here. I got back into the swing of things quickly and picked right back up with housework the first week we were home, and then school work this week. Vacations are lovely...but trying to settle in again can be so hard. We are all excited for fall and it's all I can think about now.

Oh, I almost forgot one of the best things! Ricky told me he feels totally refreshed after vacation. I was so glad to hear that. He so deserved a nice trip and some downtime. He works very hard for his family. He swam in the ocean a lot (he loves to swim) and I'm so very glad it soothed his soul. I know what he means, got to spend an entire afternoon in the water with him and it was very rejuvenating. The winds kept me out the last couple days though. (I get cold easy.)
Can't wait for next year...


Jamie O'Flaherty said...

I love this ! Thanks for sharing, you have a lovely family and I love the way you write about your family !

Jamie O'Flaherty said...

I love this ! Thanks for sharing, you have a lovely family and I love the way you write about your family !

Mom of a bunch of great kids... said...

Thank you so much!

Windi Harrison said...

I love reading about your family, your kids, the animals and your birth stories! Cant wait to read your newest baby's birth story!