Whole Parenting Family

Our Beach Vacation in 7 quick takes

We arrived home tan, rested, and bellies full of laughter and delicious food. In short, it was a wonderful vacation (an actual VACA not a trip with small children) and re-entry has been easier than I thought because I’m floating on the joy of a week with my sister and her family.

Linking with Kelly and the gang. Always head to her site and read everyone’s 7 quick takes. It’s a blast!

Travel was easier on the way there than expected!

I’ve flown a lot with the toddler (4?5? times) since she was born, but this was our first family flight all six of us. She nursed and then slept the whole time, the oldest read happily in his seat in front of my husband and four year old (they played cards and games) and my sweet oldest girl curled up next to me with her pouch of random scraps and crap (I use the term nearly literally), happy as a clam to dig her nails into my arm any time the plane did anything remotely “scary.”

It coulda been so much worse.

A no-agenda trip is amazing.

We didn’t have to rush anywhere. So even making our way from the airport to the rental car, through traffic to the beach house in New Jersey, and unpacking didn’t feel rushed or anxious. All of our other trips to visit family have centered around a joyous event, but an event. A get-dressed-be-there-at-a-certain-time-no-you-can’t-eat-that even. I love events! And now I know I love vacation trips, too.


The kids played pretty well together, and now we’re veteran-enough parents not to freak when they don’t.

Maybe we’re older and more relaxed. Maybe we just have seen a lot more behavior and know that her kid and my kid and that kid are acting pretty standard for their age. Sure, they shouldn’t scream and cry in their cousin’s face, but we no longer think it’s the product of BAD PARENTING. More like, it’s time to eat a snack or go have quiet time, or go get our energy out outside.

Ahead of time, my sister and I reminded each other that every trip the kids do outrageous things, so we were mentally prepared. And there were no major parenting melt-downs, so that was a win! Thursday I felt pretty tired and crabby, but I had snuck-eaten a bunch of organic gummy worms (WHY) and AA had to work that morning–probably a combo of solo parenting the four and sugar crash.

The ocean is a spectacular thing.

I’m not a swimmer by any stretch of anyone’s overactive imagination. But I love the ocean. Its constant roar and hum, its lapping and slapping. And the kids have been a few times but they were too young to remember. Everyone loved it! Eating sand, burying Dada in sand, racing back to me from the frothy waters, trying to crest waves.

Yes, we had to schlep a little with our beach bag and yes, we had to rinse off when we got back to the house, but those extra steps which would have wiped me out historically, felt do able. I feel my strength coming back bit-by-bit. Physical therapy has helped, but also pacing my days has helped so I’m not as worn out as I have been in the last few years (hard pregnancy, hard recovery followed by another one).

My sister and bro in law are incredible cooks.

We dined like QWENZ and KINGZ. My sister and bro in law casually make masterpieces in the kitchen. I so admire their focus on a family-centric life! It’s extra obvious in the kitchen where the little kids are involved (no fear of mess holds them back), and the food is enjoyed by all.

Plus both couples took a date night out and the others stayed back with the seven kids under 8, two toddlers included! That was another incredible treat! I think we’ve been on two dates in the last year and this was one of them!

Vacation allowed me to approach my kids from a gentler perspective.

Instead of feeling rushed or annoyed we aren’t getting to where we need to be, or getting stuff done around the house (here I type surrounded by winter boats that need to be put back in the attic. YES I KNOW), I could savor the kids. Just simply be with them in their hard moments or their joyful ones.

Like when the toddler discovered she could pop open the freezer and snag a popsicle to smear over her whole body. Or when the boys swung hard at the batting cages and cracked a few big hits. Or when it was okay to relax our anti-movie status and instead let the kids watch a ton of movies with their cousins (like 5?? in 7 days??).

Not everything was outcome derivative. Meaning, I could let the day unfurl in front of me instead of setting myself up to get to the next objective. That was an enormous mental break for me. And maybe something I can carry into everyday life here.

The love of our families for each other filled up my love tank.

I talk and text with my sister all day long. The kids FaceTime regularly. But the older kids hadn’t been together since last summer! A whole year!! There was no pause in their joy in seeing each other, no need to get re-introduced. Even our reticent toddler jumped whole-bodilied into the snuggling and hugging with her older cousins, and endured adorable love smacks from her cousin just a few months older.

I wish we lived close to each other. I wish we could pop down the street like I can with my other sister. That’s probably not our future, though, so a special trip like this fills my love tank up until the next time!

I also really loved being off social media (posting) for most of the trip. I’m learning to cherish the privacy of the rest of my family who may not be super into my posting everything and also to imprint the memories in my mind instead of my phone!






  1. Mary Virginia on July 21, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    Gentler perspective!! I experienced that during our vacation, too! What a blessing. Oh, and yes. I hit a brick wall on Saturday after a week solo with the kids. You my hero!!