Posts Tagged ‘vacations’

Beach Break

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

This week, we met my parents, my sisters, and their families at the beach. It is rare that all fourteen of us are together, spending time together. Our schools, sports, jobs, and distance make it almost impossible for us to be with each other as a large family. Needless to say, I’ve been looking forward to this trip for a long time.

The word of the week is relaxation; even with fourteen people under one roof. We are all escaping our personal hectic schedules. It is nice to relax with loved ones and ignore the stressors of day-to-day life. 

Our hilarious nephews/cousins are great together, despite their generational differences. Even if they are loud and crazy, their love is worth the volume. Ranging from a rising high school senior to a second grader, there are only a few times they will all be young together, and this week is one of them. 

Jack and Tate are newfound beach bums. They both have boogie boards and surf skills. Even with a few wipeouts, nothing is stopping them. Tate is on the lookout for sharks, and Jack promised he would scare them away. We’re taking advantage of the beautiful scenery on the bike trails. We even saw a few alligators on our ride. 

I’m glad to be with my fam in such a warm and fun environment. Beach week is a vacation for every generation, and I am happy we get the opportunity to spend it together.


Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Last weekend, my husband and I surprised Jack and Tate with a trip to Disney World. The boys haven’t been to Disney in five years, and they both have been asking to see it again. They were both very young last time so they didn’t remember a whole lot. Needless to say, they were thrilled when we told them we were going back.

My husband and I had wanted to make this trip for months, but we couldn’t find a convenient time. My husband’s work schedule doesn’t allow for long term plans. When we found out my husband had the week off at the same time the kids had winter break off from school, we finally had our chance. Luckily, we were able to book our favorite resort, which is usually full months in advance. We got our passes, magic bands, and itineraries planned with the help of our Disney expert friends.   

We started the week an hour south of Disney World at Legoland. The boys are obsessed with everything Lego, so we had to make a visit. They had fun, but they are in Disney heaven this week. They are so excited for every ride, show, parade, firework and treat. They want to stay at the resort for the rest of their lives. Ha! 

Five years ago, a day at the park involved a stroller full of diapers, bags, snacks, toys, and nap schedules. This trip has been much better, and we will never forget the memories we made this week. Their excitement is contagious. Even when we are tired, I love seeing Disney through their eyes, there’s just nothing like it. I can’t wait to book the next visit. 


Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
About ninety percent of our friends traveled over the holiday weekend. Unfortunately, we did not. My kids asked why we couldn’t go to Disney World on their day off. They are adorable, but they don’t understand how much planning is involved for that kind of trip. I want to travel too, but it is hard for our family of four to do so without breaking the bank.

In an effort to appease my boys, I planned a “stay-cation” for them. It’s definitely not Disney World, but a perfect way to unwind for a few days after the hustle and bustle of the last month. Prior to the weekend, I planned some activities to keep the boys engaged so that they didn’t get “so bored.”

One of our favorite activities of the weekend was some abstract painting. I found a tutorial on Pinterest, and thought we would give it a try. My kids like to paint, and this kept their attention. After the art dried, I framed their pieces and hung our new (free) wall art. They may not be gallery worthy, but their paintings turned out much better than I anticipated. The boys feel special since their work is now hanging on our wall.

As much as I would LOVE to have spent some time on the beach this weekend, I’m happy to know that relaxing at home is a treat, too. It gives us time to recharge and appreciate the extra time together.

Families Bonding

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

From Mondaya Mom – Neetika:
We are on our highly anticipated summer vacation. Our first adventure was a weekend at our friends’ new house. It is the home of my husband’s childhood best friend. Luckily I get along great with his wife, too. Our eldest kids are the same age and hadn’t seen each other since they were each months old. Within hours, they were holding hands and creating elaborate pretend play. Our families have added three more children since our last get-together; it was so fun to have little ones of all ages running (and crawling) around.

Haley loved experiencing staying at a big house with a pool and a backyard—a far cry from her city living. I think often kids don’t worry if a new situation is different—they just appreciate it being new. Going to a zoo, a playground, and a Mexican joint—it wasn’t particularly fancy, but it was family fun with nice people. Haley was adorably enthusiastic about the simplest moments.

Spending intimate time with other families also adds much needed perspective to how you view your own kids. For example, I always thought of Hudson as a happy, laidback baby. But being around other children with varying temperaments, I finally realized—he is phenomenally easy. He only gets upset if you really push the limits of his tiredness or hunger—but don’t we all? Our friends were stunned by how “chill” he was. Haley, too, is a pretty well behaved kid. She has her moments, but she definitely tries her best to listen and respect what her parents ask of her. I’m pretty proud of them.

I look forward to what else our first family vacation as a foursome teaches us about ourselves! Stay tuned.

Getting Outside

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Our time in Pennsylvania is quickly coming to an end. We are taking every opportunity to go outside and play. Although there have been some sticky days, the weather up here is gorgeous compared to Mississippi, where temperatures hover near 95 degrees and 95% humidity all summer long. The nighttime lows in Mississippi are often hotter than the daytime highs in Pennsylvania. So while we are still visiting Pennsylvania, we are taking advantage of the great weather.

We made the most of our time here. We rode bikes, played tennis, went hiking, swimming, and ate a lot of meals outside. The best part was that most of these activities were fun and free or very inexpensive. We spent over an hour feeding the ducks at a local children’s lake and it only cost $1.25 for the feed corn.

Jack and Tate’s father had to work all summer, but he had two local layovers when he surprised the boys and took them hiking on the Appalachian Trail, where the boys saw trout, animals and bearded thru-hikers. This was one of the boy’s summer highlights.  Jack and Tate are in the midst of planning a camping trip. Hmmmm…. I wonder how that will go.

We have tried to give our kids a great summer with relatives, activities and fun. As our vacation comes to an end it is nice to know that they got to enjoy the best of Pennsylvania, where we both grew up.


Summer Learning

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

We’re really enjoying our summer. Visiting with family and friends is always a favorite of ours. We rarely get to spend time together, and the last few weeks have been quite a treat. Jack and Tate were fortunate to check a lot of things off their summer bucket list. They’re often asleep before their heads even hit the pillow every night. Although, they miss their friends in MS, they are happy to be making memories with the people they love most.

From a parental perspective, summer vacation is a mixed emotion. Along with the lazy days of summer, I am incorporating learning and review amidst all the fun.   I understand the frowns I get when I ask Jack and Tate to work in their workbook, read, or do some math skills each week. I know this is their break from school, but in my opinion, it’s so important to keep their brain active. I’ve searched the Internet for fun ways to review skills. Games are one example to get my kids motivated. Turning addition problems into a game of bingo is much more amusing than simply writing problems on paper. So far, Jack and Tate are enjoying the entertaining ways to study in between all the fun activities.

The next school year is right around the corner. I hope Jack and Tate have only great memories of their summer. I’m sure reviewing skills isn’t at the top of their “fun” list, but when the school year begins, I’m sure they’ll be happy their daily summer school sessions took place. As we all know, a little review can go a long way.

Road Trip

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Over the weekend, my family loaded up our minivan and started our northbound journey. We have made this trip many times over the years, and we’re finally starting to perfect the process. We’ve learned how to pack the van efficiently, snacks to bring, entertainment, and where to make pit stops along the way.

When we made our first long trip, Tate was an infant and Jack was in preschool. We had no way to know how they would handle a 15-hour drive. Much to our surprise, they did remarkably well given the need for frequent stops to change diapers and feed the baby. We carved a diaper changing area out of the mountain of baby gear in the back of the van. I told nursery rhymes and played patty cake to keep the boys happy. I did anything I could to keep the boys from crying.

These days the boys are more self-sufficient. We pack 50% less gear and can even recline our seats without banging into a suitcase or cooler full of milk and baby food.It is another reminder of how quickly my kids are growing up. Jack and Tate talk about what they see out their windows. We saw the sunrise over the Appalachian Mountains. Jack explained how mountains are formed and Tate talked about how the sun is a star. Jack liked all the different scenery and they both had countless factoids to “teach” us about. We played the alphabet game numerous times and listened to Jack’s knock-knock jokes.

I guess I’m willing to trade longer naps, diapers and nursery rhymes for not having to constantly entertain my kids for 15 hours in a row. We all know how overwhelming that can be.  Now, the kid’s stories, songs and games provide the entertainment.

Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Monday, June 8th, 2015

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
This weekend we flew with Hudson for the first time! Of course I was nervous to take two little ones on a plane, especially since one is an infant. Traveling with kids is so different from going solo. The sheer amount of stuff you have to organize and contend with makes you feel exhausted before you even start your voyage. So many things can go wrong—tantrums, spills, delays, air pressure inner ear discomfort and the resultant screaming—the list goes on.

I’m so pleased to report that it went very well. Hudson really rolled with it, and Haley always listens carefully when she knows Mama’s not messing around.

We flew to Atlanta, where we boarded two trains before we got to our rental car. The gear we were carting included a stroller and infant car seat, a convertible car seat, a baby carrier, a diaper bag, a duffle bag and a large rolling suitcase. Oh, I forgot to mention Haley’s sparkly poodle purse, which she often decided that I was carrying. Once we finally got settled in the car, we contended with Atlanta rush hour traffic—the rumors are true—and drove two hours to our final destination. Luckily the kids were so tired by then they passed out as we drove!

We visited with friends and did some sightseeing, but the best moments were the simple things we did as a family. The kids were hyper when we got to the hotel, so we let them stay up late, play, watch shows and snack. They were in heaven! The rest of the weekend, we swam at the pool, ate at different family restaurants, and chatted as we explored the town. In a way, the four of us leaving home together and going out into the world made us feel truly forged as a complete family. I’m so excited for our future adventures, especially now that I know we can handle it.

Exploring Aviation

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Last weekend, we visited family in Washington, D.C. The boys were excused from school because we promised to visit one of the many educational sites that our nation’s capital has to offer. We flew into Dulles Airport on Friday morning and spent some time at The Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia, the companion facility to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

The Udvar-Hazy center displays thousands of aviation and space artifacts in two large hangers. Our boys love airplanes, and so does their father, so all of us enjoyed the collection. My husband knows a lot of the history of aviation and the boys seemed eager to learn, too.

The boys were given a “scavenger hunt” by the museum staff where they found aircraft in the museum that matched pictures of aircraft on their scavenger hunt list. Jack enjoyed reading the names of the aircraft and his father enjoyed explaining why each aircraft was important to aviation history. Tate was happy to run around and find certain markings on each aircraft, such as a thunderbolt and shark teeth. The boys got to see numerous planes including the SR-71 Blackbird, the B-29 Enola Gay and their favorite, the Space Shuttle Discovery. The boys even got to land a shuttle simulator with the help of museum volunteers.

It was an awesome experience for our family, and we look forward to seeing more of the Smithsonian Museums, National Monuments and Government buildings on our next visit to Washington, D.C. Our children are excited to learn through exploration and travel. We are happy to have the opportunity to do so.


Spring Break

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Hello, spring break! This week, the boys and I get to hangout in our pajamas until late morning. We get to play board games we don’t always have time for. We read each other books, and the kids made me some new projects with their art supplies.

Last weekend, we kicked off our spring break with warmer weather. It was beautiful. We played sports in the backyard, cooked on the grill, and toasted marshmallows over the campfire. We hiked and biked and wore ourselves out. After two gorgeous days, the floodgates opened and it’s been rainy, gray and depressing outside ever since.

Some of the boys friends’ are out of town, but a few are hanging around. We ventured out to a fun arcade and met up with some of their friends. The boys had fun playing ski ball, whack a mole, and other loud games that spit out tickets. It immediately turned into a competition of who got the most and whose prize was the coolest.  I was able to chat with the moms and enjoy myself in their company.

As much as I would love to be vacationing on the beach right now, we’re enjoying our time together at home. It’s nice to slow down the pace and relax with each other. Although there are bouts of boredom, we eventually find something to make, watch, bake, or play. Jack and Tate’s little minds are full of creativity, and I love watching it all come to life.