The Dekkers Go To Florida

posted by Andrea | 04/12/2017
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Last week, our family flew to Kissimmee, FL, with my entire side of the family for spring break.

It’s a vacation that has basically been a year in the making — the first time my family has all been on vacation together in 14 years. My Dad planned every detail, found great deals, and everything seemed to go as expected.

The kids did REALLY great on the flight — much better than I expected. Thankfully, the flights were direct… so no layovers or risk of lost luggage! Also, bringing the car seat on the plane for James was a VERY good decision on our part. He sat so contently the entire flight!

We stayed at Orange Lake Resort — my family’s most favorite vacation destination since we first visited when I was only 14. My parents go almost every year now.

It’s basically a mini city with everything and anything you need and want — grocery stores, restaurants, pizza places, ice-cream shops, coffee shops, pool-side snack shops, arcades, activities for the kids, mini golf, regular golf, tennis, basketball, beach volleyball, water volleyball, splash pads, lazy rivers, huge water slides, rock climbing walls, SO MANY POOLS, a crazy number of TV channels, and SO much more!

Growing up, we took advantage of many of these fun activities… but when I go with my young kids now, we basically stick to pools, the splash pad, and the water slides.

Nora and Simon had such a fun time together — of course, it helped that they had plenty of aunts, uncles, and grandparents to spoil them and give them loads of extra attention.

They played in the water all day, every day, and crashed into bed around 7:30 every night without so much as a peep until morning.

James, on the other hand, had an allergic reaction to the sunscreen I put on his face the very first day (luckily I only put it on his face as he’s prone to rashes from different lotions) and basically stayed in the shade with me most of the week.

We bought him a long-sleeve shirt to wear in the pool and had a really great hat that covered his ears and neck… but he could only be out in the sun for so long before he started itching and scratching again.

He loved the water, but seemed completely content to just sit in the shade with me, have a few snacks, and watch everyone else play in the pool.

He even took a few LONG pool-side naps right in my arms — so sweet!

I think the whole week really tired James out — he wasΒ a stinker about going to bed at night, and since we didn’t want him to cry for hours and keep Nora and Simon awake, James ended up hanging out with the adults every night until he finally went to sleep around 10:00 (3 hours later than normal).

Of course, the one day he decided to sleep REALLY well was the day we had to leave to fly home. This is him, still sleeping soundly, even with the lights on, the other kids running around like crazy people, and Dave and I packing up our suitcases right in the same room πŸ™‚

All in all, the week was a success.

It was busy in a good way, and even though I felt more tired when we got home than before we left, I figure the kids had so much fun that it was probably worth it!

After we got home and I had everything unpacked, I toldΒ Dave that on the flight home, I fantasized about a someday vacation we’ll take once our kids are older. I told him we are going to pack everything we need in 1 suitcase, carry nothing on the plane except our phones and a snack, eat at nice restaurants every night, sleep as long as we want every morning, and do whatever we want every single day.

Someday… like in 10 years!

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26 comments

  1. Lisa

    04/17/2017

    Well we only have 2 boys (15 and 12) and ended up checking 5 bags somehow! (Partially because bags are free on SW so I’m not as selective abt what gets packed as I should be.) My kids have outgrown the need for so much pool time, I remember those days with a mixture of nostalgia and relief. Eating out is a big part of our vacation budget now, so much fun with older kids!

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  2. Debby

    04/14/2017

    My husband and I just went on our first by ourselves vacation in 21 years. Both of our girls are in college and we went in February. We did exactly what you described. We had such a great time on our empty nest vacation that we booked it for the same week next year.

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    Andrea Reply:

    sounds amazing!

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  3. Ann

    04/12/2017

    Oh, the sunscreen sensitivities!
    At least you recognized what it was! We thought it was sunburn so we diligently put sunscreen on every hour. Turned out it was more than a sunscreen allergy, it was sun poisoning. That kid (now in her upper twenties) still can only use one sunscreen in very limited amounts so she lives in long sleeves and hats!
    I wonder if Rodan + Fields has a sunscreen that would be safe? It would cost a bundle but it it didn’t work, you’d get your money back.

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  4. Heather

    04/12/2017

    Yea for you using a car seat on the plane (even if it was for convenience!). The way baggage handlers toss bags around, I will never check my car seats again…in some cases they are just as bad off as if they had been in a car accident.

    For what it’s worth, you can use any car seat in the plane that has an internal harness. Basically, almost any car seat that you have to buckle into your car before you put your kid in. So, you can’t use any kind of booster seat. They all state on them whether they’re approved for airline use.

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  5. Lucy

    04/12/2017

    Aw thank you for sharing those sweet faces with us. Now you need a little getaway just the two of you. Enlist some family babysitters. Don’t wait 10 years lol.

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha — yeah, I can’t leave my kids when they are this young. I feel bad and anxious and I don’t even enjoy my time away. 10 years… then they’ll be old enough that I can truly enjoy my time away — plus, I hate traveling when I’m pregnant πŸ™‚

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  6. Lisa

    04/12/2017

    “The days are long but the years are short”

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    Jenny Reply:

    Lol. That was a great article last week!

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  7. Robin

    04/12/2017

    It looks like you had a great time. So nice to get away even if it is a lot of work getting ready, while you are there, and when you get home. Enjoyed pictures of kids. Where did you find such a cute hat for Simon (with the eyes)? I think it is so fun! Glad you had a good trip.

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  8. Debbie

    04/12/2017

    Someday will come soon enough. So how many suitcase did you bring for this trip? The whole family on vacation sounds like a fun time.

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha — yes, soon enough πŸ™‚
    We had 3 suitcases, the carseat bag, and a stroller (which we checked at the gate). Not horrible considering we had life jackets, puddle jumpers, toys, books, diapers, crib bedding, and even quite a few groceries packed along. We also don’t carry much on the plain — just the diaper bag, our laptop, and Nora and Simon each had a little back packs with a snack and a few coloring books.
    We could have easily fit everything in 2 suitcases without the groceries and diapers!

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  9. shan

    04/12/2017

    Andrea, we were just there for three weeks in March, for vacation and to attend the Ligonier Bible Conference. Orange Lake resort is wonderful for families with young children! I love the beautiful grounds and the amenities. I’m sure there was a lot of work involved getting packed for everyone’s needs and also to have all you blog posts ready to go! You’re amazing! Now you can rest up from your vacation πŸ™‚

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    Andrea Reply:

    yes, it’s fabulous! I was telling Dave that we really need to go for 2 weeks because we were finally finding our “vacation groove” by about the 4th or 5th day — and then it’s almost time to come home again!

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  10. Susie

    04/12/2017

    Fun! Good thing 10 years goes fast! If we stopped at 4 kids we would be at that point, but we have 8 kids and I am giving up on traveling! Just kidding- I still love to go but not as much as I used to. My husband still drags us camping and wonders why I don’t want to go much.

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha — we will NOT be going for 8 kids, so 10 year might actually work for us!

    Also, you are a saint for going camping with 8 kids. I’ve never been camping, but I’m positive I won’t try it with little kids!

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  11. Chris

    04/12/2017

    Sounds like so much fun! And such a great thing that your family is close enough to be able to take a vacation together. We have done that sometimes. Does your Dad belong to IHG? We got a credit card through them about two years ago and have been enjoying free hotel nights but have never been to that resort. It sounds fun!

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    Andrea Reply:

    I have no idea what IHG is, but my parents own several units at Orange Lake. They sell weeks to people throughout the year, trade for other vacation destinations across the country, and use them for frugal vacation for our family πŸ™‚

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    Chris Reply:

    I think it’s affiliated with Holiday Inn. See ihg.com

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    Chris Reply:

    Oh, I just noticed, when I clicked on your link for your resort, it takes you to ihg.com πŸ™‚

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    Andrea Reply:

    well OK then! I honestly don’t think my parents have anything to do with ihg.com, but who knows. I know they deal directly with people at Orange Lake to do most of their trading.

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  12. ShellyL

    04/12/2017

    I love it!! The kids are sooooo cute. That must have been a treat for your bunch to have warm weather this time of year. I’m sure the kids loved the swimming and water play. Thanks for sharing. I’ve never heard of the resort. I’ll have to check that out.

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    Andrea Reply:

    yes! It was SO warm — mid 90’s almost every day!

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  13. Amber Woods

    04/12/2017

    Andrea,
    I am planning to fly with my two kiddos in Augus. Jake is 3 and Lily Kate will be 5. Did they just sit in the seat on the plane? No booser? Do you just check their carseats for ince you arrive at the destination?
    Thanks!

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    Andrea Reply:

    yeah they were fine sitting in the seats — from what I understand, you can’t even bring boosters on the plane. It has to be a carseat with a non-detachable back (at least that’s what our airline said).

    I honestly didn’t bring James’ carseat on for safety reasons (after all, if the airplane crashes, a car seat probably won’t do him much good), I bought it because we only had one car seat carrying bag and I knew he would sit better in a seat he’s comfortable in (and I was right!) We fit both Simon’s and Nora’s booster seats in the 1 car seat carrying bag and checked that to pick up once we arrived. It worked out really slick!

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    Suzanne Reply:

    We just flew American and United ~ American provided us a bag for our booster seat but United didn’t. Our booster seat made it just fine with and without a bag!

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