Our Very First Family Vacation!

posted by Andrea | 04/17/2015
Print pageEmail page

16907170729_3a3a35005e_z

We made it… whew! 

Our very first family vacation with kids and I didn’t forget anything, we had a lot of fun, and we all made it home safe and sound (I kind of feel like I deserve a medal or something!)

Besides a few local cottage vacations with Dave’s immediate family, this was the very first vacation we have taken since before Nora was born (4 years). And aside from visiting family in different states, this was only the 2nd vacation we’ve taken since our honeymoon (9 years ago) so yes, we were due for some time away from home.

Although neither Dave nor I are big on traveling with little kids, we had the perfect opportunity to “tag along” on my parent’s spring break vacation (which lined up with Dave’s spring break from school) and we knew that if we didn’t do a vacation before our next little guy arrives this summer, it would be another couple years before we had the chance.

So… we did it!

It almost seems like we’ve been anticipating this vacation for 2 years now because our original plan was to take Nora on vacation with my parents LAST spring break… but when we found out we were pregnant with Simon and he was going to be born only a couple weeks before spring break, we canceled those plans and pushed them back another year.

When we started making plans for this year, I almost “pulled the plug” on the whole deal again because I just felt like traveling with 2 little kids (and being pregnant again) was going to be WAY more work than what it was worth — and that is partially true!

However, Dave kept pushing me to go… and EVERYTHING fell right into place, making it clear that this was the perfect opportunity for my non-travel-loving self to get out of my comfort zone and do something I wouldn’t normally do.

For starters, my parents were planning to head to Orange Lake Resort (our family’s favorite vacation spot since we first discovered it 15 years ago) and had a large enough condo that there would be plenty of space for our family to tag along — and they weren’t going to charge us!

Then, my dad found an amazing deal on non-stop airfare directly from our local airport into Orlando.

And for the icing on the cake, my dad also discovered that he could get a rental van much cheaper in Michigan than in Florida — so since my dad is crazy and actually loves driving, he offered to pick up the rental van in Michigan and drive ALLLLLL the way down to Florida so he could take all our luggage, car seats, strollers, pack ‘n play, etc. etc.

My mom still flew with Dave, me, and the kids (so we had an extra set of helping hands) and when we got off the plane in Orlando, my dad was already there waiting for us since he left a couple days early. We only had to take a small umbrella stroller, a few snacks, our laptop, and the diaper bag on the plane!

Talk about the most perfect situation for a travel novice like myself 🙂

The kids handled the flight down there pretty well. It was later in the afternoon (after Simon’s nap). However, he did start to get pretty tired at the end and was crying some during the landing.

Nora did SO much better than I thought she would do, even during a 5-minute VERY turbulent period when we were flying through a rough storm. Thankfully, she was watching a movie during that time so she just cried a little and went back to her show.

nora on the plane

Once we were at the resort, we basically stayed put (which was our plan all along).

We hung out at the various pools and splash pads, played in the sand, lounged in the sun, went for walks on the extensive golf cart paths, played around on the putting greens right outside our room, splashed in the huge jacuzzi tub, and watched a good amount of HGTV 🙂

Simon was definitely more adventurous than Nora was when it came to splashing, getting his face wet, and being in the pool — but Nora definitely still enjoyed her time in “Fworida”.

Oh, and as you can probably see by some of the pictures, one of my sisters ended up coming along at the last minute. She’s a nurse and has a somewhat flexible schedule — so since my Dad was already driving down, she just tagged along with him in the van. She and Nora had a good time in the pools, and my sister even got Nora to try one of the water slides! By the end of the week, Nora was eagerly going down the slide on her own!

Even though we did not do anything with Disney World AND we had 3 extra adults to help out with the kiddos, it still wasn’t what I would consider a “relaxing” vacation (is there even such thing as a relaxing vacation with kids?)

Yes, it was a change of pace (which I fully appreciate) but I felt like I was constantly watching my kids to make sure no one was drowning or getting lost or wandering off or putting something gross in their mouth. And someone always needed a snack or a bottle or a diaper change or a nap or just to be held for a while — even with Dave, my parents, and my sister around, I’m still the go-to person when my kids need something.

The sleeping situation was also a bit interesting because all 4 of us were in one bedroom. Nora had a bed, Dave and I had a bed, and Simon was in the pack ‘n play — which he did NOT like at all. He loves his crib, and it took 2.5 days to FINALLY get him to more willingly sleep in the pack ‘n play without screaming and crying and needing to be walked around the resort at 10:30pm, or 3:00am, or 6:00am to fall back asleep in the stroller.

Needless to say, I personally didn’t sleep much the entire trip, but Nora and Dave slept fine… and Simon’s lack of sleeping at night meant he took some crazy-long afternoon naps in the stroller by the pool 🙂

All-in-all, it was a really fun week and although I do think we were all glad to be home again (especially Simon), I’m happy we took this opportunity to squeeze in our very first family vacation before the new baby comes (in about 10 more weeks — yikes!)

That said, we don’t have plans to do any more long-distance traveling with small children in the near future 🙂

Cheers to a fun first family vacation, lots of great memories… and all being home again!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Filed under: FamilyTravel

 
 

Leave a comment

20 comments

  1. Kelly Hess

    04/27/2015

    I always say once you have kids your vacations are never the same. Ours our 9, 6 and 2 and have traveled somewhere with them every year. Yes at times it is tough (especially the sleeping arrangements, I just slept with my 2 year for a week in the Smoky Mountains) but I look past that and think of the memories you are making. The BEST and most vivid memories I have of my childhood were our family vacations. I am determined to give my children the same. And yes it does get easier when they get older!

    [Reply]

  2. Michele

    04/21/2015

    This is a perfect example of needing a vacation from your vacation! I remember those days. When my oldest was 5 months old, my husband had some business in Hawaii and we decided that not only would we tag along but why not bring my 4 year old niece too. We went to Oahu and had a crazy week. NOT relaxing at all. We decided to extend the trip for a week and go to Kauai. After loading 18 pieces of luggage, including a pack and play, 2 car seats and 2 strollers onto the plane and dealing with a crying baby and whiny toddler for a very short island hopper flight we decided to sit on the plane and relax while everyone deplaned. As younger, pregnant couple passed us they commented about how cute the kids were and how that would be them soon…….my husband responded, “get a motor home”. Just had to share. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes… but to be perfectly honest, since I’m a major homebody, I almost ALWAYS feel like I need a vacation from our vacations because I’d just rather be home! I’m weird, I know!

    [Reply]

    Michele Reply:

    I feel the same way. I hate packing and being out of my element. Funny because even though my girls are old enough and have been taught to pack for themselves, it is still a daunting task for me. I would rather stay home and do something to our house but my husband is the opposite and has the mind set of “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” and lives for his vacations.

    [Reply]

  3. Jenni

    04/18/2015

    Oh my . . . so many thoughts . . . you were very brave to do that, even with the help you had. I think I would have just said, “Nope, having a baby in a couple of months, and I want to rest.” Last year we skipped our annual flight to California to do a similar thing with my husband’s in-laws because I had just had a baby, and while others thought it would be no big deal to fly with four kids ages 6 and under, one of them being one month old, I knew myself better than that. Me + a newborn in a room with three other kids sleeping there = NO WAY.

    We did decide to go this year only because my husband’s grandmother is turning 99 and she has not met our youngest one yet. I am hoping that it will be fun while we are there and that we can avoid the issues of our baby sleeping in a different location.

    I am glad you guys had a good time, though and had such supportive family. It looks like Nora had a lot of fun!

    [Reply]

  4. Tracey

    04/18/2015

    So happy for you guys! You did it!!!

    The photos (and memories!) are priceless. I especially love the one of Simon in the tub…that face!!

    Yay Dekkers!!

    [Reply]

  5. MomofTwoPreciousGirls

    04/17/2015

    I have seen photos of all three of your pregnancies and you wear it very well! You look amazing!
    Yeah, hubby had business in Miami and it coincided with spring break. The kids and I tagged along. 10 hour drive there, 12 back and hubby was at the office all day while I took care of the kids. He kept saying I was on a vacation and I just laughed. It was really just mommycare instead of daycare!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much 🙂

    And I laughed out loud when you said “mommycare instead of daycare”. I had 3 other adults helping me — so I’m SURE I had it easier than you did!

    [Reply]

  6. Kalyn Brooke | Creative Savings

    04/17/2015

    So glad you had a good time! It’s always nice to get away for a little while. My grandparent’s used to own a timeshare at Orange Lake, so it was fun looking through your pictures and reminiscing. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yay for Orange Lake — we LOVE it there!

    [Reply]

  7. Stel

    04/17/2015

    I had to explain that to a career-chickie once (ex-careerchick myself), about although you’re on holiday, you still continue with the day-to-day mom-things every day. She was blown away, never really thought about it. I think we do find it easier than you, though, my kids have travelled since birth, both looong-distance road trips and long haul international flights, and it’s easier every time.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — I think it IS hard to realize all the many responsibilities children bring with them until you have your own. At least that’s how it worked with me!

    [Reply]

  8. rose

    04/17/2015

    You’ve got a very cute family!!!! Totally true about mom not really being able to relax on a family vaca…..Enjoyed the pics

    [Reply]

  9. lydia @ frugaldebtfreelife

    04/17/2015

    And you took them on a plane! That’s bonus points.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes maybe — but I think the real “heros” are those who drive 25 hours in a car with little tots. I seriously don’t know how they all arrive at their destination alive!

    [Reply]

    Michelle Bonk Reply:

    Ha ha … we live in Ontario and it is “the norm” to drive to Florida … we’ve done it with 4 kids (ages 2-10). Definitely an eventful drive!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    wow — you are way braver than I am!

    I guess I’d just choose not to go if we had to drive — but that’s because I have horrible motion sickness and hate driving pretty much anywhere that’s more than 2 hours away 🙂

    [Reply]

    Michelle Bonk Reply:

    The DVD player in the van was a godsend.

    And the cost of airfare made driving a necessity.

    It really wasn’t horrible!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, I’m sure when all our kids are older, we might not fly either (we only had to pay for Nora’s ticket this time)… but we also might not drive all the way to Florida (unless Dave drugs me and drives the whole way by himself — LOL!)

    [Reply]

    Michelle Bonk Reply:

    Ha ha … my husband did 90% of the driving! I dealt with food/drink/boredom issues!

    The bonus with driving is being able to take all you gear. And having a vehicle at hand for groceries, etc.

    We’ve since flown with our older two (and are doing that again in October with our younger two) and while it’s so much quicker it does make packing trickier!