She Says… Vacay 2014

Ahhh, home. It’s good to be home.

No matter how much fun we have while we’re away… it’s always good to be home.

We skedaddled for a little vacay last week! I went from full throttle work to full throttle “closing the computer and leaving the phone turned off”. Didn’t think once about blogging or checking Facebook or anything more than a cursory glance at my personal inbox. Barely even Instagrammed or Tweeted, which is kind of unlike me.

It was, in a word, freeing. And relaxing. And fun. (Ok, that was 3 words). Not that my vacation couldn’t have been all of those things WITH the computer/phone connection, of course. I’m not one of the “you have to get rid of your phone in order to enjoy life” types of people; there’s a time and a place for all types of social interaction. But it did remove an element of “oh, I have to just do this one thing” from my day, and it felt good.

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The boys’ school is closed every year for the week of July 4th, so it has become our annual family vacation week. Since we’re still very much in the throes of scheduling our days around kids’ needs (naps, meals, snacks, bedtimes), I find it more comfortable to “vacation” somewhere that feels like home rather than an exotic locale where we’ll all be sleeping in the same hotel room or something equally as inconvenient.

And nothing feels more like home than… my sister’s home! As I’ve mentioned in the past, my 3 siblings and mom all live in the Delaware/Philly area, and my Dad still lives in Baltimore, where I grew up. I’m the only one who flew the coop to come up north, so all it takes for a real family reunion is for me to say, “We’re coming to visit!”. And that’s exactly what happened.

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It was a COUSIN PARTY.

– 6 kids under the age of 7
– 5 days
under 1 roof

To say that we need a vacation from our vacation is an understatement. But it was a blast!

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The last time the bigger cousins saw Emmett, he was only 2 months old or so (for my little sister’s wedding last summer). This time they kept saying, “Can I hold him in my lap on the couch?” and I’d have to remind them that he’s in charge now. And he doesn’t sit for very long in anyone’s lap. He’s toddling and cruising everywhere… even despite all of the cousins picking him up, knocking him down and otherwise impeding his wobbly steps.

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Our week was chock full of playtime, playtime and more playtime. We took 1 field trip to a nearby potato chip factory (fun!), and 1 day trip down to Baltimore to see one of my dearest friends, but other than that we stuck around my sister’s house and ate and played and ate and played and ate and played some more. It takes a lot of carseats to get a group of this many people out the door!

Biggest perk of vacationing there? THE POOL.

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Benjamin took an underwater camera and captured some awesome footage of our little fishies. I’ll share that once it is edited.

Thanks to following his big cousins around, Owen learned how to hold his breath underwater and REALLY SWIM! We just started swim lessons before vacation and when we went back on Monday his teacher said we need to move him up a level or two because he can actually swim. What a difference a week makes! Perhaps he WILL be the next Michael Phelps.

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This year marked the very 1st 4th of July when we let Owen stay awake for the firework festivities. I was nervous about how he would react to a bedtime several hours later than normal, and the loud noises and unpredictability of the fireworks themselves (as one gets after having a “spirited” child for nearly 4 years!), but as it turned out, he impressed me yet again.

He stayed awake, acted like an angel waiting for fireworks, was mesmerized by the display of lights (and shielded from the noise by Aunt Kim’s magical headphones — GENIUS) and went right to bed when we got home.

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Thankfully my sister’s husband offered to stay home so Emmett could sleep right through the excitement. Hallelujah.

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As if staying up for fireworks wasn’t enough for one day, we also went to a parade! Again, the headphones were key for the sensory sensitive.

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It was also the first year I felt comfortable with handing my wild child a lit, burning stick.

Once again, it went fine. Better than fine. It was fantastic.

Pajamas + glow sticks + sparklers + fireworks = best night ever.

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We capped off the almost week-long festivities with our annual crab feast to honor our Baltimore roots. If you’ve never had Baltimore crabs… you’re missing out.

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Even Emmett thinks so.

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We may have been pushing our luck on this one, but we closed out the crab feast with post-dinner swimming (when it’s usually bath time), s’mores and setting off fireworks of our own right in the back yard (aka another very late night). Once again, I was thankful to be able to put Emmett to sleep so he never knew what he was missing, and I could enjoy the fun without a squirmy baby in my arms.

 

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It was a week of firsts, especially for Owen.

  • First time swimming underwater and coming up for air in between
  • First time staying up super late and partying with the big kids
  • First time having s’mores (we found gluten free graham crackers!)
  • First time seeing fireworks
  • First time doing sparklers
  • First time LIGHTING fireworks
  • And many, many more memories

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It was a very happy and full week. But nothing like a trip away to make you appreciate being home.

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2 responses to “She Says… Vacay 2014

  1. Sounds like a wonderful family vacation filled with lots of memories!
    And some really cool firsts for Owen! Good for you guys!

    I am wondering how adaptable he is about sleeping in other places/late bedtimes, etc? We really struggle with our soon to be 4 year old (she is less than a week older than Owen). She basically refuses to sleep anywhere but her bed. She may fall asleep in the car for a low quality car nap, but that’s pretty much it. If she doesn’t get her usual nap and bed times, she is a beast later AND the following day. I would love any tricks/ideas you might have!
    Thanks!!!

  2. @Megan, Sleeping outside of our home is really tricky for Owen. As a younger child and baby he had a REALLY hard time and would rarely sleep past 3am in a ‘weird’ spot. His room at home is perfectly dark with the perfect amount of light from his nightlight and quiet with only the sound of his woosher. Even when we travel with all of those tools and block the windows, it’s just not the same. It has recently gotten quite a bit better as he can articulate what is bothering him about the room so we can move it/fix it, or at least he can understand “this is the way it is for tonight, and in 2 nights we’ll be back home”. This trip we had a lot of coming out of his room once we’d put him to bed, but you can’t really blame him since the adults were making noise and he could tell he was missing out on fun. It’s getting better, is all I can say, and I hope the same for you.

    I do think it’s totally child-specific, though. Emmett seems to have no problem at all sleeping in any bed, as long as it’s at the right time. Thank goodness for his flexibility!

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