For over a year we’ve been planning the big one. The big vacation to Florida to attend Matt’s brother’s wedding. Matt’s parents wanted us to take advantage of the location to enjoy a large family vacation. Beach houses were rented and I began planning for the longest drive we’ve done with five kids and the longest time we’ve been gone from home. Since we were already making the long trek to Florida we decided to add on a trip to Orlando to do some Theme Parks since it was highly unlikely we would travel that far again. The big stressor for me was the drive. Since about 2 years old Ben has been a TERRIBLE traveler. A two minute drive to church on Sunday can al be almost unbearable. He struggles with being strapped to a seat, enclosed in a small space with 6 other people, and the anxiety of how long it will take to get somewhere. We decided to leave on Friday night just before bedtime and drive all night to let the kids sleep for a large part of the drive. This was the first time Matt and I also attempted to drive through the night. We left at about 8:00 p.m. and arrived in Pensacola around 1:30 p.m. the next day.
Thanks to A LOT of people praying for us and Pinterest the trip was a success. The kids did amazing, especially Ben. I packed a tote of activities, favorite snacks and some new movies. Our destination was worth every minute in the car.
This was the view from our back door. The ocean was just on the other side of those houses.
The beach houses were amazing. Four families stayed in one house with all of the younger kids and everyone else stayed in the house next door (with the blue roof). We spent the first four days relaxing, swimming in both the pools and the Gulf. We celebrated birthdays and anniversaries, the girls went to get our nails done and the guys had a night out with the groom.
This is what the view of the pool looked like for four days straight.
I was very nervous about the kids swimming in the ocean. The thought of them getting sucked out to sea made me sick to my stomach but once I got out there with them it was too much fun to worry about what could, but probably wouldn’t, happen.
Both of the boys loved the waves. Jacob called them “mean waves” because they kept knocking him over. Every once in a while he’d really get knocked down and he’d get mad, storm off, take a break and jump right back in. Ben has been very into geography this summer so he was absolutely geeked about swimming in the Gulf of Mexico.
The guys played football and the kids had quite a collection of shells by the end of the week.
I asked Bridget to take some family pics of us, taking advantage of the beautiful background. It was HOT and the sun was so bright that it was hard not to squint but I am still happy with the pictures we got. I look at these pictures and I can’t believe these are my kids and how blessed we are! God is so good to us!
The houses and location couldn’t have been more perfect. Matt and I enjoyed early morning walks on the beach, sitting by the pool under the stars and every night falling asleep in the porch swing right outside our bedroom door. The house was big enough that Ben didn’t get too overwhelmed by all the people. He was able to have quiet times by himself and had fun playing with his cousins. It was the perfect balance of family, relaxation and fun. I will hopefully have all my pictures posted on Facebook this weekend.
The week went by so fast and it was time for the wedding then pack up to leave for the next adventure.
To be continued…..in Orlando!