We went on a family vacation this year.
Our typical criteria for a true vacation usually goes something like this:
- Will you be staying with relatives?
- Will you be cooking your own meals?
- Will you be taking children?
If the answer is “YES” to any of the above, then it’s not a vacation; it’s a family trip (read more on this topic here, in a blog post I wish I would have written myself).
While it technically wasn’t a vacation in the truest spirit of the word, I still don’t hesitate to call it one because above all, vacations are supposed to be awesome. And, well…this was RIGHTEOUS.
Even now, looking back on it three months later not only am I continually amazed that we pulled off a round-trip cross country excursion via the Swagger Wagon, but just how perfectly everything fell into place to make it one of our best times spent together as a family to date.
First there was the extended weekend stay in the Hagerstown area:
Even though we’ve been through a number of times over the past few years, we as a family unit hadn’t spent a significant amount of time (a.k.a. more than 24 hours) in the city in which I was born and raised since 2011 (before Lola was even born). Even then, we didn’t get out much with three 18 month olds, a pregnant Missy, and the unforgiving winter weather keeping us indoors.
This time around, surprise family gatherings…
…and a trip through childhood stomping grounds…
…served as the perfect (re)introductions to the hub city.
However, we were soon back in the family van for another, albeit much shorter, road trip to the beach.
My folks just bought a place in Ocean Pines, MD and we were anxious to properly break it in, plus meet up with the rest of the siblings that haven’t been able to see us in H-Town. The plan: cram six adults, four kids, and four dogs in a 900 SF beach house.
As insane as that sounds, it actually…worked! With three bedrooms, an eat-in kitchen, sleeper sofa, and expansive back deck …
…the perfect spot for crab feasts and porch drinking, I might add..
…we were all able to settle in without issue.
Plus my Dad slept in a (well-furnished) tent outside…but something tells me the 50-year Boy Scouts of America vet didn’t mind all that much.
Ocean Pines is only a ten minute car ride from downtown Ocean City, but it feels other-worldly compared to the hustle and chaos of the strip. It was a great place to return “home” to after a hot, busy day on the beach.
Which is where we spent a majority of our time, anyway!
We all love the beach!
As the week went on, we added four more to our crew. First, Uncle Addie arrived with then-girlfriend/now fiancé (!!!) Rachel…
…then Uncle Bob with his girlfriend Rachel!
It was our first time meeting them either of them, and the first time we’ve all been in the same place all at the same time.
They could not have been cooler and more “all-in” meeting our wild and crazy crew.
Naturally, it was also the perfect opportunity for updated family pictures…
…which, as you know, is our end-of-the-beach family tradition unlike any other.
Especially when things get goofy.
Those socks though.
Yet all-too-soon, we were back in the car again and heading west. We stayed for an extra beach day in Ocean City on Saturday, which put us back in H-Town after midnight. Even so, we were up and out by 6:30 the next morning, anxious to get back on the road.
The girls were super road troopers, toughing out motion sickness and cabin fever for a marathon trip back to Iowa in a single day.
The only bad part is now that we know we can manage it, we’ll want to do it more often than my paid vacation days allow. I guess that’s a good problem to have 🙂
Most of the time these blog posts serve as a living time capsule for Missy and me. Even though it’s hard to recap such a great vacation via blog post, especially one that happened three months ago…I thank you for indulging me and I hope you still enjoyed the picture barrage!