vacationing as a family of 5: parenting achievement unlocked!

Two weeks ago, we got home from what I feared was an insane trip with only the potential for misery and regret. Meaning: we drove 3 kids (one of them a newborn) over 600 miles to a beach house in Emerald Isle, North Carolina.

Put your hands in the air if you're excited for the beach!!!

Spoiler alert: it didn’t suck.

Yes, the drive was long. Especially with a baby who was going through a growth spurt and a mother with a milk supply that was struggling (more on that later because that’s a WHOLE other post, my friends.), but overall the trip was fine. The girls had their DVD screens in the van (OMG WE LOVE THIS VAN) and I had activity bags for the girls that kept them plenty busy. We hardly heard a peep from them after the first 10 minutes the morning we left. (We were literally 1/4 mile from home and Audrey asked “Are we there yet??” haaaaaa) We drove a little over halfway that first day, then slept at a hotel that night.

At the hotel! We maaaaade it!

We had to make a lot of stops along the way because Zach just wanted to eat and eat and scream and eat and scream, but eventually, after two long days of driving and me hanging my butt over the passenger seat to replace a lost binky for the eleven thousandth time on the interstate, WE MADE IT. And this was our view for the week.



Now, let’s be clear: this was most certainly NOT a relaxing, sip-fruity-drinks-in-the-sand, then take a nap under a beach umbrella kind of a vacation. It was a family trip. Ten adults, six kids under the age of six, plus a dog. Crazy and chaotic but also fun and everyone got along and it was a really, really awesome week. (The group was: us, my parents, my sister, her husband, and my nephew (and their dog), my sister’s in-laws, and my sister’s friends and their two kids. Quite a crew!)

The agenda for the week was basically do what you want! Go to the pool! Hang out at the beach! Watch tv! Sit on the balcony! Eat when and whatever you want! Each family cooked dinner for everyone one night, so we had some pretty great meals. Vacation food is better than at-home food. Fact.

Maggie has been to the beach three other times, but not since she was three years old. Every other trip, she wouldn’t go NEAR the ocean, but this time she was riding waves the first day. And Audrey? She pointed out into the deep water and asked Dan if they could “go out dere??” because she’s a crazy nutball who will probably give me a million minor heart attacks by the time she’s 12. And once they got tired of the sand and salt water, there was a pool at the house. So.

They had a good time, I think.











Zach was enjoying his first beach trip by deciding that naps were for the birds and he would only sleep while being held and rocked on the top floor balcony over-looking the ocean, thanks.

His first taste of salty sea air

Not a fan of the sun hat, MOM.

balcony nap #37

Skeptical beach baby is skeptical.

looking down / looking up #currentview
We took turns on balcony nap duty.

Beach snooze
He did take one beach blanket nap!

chatty dude

Even though his naps were terrible, he slept pretty well at night so we’ll just say AMEN TO THAT.

Dan and I ended up splitting our Parenting Duties for the week. Usually one of us would take the girls and the other would stay with the baby. Sometimes our paths would cross at the pool or on the beach. And a few days, the stars aligned with naps long enough for each of us to take some time on our own. I spent one glorious afternoon at the beach without the kids and it was quite lovely.

Today is hard.

I mean, I had all these yahoos next to me, but I wasn’t responsible for feeding or wiping or napping any of them so !!!!

Toes in the water, butts in the sand, watching the tide roll in.

I’ve had a few people ask me how I handled the beach trip with my boot. My answer is: I took the damn thing off. I checked with the doctor before I left and he said it was fine to do as long as I felt okay. So I very carefully hobbled to the beach each day in my running shoes (no socks) then took them off once I got there. I was able to walk barefoot in the sand just fine, as long as I stayed on my heel. Then, when it was time to head back, I’d put clean socks over my sandy feet before putting my shoes on, that way my shoes stayed moderately sand-free. I HAD A METHOD, YOU SEE. ha. It wasn’t ideal and I felt like a goofball wearing shoes to the beach, but it worked. And I was allowed to swim too. Basically the doctor just said go by how it feels, if it hurts, stop doing whatever you’re doing. Common sense, FTW!

A few other things of note: Maggie lost her very first tooth while at the beach! So that was exciting. She pulled it out herself which I NEVER thought she’d do, so I was oddly proud.

Sooooo, apparently the Tooth Fairy comes to the beach? #firsttooth

Also, I was very very glad that my dad decided to make the trip with us. I know it wasn’t an easy drive for him because his health isn’t the greatest lately, but it was awesome having him there. I hope he had a good time with all of us (even if the kids were INSAAAAAAANE at times)

Pap Pap & Casey

Oh! And this was our house. I loved the palm trees. It was called ‘Aye Candy’. Beach house names are ridiculous (there was one across the street called ‘Finally’ and another called ‘Risky Business’. haaaaa)


Okay I feel like things are getting random and rambly now so I’ll stop. Here are more pictures. The beach is pretty and I’m so so glad we went. (And, like we told each other a few times, this is the hardest most ridiculous vacation we’ll ever take, given our children’s ages, so YAY! CROSS THAT OFF OF OUR LIST WHEW!!)





(and no matter how amazing a trip is, this is always a welcome sight after two days in a car with three kids.)



  1. Jesabes

    August 5, 2013 2:42 pm

    You did it! Yay! I’m looking forward to a nice Charleston beach sans kids.

  2. K

    August 6, 2013 1:35 pm

    Oh! I’ve been waiting for this post as I wanted to hear/read how it went. Your pictures are marvelous. : )

  3. HereWeGoAJen

    August 6, 2013 3:14 pm

    This looks like the best trip! I mean, at least as best as it can be with all those children!

  4. Sunshine

    August 7, 2013 8:08 am

    Emerald Isle is my favorite. Haven’t been there since I graduated high school! Your pics are beautiful — so glad you had a great trip.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *