Once upon a time, there was a girl.
Actually, a mom.
A mom and her three  little kiddos.

Uh, yes, three kiddos. One didn’t make it on the picture.

And she had a friend.
A very dear friend, whom she had made so many memories with in Pennsylvania and Ohio and all across Asia.
This same friend invited her to Florida for several days.

The mom deliberated.
It sure sounded fun.
This friend is so dear indeed.
And there was a new baby girl to meet.

But it was 6 hours away. One way.
With three kids.  Because it didn’t work for Husband to go.
Would it be brave or crazy?

There was much deliberation.
But then she decided:
it was waaaay too much fun to say no.

So they went.
And they picked up the mom’s sister on the way, which also added to the off-the-charts fun factor.

 

They stayed at a house with the friend, her friend’s mom, her friend’s mother-in-law, her friend’s sister-in-laws and baby.
It was such great times.
There was always a party.
Even for the kids.

 

They got to meet this adorably beautiful little girl, who has so much personality for a three-month-old person.
And the time with the baby’s mother was just so amazing.
Real friendships just are so precious.

There were a few moments of stress for the mom,
including one morning when all her kiddos awoke at 7am to a house that was planning to sleep in.

She had to send up an SOS to the Lord to calm her soul,
and help her with a vacation that was more like a superfunsuperbusytime than rest and relaxing.
Kids sort of make that change, and she wasn’t quite prepared.

But after that one morning, it was really great.

There was her grandmother to visit, Grandma Susan, as the kiddos call her, about fifteen minutes away.
[and no, I’m no towering giant. my dear grandma is not quite 5 feet. :) ]


There were oceans to visit.
Or, I suppose it was actually the Gulf.

[pre-ocean anticipation]

 
 

 

There was a fabulous kids’ paradise to spend the day at.
The kids and the mom were even brave enough to touch the snakes and gators.

 

There was an auntie who loved her nieces and nephew so very much, and was a great help to the mom.

And a mom/daughter picture that hasn’t happened for a very long time.

There were jungle trails to walk, with popcorn in hand, of course.
What else would you eat while walking a jungle trail?

 

And there were flamingos to feed that made the oldest daughter simply leap with excitement.

The happiness factor brought sisterly hugs to pictures with not even a hint from mom.

 

There was a favorite little breakfast joint to eat one morning. Er, two mornings.

And ice cream. They couldn’t forget the ice cream.
It was a daily necessity, from anywhere and everywhere.

This was probably the favorite place.

It was a pretty big WOW of their vacation.


And then, despite the attempts to lengthen the days and the desires to the kiddos to “let’s MOVE here!”
it was time to return home to their very own little cottage.

The sister’s husband came to have a romantic weekend getaway with his bride.

And the three kiddos and a mom made their way back home.
The first three hours was a dream.
It really was amazing. Sleeping children, singing children.
It was too good to be true.

At hour three, we ran into a problem:
the interstate was closed. Closed closed CLOSED.
There was a massive detour which would take hours longer.

The mother, who had been deliberating whether to call herself ‘brave’ or ‘crazy’ decided on crazy. :)

A stop at Walmart to buy movies (hey, movies are cheaper than a hotel!)
a stop at McD’s for Happy Meals (gotta keep up the morale with new toys)
and a few years, I mean tears, later,
they all arrived back home safely.

The six hours home only took nine.
Yes, nine.
She felt like a rag doll when she got home.

It was a delicious vacation, there in Florida.
It was worth every minute of that nine hour trip home alone.

But three kids and a mom [on vacation] later, they’re happy to be back home with the Daddy of the family.

And they all lived happily [ever after]……. :)

 

 

31 thoughts on “Three Kids and a Mom {vacation}

  1. baileyandme

    WOW. what a gorgeous vacation! thanks for sharing the pictures with us. funny, i met dora for the first time a few weekends ago and i thought about it that i was pretty sure you 2 are good friends. her baby is so pretty! sterling was like: “i like-y.” :)
    i loved seeing your purse- totally brought back memories that we have the same purse- i would have forgotten that. my handle is actually broken right now and i always forget to repair it. i miss it though- what a bombin’ purse! you rock it especially well! i love your outfit too. you always look like a million bucks. :)
    oh man- the detour at the end! wow. you were brave. i remember i met G and his high schoolers in gettysburg once with my 2 girls. that trip took me 9 HOURS because i had to stop. all.the.time. wow, i got there and was just totally shot.
    was really fun to see you posted again! thx………

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  2. baileyandme

    oh, and i am with thelma, i loved the pretty, unique, yet modest, swimming suits. call me old fashioned- but i do not like the 2-piece suits they make for little girls. a bikini on a 5 year old? no thanks. i got elle a gorgeous one-piece at Gap last year on clearance- but poor laila always gets a discolored, stretched-out, hand-me-down. SAD.

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  3. JessicaThisBlessedLife

    I just want to let you know that I absolutely positively LOVE your blog! It’s one of my top 5 favorites and I get so happy when I see you’ve posted! :) I especially love pictures of your home (I know it sounds totally shallow but I think you have great decorating taste and I’ve pinned a bunch of your pictures!). Anyway, I hope this doesn’t sound weird, but can I ask if what you’re wearing in the beach picture is a swimsuit or some kind of cover-up? I have the hardest time finding appropriate swimwear and there are SO few women who feel the same way I do about not showing everything off just because you happen to be swimming. I really respect how modestly you dress – and yet you still look so in style! I’d love to know what that was or where you buy your swimsuits! Thanks! :)

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  4. zanyzeal

    First of all how adorable are you? Love your outfits. Second of all how adorable is your kids? I am so glad you had a wonderful time and thanks for allowing me to travel to the sunny beach as I stare outside my window with still about a foot of snow on the ground

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  5. madisonsmom2

    I’ve done these kinds of vacations too. The hair pulling moments are crazy but in a few years you look back and just remember the good times. :) Beautiful photos.

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  6. grandpas_gurl

    LOVE. Cherishing every memory…it was sooo special to do this with you & the kids. I felt so refreshed after that week, & am so thankful for you guys and the time we could spend together! Cheers to living so close to Sarasota! :) Hugs!

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  7. lifeisadance

    @fruitloops115 – @baileyandme – I know, I LOVE the girls’ swimsuits. One was from Target, the other (drumroll, please) Walmart (!). :)  And I’m with you two – I like simple, modest swimwear for my girls. I wish I would have bought one of these in every size I could, because I’m not sure these will fit them through the summer and I can’t find more.  I’ll let you know if I find more – and you let me know too, okay? :)

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  8. lifeisadance

    @Jabber_wock – I laughed at this: “I decided I wasn’t suicidal enough” – because that’s about the truth! :) It was SO worth it though, but I probably won’t be trying it again soon! :)
     And Hudson, I KNOW. He is just a big boy, double his size in clothing. It kinda makes me proud and sad at the same time.

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  9. lifeisadance

    – @WasabiBek – I thought of you SO often while I was down there and all the FUN times we had! It seems like a lifetime ago, those single days of roadtripping. :) I was hoping to call you on my trip but with three kids it just didn’t work. :) And this week is really busy with a funeral here… But it’s time I call you again!

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  10. lifeisadance

    @JessicaThisBlessedLife – Hey, thanks for stopping by ~ I’m quite honored! And I don’t think you’re shallow at all, I love a kid-friendly but beautifully decorated house too! :) As for the swimwear, that is a dilemna here too… I was wearing a sundress over swimwear in the picture for strolling the beach. I just LOVE little sundresses for that purpose – it’s cute and feminine but also a lot more modest. And I find the dresses mostly at goodwill. :) Or cheap at stores like Rue 21, Forever 21, places like that… Nice swimwear I am looking for! I’ve heard limericki.com is a good place, and hapari.com, and jenclothing.com…. however, those are rather expensive and that’s why I don’t have something from there YET. :) But I’m told they run good sales, I just haven’t found them at the right time. Good luck!

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  11. luvnthejourney

    so jealous you got to hang out with my sis and darling niece~ we missed them by only 2 days! looks like a wonderful vacation, even if it wasn’t very relaxing and restful:)you are brave for driving so far with 3 littles!

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  12. FOREVERLANE

    How FUN! I’ve been having some pretty desperate crazy thoughts about trips that I’d like to take with my kids right now. Maybe it’s about this time of year when getting out of the house just seems like a DREAM!! Thanks for sharing your lovely little trip. :)

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  13. down_onthefarm

    when you have an option between what makes sense or what’s crazy with friends… crazy has always proven to be worth it. and i LOVE what you did! and this story of friendship and motherhood and how the word vacation changes after giving birth. not into something easier. noNO. :) but something… FULLER. better. even when you need a vacation AFTER a vacation. ha. and btw, you look fabulous in that hat and how you put outfits together is just amazing.

    the end of your story startled me. NINE hours? oh my. even mother theresa would be proud of you. i sure am! and i felt tired just reading that. :)

    and seeing the sun sounds awesome about now. this pa girl is ready for spring! love to you on this wintery snow/rain/slush/gray day.

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  14. fruitloops115

    @lifeisadance –  i actually went on Target’s site last night, since Abbi does need a new suit, and there is one in coral/red/pink that has the same fluffy skirt on it–yay didn’t check wal-mart’s website tho, might have to, before I place an order.

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  15. justcallmeM

    You’re a brave lady!! But there are some (many) things to be enjoyed that take great effort. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Love all the vibrant colors!!!!

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  16. H0LDfast

    you know what i like about you? i like your style, in your clothing, in your girls clothing, in your home, in your writing. and that all sounds shallow : ) so i also like your grateful heart … it seriously overflows (i was going to say oozes … but didn’t want to sound creepy : )) in everything you write.
    and very well done on making the trip.

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  17. redladybug18

    you’re a brave mommy! How fun to get to do that trip with your sister and make memories! That’s crazy that they just closed the whole hwy down?! what a trip! Sometimes those crazy trips are the most memorable :)
    Y’all are so cute! I think you should do a ‘daily/weekly’ post of your outfits and ensembles-I love your creativity and seeing it gives me ideas for my own closet :)

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  18. aSeriesofFortunateEvents

    I totally thought I already read this then as I got into it I realized I had not read it!Oops. The pictures are wonderful and oh the memories you’ll have.

    Steven took two of the boys with him a couple years ago and they drove to South Dakota for a friend of ours’ ordination ceremony. The interstate was closed there too due to flooding and he had to take these back roads through Nebraska, he said it was AWFUL and it was a 3 hour detour as well.

    Reply

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