Normal on the Road

My parents invited us to go on a spring break trip with them to Florida…of course we said YES! Can’t pass up a fun family trip!

Since I’ve been a mom, I say I WILL NOT drive in a car with children for more than 12 hours at a time. If the drive is longer than that we will fly! This trip was estimated at 13 hours (over my limit, mind you)ย BUT tickets to fly on spring break are not so pretty, so I compromised! Having to drive 13ish hours to go sit on a warm beach and relax (as much as you can with 3 kids) was going to be well worth it!

We like to drive during the night on long trips. Kids can sleep, traffic is great and all is well on the road. We were making pretty good time, UNTIL we sat in traffic BARELY moving for an hour! It was mostly fun while it lasted. It was warm and sunny, we had the windows down, kids were dancing/talking to people in other cars around us. This was about 10 hours into the drive.

It was all good…making lemonade out of lemons.

THEN, the kids crashed! I have no idea how many hours it was but there comes a point when we are all done! The fun was over in the car. Now I had to work overtime to make tired kids happy! We end up stopping WAY too often to let kids potty, someone has their foot on someone…the list goes on!

I wasn’t thinking this at the time but… That’s all a part of the road trip experience! You don’t get that on a plane. There you have to listen to some crabby stranger. There is something about being in the car stuck with your whole family when you’re tired and crabby that makes you all bond a little more and memories are made.

We do have fun in the car. I would actually say most of the trip is fun. I pull every trick I have out of my ‘mom hat’ …we do flash cards, read books, color, watch movies, sing songs, play silly games that I make up, eat A LOT of snacks (try not to drink too much…that makes more potty stops! ๐Ÿ™‚ )

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It was a 15 hour trip on the way there.

We made it!

I would have to say that we were shocked how good the kids were! We were mostly worried about the baby of the house (she isn’t as experienced of a traveler as the older kids plus the fact that she has pretty much mastered the temper tantrum!) She did great and had some pretty awesome naps.

So, really the car trips are kinda like our life in general…mostly good, fun, full of memories, with a little bit of junk that we would rather not deal with. We choose to focus on the GOOD!

I highly recommend a road trip with kids! If you are thinking about all the work, planning, headaches…

I say CHIN UP BUTTERCUP! It really isn’t that bad! You might actually have fun anyways! ๐Ÿ™‚

The whole car singing/screaming to the same songs over and over, whinny kids, your arm falling asleep while you hold your baby’s hand just to make her happy is really justย  Normal on the Road.ย 

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July Camping Trip

We took a really nice, short, easy with small kids, camping trip earlier in July. ย We stayed at the same camp site we always do! It is our favorite!

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It is our backyard!

We do most of the same camping things that we would do at a real camp ground. We eat dinner outside, play on the swing set, go for a bike ride, “hike” through our woods and the nature preserve behind us, sleep in a tent, and we make s’mores.

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Even our dog joined in on the camping fun!

I love camping in our yard! We know the bathrooms are clean. There is always a warm bed to go to if it starts to rain. There is no drive. No packing. I love that one of us sleeps in the house with the baby since she would never fall asleep in the tent and I don’t think she would really see the fun in the lack of sleep anyways! ๐Ÿ™‚

Our tent is pretty small, but it works for us so far! Our last camp out we had my 2 teenage sisters, the 2 older kids and myself sleeping in the tent.

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See that pillow on the left? That’s my little corner to sleep in! ๐Ÿ™‚

It is a little cramped, but that’s camping!

We always have fun camp outs. Even if I barely get any sleep (I would not recommend sleeping in a tent the week of 4th of July. Fireworks are so loud when you don’t have a real roof over your head!) The kids have fun and they always ask when we will do the next one!

I know it isn’t “real” camping, but this works for us for now! I’m sure that when the kids get a little older and we don’t have to worry about the baby escaping from the tent, we might venture out to a real campground. They haven’t complained about our choice of camp site yet, so it’s good enough for them!

It’s normal at our house.

It is all about spending time with each other and making memories!

The Great Smoky Mountains

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One of our favorite family vacation spots!

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LOVE the mountains! I always feel so at home. They are so peaceful!

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When we go to the Smoky Mountains, we actually stay in Pigeon Forge, TN. It is a little bit of a drive to get through Gatlingburg and to the National Park, but we think It’s worth it. It is a little more out of the tourist traffic. The last few times we’ve stayed at Riverstone Resort and we love it. They have an indoor pool, lazy river, playground, and fitness room. The resort is right on a river, so there is plenty to do right there. We stayed there with my parents who got a 4 bedroom condo. All 10 of us stayed there very comfortably. We would recommend it! ๐Ÿ™‚

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We went to one “fun park” as the kids called it. This year we went to the Nascar go cart track. They had tracks for the little kids and ones for the bigger kids. They had some rides for kids and some things for older kids. They loved it. The downside…there was nothing that the baby could do! I pretty much walked around with her while everyone else did all the rides and go carts.

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She went on that ride 5 times, I think! Just kept getting on!

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We have a couple of places that we have to eat at every trip there, Mama’s Farmhouse and The Old Mill. Both are really good, southern, home cooked type food. Things your grandma would make for Sunday dinner. Yum!!

On our trip we spent a lot of time in the mountains, swimming, relaxing and just spending time with family. We are so thankful my parents invited us to stay with them again!

We had a great trip! We’ll be back!