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Is a vacation with kids still a vacation?

Sometimes I think the answer is “eh, not really,” but sometimes the stars align and everyone behaves and you find yourself saying, “wow, this is actually really fun. I’m having an awesome time. Who are these kids and what did they do with mine?”

Last night we got back from a quick four-night trip down to my parents’ place in Florida. I wanted to get out of town, my dad had some free tickets and Nick and I work for ourselves (and can work from anywhere if need be) so we booked it. It was the perfect break from our routine, which was getting a little, well, routine. We got some vitamin D, we swam a ton, played a little golf, rode bikes, frolicked in the ocean and even spent a day at Disney. That all sounds like a whirlwind but it was the exact opposite. 

My mom was with us so we had an extra set of hands, which was great, and everyone was just happy and easy-going 24/7, myself included. The kids didn’t make a peep on the way to or from the airport (we’ve had trips where the meltdowns start before we pull out of the driveway), they were rockstars on the airplane (I got to read my book and work on a piece I’m writing for Self), everyone ate well and slept well and passed out in cars exactly when they were supposed to pass out in cars. On Saturday Nick and I rode bikes to a place for lunch while the kids were napping and my mom was resting. As we sat overlooking the 10th hole sipping giant spicy bloody Marys, we fantasized about what we’d want to do after lunch if we were vacationing sans kids. I said I’d want to go home and lie by the pool reading my book (Rules of Civility—love!) and drift off to an afternoon nap. Well, when we got home and the house was still quiet, Nick and I both passed out and snoozed for almost an hour until the kids stumbled out of their rooms. Heaven!

The trip was just what the doctor ordered. I have a ton of work over the next few weeks and a big project I’m cooking up for the spring (I’ll tell you more about it soon) so getting away and getting my battery recharged—and spending all that time with children who did nothing but make me smile for four days straight—was fantastic. Kinda makes up for those “vacations” in the past where I’ve come home in desperate need of a vacation. You’ve had those, right?

Here are the photo highlights:

They carried their own bags, they held on to the pole, they listened. I mean, seriously, what did I do to deserve this?


Fish tacos and a sake bloody Mary (lemonade for Al) overlooking the Atlantic. Yes, please!


The other thing that totally cooperated? The weather. We couldn’t have asked for better days.


I’m not sure if it’s cruel to chase birds like this but it was fun and made for some cool photos!


I hadn’t intended for us to swim at this point so I didn’t put the kids in bathing suits. I guess I forgot that Alex and Nora will go in any water at any time. And they did.


Just a couple of dudes wading through the surf. Alex was so sweet and well-behaved the entire trip, it made us want to cry.


Disney! Renting the double stroller was key. So were the sneakers.


On the People Mover, which my mom and I decided was our favorite ride. No lines, it’s super long and it moves fast enough that the kids think it’s fun but not too fast that I get scared (I am so not a ride person).


If Nick would have carried me like this, I probably would have passed out in his arms, too. Disney is exhausting.


I took Alex on the laid-back jungle river cruise ride. My mom and Nick took him on the log plume rollercoaster thingy. Guess which one he liked better?


Alex told Nora the rules on the golf course were no whining, no crying, keep your eye on the ball and you have to be quiet all the time. Did she abide? No.


Fore! The kid can seriously connect with the ball. And he loves to play (when I was a kid and my dad took me out, I just liked driving the cart, drinking lemonade and getting a frozen snickers bar from the concession stand).


Is there anything better than night swimming? We could look up and see the moon and stars—Alex told me he wished on a star that we could all come back and do this again. That was my wish, too! (Oh, and Nora does own a bathing suit and she did wear it…most of the time.)