Every summer my family plans a vacation, but let me be more specific, we don’t just plan and go, we talk and plan pretty much all year long. We meet up every 2-3 months or so for OU football games, kid bdays, etc. and inevitably the family vacay gets brought up. This has been my whole life. If there is not a vacation (or OU football) on the horizon my whole family is in a bad mood. Nate has somehow adapted this mentality as well (substituting OU for Tech football of course). So we are constantly scheming cheaper getaways.
As I have mentioned I have a brother in Moore, OK and a sister in Austin, and my parents live about 10-15 mins. from us. Between the three of us “kids” and our spouses we have 7 children. The oldest, my brother’s daughter, is turning 11 in a few days and his son is turning 7 next month. The other five kids are 3 years old and under. Needless to say, our trips have gotten a lot more interesting in the last three years.
Two years ago we celebrated my parents 40th wedding anniversary in Florida (with four grandkids), last year it was just a trip to San Antonio with five grandkids, and this year it was sort of a week long staycation with all seven. My parents did rent a beautiful house on Lake Bridgeport for two nights throughout the “staycation”. In case you are wondering it was a six bedroom house and there were several babies sleeping in closets. Those “Texas-sized” walk-ins have saved our sleeping on several vacations. For the most part though we were in ft. Worth. Next year we are doing Disneyworld (yes all 15 of us….assuming no one has/adopts anymore) so we decided to be low key this summer. I will say it was right after I started The Connected Child so we were still working out the technique kinks and the behaviors were subpar (for my two). There was a lot of swimming, boating, eating, board games, and one rangers game. I also learned that B may be a bit of a bully when it comes to her younger (by 6 weeks) cousin. She tends to think of Maddie as her personal play thing. Our saving grace are my brothers oldest two, Aubree and Brody, they keep those babies entertained like no one else can. Owen is the next oldest and he has a very strong relationship with my sister’s oldest Ella. Strong in that they love deeply and fight often.
One morning when we were at my house I heard a little 2 year old voice through the monitor say, “Hello, Hello Owen open the door.” Then I hear my son saying, “I can’t”. Again the other little voice, “JUST OPEN THE DOOR”. About that time I walked up and saw my niece. No one was awake so on later confirmation from her mother I learned that she had scaled the pack n’play for the first time, opened the doors to the media room where she had slept, and walked downstairs to help Owen escape. Little did she know that we keep a child proof door knob on Owen’s room due to past escapee events. While these two are consistently up to no good and Baeya is climbing little Maddie every chance she gets, little Casen, who turned one in March, spends his time observing the crazy older four and ignoring the “babies”. Aside from a missing shoe and some missing wood chips for the big green egg, I think it was a pretty great week. Looking forward to some more crazy episodes next year in Orlando.