I had been planning Zach's big birthday trip since February so I was VERY excited to finally be going!!! In case you forgot...Zach celebrated his 30th birthday on August 7th. One week after Tess was born. I knew it was going to be a crazy time for us but still wanted to do something big for his big birthday! I surprised him with a pre-planned trip. Each day had activities that I knew he'd enjoy and the whole vacation was centered around HIM. He was beyond excited and that made my heart so, so happy. You can see him opening the gift here :)
I had the trip booked from the Friday of Labor Day weekend through the following Friday. We only stayed until Thursday morning so Zach could get back to work and the kids wouldn't miss too much school!
I'm very hardcore about my kids schedules, as all of you know. But I'm the most hardcore about the BABY schedule. I strongly believe in the rest of the family sacrificing for the baby for their first year of life (you can see more about my reasoning for that here). Tess's schedule was where she ate at 1. So we decided to leave right after she ate at that feeding. It allowed the big kids to still go to school but meant they'd miss naps. Worth it to be able to hit the road!
I planned to wake Tess at 12:45 and nurse her so we could get going. But when Zach went to load the car he realized our dvd players weren't working. Ugh. I know some people don't do screen time in the car but, for us, it's SURVIVAL haha! Zach ended up taking the van across town to the people who installed the dvd players to get it fixed. Thankfully they got 'em running!!!
First road trip! 5 people and a week's worth of luggage and STILL space!
Have I mentioned I love my van?!?!
The dvd issue was our first hiccup, but not last. We hit some rough traffic due to a tractor trailer on fire. Jordan and Casey were behind us so they were stuck in it even longer (we lucked out and were one of the cars near the front). AND they hit more traffic when another car was on fire. What's with cars catching fire?!?!
I pumped in the car which was the first time I've ever done that! It was SO EASY! I'm def going to be doing that more often!!! We stopped at a CFA for Tess's 4:00 feeding. Our plan was for Zach to give Tess the bottle while I kept older kids playing happily. It was Tess's first restaurant visit ;) She was NOT doing that great with the bottle and Zach def got frustrated but she eventually drank it! I tried to just leave him alone and let him do his thing. It stresses me outtttt watching my babies with a bottle when they won't drink it.
We broke down and got a little snack to hold us over ;)
We survived our first pit stop with three kids and totally deserved a reward! Milkshakes!!!
When I was figuring out the timing of the travel I didn't think about the fact that Tess would eat at 4...take about an hour to eat...then need to eat again at 6. Oops. We didn't get to the resort until 6:20 and she was BAWLING her head off. OMG I felt horrible and struggled not to start crying myself. As soon as Zach pulled in he grabbed her and handed her to me and ran inside to check us in. I didn't bother with a cover...I just nursed that baby! Several people walked by while I was nursing and I did not care one bit. Look all you want! My baby was STARVING. She even had real tears!!! Broke. My. Heart.
I nursed on one side while Zach was checking in and then we got into the room and I finished nursing. When I booked the trip I found an AWESOME deal. I booked TWO three bedroom condos side-by-side (so 6 rooms total) for only $380 for the entire week!!! I wasn't sure what to expect when we checked in but we were all blown away! I highly recommend Legacy Vacation Club (we stayed at the Orlando Spas location)
Tess's first hotel bed pic!
They even included a personal note wishing Zach a happy birthday and congratulating us on the new baby...and gave us a nice gift basket!
Zach and I really don't like to sleep with any kids in our room with us if we can help it. Zach is a super light sleeper so the kids' noises bother him. The way the condo was laid out we decided to have Kye and Britt share a room, Tess to have her own room, and then Zach and I to have our own room. Since we had the other unit we had Kye nap over there but sleep for night sleep with Britt. Our kids have NEVER shared a room so I was nervous about it but knew with night sleep that they would eventually go to sleep. I def didn't try it for naps, and I'm glad I didn't because every day on the trip they both napped HARD which was great :)
They were both mega excited about sharing a room together! It was so cute and we had to eventually tell them to stop talking and go to sleep :) I started putting them to bed each night about an hour earlier than usual so they could talk and talk and talk and it wouldn't affect their actual bed times ;)
Originally I had it all worked out so Zach wouldn't have to help with the kids at all. Jordan and Mr. Rusty were also part of Zach's birthday experience and I didn't want Casey or Mrs. Charlotte having to help either. Jolee was going to come with us and help by hanging out with my older kids so I could focus on Tess. She was only 4 weeks old and I was still VERY exhausted and adjusting to life with a newborn. Packing up and getting down there wore me OUT! Jolee ended up not being able to go with kinda short notice so I didn't have a back up plan. I was pretty stressed about it because I just really, really wanted everyone to have FUN and not have to be worried with helping me manage the kids!
It all, thankfully, worked out great and I appreciate Zach and Casey and Mrs. Charlotte SO MUCH for their help! Zach said that the time with the kids did not interfere at all with his birthday celebrating so I'm glad :) It worked out great because the plan for Saturday (Day 1) was for him to watch college football all day with Jordan but none of the games really started until nap time so he took the older kids for the morning and I was able to catch up on some much needed SLEEP while Tess slept!
Pancakes for breakfast!
She loves, loves, loves helping in the kitchen!
Carter got to come over for a bit and hang out :)
No better way to kick off a vaca than with pancakes!
Getting everything packed and ready for the trip wore. me. out. I didn't get the sleep I was needing (No naps! Naps were essential to my survival at that point!) and it caught up to me, fast. That day was the only day of the trip where Zach would be around and we both agreed that I needed to get my rest so I could enjoy (and just function!) the rest of the trip!
When I booked our rooms I made sure we were located near one of the pools and it worked out perfectly. We were far enough away not to be bothered by the noises from the pool...but close enough to walk there! Zach and the kids planned out their morning that would include pool time and putt putt! My plan for the morning? Nurse and SLEEP :)
Casey pumped a bottle for Cater and took him down there with them hahaha Hilarious!
I needed the rest but I also hated missing out on family time. I nursed Tess at 10 and then ran her down to the pool for a few minutes to visit with everyone. I didn't know about Casey's pump a bottle idea until it was too late for me to do it too but I did it the rest of the trip and it really worked out great! I was still able to get down to the pool area and hang out for a couple of minutes before having to bring Tess back to the room for her nap.
I am IN LOVE with her pool hat :)
Having a BLAST!
At 12:30 Georgia Tech played so it worked out great with our schedules. Zach handled the big kids lunches while I slept and he got them down for naps before I woke up at 1:00 for Tess's next feeding. Thankfully our monitor worked fine between the condos and Kye slept awesome in the extra bed at the condo beside ours! He got them down for naps mega early (which was a trend the whole trip...they were wore out!) and very quickly all three babies were asleep :)
After Tess ate at 1:00 she got to have some time with her BFF Carter :) They were both supportin' their teams, of course!
The first part of the birthday plans were for Zach and Jordan to go to a sports bar to get to watch football. I found this awesome place called Wreckers and they had the evening to spend however much time they wanted. It worked out awesome as they were able to watch both the UGA game and the first half of the FSU game! Zach had a BLAST and said the food was amazing :)
Before they left I wanted our first family football day picture!
Real life haha
Some sweet Tess time :)
Once the big kids woke up from naps it got a little crazy...they were playing while I was feeding Tess at 4 and somehow in their play Britt locked the doorknob to the door that connected the living room area to their room and Tess's room. When I went to put Tess down for her nap I was locked out. I stayed, surprisingly, calm and called the front desk about having someone come help us get in the room. Of course - no one came. The condo was a split unit layout so that side of the condo actually had a separate outside door entrance that required a separate key. Casey and Carter walked down and got a key for that door. They walked back and it didn't work. So I took Tess and Britt with me and I walked down there and got a key for that door. And it did not work. No joke! So I called back up to the front and was pretty upset at that point. Britt was also pitching a huge fit (and I was holding a napping Tess!) so I told the lady "do you hear my two year old screaming? that's ABOUT to be me if someone doesn't get down here and help us get this door opened" haha. Casey started messing with the door and THANKFULLY tried the good old credit card trick and was able to break in (thank goodness I'm related to the girl who was voted "biggest schemer" her senior year of high school haha!). When the security guard did finally come they told us they had NO WAY to get in that door. What? So if we hadn't been able to break in, then what would have happened?!?! It turns out the reason the entrance door wasn't working with the new keys was because it had been safety locked from the inside. Once we got in and undid the safety lock then all the keys worked. Whew. From then on I made sure to leave the safety lock OFF just in case Britt were to lock the in-between door again!
We finally were able to put Tess down for her nap and then were able to eat dinner! Thankfully I had made a crock pot meal that morning so there wasn't much prep time needed :)
While I nursed Tess again at 6, Casey bathed the big kids for me. I mean what would I have done without her?!?!
They were out of bath by the time I got done nursing and we were all able to read some stories together with Tess :) It was one of my favorite times of the day...having all three of my babies together!
Britt has now gone from the crazy smile stage to the crazy eyes stage...
Ready for bed!
I felt like this trip was a big milestone for Britt and Kye. It really bonded them in a way they haven't been bonded before and truly made them FRIENDS. They were ADORABLE the entire week together. They played so nicely, rarely fighting. Their bond just seemed stronger. I'm not sure if it's because of the new baby or maybe it's because they got to share a room that week? Whatever the reason, I love it!!!
ready for prayers
She loves getting to suck her fingers when she sleeps. I dread trying to break that habit...
Once they were in the bed (super, mega early at like 7:15!) I had a few minutes to breathe before getting Tess up for bath and her bedtime routine. Zach usually does bath duty so I soaked up my sweet girl time!
I adore her little belly button!
I sent Zach this picture to make him jealous ;)
I nursed Tess and got her down for the night then Casey and I put some cookies in the oven (b/c after that afternoon we TOTALLY deserved a treat!) and after I got out of the shower we had about 45 min or so to visit before I needed to go back to sleep before Tess's dream feed. It was wonderful just to SIT and TALK with NO children. It was the only true together time she and I had that weekend and I'm so thankful we had it :)
The guys came back at halftime of the FSU game and they had obviously had a blast which made my heart SO happy! When I scheduled the trip I called Wreckers about reservations and they said they didn't take them but they wanted to warn me that it was going to be packed that night because a big family reunion was going on. When I say big, I mean BIG. It was the Tom Joyner Family Reunion. Which I'd never heard of but it's MASSIVE. The guys, of course, had a blast with all the family reunioners and came home with some great stories :)
Wreckers has MASSIVE tv screens and Z and Jordan had a great spot right in front!
Zach had an AMAZING time and it made me feel so excited for the rest of the trip for him to really enjoy his birthday! The kids were having fun and everything was going really well for our first major vacation with Tess. She was the youngest of all our babies to go on a trip and I'm so thankful I had the help to make it FUN :)