Parker Family Vacation: Part 1

I love that Zach’s parents value together time and making memories. It’s so special that every year they host a family vacation for us all to spend time together! The kids are making precious memories with their cousins and grandparents (and aunts and uncles too!) and I’m truly so thankful for that. I pray that Zach and I are able to do the same thing as our children grow up and become adults. I’m a total nerd about it. I have like this plan that if my kids do happen to stay living local (I mean Zach and his siblings all did so it could happen!) I want to have each family over once a month for dinner. I also want to keep each set of grandkids once a month so their parents can have a date night. And I totally wanna be the cool Disney grandma and take them all to Disney on a regular basis. Oh Zach better start saving!!! πŸ˜‰ 

Anyways we are blessed and so appreciative of these yearly trips with the family. I’m always big about being transparent and so here goes…these trips are hard for me. I’m thankful for them and never want to sound like I don’t appreciate it, but it’s just hard emotionally. 99% of the time I really do well handling my emotions regarding my mom and other family members lack of presence in my life. Holidays and the Parker family trip are the two toughest things for me. I still just haven’t found a way to cope with it yet during those times of the year. I’m not proud of the way my emotions took over on this particular trip. I did my best to keep to myself and to prevent my feelings from affecting others. I apologized to anyone who I did affect by my tough time and I am in a lot of prayer over how to handle it better next year. It’s a weird thing b/c I WANT to have a good time and I especially want it to be fun for Mrs. Charlotte. I know it’s her favorite thing having us all together and I hate to be a “Debbie Downer.” It’s one of those times where the devil steals my joy and I don’t want to let that happen again. I feel like we have a good plan in place for this Christmas to help it be better for me and I just need to brainstorm on ways to help make the big family trip easier on my heart too. 

I’m very blessed and grateful to have Zach’s family but it’s also difficult to be surrounded by such a close-knit family when I don’t have that myself. It’s hard on the family trip and on holidays because when everyone gets together they naturally talk about “the old times” and share stories and inside jokes and I get sad thinking about how I don’t have anyone to share my childhood memories with. Even though I am truly a part of Zach’s family unit and am very rarely made to feel like an “outsider” it’s still a very isolating feeling in those moments. I tried to talk to Casey and Zach on different occasions but it’s just not an easy thing to explain to people who DO have that tight family unit. I’m thankful I have a few friends who do understand the pain that I feel and who have “been there” in such situations. If anyone reading this has any suggestions to help me do better emotionally on future trips I’d really appreciate it! I tried on this particular trip to just really focus on the kids as well as on Mrs. Charlotte and their joys since I couldn’t seem to find my own. 

This year for the family trip Mr. Rusty asked me to help plan it. Y’all it wasn’t easy! Finding accommodations for our large group on his budget and to find a place on the beach but not for a full week?!?! It was almost impossible! In the end we found some condos in PCB. We had to split up between two condo units but it worked out fine and was a beautiful place for a great price. Next year we are hoping to find something where we can all be together though! Any suggestions?

The ride down went SO GREAT. It was our best travel experience with Tess ever! Which usually this age is when they get trickier in the car. The dvds helped keep her happy too (we did some baby dvds I’ve had since Kye was a baby. Some farm one with actual animals and then a Little People one! Random but they worked!) and she actually slept too!

Once we all unloaded it was time for some grocery shopping! We all happily hung back and let these four crazies handle it πŸ˜‰

This sums up the experience they had haha Lots of chiefs in that crew and not enough (well not any?) indians πŸ˜‰

Mr. Rusty and I decided to take my crew down to the beach for a walk to check it out. I feel like I have a good grasp on having three kids but this trip showed me that some things just aren’t feasible when you have three kids. Like walks on the beach solo? Not gonna happen. I was SO thankful Mr. Rusty was with me. At one point Kye was lagging behind while I was carrying Tess and Britt just took OFF. I don’t know what in the world I would have done if I was alone. I was so thankful he ran ahead and grabbed her (and we both got onto her!). There were a lot of people and it would have been a scarier situation if I’d been solo! 

He wrote a heart and Mommy in the sand πŸ™‚

I truly enjoyed our time together. We ended up rooming with Mr. Rusty and Mrs. Charlotte and I’m so glad it worked out that way. We don’t often get to see them with our children…if they have our kids it’s usually due to us traveling or we’re ALL together so it’s a lot of grand babies at once. It made my heart so happy to see our kids with their Big Papa and G-Mama. We are so blessed! 

As we walked down the beach together I saw a good bit of people looking at us and I knew they were thinking we were a family πŸ˜‰ We stopped to get some pictures on our walk back and some young bikini clad college age girls offered to take a family picture for us. Duh, I took ’em up on it and I also mentioned that Mr. Rusty is my father-in-law and not my husband. The whole group about died and went on and on about how when we’d walked by earlier they were checking us out and saying how good I looked with three kids but especially how HOT my husband was haha. They couldn’t believe he is the grandfather and not the daddy πŸ˜‰ I made sure to tell them that he also has a beautiful wife and that his son is even hotter than he is πŸ˜‰ I’m pretty sure Mr. Rusty’s day was made!

Tess took her first bath without the bath seat. I came in to the bathroom to this scene. It just is the sweetest thing to me to catch Zach taking pics of our kids. He’s such a proud daddy and he loves showing off his babies when he’s working! This is such a sweet picture that just shows his pride πŸ™‚

Beach Baby!

There were SO many moments like these this trip! Our crazy crew getting so much love and attention from their G-Mama and Big Papa. It makes my eyes tear up even now just remembering it. I am so thankful for their love for our children and I do wish so badly that my own parents had bonds like that with them. Mr. Rusty and Mrs. Charlotte just light up when any of their grandkids are around. They truly want to see them every chance they get. They are proud of them and cherish them and love them so completely! 

I’m like one big cheese fest in this post haha but y’all. My husband is the daddy jack pot πŸ™‚ 

The way the condo was laid out was that it had three bedrooms and then a set of bunk beds in a cubby in the hallway. It was a little tricky but Zach is the king of ghetto rigging some sleep situations! He hung up some dark sheets and we had plenty of fans and made it work! The kids did an AWESOME job with the sleep situation and LOVED getting to have bunk beds together πŸ™‚

We also had a beautiful ocean view…Zach and I were able to sneak out and have some alone time together to enjoy it πŸ™‚

We have a tradition on the Parker trip that the girls always have a night out on the town! 

Our condo was very family-friendly but we were in PCB and it was very clear on our drive to dinner. We passed so many “Spring Break” type establishments. I sent Zach a pic of this one! I mean really?!?! Haha!

So thankful for this woman πŸ™‚

Sister Love πŸ˜‰

Another tradition on the Parker trip is for Zach and Mr. Rusty to go golfing. Originally it was ALL the guys going golfing and it was just 18 holes. Somehow it turned into 36 holes and only Zach and Mr. Rusty going? I’m not sure how they made that happen…sneaky πŸ˜‰ 

I was pretty nervous about this day. Our options on the trip for entertainment were either beach or pool. I’m FINE at home with all three kids in the pool solo. We do it daily! But in a pool at a large condo with a ton of people? Yikes. And the beach solo with them? Double yikes. And yes, I had the other family to help but still it made me nervous about safety! 

It worked out great because Zach wanted to take Kye golfing with them. So he went for the first 18 holes and that’s when I took the girls to the beach and then that afternoon when Kye got back they napped and we just chilled until Zach got home πŸ™‚ 

Britt’s favorite memory of the trip is that she got to eat breakfast on the porch πŸ™‚

My helper!

The guys had a BLAST! I love that Kye can enjoy in these traditions!

While Tess napped that morning Mrs. Charlotte took Britt down to the beach for me. Tess slept A-MAZING the entire trip. PCB is a time change from Valdosta but we just stayed on GA time for our kids (everyone else did switch to PCB time but for us it just wasn’t worth it to try to make the kids adjust to a new time for just a couple of days). I’m glad we didn’t mess with the change of time even though it did make it a little tricky with everyone else since they were an hour different than us! We all had to keep reminding each other which time zone we were talking about haha. Vacations are always awesome but it was made even better with Tess doing so great on the drive there and back and with her sleeping! 

I loved watching Britt with her cousins on the porch!

Once Tess woke up I met Mrs. Charlotte and Britt down at the beach for lunch!

Britt is OBSESSED with Jordan. It’s so funny and precious and he eats it up πŸ™‚ She of course just wanted to be with him the whole time!

This was Tess’s first beach trip of the summer and she was old enough to be more interested in everything. Like putting sand in her hair and in her mouth. Lovely. Casey said Carter did the same thing at their trip earlier in the summer and that it only took that one visit of him doing it and then he was over it. Same for her! It was annoying this trip but then it wasn’t an issue our next one. It’s like she figured out how to handle the sand πŸ˜‰

The cousin battle over toys πŸ˜‰

The girls and I headed up to meet Zach and Kye and go down for naps…and y’all. It was not a good scene. First off all Britt pitched a MASSIVE fit. It isn’t often that Mrs. Charlotte sees first hand when I’m in the trenches of parenting but she doesn’t even know how much it meant to me that she told me she was proud of how I handled that situation and how good of a job I’m doing with Britt. It made me feel SO good as a mom to have that validation from someone who I admire so much. It was not a pretty sight. I told Britt to get off the blanket (I was trying to fold it up) and she said “no” so I told her to get off the blanket and say “yes ma’am” and she didn’t. So I told her she’d have to get a spanking in the room for disobeying Mommy and being disrespectful to me. Then the meltdown started. And I do NOT play when it comes to pitching a fit in public. My kids know it’s a BIG no-no in our book. I gave her a chance to calm down but she didn’t. I told her the consequences of continuing to pitch the fit in public but she didn’t care. t stayed calm the whole time (even while loading up beach stuff and dealing with Tess too!) and just told her that she was choosing to pitch a fit in public so she would have to get a spanking from Mommy for the disobedience/disrespect and then a spanking from Daddy as well for the fit in public. 

On top of dealing with the fit I also had to pull our beach cart through the soft sand to the boardwalk. Not smart. Oh guys. It seriously messed up my foot! I had a good, thick flip flop on but sand is THE WORST thing you can walk on and pulling that cart just wasn’t a good combo!  I was SO upset and in a good bit of pain about it. When I went back to physical therapy after the trip she told me not to carry a single thing when I walk on the beach! Oops! Lesson learned and PRAISE THE LORD it wasn’t a long term issue. It was enough pain to scare me and make me be mega careful the remainder of the trip, but with some good PT back home it was fine πŸ™‚

View of the pool from our room…watching Colt and Payton swim!

She wakes up so pretty (and much sweeter!)

With my foot pain and beach/pool anxiety I opted to hang in the room that afternoon. The kids played with some toys we’d brought from home, had fun yelling down to our family at the pool, and watched a movie!

Her new hair obsession is the “Elsa braid”

A movie treat meant Mommy’s choice. DUH. The Little Mermaid! Tess’s first time seeing Ariel! 

Golf for Kye and the beach for Britt that morning wore them flat OUT!

I took Tess on the porch a good bit of the movie. I am semi-hardcore when it comes to limiting her screen time. I’m cool with it in the car (because hello it’s survival mode!) but try not to let her watch anything else. She caught a few minutes of Ariel and def enjoyed a hardcore dance party for some of THE best Disney songs (am I right?!?!) πŸ™‚ 

Zach had a great time golfing with Mr. Rusty and we all chilled that night for dinner and went to bed nice and early to get some rest for another sun-filled day ahead! 

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