Collaborative Vacationing.

(Also known as “The One Where I Force You To Look at All My Vacation Photos.”)

(You’re welcome.)

It all started in 2008, as a grand experiment in co-vacationing with another family, our friends David and Ashley.

We each had a baby – Ali was 18 months, and AJ was 21 months.  And they were quite conveniently the best of friends, besides being confusingly identical and therefore nearly interchangeable.


It went so well that we  tried again in 2010.  Our girls had grown into mature 3 1/2 year olds, and were still the best of friends.


On that trip, we realized that vacationing with kids and without multiple adults just wasn’t worthwhile.  So last week, we kept our bi-annual tradition alive.  This time, with our 5 1/2 year olds that, after looking at the photos above, feel like tweens.


I’m not the ooey-gooey sentimental type, but looking at those pictures very nearly makes me want to type some cliché sentiment about the passage of time.  But it does not, however, make me want to stoop so low as to tell you to be sure and “Enjoy every minute of it!!!”


But back to the passage of time.

In 2008, there were no siblings.

In 2010, AJ’s sister Tessa was a mere one year old.


And in 2012, our combined brood seems nearly innumerable.


…Or four.  Which is basically the same thing.

Noah was quite honored to join the vacationing club as the only mini male,


even though he struggled to keep up with those who had longer legs,


and his Fear Gene picked a really rotten time to grow in.


But fear leads to cuddling, and who would complain about that?


I tried to help his courage with a sunblock-powered makeover,



but his hair refuses to stay in any formation but straight-laced, and he much preferred playing cars on the pool deck to any risky water behavior anyway.



The three older kids found the 30 second ride to the pool (we stayed at The Wharf, which, as an aside, has an amazing pool/lazy river/wave pool/kiddy heaven attached to it) to be absolutely utopian, because they got to illegally ride in the back of the car.


(Try doing that in the back of a truck all the way to Iowa.  I bet you wouldn’t be so enthralled.)

The slides were the perfect amount of thrill and safety,


As was the on-site Ferris Wheel.



It rained the majority of one day.  Fortunately, Chris had the foresight to bring the Wii… and four remotes, even though most of the games only allowed for two players.

But it’s really just the belief that you’re playing that counts.


The pool was so great that we avoided the beach for a couple of days, but when we finally went, we realized our grave mistake.

The beach was actually way easier.


Because the pool was TOO exciting.  They constantly wanted to go to the wave pool then the lazy river then the slides then the wave pool then the bathroom then the wave pool and … we were exhausted.

Whereas the beach was the beach.  They could play with sand,


or float in the water.


Catch hermit crabs,


or tend to our crab prison colony.


But all of their opportunities were in one place, so we got to be lazier.

(Because really, that’s the goal of all vacations – finding a way to be lazy in spite of the myriads of little people under one’s care.)

Speaking of laziness, I was the fortunate one who had to stay behind every afternoon while Noah napped.

This quiet sequestering – I did not mind it one bit.

During one of those afternoons, everyone else joined Kitty and Leo for a boat ride.

AJ drove conscientiously and responsibly,


Tessa drove like a mad woman determined to hit the only other boat in the bay,


And Ali skipped driving to stand in the front of the boat and work on her Queen of the World pose.


She also was super excited to take a ride on The Little Boat with Chris. This is a far cry from previous attempts, but Daddy was overjoyed when Ali asked to go fast and hit The Wiggly Waves.


Perhaps her tastes have evolved due to recent Daddy dates spent in other fast things made for two. Hmmm…

Thankfully, all of this hard play paid off for us adults, as we tucked the children in before nightfall and were left to our own devices every evening to watch the beautiful sunsets,





and moonrises.


Before our trip, one of David’s coworkers asked him where he was going.

“We’re going on vacation.”

“Oh! Where are you going?”

“We’re going to the beach with another family.”

“OOOH – so you’re taking the kids with you.  That’s not called a vacation – that’s just called a trip.”


And they had a point.  Vacationing with completely dependent miniature humans can be exhausting.


(Don’t mind Flynn Rider and Barbie making out on the couch.  It happens to the best of us.)

But even the kids have their moments of reflection,




and downright adorability,


that very nearly makes it all worth it.

Okay, okay, it DOES make it all worth it.

…except for the ride home.

At which point we desperately texted our babysitter and pleaded for her to meet us at home as soon as possible so that we could escape the clutches of our tiny whiny humans.