Disclosure: This post is underwritten by Hamilton Properties. All opinions and text are my own. My full disclosure policy can be found here.
We’ve gone through difficult financial seasons in our marriage when it wasn’t feasible for us to take a long family vacation. In fact, a night away was a sacrifice. However, it is so important to us that we are purposeful to create memories and traditions with our children. We have always found a way to get away, even for a short time, or a staycation. From the time they are born, we get 18 summers with each child, unless they decide to stay home longer. In the scheme of life, that doesn’t seem like much. Even in the midst of diapers, sibling fights, and all the responsibilities of running a home efficiently (or enough to survive), it’s important to us to pause from our work responsibilities and make uninterrupted memories with our children. A couple of years ago, we took a very quick vacation to Destin, Florida and had a blast. We loved it so much our kids have begged to go back ever since and have talked about all the places they wanted to go and the memories we made while we were there. So, this year we decided to take a trip back to Destin.
We stayed in our friend’s gorgeous 3 BR 3 BA condo that was right on the beach. It was perfect for our family as we were on the ground floor and our balcony was just a couple of feet away from the pool. This picture was taken from our balcony. As you can see we were right by the pool and on the beach. I loved being on the bottom floor because the baby could go out on the balcony without me worrying about her getting too close to the edge and the big kids could walk out of our balcony and throw a football in the grassy area, while the gate kept the baby inside.
The best part about vacation is the relaxed pace. I loved that all three of our kids could just hang out on the couch together in the morning while my husband and I cooked breakfast. The big kids played Xbox while the baby pretended to join them.
It was so nice to enjoy a relaxed meal most mornings together as a family before we headed out to the pool and beach for the day. Since our condo was right on the beach and by the pool, it was so easy to come in and grab a quick lunch before heading back out for the afternoon.
Can you believe how gorgeous this water is? The Gulf side of the ocean in Florida is my favorite because of the crystal clear water and white sand. Our weather was perfect!
This is my entire world in one picture. It means so much to me to spend uninterrupted time with my family.
When I take a break from my usual responsibilities, I notice special moments like this more. I love sharing life and all these kids with my amazing husband. He’s the most incredible husband and father. As I watched him snuggle a sleeping baby while watching the other kids in the pool, I was almost in tears. We’ve been married nearly 20 years, but seeing his tenderness towards our children makes me so appreciative of his love for us.
Even though we didn’t get any time alone on vacation, spending time together away was so good. Our marriage isn’t perfect, and we have had years that were very rough, but God has been faithful to redeem and restore! I am more in love with him today than when we got married.
Several years ago when we decided to try for another baby, we were totally in a “sweet spot” with our kids. Both of them bathed, fed, and clothed themselves and were becoming more independent by the day. So we knew that if we had another baby, we would be completely starting over. Seeing pictures like this warm my heart so much. We had no idea how incredible it would be to add another little one to our family. I never dreamed that my big kids would love and adore her so very much. It’s moments like these that I never want to forget. Vacations cause us to slow down, savor the moments, and enjoy time with those we love the most without added outside pressures.
My big kids were so excited to catch a starfish in the ocean. We did let it go, but it was so cool to see up close and personal. My son was enamored at all the lizards outside, so he went lizard hunting daily. Most of the time they were just too fast for him, but this little guy was lucky enough to get caught.
While I have zero patience for puzzles, my hubby, and the big kids enjoyed working on this puzzle together in the evenings after the baby went to bed. When possible, I prefer to stay in a condo so we can enjoy our time together when we aren’t out. Staying in a hotel room with three kids isn’t relaxing. Since my friend owns this condo, it was so homey and full of extras that I didn’t expect. We had plenty of room to spread out and enjoy our family time together without feeling crowded.
The last two days of our vacation we branched out from the pool and beach. We spent one day at Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park where we rode water slides, played in the kiddie pool, and relaxed in the lazy river. It was so much fun! The last day we toured the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, and my big kids went snorkeling with stingrays and sharks.
We had such a fabulous vacation together. Although it can be a financial sacrifice, it’s so worth creating family memories and traditions together. Plus, there are lots of ways you can save money on a vacation to make it more affordable. Personally, we love Destin, FL and the slower pace of a beach trip as we went home rested and refreshed (compared to our last trip to Disney). Our kids are already looking forward to next summer’s vacation. S my big kids are getting older I know just how valuable it is to invest in time together as the years are flying by so quickly!
I know personal recommendations are so much better than making reservations blindly. Here are just a couple more pictures of our friend’s condo in Destin. It is a 3BR and 3BA condo on the ground floor. Not only is it very expansive and beautifully decorated, but it is fully furnished with everything you could need. There was plenty of room for our family of 5 to spread out with room left over. Two families could easily vacation together and split the cost. Every condo we’ve ever stayed in has always had a tiny washer and dryer. Not this one! I had to include a picture because I was so excited to see a full-size washer and dryer. The only dirty clothes we went home with were the clothes on our back. It was so nice not to come home drowning in laundry! For all the mommas out there, I thought you might want to know!
Our friend’s condo is located at Silver Beach Towers in Destin, Florida. To check rates and availability call Suzanne at 423-893-3377 and tell her that Kasey sent you.