My skin is a few shades darker, and my babies are all blonder. I’m flipping through over 900 pictures, and daydreaming of buying a lake house (and a boat).
If you have never loaded your car full of kids, duffle bags, scooters, and snacks to hit the road to meet with a like-minded mama-friend and her kids, you need to, ASAP.
When you escape solo, it is a much needed getaway, but when you take the kids on a grand adventure solo, you are allowing yourself to grow and blossom into the confident and capable mother you truly are. Knowing your kids and their needs will grant you the ability to plan an amazing vacation that everyone will remember.
In times of COVID, one of my besties needed to hit the road cross-country to get some QT with her oldest boy who lives in the northeast. We jumped on the opportunity to meet up for an entire week! Instead of our normal resort stays, we opted for a killer lakefront VRBO. I highly recommend skipping the hotel scene right now and finding a rental where you can cook and live as easy and normal as possible.
If you have never explored Lake Gaston in NC/VA, start planning. Depending on where you stay, you may be quite isolated as far as food and shopping options are concerned. We had a gas station and a food lion 30+ minutes away – but we made the most of it with one big online order and curbside pickup.
No matter where you vacation, meal planning is key. It is the best way to make sure you are consuming nutritious foods and staying on budget. There is no way I can feed 5 kids from restaurants for 6+ days – nor would I want to. Instead, I emptied my pantry and brought all of gluten/dairy-free items to bake, and any food I could utilize throughout the week. With limited kitchen items, a wine bottle came in handy as a rolling pin, a neighbor’s pan worked perfect for gf/df brownies, and the blender made great popsicle fillings! We filled the table with buffet-style meals and snacks all day, every day. Waffles, bacon, sausage, every fruit possible, hummus and veggies, etc. But dinners? We knocked those out if the park! John sent us on vacation with smoked pork butt, and we used it on tacos, burrito bowls, and homemade pizza! We butterflied and roasted a chicken with potatoes and cauliflower, too. Definitely have fun cooking with your bestie – turn on the music and dance in the kitchen!
The kids needed nothing more than rafts, sunscreen, fishing poles, and kayaks for the week. We had an amazing dock to cannonball off of, too! Sunset kayak trips, nighttime fishing, and late night wine drinking were all the rage! I was able to keep my running streak alive and get in great workouts lakeside each day while everyone slept in and relaxed.
One more giant recommendation: Throw A Party Together.
Streamers, glow sticks, games, and music. We celebrated 1/2 of 2020 being over (hallelujah) – but you can come up with any reason to party – Taco Tuesday? Wild Wednesday? Sunday Funday? You name it, it’s party time!
But in true Our Lucky Seven fashion, I had to pull off a surprise. After calling every marina within 45 minutes from our VRBO, I found the last ski boat rental available for the week. I woke Emmett up early on Thursday morning and we headed out. His face was something I’ll remember forever when he realized his mama could hop into a ski boat and take off. Pulling into the dock at our rental, we were greeted with squealing kids! We borrowed a few killer rafts and spent the entire day exploring the 21-miles of lake we could access. I threw kids off tubes, jammed out with dance parties, and taught a few of the kids how to drive the boat. Talk about memories.
We wrapped up the stay on Friday, and I took the opportunity to take the boat back solo… where my soul connected to the calmness of this grand lake just after sunrise. I swore I would not take anything for granted. I am so blessed to have such an amazing friendship and a family that will pack up in a moment’s notice to take on every adventure with me.
We are living in odd times right now. There is great diversity happening in so many ways, and it’s happening everywhere. However, if everyone could take a breath, step back – perhaps even take a vacation – maybe we would all realize that our passions and beliefs throughout everything are all rooted in goodness. Instead of burning things and yelling, let’s stop the panicking and start the supporting. Take your health into your hands. Take the education into your hands. Smile to everyone and find a way to spend time with someone who will help you remember these things. Let’s grow together through these slower days. Let’s appreciate more, together.