Enjoy the Mess of Vacation

It’s family vacation time! We have a tradition of going to Orange Beach Alabama (next town East of Gulf Shores) every year with the whole family. We rent a condo on the beach each year and enjoy our traditions. The in-laws have been coming down here every year for about 15 years and this is my 11th year since joining the family. Zac and I had just started dating when I first started coming in 2006. Back then it was just the 6 of us, My husbands family and the two “girlfriends”. 

So much has changed since that first trip for me in 2006. There have been 2 weddings and now 4 kids in a 6 year time span making us a party of 10. We have gone from easy going relaxing beach vacations to hectic Moments that even Clark W. Griswold wouldn’t envy, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Nothing ever goes as planned on vacation, all parents know that, but we would like to think that we make the best of our Family Vacation Mess year after year making amazing memories for our kids. It’s in those Clark W. Griswold messes that we make the best memories. In any of life’s unplanned Griswold moments everyone has two options, let it ruin your day, or make it an adventure. I am thankful that my husband and I were both raised by parents who always chose the latter, because it’s in those adventures that we have some of our best memories. 

For example:
Rainy days in Disney. I actually hope for a rainy day when I’m there. Growing up as a Disney Kid those were some of my fondest memories with my family we threw on a yellow Mickey poncho and braced the storms. While all of the people flocked out of the park we had our pick of any ride that was up and running in the rain.
Rainy days at the beach. Some of our best beach memories have been made when the dark clouds roll in on the beach. We have a canopy tent set up every year and when the rain starts, even in the downpours as long as the lightning and heavy wind stay away, we all move our beach chairs in a circle around the cooler and hang out enjoying the rain under the tent.
Some of our other favorite messes include Losing the transmission in the car in Southern Alabama at 8am in the literal definition of no where on our anniversary. Driving in first gear to the nearest mechanic and getting towed to Montgomery. We left the car, rented the only thing we could find to fit all of our stuff and hoped we would figure out a way to get the car home.
Losing the transmission in the rental in Vegas after a side trip to Page Arizona (highly recommended, ill post that trip sometime). We were pulling into Vegas, driving up the strip, when in true Griswold form we lose everything but first gear. So here we are with cars flying by us flipping us off trying to limp the car to the Mirage where there is a Rental Car branch. (Yes We are hard on transmissions)
Cooper throwing up all over the table at a BBQ restaurant in northern Alabama on our way to vacation. This prompted a full outfit change by both him and I. We threw our clothes away because they were too gross to keep in the car for the couple hours left in the car. This was followed by Zac locking the keys in the car right after the outfit change, so we had to call a lock smith. I’m pretty sure those people have our picture hanging up as people to never let back in. 


This vacation started off with Cooper waking up with a bad cough that got worse, he was miserable, and didn’t even want to play. We had prescriptions called in, but the pharmacies aren’t open past 6. We ended up at Urgent care for a breathing treatment and a dose of steroid. This was followed by 2 days of rain on our beach days. Our professional picture day was scheduled for Monday morning at 6am. We woke up at 430 to torrential downpours and lightning. To me it doesn’t matter these are great memories. All of the normal beach days run together, but it’s the days that are a hot mess that stand out as the best memories. We will always remember the night we had to take coop to the urgent care, and the day we did rapid fire photography session in a 15 min break in the rain. 

My favorite memory so far this vacation has been breakfast after our pictures in the thunderstorm. We got to sit at a restaurant on the water and watch it storm as the only people there. The kids were running around having fun, and it was a great morning. Even though we had all spent an hour getting ready just to get soaked on the beach for pictures. 


Enjoy the mess, it’s the best part of the adventure. It for sure makes the best memories. I hope that my kids grow up and remember these moments. The perfect days make good memories but the messy days make memorable stories. 

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