Family Vacations - always a gamble!

When you venture away from your home for a vacation it can be a gamble.  Will you have good weather?  Will your accommodations be clean, comfortable, and affordable?  Will you be able find good food to eat?  Will everyone have fun?  Will you be able to relax and not be too stressed out about keeping everyone happy?  Will there be crowds of people to worry about?  The list can go on and on and on!

Recently, we took a "work vacation" with the children.  I call it a "work vacation" because we both did business while we were away, but mostly played.  We went to Naples Florida for part of our "work vacation" and to the Tampa area for the other part.

We took a gamble bringing the children on a plane and with our accommodations, but I have to say that it was a fantastic trip and I can't wait to go back!

The plane ride with children is pretty self explanatory!  I do think (I'm knocking on wood at this moment in time because I may be jinxing myself right now) that we are over the worst of flying with kids.  Our three little ones did amazing on the flights from Michigan to Florida!  I was well prepared, but they were able to entertain themselves and instead of getting off of the plane feeling like I had just preformed a juggling act for 2 hours straight I was surprisingly feeling serene!  What a relief!  That definitely started our week off right!

Our next gamble was in where we stayed.  We were going with the main purpose of visiting Ryan's parents in Naples.  They were staying in a mobile home in a 55+ community.  I was a little worried that the children would have too much energy and too much noise for such a place!  I also wasn't sure if Grandma and Grandpa were prepared for the whirlwind that comes with our family!

Let me just say that these accommodations were much much better then staying in a hotel! (no I am not kissing up to my in laws here - I don't even think they read my blog - I am being totally honest!)

When we arrived we found the mobile home decorated with a sign welcoming our children and balloons were tied up every where!  Grandma and Grandpa didn't do it.  It was done by the neighbors in the park while we were getting picked up from the airport!  You never get a welcome like that at a hotel!  I didn't realize that all of the Grandma and Grandpa's in that community were so excited to see children!  Our kids reminded them of their grand babies and great grand babies and they were all too happy to hear them laugh loudly and watch them splash in the pool!  I never saw a frown from any of them!  We even went to their happy hour and the kids were given gifts by people we never met!  So much for me being worried that we would disrupt the community with our energy and noise!  Everyone seemed to eat it up!

Another great thing about our accommodations besides Grandma's cooking and Grandpa's hunting for lizards, was the pool.  When you are in a retirement community the pool tends to be heated all of the time so it is very comfortable no matter what the outside temperature is!  Because there aren't other children in the park, you don't have to worry about a crowded pool of crazy kids!  We got to the pool early and had it to ourselves until the afternoon.  In the afternoon there is a designated time that no children are allowed in the pool.  It was during this time that Grandma and Grandpa took the kids on an outing and Ry and I sat by the pool.

After sitting for a little while watching the activity around me, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to be retired!  During the non-child designated time at the pool, people came out of the woodwork!  They gathered and played cards, layed out, read books, but most of them claimed a couple of noodles and wrapped themselves up to float in the pool for a time of socializing.  What a life!

We left Naples feeling re energized and full of excitement for the week of fun we had!  I was not prepared for the welcoming attitude of an entire community!  It certainly made a huge difference in our comfort level and the fun we had!


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