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Catchin’ up from our vacation…

I’m still grieving our vacation being over;). I looooove Hilton Head Island…just love it. Rico Suave and I went there for the first time together just after we got married–and we’ve never thought twice about going any where else. It’s like suped-up summer camp with it’s traditions, funny quirks, bike trails…I mean–a summer without singing “the unicorn” song with a bunch of other families under an old oak tree at Harbor Town just can’t be beat. If you have been there in the spring or fall–and not experienced Shannon Tanner or Greg Russell fun…it’s just not the same. (Those of you who go know exactly what I’m talking about!) Richard and I were fans before we even had kids!!! And would you believe that BEFORE I would allow myself to book a week in May to save money by getting Spring rates–that I actually emailed Shannon Tanner to MAKE SURE he would be performing that week…and then it was safe to book:)

When we’ve had friends ask where they should go–we make them a list of what to do, where to eat–and they’ve gotten in on the tradition of the oak tree fun too. We’ve been known to make signs…make t-shirts…whatever we can to get picked to sing…and what do ya know–the one year we didn’t…half of our crew got on the mic–but chickened out at song time. Getting picked to sing is like winning the lottery at Harbor Town or Shelters Cove…and we aren’t too good for a pirate cruise either…although this year we chose to sit it out…which NOW has me itching to return to see Sneaky Pete. (You know if you are a Hilton Head person you are laughing about and shaking your head right now!) What I love about it–is the community. Tradition gets in your blood and before you know it…you have friends with the same tradition even if you didn’t go at the same time that share special memories and funny songs…just like camp–only the whole family knows the tunes. I can’t WAIT for our next trip…if you live near Hilton Head–and you ever want to do a house swap–you know who to call;).

The kids talk about this ALL year long…

Here’s our…we’re getting geared up to go! I mean–we had our song ready and everything!

At Shannon Tanner’s concert with the tradition of the HAIR PARTY CONTEST…Isaac did his best;)

Laney INSISTED on wearing her hair completely down so she could have a true hair party for the contest…she was ready! (Last year it was in braids and it set her back a bit;)

And of course we had to shake the sillies out…

THEN…you of course have to spend a different night at Harbor Town enjoying Greg Russell. I think he said this is is 37th summer singing! The first kid to perform was a “kid” who was about 35 who had his own kids there. He was NEVER picked and raised his hand that he was an adult who came as a child that was never picked…and he got his moment in the spot light. We’ve been going for 8 years and Frank AND Isaac both had something to say on the SAME night of the SAME summer vacation! We were cracking up because Greg Russell had been making fun of “yuppie” names as each child that came up shared their name…Madison, Peyton, etc–and then…FRANK???

He totally froze and forgot his song–but he was so brave to raise his hand and go up when he was called. And then…Isaac just welcomed himself up front…you will have to turn your head sideways b/c I didn’t realize I had my phone sideways:)

These are always such FUN memories–and funny entertainment for the adults watching too!

AND then…on one of our last nights–the Young and Denton kids covered daddy up in sand. They all loved it–EXCEPT FRANK. Frank is at an age that he doesn’t like to see us different any time. He cried last week when Laney fixed my hair with bobby pins…so the sand was just too much. The kids were piling on sand and water–and Frank was un-shoveling as quickly as he could–had to grab my phone to try and get his concern…

No worries Frankie baby–he was sure happy when it was time for daddy to break free…(take special note of my white husband who did an awful job with sunscreen that day!)

And this one I just have to share because the international pediatrician told us he might never walk. SO PROUD of my big boy and how far he has come!!! He is a stinker these days–but that strong will and determination has served him well as you can see in this running video!

We had SO MUCH fun with another vacation with the Dentons! And on that note–here’s my top 10 list of why you should consider vacation with another family your family loves!

Top 10 Reasons to Vacation with Family Friends

10. It’s economical. It’s like splitting vacation with another family! You can almost get the same size place because the boys take a room, the girls take a room and the parents have their own rooms.

9. No leftovers. When you cook in instead of dining out, you aren’t left with any left overs the next–I mean, we all hate wasting food and who wants left overs on vacation?

8. Families take turns cooking so vacation actually becomes more of a vacation. Each family can be responsible for cooking one meal there–AND we also bring a prepared casserole. SO–4 nights are taken care of–and we go out just a handful of nights…but in the end–each family really only had to actually cook ONCE on vacation.

7. First one up makes the coffee…and first one up takes the first babies/kids that rise on a bike ride. Seriously–how many times do you say with kids that when you return you need a vacation from vacation?? Rotating helping with early risers lets every one else actually get to sleep in a bit.

6. Rotation nap duty–and those “on nap duty” aren’t left at home alone while the others play on the beach. Jett and I would often volunteer to take nap duty together because we got to catch up and visit with one another while the dads watched and played with the older kids at the pool. WAY more fun than mom being stuck pouting at the house during nap time–or forcing a kid who needs a nap to sleep on the beach or skip a nap…making night time on vacation not so much fun. We some times swap with the boys–but we also like an excuse to catch up and chill out ourselves!

5. The kids have friends to play with–and although I really want my kids to see their siblings as friends–I’ll tell you it is also so much fun for them to have each other to play with! They still connect and play with their siblings–only there’s more kids and they have a blast together. The kids wanted to go on this pricey alligator tour that we’ve done in the past–but because we know it’s a waste of money–Jett and I took them on OUR OWN alligator tour and it was not only hysterical–but because their friends were going for it…they totally did to. AND we actually pulled off showing them alligators from about 10 feet away:) Check it…

4. You could ACTUALLY have a girls night out (momma’s night out) or guys night out if you wanted to! OR…How much fun to go have lunch at the beach with one of your dearest friends?!

3. DATE NIGHT at the beach–free babysitting…with your man. We didn’t do this THIS year…well, we sort of did one night. (That’s another story though). BUT in the past, we have rotated the 3 “dinner out night” like this: couple 1 eats out, couple 2 eats out and then EVERYONE eats out. It can actually be trickier getting away some times when you vacation with family because everyone wants to come eat out–but when you vacation with your good friends that are also parents–they totally get the need for a date night…even on vacation (ESPECIALLY on vacation)…to reconnect with your spouse without kids and to just have time out without being worried about what time you are coming home because they are tucked in, safe, happy and chilling with some of their dearest friends.

2. If you LIKE to relax on the beach…like I do…then you actually GET to relax on the beach–even with kids 2, 3, 6 and 7. I never, ever hear, “It’s your turn” because the big boys are having so much fun riding waves with the big kids and even taking the babies out too. Jett and I park it by the umbrellas with the two smallest who aren’t keen yet on the ocean–while the boys ride the waves, net for guppies and take the kids down the beach on their bikes. Can you say HEAVENLY and guilt-free relaxation??

1. Getting to connect and form deeper community with another couple that you and your husband both respect and love. Friends become family–and the conversations you have each night after all the kids are tucked in are laughter filled and just plain fun. We split a house so we get to stay up each night chatting instead of going back to our separate condos/rentals–something that wouldn’t be as economical if we just rented it for just our family–but this actually ends up being less than a condo even! AND…we can park our bikes right in the garage:). We took a BIG family bike ride one day all over Sea Pines, and it was such fun. We rode bikes another night just to get ice cream at South Beach Marina…we got lots of looks with little kids zipping by on their little bikes–and we just had a blast being with another family! Our kids connected more deeply–we did as couples–and even as families…love their kids as if they were family after years of doing life and vacations together!

Taryn - May 30, 2012 - 8:04 am

I am a Hilton Head junkie too 🙂 you have me so excited for our family vacation in 2.5 weeks!!!!!! Who doesn’t LOVE Shannon Tanner?????

Alison - May 30, 2012 - 10:00 am

So FUN!!! It sounds like ya’ll had a wonderful vacation! We are SO looking forward to our beach trip! Can’t wait! So glad that ya’ll got to go with Jett and her family!

Sherry - May 30, 2012 - 8:40 pm

My in laws live in it…oh and we LOVE Greg Russell too 🙂