Wednesday, July 13, 2011


We just got home from Soden Family Vacation.  The last time we took one of these it was just the six of us.  We went to Jamaica.  We stayed up late, lounged in the pool, drank humming-birds, played cards, slept in and sun-tanned.  It was glorious!  Now, three kids and five years later... things have changed!
We met in Dubuque, Iowa.  It is just on the Iowa/Illinois state line and we picked it because it is half way between my folks and my brother... and Dave and I got lucky and had a two hour break on the other's drive time.  It was 8 hours for them, 6 for us.  Plus stops.  And we traveled at the speed of a pregnant lady and a toddler, so we were in no hurry.  And we did a little shopping in Des Moines on the way out-- I'm here to tell you there is nothing I love more than traveling at the speed of "vacation".

Turns out, it's not the place, but the people that make for a great vacation.  Not that we didn't like Dubuque.  I mean, it's no Jamaica, but we didn't have these three smilers in Jamaica, now did we?!?

From Left: Crewe, Dekker, Brooks
And we didn't have an ocean view room this time, but we had a gorgeous view of the Mississippi River!

We had a great stay at the Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark.  The Waterpark was smaller than we anticipated but was absolutely perfect for our little kids.  We could put life-jackets on them and let them roam and run.  They had two water-slides that were a HIT with them, and one great, big white water-slide that went outside the building and got dark at one point.  Everyone who could ride that slide did, including Nana and Dekker-- and it was a hoot!

We spent the mornings in the waterpark, found lunch on-site, napped/rested/showered then spent the afternoon and evening doing other fun stuff.... like going to the Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium...

...and going on a boat ride!

We ate great food-- especially at dinner, and made great memories.  There is something truly wonderful and special about spending time with Family.  I love my brother and his wife, and this trip reminded me how much I miss them.  But I am so thankful for time away and spent together.  We don't get to BBQ all summer long and have play-dates all winter long, but we get to meet up in the middle of no-where and make it the coolest vacation spot around for a few days.  No cooking.  No laundry.  No messy houses to clean.  No jobs or pagers or email.  Truly wonderful.

I can't put words to a picture like this or somehow tell you what it means to me, but I think you "get the picture."

This was also the first vacation we had really taken with Dekker.  We went to Vegas, and on our cruise, but didn't take Dekker.  We've traveled to visit family with him, but this was different.  And he did great.  He is seriously an incredible travel partner, though he IS a toddler and acts like one sometimes!  He slept pretty well-- but was up with the birds!  He slept on an air-mattress (with bumpers) on the floor, and did crawl into bed with us and sleep in the morning.  He NEVER sleeps with us at home-- we just never let him and now he won't-- so this was kinda special :)  He loved having his daddy lay next to him at night-- and would ask "Daddy?" about every two minutes while falling asleep.  All Dave said was "I'm right here buddy."  We sat by him and rubbed his hair and sang him songs and mouthed to each other "Cutest Kid Ever" while he fell asleep.  Then we watched the History Channel and drank pop and fell asleep ourselves.  Not a bad gig :)

We had lots of fun, and enjoyed a few days to just be a family. Dekker was pretty much stuck to his daddy like white-on-rice.  But he and I got to play a lot together in the waterpark and I loved it.  (23 weeks pregnant and in a swimsuit?  Who cares!!)  This hot, nauseated, Mama was okay not hauling him around all weekend, but I was ready to snuggle him up all day today!

Here's to family vacation.  It has changed a lot in the last 5 years.  But we'll blink and these days will be gone.  I wouldn't change a thing!

On the journey,

1 comment:

  1. Stef,
    Thanks for sharing, Loved all the pics of the boys, so cute!!!
    Makes me miss all of you even more