I was determined to honor my kids’ pleas for a beach vacation this summer, I just didn’t know how I was going to pull it off…
Over the past few years, we have been blessed with plenty of exciting travel thanks to our successful reality television show, Kate Plus 8 (formerly known as Jon And Kate Plus 8) on TLC, so for as long as my kids can remember, we have traveled often and have all enjoyed each new adventure!
Prior to the start of our show, when we were a family of four, we traveled as often as possible and I’ve always felt that travel increases experience, intelligence and reinforces family bonds with many irreplaceable memories that are created! Once we became a family of ten, that travel slowed quite rapidly until the start of our show! And with the show travel, eight little “travel bugs” were created! The question quickly became WHEN are we traveling (pronounced “trabeling” by my little ones back then) next not ARE we traveling! They came to count on it…
So, imagine my excitement earlier this summer when, through my website, a company called “Relax On The Beach” (oh even the name!!!) randomly contacted me and asked if we would like to spend a week in one of their beach houses! They are fans of our show and our family and kindly offered their “free space” in one of their homes this summer! Were they kidding??! I mean, what a blessing!
I literally cried with excitement because this has been a very tightly budgeted year and I wasn’t sure our budget could stretch to accommodate a family vacation this summer! So, despite not knowing HOW I was going to pull off the logistics like how to arrange schedules for friends to join us and how to physically get there, I committed to the adventure…. As crazy as that may sound! If you know me, however, I am not afraid of huge adventures even if they do include EIGHT kids, which for me they always do! :)
The planning process began back in May…After doing the math, I realized that the cost of driving and all that it involved was a lot less expensive than flying, so I began doing research on getting a towing package installed on the BBB, renting a trailer and the best highway routes to take. I asked exactly three friends to go along for the trip in our BBB (Big Black Bus) because that’s how many “spare” seats we have! One of our dear friends flew in from the Midwest to accompany us and two of our closest friends came in from NYC. Okay, so far, so good.
Next, I made plans to have a “ball and hitch” (or whatever it’s called) put onto our BBB so that we could drive while hauling a very necessary trailer to lug our buckets, shovels, swim suits and coolers full of food! I found a wonderful place near Philadelphia and made an appointment! Then, I researched trailers and found myself reserving a 5×8 sized unit at our local UHaul.
When I appeared the morning of our trip, the guys were surprised when I asked them to teach me how to hook up and unhook it! They willingly showed me and I paid close attention because of the importance of safety! It was really then that I realized I was, for the first time on my own, taking on such a HUGE responsibility since my “single parent” status began…
Over the weeks leading up to our trip, I made a complete expense budget, remembering my firm belief in the fact that “family memories are worth the money” and have said that many times in the past.. So I cost effectively planned our budget including packing picnic lunches during the road trip part, shopped for groceries, toiletries, laundry detergent and supplies locally and even took meats from home to prepare while there. All of these things helped me to cut costs by extending my “bulk buying” principles even while on vacation!
By the time our departure was imminent, the kids were buzzing with excitement… The sand and sun with family and friends that we all adore! What could be better?
To be honest, I had to “sell them” on the long drive and reminded them that all good things are worth the trip so we would get through it and make it fun! And we did! The kids were so well behaved, it was possible (at times) to forget I was driving with a van full of 12 people, AND pulling a large trailer! I was so impressed!
By traveling at night, we all were able to save ourselves some misery although for the three adults driving, including myself, I knew that timeframe would prove to be most difficult – and it was!
Somehow though, we pulled it off!
Following our long trip, once we arrived at the beautiful house that was perfectly set up and ready for our arrival, and once our feet squooshed into the sand and the waves splashed over us, the long journey was washed away from memory. All I heard from my sand covered kids over the next few days was “thank you mommy for bringing us here!” over and over again!
This me reminded once again, that memories, even memories on a budget, are always worthwhile and if it’s at all possible, then it’s a “must do!” I was so glad I persisted and can’t quite explain the satisfaction I felt when we arrived! I actually think, no I know, that I was surprised that we actually did it! All four adults “slapped five” on arrival. Whew! We did it!
I will forever cherish the memories of my kids carefree laughs as they purposely “wiped out” in the waves and as they furiously dug trenches to protect their elaborately created sand castles. I will treasure the many pictures we snapped, permanently capturing those memories for always.
I will forever be grateful to Relaxonthebeach.com for reaching out and offering us the opportunity and affording us those irreplaceable memories, literally! Their online beach house business is a well run dependable site that receives the Gosselin family stamp of approval! :)
And, I am always and continue to be thankful to our friends who joined us on our crazy trip, making it possible for this dream to happen! We had such fun, didn’t we? I mean, when you can still laugh with a vehicle of 12 during the last hour of the harrowing drive, then you know you’re friends forever…right?
I couldn’t have done it without each generous piece that was offered lovingly by each of you!
Fun times. Really fun! I mean, I don’t even remember locking ourselves out of the house or the squabbling over souvenirs in the 100% humidity or even the exhaustion of being awake through the night driving! It’s amazing how those great memories eclipse the not so great ones! :)
Along the way, we even stopped to visit some of The Hunger Games filming locations too! That was an added surprise that thrilled all of us! :)
I hope you enjoy these pictures from our very much enjoyed family summer vacation…..