Well, we're back and boy did we have a BALL. Here's the long (and I mean LOOONG) awaited post with pictures and a rundown of our adventures.
Major props to Summer who gave me the idea. She called me on Wednesday asking me what I was gonna do this weekend and I said..."Hmmm, I really wanna run away but I don't know where to go. The kids have Friday off and this weekend is supposed to be beautiful. I don't wanna drive for more than 4 hours but then again, maybe I should just stay home because I have my church class to teach on Sunday and all..." To my surprise, Summer had ALL the answers. She said, "This Sunday is stake conference so...yay for that. And I know the PERFECT place for you to run away and it's only a TWO hour drive!"
SO she tells me about this fabulous place in Myrtle beach called Dunes Village Resort. It's perfect. Only 2 hours away. A condo so Isaak has his own bedroom. Indoor waterpark so it's not too cold to swim. AND on the beach....LOVELY. I called and booked our stay immediately. The 50% Winter discount was irresistible! I decided to keep the vacation location a secret from the kids and surprise them when we got there.
When I called to book the lady asked, "How many adults?" ONE, I said. "How many children?" FOUR, I said. The she says to me, "Okay...how many adults again?" I know right? ONE. Just me :) Am I crazy? Yes...if you ONLY knew.
We got to Myrtle Beach Friday at about 2pm and stopped to grab some groceries before heading to our condo. Once we got in, the cable television was vacation ENOUGH for the kids. Pure heaven for them. I almost couldn't pry them away. We let Isaak nap before heading downstairs so they got a good amount of TV while we waited.
Although the TV was nice, I headed for the balcony to enjoy the sound of the peaceful ocean. I sat alone, just enjoying MY time.
I also made some yummy buffalo chicken dip and ate it with my favorite Kettle cooked crinkle cut chips (recipe thanks to Kristen). Could life get ANY better?
When Isaak woke up he showed us ALL how excited he was for his very first swimming adventure!
The waterpark was amazing! A lazy river with cars to float around in.
A kiddie pool.
The kids were SO surprised and enjoyed their swimming!
Isaak and I watched all the kids and enjoyed snacks while we watched.
Here are a couple pictures of the play areas.
Slides, hot tubs, lazy river...
A basketball area which surprisingly, Jake LOVED and played with most of the evening.
When we were all tired out, after several hours of our swim, we went back to the room to get cozy and have dinner. I made a delicious Aussie Chicken found HERE and it was to DIE for. SOOO yummy! We drank coke outta fancy cups and enjoyed conversation with each other about how exciting our day had been.
After dinner we got in our beds to enjoy some TV. The boys slept in the pullout couch bed, me and Kora in our own room and Isaak in his own room. The room was cold and it was SOOOO cozy.
I made yummy smores treats found HERE to gobble up while we watched TV.
I loved seeing these friends each time I visited the bathroom.
The next day we decided to visit the OTHER waterpark in the second tower of the resort. We planned to spend most of the day there and then go out for dinner that night. I made Miah pose for this picture only to get the hoochies in the background. They seriously thought they were hot stuff, soo funny. All of their belly buttons were pierced and they wore bikini's that were about 3 sizes too small. If one of them got up...they would ALL get up. They followed each other like a long train around the place. It was almost too funny to be real. I think someone should have told these girls that the entire place is INDOORS. No sunglasses needed.
This was my favorite day because I REALLY got to just sit and watch my kids play. I felt really proud and reflective this day. I thought about how brave Miah was being in the water. He never once acted scared or started crying. I realized that he has grown so much since we adopted him. I get on to him for stupid things a lot of the time just because it annoys me and I really shouldn't. I was so happy to see him having fun without being nervous. I love that he is so forgiving and so thankful alllll the time. And he never forgets to say it either. He told me many times on the trip that since he was 4, he wasn't going to be scared of anything anymore. I didn't really believe him when he said it, but he wasn't kidding. I loved that I could see him actually trying to NOT be scared.
I loved watching my Jake play basketball with these brothers. I was proud that he has the personality that he does. He wasn't afraid to be apart of the game even though he was the only white boy. The other white boys all just stood back and waited for the brothers' game to be over but not Jake. I love that he's cool like that. I love that he is such a helper to me and does SO much for our little family when our Dad is missing. I loved watching him tip the valet, hold the door open for all of us and look after his siblings. I love that I can go places with all of these guys and if I need to get up and go to the restroom by myself...I can. I love that I know they are all VERY good kids, with manners. I love that about them.
I love my Jake and all he does.
I loved watching Kora be the little mom of the group. I loved seeing how she made sure that NO ONE was left out or left behind. Even other kids in the pool whom we didn't know. She would make sure they played in her group or didn't fall down the stairs. She held their hands and would cheer for them when they did something amazing! She would make them smile when they were sad or help them find their mom when they were lost. She used to just be my little Koko but I realized as I watched her that she's my BIG Koko now.
I needed this trip so bad because lately I've been feeling like such a terrible mom. I feel like all I do is yell and scream and ground and fight with everyone. I feel like everyday is a constant battle to just "get through". Being on this trip and seeing each of my children's individual personalities shine made me realize that I need to just take things a little more easy. They ARE listening...that's obvious in the way they act when I'm NOT there breathing down their neck. I can still be the strict mom I am without being the angry mom and I know the effects will be even greater. As I sat there, I promised to myself to be more fun and to smile more to each child, to hug them and kiss them more. To not be so in a rush all the time. To be patient and kind and forgiving. To remember that they ARE kids.
While I watched and reflected, Izey and I rocked out to music just loving each other.
Until he fell asleep and then I sat just staring at him. What a blessing he is to my life. How sweet and precious he is and always will be. I feel like he brings out so much joy in each of the kids. First thing in the morning the kids come straight to Isaak to kiss and hug all over him. He makes them smile and laugh and he brightens ALL of our days.
Saturday was my favorite day of the trip. I learned so much about myself as a mother. About what I want to change with myself and about what I admire most about each child. I'm always going to be the strict mom that I am. I just am. That's just me and I feel like being strict is good because my children know how to behave. BUT, I will try to lighten up when it's not important to be strict.
That night we went out to dinner at PF Changs. The food was BETTER than good. It was so YUMMY and it had been WAY too long. My kids were perfect as usual!
Here are the meat eaters...
...and the non meat eaters.
On Sunday we checked out at 11am and spent the afternoon on the beach after we grabbed some delicious Krispy Kreme's. This was Isaak's first time IN the actual sand. He loved it. He only put one mouthful to his lips and HATED it. He spent the rest of the time picking it up and watching it run through his tiny fingers. (Yes he's wearing the same thing as last night but only because he had just ONE outfit left and I wanted him to wear it on the way home so he wouldn't be all sandy).
The kids were busy the ENTIRE time building and digging and searching for seashells.
Now THIS picture may look like nothing but a view to most of you. BUT, if you click on it you will see what I like to call, "BRAVE". My Miah usually starts shaking and freaking out as SOON as he even SEES the ocean but not today folks...not today because he's FOUR. He never ONCE acted nervous but instead would go way out into the ocean by himself to get buckets of water.
Brave I tell you.
I chilled on the blanket with Isaak listening to tunes and eating granola bars and bananas.
We spent about 3 hours on the beach before heading back home to Jville. The trip was EXACTLY what ALL of us needed. My favorite quotes from the trip are...
"I don't know WHY we lived at that vacation but I want to go back." -Miah
"I am LOVING this!" -Kora
"People are so much nicer these days because of pollution." -Jake
(whatever that means)
When we got home Isaak had trouble getting to sleep and was being SUPER awnery. In our experience (and we're pretty experienced since we do have THREE of them) boys start acting naughty when their hair gets too long. As soon as we get it chopped, they get back to their sweet self. So at 9:30pm, I was tired and had enough of Isaak's shenanigans. I got the clippers out and chopped him his first REAL haircut. A Marine cut, like his brothers of course.
He loved it so much he couldn't stop being spunky about it.
With little sunburnt cheeks and nose I thought he was the cutest tiny Marine I've ever seen.
And didn't prove to be true? Oh yes...once again, when the hair is cut, the boy becomes sweet. He only stayed awake long enoug for me to snap the shots of the little beaker (which is who I think he looks like now). By 10pm...he was fast asleep in dreamland.
I have some videos to show you but blogger is being stupid. Check back for those later.