A couple of days before we left for Michigan, this Onion article popped up on my facebook feed, “Mom Spends Beach Vacation Assuming All Household Duties In Closer Proximity to Ocean“.
Underneath was another article with yes or no questions to answer, letting you know if you are going on a trip or a vacation. Was there a laundry or kitchen were you were staying? That’s a trip, not a vacation.
I ticked most of the boxes and I think it really helped me realize that I was planning this beach house rental for the kids, and if I had any other expectation, I should swallow them before the trip so I didn’t ruin it for everyone.
This attitude went a long way towards making it a true vacation for them.
On Adam’s insistence, we chose a place right on the beach.
We were located conveniently between South Haven and Saugatuck, but for the first couple of days we didn’t bother taking the kids to either one, because there was a great beach a few steps from us.
On the first night we arrived, we took the kids to the beach around sunset to let them see it. They were so excited about the huge waves that they ran into the water fully dressed.
Our local beach was small but we practically had the place to ourselves so it was plenty big enough for us!
There were tons of rocks and sticks so the boys barely touched our plastic, store bought toys.
And there was also a creek that ran into the lake great for mucking around in.
The last two days of holiday the kids feet were pretty cut up from wearing their water shoes all the time, even in the water (our local beach was filled with rocks in the water too.) We decided to check out the other two beaches in the towns close to us.
First Oval Beach in Saugatuck.
Going to the beach every day is exhausting
Then South Beach in South Haven.
And there were other activities too.
One day we picked blueberries at Earl’s Blueberry Farm.
Another day we hiked Mount Baldhead.
The kids liked running down the sandy dunes on the other side of these steps so much we decided to check out the Saugatuck Dunes State Park the next day.
It was very buggy and full of daddy long legs which freaked the kids out. Also it wasn’t well marked and we ended up going in a big circle. Kids were freaked out and crying. It felt like we were stuck in the Blair Witch Project. It rained on us and after over an hour of walking around, we never made it to the other side of the dunes to see the beach, instead we ate our picnic in the car ride home!
We also went to Saugatuck to visit the Teeny Tiny Toy Store, and eat at the Saugatuck Brewing Company. That night Aaron spilled a beer on my one side and Sam threw up on the other side. But hey, on the bright side, I didn’t have to cook!
We also ate ice cream at the local store, Kilwins.
We also spent a lot of time around the house, hanging out as a family. With so few toys, I loved how creative the kids got with the stuff I actually brought. Like these Pop Toobs.
Hours of entertainment.
And roasting s’mores right in the front yard!
Even though I still assumed many of the household duties, having my father there was a godsend.
When Adam worked I still had another adult around. And not just any adult, one who spent lots of time entertaining all the kids.
He also took on laundry, kitchen clean up, and sweeping duties.
And he helped Jack with his summer homework packet most days.
Adam and I went out most nights, leaving my father with the sleeping kids. Many of the night we went to Mejier for groceries, but a few nights we were free to walk around the sleepy beach towns and eat more Kilwins ice cream.
South Haven Pier
Less toys, less scheduled events, and more free time left me more time to slow down. To be with the kids. To enjoy the sunset every night off our balcony. To sit and read a few pages in my book.
The kids came back from the trip very happy and so did I.