It is the first day of school here in Virginia. Summer vacation is officially over.
I’m not quite at the “pass me a mimosa” stage as I normally am thanks to some of the big scary changes happening here (just high school & middle school; it’s freaking ME out a bit. The kids are all whatevs…)
We’re starting about a month later than the Arizona kids, but right on time with our Texas friends. Well, those that aren’t delayed thanks to the hurricane literally ruining everything including their last days of summer.
180 days of learning and fun in front of us and I’m excited- even if the kids are a little less so.
This summer for us brought new things into our world and new places. While I worked all summer long, I am all the #blessed that my work includes travel. So here’s how I spent my summer “vaction.”
How I Spent My Summer Vacation
In no particular order, here are the top 5 summer vacation moments from the summer of 2017.
1. Michigan & the Great Lakes
This summer turned out to be the summer of beach & sand and it all started with a trip to the Sunset Coast of Michigan. Since I have a thing for sunsets, this was the perfect way to kick things off. Dreamy!
This was a new to me state and I fell in love with the people of Michigan.
They, like my fellow Texans, like to put the shape of Michigan on everything. I saw tables, chairs, shirts, mugs- you get the idea. The pride in their state was evident in many ways.
Here’s the Sunset Coast recap and why it will not be my last trip to the thumb!
2. D23 Expo
When you add the Summer of Heroes at Disneyland plus Disney movie news plus a bazillion Disneyfreaks you get AWESOME.
And that’s what the 3 days of the D23 Expo was for me. Sheer awesome.
3. #AllTheBeaches ?Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, and Hilton Head.?
We had a little coast to coast beach action going on this summer. And loved all three locations.
We’re going to give Hilton Head the nod here because it was perfect weather & water for our crew. And on the same coast so much more likely we can make it back more often.
The steps to getting a family picture.
1. Cousin photo bomb
2. Cousin photobomb Plus uni bomber
3. Dab. Because this dumb trend will not stop.
4. Mom channels Captain America and says “I can do this all day” and kids realize she’s serious & finally cooperate to look at camera together.
The summer beach was highlighted by visiting my family in California. We spent 3 weeks with some of the most fun people I know- and I’m so thankful they are mine!
4. 4th of July in Washington D.C.
One of those bucket list things got crossed off in a big way this summer.
I put in the research and planned out what I hoped would be a relatively cool & stress-free experience. With like 11-bazillion of our closest friends, neighbors, and tourists- what could go wrong?
I lucked out- and nothing. Nothing went wrong! I even got major mom points after it was all said and done by the Teen.
High praise, my friends, when they turn to you and say, “Well, that didn’t suck!”
I’ll take it.
5. Family Forward conference in Orlando
Our summer travels wrapped up with a trip to Universal Orlando & Disney World.
Technically we were there for Universal & all things Harry Potter, but you know, Disney is just, like, down the street. So it had to be done.
What I loved about Universal: everything! I loved that my kids all tried new things and mostly enjoyed them. I love that we had some quality time with good friends and that I was able to prove to my husband that the people I know on the internet are REAL.
What I loved about Disney: almost everything. I had a chance to ride the Great Movie Ride one last time and we checked out the new land, Pandora: the World of Avatar.
As far as Pandora goes: I’m not going to pretend I loved everything about it. I’ll do a review later, but I am definitely in the minority here that didn’t think the hype matched up to the land. I have reasons, and it’s not just that I don’t get the movie (though admittedly that’s part of it).
Bonus Super Summer Fun Experience: The Eclipse
I was totally completely caught off guard about this one. I mean, I knew it was happening because someone in a travel group mentioned it months ago.
But then I just forgot about it. So, of course, had no plan to see this thing safely and had to do some quick research online to find glasses.
As the news spun up over how big a deal this was going to be, I caught the bug and wanted to make sure the kiddos experienced this rare event.
Once again, they were not on board with my shenanigans— until after it was all over. Then they agreed that it was worth standing in line for the (free!) glasses and hanging around the Smithsonian for a peek at the eclipse.
It was a great summer and I’m looking forward to a great school year.
We have a lot to look forward to this year: high school, middle school, swim lessons, soccer practices, crew (maybe?) and after school clubs.
And I’m sure we’ll have some time to fit in an adventure or two as well.
Patty Holliday is a Marvel loving, Disney obsessed wife, and mother of four. She’s a travel agent specializing in Disney & Universal vacations- and loves a candid confession. Find her in Virginia (or anywhere frequent flyer miles or her trusty minivan takes her.)