Have you ever vacationed with your entire family in a single house? I’ve always told Chris that I think the best time to spend with extended family would be in a neutral setting at a neutral time (no holidays please). This idea became a reality when my mom surprised us with an amazing gift.

My mom and aunts recently sold my grandparents’ house. With my mom’s portion of the sale she decided to take her family on a vacation. We joined my parents, two sisters and their husbands and kiddos in a beautiful three story home with a pool right on Bradenton Beach, FL. My Nana loved nothing more than being with all of her family so it was a wonderful way to honor her and my grandpa.

Anna Maria Island, Florida

Our days in Florida were slow and relaxing. Mornings were filled with coffee, cartoons, and taking in the view of the waves. The rest of the day was spent between the pool, beach, and foosball table! Lunches were simple sandwiches and fresh fruit. My brother-in-law rocked the grill at dinner time. And as the sun was about to set we would head to the beach to absorb the last of the sun’s rays.

We rarely left the property - a few trips to the beach wear and grocery stores filled our needs. Halfway through the week we had a girlie with ear pain at 1AM. We didn’t realize that my dad (with the dog) and sister (with the baby) were up as well. Had we known, Chris could have brought the dog and our nephew in the car when he made his late night run to Walgreens.

Sharing this vacation with my family allowed all of our relationships grow. We all helped each other out. My sisters would take N to the beach when the twins wanted to stay in the pool. I grabbed the baby when he woke up from his nap so my sister could stay on the beach a bit longer. Chris taught our two year old nephew the potato fries fist bump. The girls cuddled on the couch with my niece when they watched movies. And on a few nights the adults would stay up with a glass of wine and chat!

Before the week was over my sisters and I agreed that we would love to vacation like this again! It was the most relaxing, fun time we’ve spent with family. And while this trip was free thanks to my parents, we would gladly split the cost in the future because a week in paradise with my family was priceless.

Family vacation collage