We love Eagle Crest in Redmond Oregon! It's great family time and Michael (my husband) gets some work hours in and I (mom) figure out how to raise 5 kids while they run around filled with energy and excitement from being somewhere new.

Here's what it is like to be at a resort with five small children. I thought this trip was going to give me a chance to be a better parent but instead this trip has shown me that everywhere we go, we bring all the great things and challenging things that we are currently going through with us. I am dealing with just about everything here that I deal with at home. 

Here’s my current list of great things and challenging things that came to the resort with us:

·      Bedtime.

·      Eating healthy.

·      Special needs.  

·      Television.

·      Kids fighting, again.

·      Kids being best friends, again.

·      Dry shampoo.

·      Multitasking.

·      Counting 5 kids.

·      Knowing all this is worth every effort and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I write more about our trip below but first, here are a few pictures: 

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I have to share the story on this picture of our 2 year old son. Michael and I always make a point to aggressively put in effort to never lose any of the children. However, the “things” that come with the children – favorite stuffed animals, blankets, swim goggles, drinks, etc. – we can’t track these things but rarely do we misplace them. So when the kids and I were sitting outside of the rec center waiting for Michael to park and unload the car, I had them each drink a Gatorade. Each kid sat perfectly still and drank their drink. Then Michael came with all the swim stuff and they all jumped up in excitement to go into the pool area. We moved to the pool, and the kids swam for a few hours. Our young son got out of the pool and asked for his Gatorade. I looked at Michael, Michael looked at me and we both lifted our hands up. We had no idea where his Gatorade went. We searched every swim bag (a minimum of four) and all around us and couldn’t find it. We got ready to leave and gathered up our things. Our son was sad that his Gatorade was lost. As we exited the rec center, there was his Gatorade sitting on the bench outside where we had sat before we went in. He was so excited!! And of course he started drinking the rest of it before I could stop him. I figured probably nothing was wrong with the drink and no one had messed with it, but normally I would not recommend finishing the drink that you left sitting in a public place for a half day. But the smile on his face with that Gatorade was so priceless! 

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It’s easy to get caught up in everything that has to get done when traveling with kids. I feel the pressure from the moment we start packing for the trip – I have a long to-do list and from the time we arrive to the moment we leave, there’s stuff that has to get done in a new environment that the kids aren’t used to. For me to accomplish everything, I have to have a few other things done beforehand. Here’s what I do ahead of time so that I can focus on loving my kids while we are there.

Start planning as early as possible. I write out the vacation in detail about three months in advance and edit it every week until we leave.

Decide on the food (who is handling it). It’s typically me who has to make all the meals happen. I make my meal list a month before we go and assign other people times to cook. (Currently, my husband makes every breakfast, and each dinner has a different child assigned to it as a helper.) Here's a picture of Michael cooking breakfast. 

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Let the kids pack. I pack a few things for the kids that are essential and then they pack the rest themselves. I also let them pack their own backpacks and allow I don’t always agree with what they put in them, every time they use everything they bring. There’s something about packing yourself that helps you remember what you brought.

Then I have to add some self care to my time. Scheduling time by myself or doing something I want to do – pedicure, extra nap, eating out, a date night with my husband, just something that will help me have a mini vacation on my stay because let’s be honest, vacationing with the kids isn’t the most relaxing thing for mama, so having a little time where I can relax is important. Here's our date night this trip - we were exhausted! But it was good to get a way for a while, when we don't have five children hanging on us we talk, laugh, and hold hands. 

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Now that these details are taken care of, I get to focus on the kids and making sure they have good memories of vacations. I want the kids to feel like they want to be with us, not just go because they have to. 

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