This year we decided to spend fall break in Carlsbad California. We know so many people who make this an annual fall trip and we’ve never found ourselves joining them. But this year was different. Hallie is a senior and all of her friends were going to be there. And when I say all of her friends, I mean all of her friends! Most of them go with their families every year so it was an easy decision to join.

I’m pretty sure half the kids’ school goes to California for fall break so we knew this wasn’t going to be the “family” vacation we’re used to. Once we wrapped our heads around that idea we knew what to expect and I’m so happy to report it was better than we expected. I knew there were so many families from our area that went to Carlsbad, but I was not prepared for just how many people there really were. We walked a long stretch of the beach and we knew nearly every single family – which is crazy! They are in our neighborhood, we’ve attended church with them, we’ve been on sports teams together, Steve went to school with them or his siblings did, or they have kids in school with one of our five kids. Our big city ends up feeling so small.

Briggs and Cannon were by our side the whole time but the rest of the kids were very independent and were running around with friends the whole time including managing their individual budgets for food. I’m pretty sure that’s why this trip ranks among their very favorite! And although Steve and I were both a little skeptical about this faux family vacation – it ended up being so much fun.

Surprisingly, I saw Bennett the least on the beach. He had buddies he was running around with up and down the beach. I’m lucky I caught the two pictures of him that I did. There was one night where I asked all the kids to be at the beach with us at 5:30 so we could all be together before the sun went down. They were all there, very punctual but the minute their time was punched they were back to meeting up with friends.

Steve and I spent our mornings and afternoons at the beach playing with kids and connecting with friends. Steve was so happy to find other people wanting to play volleyball and throw frisbees and footballs with him. I’m sure his highlight would be the multi-day spikeball tournament with Hallie’s best friend and her dad in which Hallie and Steve barely squeaked by with the win.

We went for Hallie but I have a feeling we’ll be back – our kids will insist!