While we were driving down to San Antonio, listening to The Lorax on repeat behind us, we realized that this was the very first time we had been on a family vacation with just our family of 6! We’ve been on plenty of trips with the kiddos, but family or friends have always been with us. So this was special to be with our own little family, giving each other alllll the attention, for a Thanksgiving getaway! AND, it was a surprise for the kids. They thought we were going for a long drive, haha. The JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa has got to be our favorite family getaway spot. We came here during the summer when Avery was 3 months old and you can read ALL about that summer vacation here on this blog post! I got a few messages on Instagram asking if Avery struggled with road trips while traveling. We’ve always taken 5 hour road trips to visit family which has helped us learn the best way for us to keep the kids (and parents!) happy during the drive. I like to leave for road trips in the morning. I’ll send the kids outside to play in the backyard while I’m packing and loading everything in the car. I try to time Avery’s wake/play time while I’m packing up so that when it’s time to leave, she’s ready to fall asleep in her carseat. When she was an infant, she hated her car seat. I used to wake her up to take Savannah to school and she would scream the entire drive. I’m not sure if it she eventually became used to the routine or if she just needed to listen to the classic rock station (our saving grace! she sometimes stopped screaming when I turned it on the radio!) but she eventually became great in the car. I also ration the kids’ liquids to limit the potty breaks during the trip. They’re eating their calories instead of drinking them, I promise they’re not dehydrated 😉 . Then I pack the car full of movies, and snacks and treats we typically never have at home. This keeps them super happy! We’ve had 2 fabulous road trips to San Antonio (knock on wood!). We usually stop once for a restroom and nursing break before we drive up to the resort.
We arrived just in time to celebrate the Light Up The Night Holiday Experience! The 1st night was the Annual Lighting Ceremony where Santa flipped the switch to start the JW Holiday Lights for the season! We enjoyed thousands of twinkling lights choreographed to joyful holiday music as we strolled through the outdoor wonderland with a cup of rich hot cocoa. It was the perfect companion to a chilly night! With snow machines and real reindeer, it was a family experience I’ll always cherish. The kids especially loved creating their very own holiday train car where they joined other kids in a locomotive parade as we lit up the night for Santa to arrive. The hot cocoa bar, gingerbread cookie decorating workshop, strolling carolers, story time with elves, and photos in their Christmas pajamas with Santa and Mrs Claus were a few of the highlights! If you follow along with me on Instagram you would’ve seen this video with Avery and the rest of the kids meeting Santa. I’ve never seen Avery SO scared! lol We took the kids back to our room and they danced on the long patio to the music and lights until 10pm. Aaron and I kept saying to each other over and over how niiiiiiiiiice it was to take a vacation from the daily grind. And nothing makes a vacation worse than being cramped. This vacation we booked a suite with 2 separate rooms and nice connector room in the middle. Lots of space for our wild and reckless kids for the next 4 nights!
The pools + lazy river are heated year-round and we spent our days playing in the sand and splashing in the pools! The temperature during the days was usually in the high 60’s, so with the heated pools, the kids were happy as can be! I like my water warm and so I hung out with Avery in the spacious hot tubs or snoozin’ away on the lounge chairs for a majority of the time. I ordered the chips & salsa/guac every single day. It’s not crowded AT ALL this time of year which was great for letting the kids be a bit more free than if there had been too many kids to find mine in the mix. We ate dinner together as a family every evening at the High Velocity restaurant. The casual dining, big chairs + portion sizes, and 120 foot long video wall made it relaxing for all of us! Which like never happens for our family at a typical sit-down restaurant.
One morning, Aaron took the older 3 kids out to a rubber duck race. The kids picked a rubber ducky and decorated/colored it to the max! And then they raced them down the lazy river, haha.
The kids took turns down some of the slides with their daddy! Here, the twins and their scrunchy bums are waiting for Savannah and Aaron to slide down while I’m holding Avery on my hip. Apparently our 5 year old Savannah didn’t handle the surprise free-fall drop from the top, into the tube shoot. Lot’s of hysterical tears from that cute babe. We stuck with the easy double tube rides from there on out!
Hot tubbin’ all day, every day. I snagged this shot after seeing all the girl’s hanging on to Aaron. Charlotte pulled her head up and grinned at me.
I snapped this while they dipped their toes in the hot tub. I heard them giggling with their daddy and I think they were showing him a beach toy they’d found, when I felt a tight squeeze to my heart. A long day of playing hard together as a family and my soul couldn’t feel more complete. I have 4 kids and it doesn’t feel this magical even close to half the time. But gosh, I live for these magical moments of motherhood when I happen upon a lens of gratitude✨ #payday