Our family went to Sandestin Resort in Destin Florida for Spring Break 2010. We had such a great time together in Sandestin, yet in the midst of games of scrabble, bike rides, and sand castles on the beach,  I had  to fight off little twinges of  melancholy, or shall I say the reality that this will most likely be our last Spring Break together as a family of nine.

2010 will mark the beginning of a new era at our house… college. Before I know it, the days of all of us hopping in our car and heading off to spend time together will be gone.

It sounds so cliche, yet where did the time go? I feel like it was yesterday and I was bringing home Johnathon from the hospital — all nine pounds nine ounces of him. And then eighteen months later, Evelyn joined the mix, and then Connor, and so it went for many years. That has been my life. It’s what I do, and what I love doing.

I look back now and hope that amidst all of the  dirty diapers, baskets of laundry, chaos, and hugs that I can hold on to all of the amazing memories. I’ve enjoyed raising all seven of my kids. Some days, I forget what we had for dinner! Most of all, though, I pray that the  kids look back on their time together and remember the great times they shared, alongside the wackiness of growing up sharing, taking turns, and fighting over who’s turn it is to sit by the window on one of our cross country trips.

Senior Day – New Family Tradition

Well, no time to let our growing family make me too sad especially on Spring Break, so in honor of our number one son, we’ve created a new family tradition — Senior Day.

The goal: honor the oldest and make one day during their final Spring Break extra special. The premise is simple. The senior is in charge and can do anything, go anywhere, and live a life (only for a day) where they don’t have to consider anyone else — truly a luxury in our house.

On Friday, Johnathon got to pick the menu for the day, plan the days’ activities, and we had to take his lead. I had so much fun watching him  plot out his day.

Our first official Senior Day. Breakfast was home-made Crosissant/egg sandwiches, sausage and juice. Not the usual morning fare for the Davis family — I’m sure the boxes of cereal were missing us! Next a morning bike ride, followed by an afternoon of tennis. I packed a lunch for all of us and off we went. We returned home and then quickly back out again for an afternoon at the beach. It was a great day.

It may not seem like a big deal to many of you, but imagine the daily compromises in a family of nine. Rarely, if ever, is the sky the limit at our house , yet on Senior Day, your wish is our command and Johnathon loved it! We ended the day celebrating dinner out at Cheeseburger in Paradise, and grabbed a Redbox movie for those who could stay awake.

The perfect ending to a really nice day — one in which our amazing senior ruled. Compromises took a back seat and he was honored. I like that. Ultimately, Johnathon and I were the only ones who stayed awake to watch the movie. There we sat, just  my baby and me, up past midnight — some things will never change. :)

Simple Mom is a great blog for advice on how to live simply.  Simple Mom is written by  Tsh Oxenreider. Tsh is a wife, a mom to two kids, an American expat, a graphic designer, and writer.

As a mom of many, I have little choice  or time not to be organized. It usually took me one, maybe two times of  forgetting the baby bag, or stroller, and then I realized that I needed a way to prevent that from ever happening again( especially on vacation). So here are a few of my favorite ways to get organized before heading out the door this Spring.

It sounds simple, but make a baby bag checklist. Keep it in the kitchen, maybe on the frig, and before you leave the house, double check that your bag passes your inspection. This also helps your husband or care giver keep your family on track.

Another favorite travel strategy , especially if you are traveling for hours on end, is to wrap up dollar store gifts or snacks to brighten the faces of your little travelers every hour or so. I use aluminum foil ( so easy to wrap) and then number them with a sharpie. As the trip unfolds, I’ll tell the kids to take surprise number 1 or 2, etc.  out of their backpacks. They love it, and it makes the journey more fun for everyone!

Tsh has some great travel ideas, too. Her  blog is a great one to visit for inspiration because it’s very SIMPLE and easy to read.

Here is a great post about holiday travel with kids that you’ll love now, and  all year long.

This family travel post was originally published in July 2009 but I thought you would find it interesting for Spring Break travel! Enjoy!

As our family gears up for a road trip to Chicago for a family reunion, I want to take a minute to wish you all a safe and festive fourth and to give you a few tips for the road. Load up on audio books and CDs.

My kids have grown up listening to the Adventures in Odyssey series, by Focus on the Family (www.focusonthefamily.com), and we love all kinds of books on CD/tape. Any one of the Harry Potter books will take us to Chicago and back or wherever your family destination. We also enjoy the Ramona the Pest series and Junie B. Jones. Head to your local library and see what they have available and chances are they have something for everyone.

As far as music, I would suggest any CDs from our dear friends, and Kansas City favorites, Mr. Stinky Feet ( www.jimcosgrove.com) and Funky Mama (www.funkymamamusic.com). Our kids fall asleep each night to their hits. It’s so fun for me to hear the voices of my good friends echoing in our halls at night. We’ve also discovered a new group called the Recess Monkeys (www.recessmonkeytown.com ). I had the chance to spend some time with this ultra cool group from Seattle at Jiggle Jam and they are as hip and fun as their music. The kids love their Beatles like beat and even the older kids agree–this band appeals to all ages. One neat fact is that the three band members are teachers by day and rock stars by night.

Here’s to a rockin’ fourth!

Make it a great weekend,

Amy