Wednesday, February 20, 2013

24 Hour February Getaway

Do you ever drive your husband crazy because one side of your personality says "Save!  Pay off debt!  Don't buy anything ever!" and then the other side says "We really need to go on a vacation!  We work hard, we should enjoy ourselves every once in a while!  I'd rather buy memories than things!"  

No?  Me neither.

Just kidding, guilty as charged.  While I'm normally a great saver and debt-payer-offer, sometimes I set aside a little money in our Hawaii vacation fund that never happened and save up enough for a little getaway for  the family.  Partly it’s because I’m a super fun mom, but mostly it’s because I go crazy if we have a week off from school and work and have nothing planned. 

So on this February vacation, we packed up The Beast and drove to Coco Key!  We had stayed at a Coco Key Resort in New Jersey last year because I got a wicked good deal on a groupon.  This year, no luck with the groupon, but when we were planning our day trip, I realized it would be hardly any money more to stay overnight which meant we could go to Coco Key for an afternoon/evening and the next day.  Score!

(Disclaimer: all photos taken on my phone, so blurriness ahead!)

The city!
Cari, does this bridge count as architecture?  If so, then I'm playing!
Boston Bridge
 We tried to check in at 4 but our room wasn’t ready yet, so I asked the lady for our bracelets to go swimming in the meantime.  We swam our little hearts out until around 7 pm when we finally went and checked into the room.  Because we had waited so long, they didn’t even charge us for two passes to the waterpark.  Four were included with the hotel room, and Xander was free, so score again!

My lovies in their swimmies.
One part of the water park
The hotel room was awesome, it was a family suite and had a separate area with 2 twin beds and a tv, and then a big room with a king size bed, fridge and microwave.  The fridge and microwave are essentials to us on a trip because I pack up food to save moolah.  See…thrifty!

Get out of here, Mom, we're watching the Disney Channel that you won't pay for at home.
 We had a roughish night because Xander didn’t want to sleep very well in his pack and play (come on Graco, can you make a plusher version?), and against every ounce of my being, we finally let him come sleep in the bed with us.  He still thrashed all around and beat us up pretty bad. 

But alas, morning came and we raced out to make it to the 7 am Mass I had researched.  We arrived at 7:04 which is pretty Martin standard, only to see the priest blowing out the candles.  Apparently Mass starts at 6:45 during Lent and is super-duper quick.  How about updating your websites, Catholic parishes???  A cute old lady saw us fly in only to turn around and leave and said “Don’t worry, God knows your heart” and made us feel almost as good as daily Mass would have. 

We then went to breakfast at a restaurant where I had bought a certificate from (thrifty wins again!) and it was delicious.  Eamon, who is our red velvet fanatic (why? who knows?), was so psyched to see red velvet pancakes on the menu that he ordered three, and the nice waitress sized up his puny frame and said that probably two would do.  When he tasted how good they were, he said “Next time I am definitely getting 3!”

Seriously, the pancakes are bigger than he is!

Yes, they are all mine.  Thank you, stranger, for asking me the most popular question of my life.
Because I knows you needed a closeup of my ultimate omelet.
 After we had stuffed ourselves and answered a plethora questions about our family size, and how we got around, we left to go back to the hotel to change into water wear, pack up and check out.  Then we went to the water park and played for 4 hours before heading home.

Ear plugs, courtesy of ear tubes.

You mean I can splash and make messes without getting into trouble??

I do have four other children, but this is the one I had to watch like a hawk...through my phone camera lens, of course.

See!  There's my girl!

My two babes. 

Surfer Boys

For a bathing suit that is practically a dress, the upper crest could use a little more fabric.  

Come on guys, just look happy for a second.

Ahh, Dad can relax because Xander is....
...wait for it...
Napping in the stroller!!
 My lazy river boys:

See the big bucket at the top of the slides?  And those happy people waiting in line below?
 They ain't so happy anymore!

Of course, we can’t make a trip near Boston without finding and stopping at a Trader Joe's to pick up our two buck chuck groceries.  Oh Trader Joe’s why won’t you open a store that’s less than an hour away from our home?

The car ride home was a leeeetle longer than I like, but I watched Minor Revisions on my phone and the kids played with their fantastic car kits their Aunt Larisa made them.  We stuffed the baby full of food and Veggie Tales songs, and all were content.

Look what one mini chocolate pretzel can do!
Healthier fare

Now that we are back home, the kids are already saying “Remember when we went to Coco Key?” (um, yeah it was today) and trying to plan out our next trip.  Who says money can’t buy happiness?  Hehehehe!  But really, family getaways are something I love to spend on (frugally! And within reason! – sorry, my thrifty side was getting anxious).


  1. Nice bridge! Your vacation looks fabuloso. And you are one funny lady. :)

  2. Oh my gosh, next time groupon offers it, let me know! We'll plan another Donaldson/Martin vacation!

    And you've got two shots for the linkup- the bridge and the skyline! Boston's skyline is beautiful.

  3. What a fun get-away! It's nice (and needed I think!) to make special family memories like this!!!

  4. Looks like so much fun! There is a Coco Key around here too that we have never tried. The kids would love it, thanks for the review.

  5. I think that water park structure should count as architecture, too! :-)

    Our 'save moolah' family trips have gone better since we started leaving the Pack & Play at home and taking the Kidco Peapod instead! We have the deluxe one with the little window shades so she can't see out. Worth the price for space, weight...and sleep!

  6. love the bridge and the water park. So much fun!

  7. Oh my gosh, that all looks so fun!! Great shots, Colleen. :-)

  8. I saw the bridge and got all excited then realized it wasn't "the bridge". I do hope to see a photo of that!

    Your family vacation looks awesome, you are a super coolio mommio!

  9. How super-de-duper fun! Looks like a blast. I find that these little day/afternoon/whatever are about all I can take right now and the kids enjoy them too. If you score a deal, all the better! We are hoping to take our annual winter waterpark afternoon here very soon. Kids are going nuts and keep asking!!

    I must ask, because I just asked Jamie too, how do you get the 'You might also like' at the bottom of your posts? Is this new or are my eyes just noticing it today? I don't have it. Spill it, sistah!

  10. That looks like such a fun vacation!

  11. Looks like a great time was had by all!

    Mass in less than twenty minutes ~ wow!

  12. Wow. What a fantastic trip! Love it.

    And you know what's weird? Not a single person has ever asked me if all our kids are ours or any questions about our family size or anything. Not a word or a look or anything! What's up with that?

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