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I’m BACK (and yes, I fell madly in love with the ocean!!)

I have fallen madly in love with the beach!

I’m back! And I just have to say: Our 4-day, kid-free, completely unplugged trip was EPIC. Beyond epic, truthfully!

It was the first time we’ve been away from the kids for more than 24 hours in more than 3 years and it was the first time I’ve been completely unplugged for 4 days in, well, YEARS!

We swam, we biked, we walked miles and miles on the beach, we enjoyed amazing food, we had deep discussions and heart-to-heart conversations, we laughed until we cried, we teased each other, we talked about hard stuff, we got sunburned, we sat quietly together and soaked up the beauty, we read by the pool, we tried local restaurants, and we decided we need to do this at least once a year.

I have fallen madly in love with the ocean...

Also, what surprised me the most was how much I fell madly in love with the beach and the ocean. I’ve not really been to the beach in years and because this trip was kid-free and because I didn’t have any responsibilities and because I was completely unplugged, I got to just savor the ocean. And oh my goodness, I couldn’t get enough of it. 

I wanted to sit by it. I wanted to wade in it. I wanted to watch it. I wanted to walk the beach. And as soon as we got home, I realized how much I missed it.

Now I’m trying to convince Jesse that we need to set a goal to buy a rental house somewhere near the beach that we can rent out part of the month and then drive to and stay in for part of the month. Never mind the fact that our next goal was to save up to buy a house here in the Nashville area… I’m all like: let’s just skip ahead of that and save up for property near the beach. 🙂

Needless to say, the trip was a success — and we’re already looking forward to when we can make something like this happen again. I think we’ll make it a standing goal for each year from here on out!

A HUGE thank you to our very good friend and employee, Brian, who insisted we go on this trip and who insisted that he watch our kids while we were gone. And a BIG thank you to Meg who took over running the blog, social media, and my email inbox while I was gone. You both are the best!

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  • Good for you! My husband and I got away without the kids for a week in Orlando, Florida this past January. It was just in time because our 4th child was born February 18! Brad works for Young Life, so we were in Florida for “All-Staff Conference” which happens every 4 years. We got to hear some great speakers, enjoy the hotel, and take in the sights. It was definitely worth it! A friend who was there recently remarked that every time he saw us we were “just beaming!”

  • leisa Parker says:

    My husband and I adopted 6 kids that still live at home. We also have 2 grown kids ( 1 whose wedding is in 4 weeks and 1 that moved back with her 5 year old ) needless to say we are busy. We usually take a weekend away twice a year but haven’t had a chance the last 20 months. I am ready for 1. Glad you got away. I know we always come home feeling like we are better equipped to handle the kids, work and life in general.

  • lynn m. says:

    The big question is what beach did you go to???? 🙂

  • I’m just so glad you got to do this. 🙂 I am soooo happy for you guys! I love that you have people that helped you go away. My mom has always made it possible for Austin and I to get away for a weekend each year. She basically mandates that we go away for a few days without the kids. I think my parents know how important it is that couples get away on their own. She always taught me that when I got married, I should go on dates regularly, and we should get away once a year. It would make us better people, which in turn, would make us better parents. Glad you are getting to do that.

  • Amanda says:

    I’m so jealous!!!! Our son is 16 months old and I love him to pieces but we have never had a date night without him…and now we live 5 hours away from anyone we know! Someday we will make this work. A weekend with my husband sounds divine!

  • Dena says:

    I can not imagine. We have been married 39 years. We went away alone once for 4 days.
    Our kids are grown. Whenever it seemed to be too much, we reminded each other that our time with them would be short. And it was. ?

    • Joan says:

      My husband and I have a similar story to yours, Dena. We were never able to go away overnight by ourselves when our four children were young. Now that they are adults, we are able to to do that a little and it is such a sweet treat! I tagged along on a conference with my husband for the first time last year and we had so much fun!
      We have decided that when our children are young marrieds with littles that we will have a twice yearly offer available for childcare (or even dog sitting if that is what would keep the couple from a getaway!) for each family at their place or ours. It is so important. I wish we had had family to do that for us or the finances available to hire a reputable sitter so we could at least have had a weekend or two way back when. We still tried to carve out date time for just the two of us. Date nights were hard to come by, but we knew it was important for our relationship. A strong marriage makes for good parents!
      You are right that time with our young ones is short! It is amazing that our young ones are grown and developing their own lives now. Where did the time go? Take heart, young families- – it is so hectic when they are little. I remember tight budgets, exhausting days, and bumps in the road. Then in the blink of an eye, our four kids were grown and on their way. All of the work and fatigue, and joy, because there was joy, too, was part of our family story. It all works for good…
      I just wanted to chime in and say that I feel so strongly about offering this support to our children when the time comes. Yes, my husband and I did okay without one overnight break in over two decades of parenting, but I think it would have been such a wonderful thing had we had that. I can “correct” that in our own story by offering it to our grown kids when the time comes.
      Crystal, I am so glad you two had a good trip! Your words are “glowing” just as I imagine your face is this morning! 🙂

  • Kariane says:

    Wonderful! It’s so important to take time to relax. It’s when we have time to truly soul search and dream. 🙂

  • Monica says:

    I feel a little lighter by just reading about how you spent your days! Good for you! I would love to spend a little time away with just my husband. I need to make that a priority! Right now, I get excited if we have a short drive together to have a conversation.
    I totally second that about the beach. I remember a time when I loved the beach but it feels like so much work with kids. I think the sand in the swimsuits and eyes, jellyfish stings, and being on lifeguard duty constantly has changed my view of the beach. 😉

  • Chris says:

    I would love to hear where you went and which restaurants and activities you enjoyed! Glad you were able to have a getaway!

  • Lindsey says:

    I love the beach, too. We live close to the beach and really enjoy it. I can tell from your pictures that you weren’t on the gulf coast. Consider coming to the Alabama coast or Florida panhandle next time. The sand is white and the water is beautiful. You will love it 🙂

  • Robin says:

    Ahhh.. good for you. Beaches, something we haven’t done in years! Alone anyway. Our children are now grown and my husband and i just spent a week in both the Clearwater and daytona areas. Took a long ride from daytona to st. Augustine A1A route one day. Beautiful and wonderfully diverse beaches. Then after watching the sun rise on the Atlantic another day, we drove across the state and saw the sun set on the gulf.. wonderful memories.

  • Melissa says:

    The beach is my favorite place to be! I always feel so close to God while there and can physically feel His amazing love and yet awesome power at the same time. It’s very good for my soul. I go every chance I get even if it is with the kids in tow!! Lol. I agree with Lindsey above, the Florida panhandle is beautiful. I’ve been up and down both the East and West coast but the Panhandle, especially the 30A area, has captured my heart. Trying to pay off our house now so that we can get a little place down there!!!

  • Tina says:

    This is why even though we have the highest tax rates in the country, I can’t see myself living anywhere but on Long Island (NY). I love having a ton of beaches within an hour’s drive.

  • Jennifer says:

    You could buy a SECOND HAND timeshare by the beach! Don’t get it first hand…There are plenty of people who bought a timeshare and just want to sell it because of the yearly fees or they don’t go…whatever. You can get one much cheaper buying it secondhand!

  • Melissa says:

    That is awesome that you and your husband were able to get away for some alone time! I have always loved the beach! It is one place where I feel truly happy and it nurtures my soul. My husband and I try to head down to Florida once a year or every couple of years with the kids for a night or two. But it is such a different experience when you can go as a couple. My husband and I were able to go to Hawaii last March for two weeks. We hadn’t been on a beach trip together without the kids for 15 years. It was amazing! Your beach pictures remind me of some of my beach pictures from our trip! I’m curious if you also went to Hawaii. I loved it so much. As soon as I got back I told my husband that we must plan a trip there again someday! I’m still going through withdrawals.

  • Juie Pulley says:

    Hi Crystal! I love following you through your blog because I feel like we have a lot in common. My mom raised me to be very frugal and I’m naturally introverted as well. I’m glad you got away with your husband. My husband and I will be doing the same in April with a trip to Hawaii for our 10th wedding anniversary!! We will be Maui for 3 nights and the Big Island for 4 nights. This is something we’ve looked forward to for a long time! I would love to hear more about your trip: how you handled the long flight, how you found places to eat that don’t break the bank! Did you do any snorkeling? Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you! Julie

    • The flight was “only” 7 hours… so compared to our 15-hour South Africa flights, it felt short! 😉

      We found a Subway in town that we could walk/bike to, so that’s where we mostly ate. We also found a grocery store and bought a few groceries. We didn’t go out to a nice dinner at all because it was too $$$ for us to enjoy it. 🙂 We have Diamond status with Hyatt because we’ve stayed there so many times over the last 6 years, so we get a free breakfast for two adults when we stay at any Hyatt hotel or resort. They had an amazing breakfast buffet that was $50/person that we got free every morning, so that was our big “splurge” meal. And then we just ate simple and light for lunch and dinner.

      We didn’t do any snorkeling — we stuck with activities that were free at our hotel. Between swimming and the hot tub and walking miles and miles on the ocean and biking and walking and just sitting by the beach and playing in the water, we had tons of fun. We were going to go out on two of the free excursions they offered, but the time didn’t work for us one day and the other day, the weather wasn’t good enough to do it.

      I hope you have an amazing trip!!

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