I'm sure, after all the stories of this trip, people are wondering if we vacation often and why would we. Believe it ot not, that is an unusual trip. When things go wrong I don't stress. Stressing about it won't change it. Sometimes they go so bad the only thing you can do is laugh.
Every trip has it's challenges. Every trip has it's good times. We had fun swimming together with nowhere to really be. Even if it was 9 pm at night, Anna and I had some nice (semi) quiet time walking together (even if she did try to run into every bar we passed). Once everyone's quiet it's always nice on a car trip to get some peaceful time (in the van) to just chat with hubby.
9 months ago I drove, alone, with 5 of the kids to meet the other and hubby. It was supposed to be an 11 hour drive that ended up being about 13 hours. It wasn't 13 hours because of problems or kids. It was because we stopped to eat breakfast and lunch. We stopped every 2 hours to nurse a baby. Our GPS got us lost in downtown. We got caught in traffic. The kids, including the 3 month old, did incredibly well. It was only the last hour, lost and stuck in traffic, that was an issue. We stayed there 4 nights without issues. Looking back we just laugh at the less than perfect parts. I mean, the GPS was trying to kill us. It told us to turn the wrong way down a 1 way road, once into a wall and once get off at a non existent exit (in it's defense, despite having just been updated, the city was under construction).
I've spent a week at a hotel or condo (many times) with all the kids while hubby worked all day. Sometimes it's the little things that make memories. At hotels there are few dishes and laundry to do. One trip, despite daily swimming, beach trips, and the mall, the kids most remember the rainy afternoon we all snuggled on the bed watching a movie. One of the things they always love to do is to collect the brochures of all the tourist attractions. Even if we don't go to even one, it's fun to spread them out, pass them around, and talk about the places. When we do have time to do them it's fun to vote, debate, and persuade over which to try.
Even if their behavior this weekend looked like they never eat out or travel, you'd be surprised how much a family our size does do those things. I'm not saying we regularly go out to 5 star restaurants. Most of the kids' favorite is Cracker Barrel. Some of the kids prefer Olive Garden or Uno's (only on the day the balloon man is there). B likes ribs so always votes for Carolina Wings and Rib House and no kid argues since they have a video game room. We have family across the East Coast so we travel North and South. We're even known to just drive 2 hours to shop, pick apples, visit a museum, etc.
They are seasoned. They're also just kids. We expect everything to run smoothly but are prepared for it not to. We'll travel again. I'd love to say we'll wait until I catch up on my sleep. But we know that isn't happening anytime soon.