Myrtle Beach 1, are we there yet?

A couple years ago all my siblings and I decided to take a big vacation together. Because we live so far apart, we rarely get to see each other. Back then we rented a large house on the beach in the Outer Banks. I don’t want to spent too much time talking about that trip, but suffice it to say it was a great vacation. Fast forward to this year, we decided it would be fun to take another trip. My sister Nikki was able to secure a deal on a house in North Myrtle Beach.

Our trip started on Friday July 7th. This worked out great because the kids had a doctors appointment that morning. We loaded the van the night before so we could be on our way straight from the doctors office. Our first stop was my Dads house in New Tazewell, Tennessee. He lives on a farm in the back woods. This farm was originally owned by my grandparents; since they’ve both passed, by Dad and his wife Belinda have been working hard to keep the farm functioning. We had a great visit. Belinda made cup-cakes with icing from scratch, as well as a birthday cake for Ian (which was delicious)! After dinner one night, everyone sang happy birthday to Ian. He had no idea we were going to celebrate his birthday again, but he loved it.

This was also the first time we’ve ever let him play with fireworks. Nikki had the great idea to push a sprinkler through a solo cup. This allowed Ian to hold the sprinkler without any real risk of getting burnt.

On Sunday morning at 4:00AM we started our journey to Myrtle Beach. Based on Google, this is about a 7 hour drive. We were very lucky on this trip as both kids did extremely well. We made an early stop to get Coffee and fill our tanks; but other than that, we didn’t really have to make many stops.

The house we stayed at was superb. It was a great size for our group, not too big, not too small. In addition, since Alex and I have the youngest kids, we stayed in the master bedroom. This space was perfect for us. We setup the closet as “Ian’s bedroom”; He absolutely loved this space. Through the week he would ask everyone if they’d “seen his bedroom”.

Clara slept in a pack-and-play on the other side of the room. This meant that Ian and Clara were as far away from each other as possible, while also not being visible to Alex and me from our bed. You can’t really get better than that from a single bedroom. I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to spend this time with my siblings and their families. It’s so easy to get caught up in day-to-day life without realizing what’s happening with the people you love.

Alex and I are working on putting together all the content from the week. When we’re finished, we’ll have all the details from this trip.

Ian’s THREE!!!!

If you know Ian, you know he is often the center of attention, loud, exciting, colorful, and unpredictable. It is so fitting that he was born on the night of the Fourth of July as fireworks were exploding in the sky. So, while the rest of the country celebrates Independence Day, we in the Jenkins home celebrate Ian and how he has impacted our family for the better.

I love traditions. We had very few traditions growing up, and so I cherish memories of the ones we had and attempt to continue the ones that I can. One thing we didn’t really have many traditions around was our birthdays, and so I want to have memorable, exciting traditions for our kids on their birthdays. I really just want their birthdays to be a day of favorites focusing on spending time as a family and not so much on gifts.

We were still patriotic.

This year, Ian turned three. It was really the first year that he could tell us what he wanted or preferred, so Jeremy and I crafted a day of favorites for Ian.

It was important to me that the day start with a bang so that Ian knew that it was in fact, finally his birthday. We had been building anticipation for about a week, and every day he would ask if it was his birthday yet. After Ian went to bed on the third, Jeremy and I crafted this lovely balloon wall to fall on him as he opened his door in the morning. Thankfully we’re also attempting to sleep-train Clara (for about the fifth time), so we were conveniently up at 4:30 in the morning with a screaming baby so we didn’t miss it when he woke up.

I made a cinnamon roll breakfast, and Ian got to blow out candles on his cinnamon roll “3,” and drink orange juice which is a special treat for him.

Throughout the morning he Face-Timed with most of the family and he really understood that this day was a special day for him. It was exciting that he understood this year. We asked him what his favorite food was and he said “chocolate” followed by “pizza.” So, we headed to CiCi’s Pizza for lunch. (Free kid entry for wearing red-white-and blue; holiday birthday win.) He ate more pizza than I did.

He took a quick nap, and then he and Jeremy headed out to see the movie Cars 3. The other Cars movies are some of his favorite movies so as soon as the Cars 3 trailer came out we knew we would take him on his birthday this year.

Uncle Reuben brought him a flying rocket toy after the movie and had a grilled hot dog dinner with us. We closed out the evening with his “Pawsome Cake.” (Paw Patrol is his favorite show.) It was a big hit.

Overall it was a great day for Ian. Jeremy and I are overwhelmed with thankfulness that God saw us fit to be Ian’s parents. These past three years have taught us so much about love, patience, joy, and grace. Parenting is an incredible journey, and birthdays are such a reminder of what we have been through and how we’ve grown.