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April Jeppson: Life is exactly as it should be with family

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

I don’t think I ever told you about my trip. I brought you along on the absolute chaos that ensued beforehand, and I shared with you how oddly stressed I’d become after only being home for a few days — but I didn’t share with you about how fun my trip was!

April Jeppson

This was the first real Jeppson family trip we have ever taken. I was genuinely looking forward to “are we there yet?” and “he’s touching me!” and all the fun things kids say while taking super long road trips. I fondly remember driving across the country with my family. It’s an essential part of growing up, and I was pumped to introduce it to my kids.

Honestly, my children have always been pretty good passengers. They like to read, color and the younger ones are still playing make-believe with stuffed animals. The only real bummer that happened on the way down was that my air conditioner stopped working right as we were getting into Tennessee. In classic April fashion, I was not going to let this ruin our drive. I saw this as an opportunity to introduce Sonic cherry limeades to my family. When we were sweating and couldn’t find a Sonic; a slushy from the nearest gas station did the trick. As hot as we were, I know my kids loved the fact that they were able to enjoy multiple “fun drinks.” I’m a mean mom and reserve juice or flavored water for special occasions, so for them to get multiple slushies in one day, I think they could have stayed in that hot car for days.

We were able to arrive at the condo just before sunset. So to emerge out of our hot car and experience the breeze coming off the ocean — ahhhhh. I think I might be part water, or maybe part sun because every time I’m at the beach I genuinely feel like I’m home. My kids expressions as they saw the ocean. Their excitement as they felt the sand between their toes. All the craziness that ensued in order for us to get there were totally worth it.

We played at the beach a lot. When we weren’t at the beach, we were at the pool. My itinerary for this trip was pretty sparse. I had one restaurant and an aquarium that I wanted to take the kids to — the same places Brian and I visited 13 years ago when we were there. Anything else we did or saw would be a bonus.

We woke up every morning and met out on the balcony to watch the sun come up over the ocean. Snuggled up under a lush teal throw without a care in the world or anywhere to be. It was perfect.

We went to the aquarium and saw all the animals. We went to that restaurant. In fact every night we went to a different place to eat. I allowed my kids to order whatever they wanted. This was not a time for rules or structure. This was a chance to just have fun and relax.

As are all vacations, it was not long enough. When we got home, I immediately went online to look up that blanket that we used every morning out on the balcony. They sell them at Kohl’s. They had one teal one left in stock. It was more expensive than I wanted, but I was still on vacation mode, and on vacation, anything goes.

It arrived in the mail this week, and I’ve been snuggled with it every night since. Putting it across my lap gives me a sense of calm. It’s like I brought a little bit of the beach back with me. So for a little bit each night, I’m at peace knowing that I have nowhere else I need to be. Life is exactly as it should be, snuggled up with my family.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.