A couple weeks ago, we celebrated my mother-in-law’s sixtieth birthday in such a big way!! Her birthday was back in March, but this year she wanted a vacation with all of her kids, so we all met up in Florida for a week together in one big house!

Our sandcastle technique improved drastically over the course of the week. We built more fortresses, larger wave blocking walls, and deeper moats at faster speeds (to beat the tide).

Most days the women would take a morning stroll along the beach before everyone else woke up. It was beautiful.

We have sand in our yard and sand on our riverbanks, but nothing beats the cool, soft sand on the coast.

These four girls together for an entire week was definitely a favorite part of my week.

Making Rice. She thought I was taking a video, so she gave an entire tutorial on her method. Basically, cook it the way you would stovetop popcorn and voilà! Perfectly fluffy rice, every time.

Seeing Pelicans fly overhead was another highlight for me! We love us some birds, and Pelicans are one of my favorites!

I’m so grateful my girls find such joy in each other everywhere they go. Ugh, I love them so much.

The house!!

Zack and I went shopping for the meal we had to cook on the first day. We ended up bringing home several boxes of ice cream…pops?

Over the course of the week, when someone would shop, they would grab more ice cream to re-stock our supply. I’m pretty sure the ice cream drawer is in everyone’s top five favorite things about the week.

“Zack’s Craft Corner” was always open, should someone need help with friendship bracelets, advice on a picture they were drawing, or a hearty, joyful over-the-top reaction to that polka dot octopus you just colored in with the ever illegal Sharpie.

Plenty of good food was cooked throughout the week. Each of the kids (and eventually, Uncle Rich) had a night to cook. My mother-in-law, of course, was not allowed to partake in the slightest bit of work. We tried to do what we could to make sure her vacation felt like a vacation.

Mae. Oh, boy. She thinks it is hilarious to ATTACK! Mom at the drop of a hat, say, while she’s preoccupied with the camera? She forgot she inherited both her sneakiness and her whips-for-hands from that very same mom. Even at home, she loses.

I can’t help but laugh (at something) every time I’m near her. She’s so wonderful.

Truly, these tall Adirondack chairs deserve their own post. Even the shortest of us enjoyed them.

Rae had zero fear in the pool! Lady was a fish. The girls spent every afternoon at the pool, as it allowed for shade if they needed a break from the sun.

Dot’n get sexier than that, letmetellya. Is that a child’s hat?

That beautiful vision before you spent six hours building (along with my incredible nephew) the grandest firepit known to man.

We spent two nights down in that pit roasting mallows and, our favorite part, star gazing. “Shooting stars,” satellites, airplanes, and so many stars. It was breathtaking.

Both nights Rae and I retired first. She would take a shower and we’d snuggle up and watch a movie before the others made it back. Rae also slept in our bed every night! The girls had their own room, complete with two sets of bunk beds, a couch, and a gigantic bean bag chair, but she chose her ever-grateful Momma.

Mid-week we decided to take the girls to a gift shop and to visit the local lighthouse. Well, the lighthouse was disappointing, but the land around it was not! Mae also had that dress set aside for weeks so she could use it specifically for shopping at the beach. Ha. She cute.

I took hundreds of photos throughout our nine-day journey, so while this post is traditionally long, I feel as though I’m cutting it short. Like our vacation, however, it has to end sometime.

Thank you for an magical week, Shari!