Summer Vacation 2016!

John and I finished out the month of July by going on vacation with my family. I know going on vacation with family is not everyone's first choice when it comes time to take a holiday but 1) we really like my family and 2) having help with our infant twins was excellent. I can't imagine we would have had any down time at all between parenting our three littles if it wasn't for the aunts and uncles and grandparents!

Last summer this same group- minus Ira & Roman- went together to Tennessee for a week with the Smoky Mountains in our backyard. This year we opted for a closer yet equally magnificent backyard view by renting a cottage on Lake Huron. Of course I'm a Lake Michigan girl since I live near its shores, but Lake Huron comes in a very close second (also no offense to Lake Ontario where I grew up but you were always too dirty to swim in).
Backyard steps to the beach

Going on holiday with the twins this year was very meaningful for me. It was on our trip to Tennessee with my family last year that we shared we had been matched with a second set of embryos and were hoping to transfer early that fall. After a failed transfer and a miscarriage I was almost scared to hope for our third attempt, yet my mind would often wonder if next summer I would be vacationing with a new baby. Indeed I did- with two new babies!

My mom kept asking me sympathetically if I felt relaxed on vacation since I was so busy with my three little boys and wasn't able to go out and do too much; I replied that while no vacation was not "relaxing" for me this year, it was still so much fun! While last year summer I was able to do a lot more- not always having my arms full of babies or having to stop to nurse every couple hours- this year I was so much happier: infertility conquered and a heart brimming with pride over my three little boys.

Our cottage rental was perfect for us: with the beach in our backyard we could take trips to sit and swim and play in the sand for as long or as little as the babies would allow. No one had to wait for us to be ready to go or leave early when we needed to head back. It was just right.
Heading down to the beach with our babies! 
Must have for beaching with twins: beach tent. 
Ira's first toe-dip into Lake Huron! 
Nope. Not a fan. 
Roman's first toe dip into Lake Huron! 
Also not a fan. ;-) "OMI, WHY?!" 
Babies much prefer beach naps to swimming. ("Those waves sure sounds like the sound machine in our room...") 
We also enjoyed a few short outings to two nearby downtown areas for shopping and a splash pad.
The twins attract attention wherever we go! The woman next to me said she is a twin herself! 
Arie used his spending money to buy his cousin Lux this fox. How sweet! 

One evening we all went out to eat at a "restaurant" that easily accommodated our group's four littles: a fish and chips stand with picnic tables! Ha! We walked a few blocks for ice cream after and truly enjoyed our evening. I felt so proud of us for figuring out how to make the most of our time together. No, a sit down restaurant was not in the cards for us this year but I didn't miss it. I'm convinced that 90% of enjoying the "little years"with kids is just having realistic expectations and a positive attitude!

Mostly we enjoyed our beautiful Lake Huron view from the cottage.
I'm glad Arie chose his natural smile for this picture.

I even stayed awake late enough to join the others for a fire on our last night together! ;-)

After our week at the cottage, John and I dropped Arie off at Omi and Grampi's house for some special spoiling time (Arie was electric with excitement, practically pushing us out the door!). We carried on with the twins to Niagara-on-the-Lake which is about an hour from my parents' place and known as Ontario's wine country, brimming with vineyards and an adorable downtown area. We rented a little cottage right near the downtown.

Again, I felt so proud of us for figuring out how to enjoy this part of our vacation with three-month-old twins. We went to a winery that offered a picnic lunch in their vineyard so we could take in the whole wine-country experience without worrying if our babies cried. It was an absolutely beautiful afternoon. The babies slept in the stroller while we spent some time wine tasting and picking a bottle for our picnic. When they woke up crying we made our way outside we saw the owners even put up an umbrella at our picnic table to share the babies. How kind!

Roman loves picnics!
One day we drove about 30 minutes to visit a pottery studio I had hoped to check out. We were the only customers until the very end of our visit and we were able to have a lovely chat with the potter while the babies slept in our carriers. I bought a beautiful pair of mugs and will always remember that afternoon fondly when I use them!

On a very hot afternoon we drove to Niagara Falls which is where John and I went on our honeymoon! How special to go back with our twins. I wished Arie would have been there for that part too. We walked along the overlook of the falls, took some pictures, and then because of the heat quickly found a shady park where we sipped some cold smoothies for lunch.

Our cottage was close to both a coffee shop and a pastry bakery. Since we didn't have to get up and going with Arie in the mornings, John would bring the twins to me in bed and I wold nurse them while he walked to get us coffees and breakfast. I enjoyed so much those easy mornings sipping my coffee and slowly chewing my chocolate croissant, sitting cross legged on the bed with my husband, two little babies between us full of giggles and smiles or sleep. It was so good for us to take that time to drink them in: their chubby little bodies, sparkly eyes, and gummy smiles. I know we will cherish those memories for our lifetimes.

This summer I have felt more than anything that God has been so good to us. It is true like my mom intuited that this summer has not been relaxing for me with the twins, but it has still been so good. Indeed I have my hands full, I am tired, I don't have very much "time for myself," and darn it my back hurts from nursing and carrying babies around all day long! But I would not give any of it up. I longed for these days and now that they are here I embrace them. The good parts are so very good and the hard parts are temporary. There is great pain and heartache in this world: why has God seen fit to bless me with such happiness? I cannot answer that question so instead I will choose gratitude.

For my family, my boys, my husband, this summer, and our wonderful holiday, I am thankful.



  1. Ahhh...love reading your post Jillian!

  2. Looks like a very happily ever after! Loved your blog! Gorgeous photos

  3. Sounds like you planned the perfect vacation for what fits you guys at this time. Looks like you had good weather too! And what precious photos!

  4. Anonymous9/01/2016

    What a wonderful post to read as a Still Infertile Follower. I come back every few months to see your updates - and truly I feel for utter joy and happiness for you and your husband having followed you through your heartbreaking journey. It means a LOT that you still remember the heartache of infertility and you take the time to cherish the struggles, because they are really a blessing. My husband and I have failed our 4th FET and now in the process of matching with a surrogate. This post gave me the inspiration to keep it up! How I long for a summer vacation like this one!! Thank you for sharing your journey Jillian and God Bless.


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