Our Summer Plans- That Were Totally Not Planned

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I’ve been sharing on Instagram that we have decided to stay home for most of summer.

This is something that we do each summer to some degree or another. We normally have one big trip right before most schools get out and then a quick vacation right after July 4th. We joke that we don’t travel when everyone else does and it works great for us since we are not limited by school breaks.

This year we planned to not even do our two normal trips and instead focus on remodeling our home and to keep looking for a beach home. After spending almost a month total in Hawaii over the past couple of months, this didn’t feel too restrictive. 

One thing I really miss from growing up in Orange County is having a place to easily go for a walk or run each day. I know that sounds like a silly reason to buy a new home, and it certainly isn’t the only reason, but it is a big one. I miss taking really long walks each evening and with each passing birthday I see and feel how important exercise, or just moving more is. Not just physically, but mentally too. So, this year I decided to do something about it. Hopefully, we will find a place soon!

But you all know that my attention span is pretty short and our “home for summer 2018” idea didn’t last too long. 

So far we have FIVE(!) trips planned and I’m finalizing one more:

Trip 1: Next week we head to Arizona for 4 nights of family fun in our Kia Sedona (partner). We might even take it to Sedona! Pete’s brother and his family moved out there for work a couple years ago and we all go back and forth to see each other. His move has actually been kind of hard on us. We have all lived close by since the beginning, and as much as I wouldn’t admit it to him (ha), he is like a little brother and I miss having him around. Don’t tell him I said so. He also has a great wife and daughter and it is hard for all of us not seeing them all the time. I have a feeling that they will move back sooner rather than later. Emmy and his daughter are close in age and absolutely love being together. We are so happy for FaceTime!

Trip 2: Overnight getaway at Disneyland. Fellow Disney Fans will already know why we are going… PIXAR PIER! We were there last month for the opening day of Pixar Fest and it was amazing. We are so excited to see Pixar Pier too!

Trip 3: This one is still not 100% finalized, but it looks like we will be going on a long Alaska Cruise in early to mid-July. As much as we have traveled to some of the best places on the planet, I have had one place at the top of my dream vacation list – Alaska. I don’t like the cold and I am not desperate to go on some rugged adventures.

For me, it is all about the wildlife and seeing them in the wild. I was that kid growing up that listened to the rainforest all day and had National Geographic Alaska documentaries on at night. Our only hesitation is wifi availability. We can work from anywhere as long as we have internet access. We are trying to wrap our mind around possible times when we won’t be able to get online. I’m 99% sure we will go, and as soon as we fully decide, I’ll start scheduling tours and all that fun stuff.

One thing we are really focusing on is to hire private tours to get the most of our time in each port. We ask them for their tour routes ahead of time and then we make sure we want to actually see those things. This has completely changed our vacations because we have a personal expert to guide us and also we aren’t stuck seeing things that are completely the opposite of something we enjoy. We are also going to be hiring a photographer in at least one place to take pictures of us all together. I absolutely LOVE taking pictures but I’m rarely in them and after years of saying I’m going to change this, I’m actually going to do it from here on out. You all can be my accountability partners on this!

Trip 4: This one is just for Maddie and my mom. ComicCon 2018! They go every year in full costumes(s) and we always make sure we are home for this. Plus, since it is here in San Diego, it is an easy getaway for them.

Trip 5: Adventures by Disney Montana. When we got this invite we were all so excited. The first week of August is going to be amazing because Disney does everything perfectly and their Adventures By Disney are the absolute best. We had the time of our lives on our Adventures By Disney Danube River Cruise and we know this one will be just as awesome!

Trip 6: Three weeks in Europe. I booked plane tickets to NYC for the first week of September and then a couple weeks later I found myself on the Disney Cruise site. I know better than to do something like that, but I couldn’t help myself. I saw a trans-Atlantic cruise leaving Dover, England and sailing to NYC, but it was at the same time as our NYC trip, so I didn’t immediately jump on it. I showed it to Pete anyways and he just looked over at my screen and said: “Let’s do it”.

Not someone to second guess good decisions…I did. So now I’m in the process of canceling those first tickets and booking some time in London and Paris to sandwich that cruise. Don’t worry though, we still plan to spend at least a few nights in NYC after the cruise before we fly home. We would spend even more time there, but we want to be back in town to kick off the Halloween season at Disneyland, Knott’s and all of our other favorites.

We are all so excited about all of these adventures and I will, of course, be sharing all of the fun live on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Looking later into the fall, I’m hoping that our home remodel will be done by then. As long as that goes as planned, we will keep looking for a beach home too. If that one needs to be remodeled that my dampen some of our Fall travels, but if not, I have my eye on a trip to Canada. Emmy had her DNA done and we found out she is related to some of the first settlers to Quebec and is DESPERATE to go there. As a fellow Francophile like me, she has had Paris as her dream vacation destination so we are making her 8-year-old heart swell with Paris in Septemeber and maybe we will really thrill her with Quebec too! PS. The irony that we are catering to an 8-year-old isn’t lost on me but I can’t help myself. These destinations sound amazing to me too and seeing her excitement just makes everything even better. Plus, I’m nursing a serious case of nostalgia. Maddie and Ashley are both almost into adulthood (Maddie just turned 18! and ash will turn 16 next month). I know how fleeting these days are and my heart is focused on as much family time as possible. I am so thankful each and every day that Maddie is taking her college courses online so that she can still travel with us. The girls have both kicked off the launch of their own blogs and social media profiles to share our adventures through their own eyes and that thrills me to no end.

So that is the update to our planned time at home this summer. Clearly, we subscribe to that theory that the best-laid plans are… ones that are constantly evolving and changing!

What are your summer plans?

Heather Reese
the authorHeather Reese
Heather Delaney Reese is the storyteller and photographer behind the lifestyle and family travel blog, It's a Lovely Life®! For the past decade, she has vacationed over 150 days a year with her family. She is a vegan, and loves being by the water, spending time with her children, husband, 2 Shih Tzus and Cat.


  • Wow! That sounds fantastic! Do you need a PA? I will make myself available…lol Have fun and be safe. Looking forward to seeing it all.

  • Sounds like a fun summer Heather. Good to plan home time as well. Slow down, relax, enjoy. We’ve been in Thailand and New Zealand since the New Year so when we return to NJ in mid June, summer time will be home time. Also looking forward to warm weather since we are closing in on winter in NZ now. Thanks for sharing 🙂


  • Wow, great plans Heather. I’m sure the family will love it. Who knew there was a Disney adventure in Montana? There is so much to do in our own country. I’m definitely going

  • Hope everything turns out as planned and you all have a great time! Its funny because my husband and I cater to our 14 year old daughter all the time too. My husband flew her from California to New York for one night just to see a broadway show she really wanted to see. She deserves it though she is a great kid.

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