We just returned from a family vacation with my husbands entire immediate family on Saturday. Whew! Were we wiped! It was a great time, but it was also very stressful and interesting. I think we all figured out what we have to do differently next time - more time with just our little families and LESS time as a whole family... yes, needless to say, we all got very tired of each other very quickly. It's so funny though, we all love each other very much and enjoy each other's company greatly, but there were just way too many people with their ideas of what they want to do and their opinions that it got to be waaaay to much.
My main stress, however, emerged from trying to manage our little 13 month old son. We found out very quickly that he does not do well with caos. He would not sleep well, did not each much at all when we were with the entire family, and was just plain hard to deal with. Every single day we were on vacation, I was up at 5am because my son was up making noise and I did not want him to wake anyone. Yes, it was hard. My husband and I made the resolution that when we take this same vacation in two years (whether or not we have a second child in tow or not) we are getting our own room so that we can deal with our craziness without the stress of bothering anyone else!
Now, we did have fun times. My mother-in-law wanted the whole family to take an 'old time' picture.... so all 13 of us got dressed up in old time clothes and took one - Super FUN. The other highlight was watching our son eat a corndog all by himself for the very first time... priceless. He did a very good job - he didn't take way too big bites. He was very cautious about it but he polished the whole thing off all by himself. SO cute to watch... we were mesmerized watching him. :)
Now, my point in all of this is THIS: don't ever think that any situation is ruined because a few hardships. If you do not take the time(even if it's just for a moment) to see the 'gems' in the situation, you'll miss the things worth collecting as priceless gems in your life. If I would have focused entirely on all of the stress and frustration of our vacation and not remembered the small events that made me stop and enjoy the ride... I would have counted the vacation as a total disaster. But the truth is, those small moments are what made me stop and smile the most. They are my most prized memories. This is exactly what God desires of us. To take every moment in with a grain of salt and be thankful. Thankful for the moments that take our breath away. 'This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!'