It was the fourth of July, and I was checking school/activity calendars for Fall Break, when I realized…Finally!  All three of my kids had the same fall break schedule…well, almost. But, I could try to plan a week’s vacation, and then fly two kids back after day 4.  Had it really been six years since we went on a family vacation? – YEP! So, I asked my sister, if she had a suggestion on Fall break destinations, and with wishful thinking out loud, I said…wouldn’t it be great if all of us could go on vacation together, like a family “destination reunion”? (my mom, her husband and my five (5) siblings and their families). What are the chances that my brother and three sisters would be available for a family “destination reunion”?

Laura Oct

Well, my sister, the vacation planner, took charge.  She talked with my siblings, rented a large house in the Florida panhandle to accommodate all 15 of us within walking distance from the beach, booked flights and set us up perfectly to arrive Saturday and leave on Thursday.  For my family, we drove to Florida, booked one-way flights from Panama City Airport to Indy for two of my kids who needed to return by Wednesday morning, and set up boarding for our dog – and we were all set too!

laura oct 2

We were looking so forward to our destination, Seaside, a beautiful stretch of beach about 30 minutes from Panama City Beach – we could not wait!  Well, turns out we did a lot of waiting, and PRAYING for those down there, as we watched Hurricane Michael bear down on Mexico Beach and Panama City in the Gulf the Wednesday before our Friday/Saturday departure….Our anxiety increased just as the intensity of the storm did.  Confirmation came on Friday afternoon (departure time being Friday night)/Saturday) that the power to our rental house was turned on, the Panama City Airport was accepting flights and that there was no damage due to Hurricane Michael. We decided that we would still go – to support the economy and donate to the clean-up efforts.

If you have not already done so, please donate to the Red Cross (donation page) for Hurricane Michael Relief or local churches such as St. Rita’s (donation web page) Parish who are directly supporting impacted people with meals, clothing, hygiene items, paper towels, disposable gloves, etc….they need money to purchase the needed items for folks down there.

Although not all normal services were available during the time we were there due to the hurricane, (inconsistent internet, phone service and no cable) we had a great family reunion; we played games, ate some great food ( and and had some great conversation.  It was too quick of a trip, but we all agreed to have another family “destination reunion” again.