5 on a Friday: Amelia Island Edition

August 12, 2022

1- During afternoon down time (after submitting my big work project, yay!) I took a deep dive down the rabbit hole of a listener-recommended YouTube Channel: ColorCodedChaos.

Her systems are somewhat similar to mine, but the tools she uses are different — specifically the Take-A-Note Planner and Notion.

I admit I’ve played with Notion but never really got a system off the ground. My Apple Notes seems to do enough for me, but I can see how the features in Notion could be useful.

2- I am starting to feel the itch to get back into my usual routine. Eating and exercise, but also my morning routine + getting the kids to bed at a reasonable hour. School starts Wednesday! I’m grateful that at least we dive into a partial week.

I stopped time tracking for a few days but resumed yesterday. If nothing else, I’m enjoying getting some use out of my A6 Hobonichi . . .

3- Beach Break! Yesterday we took a break from our usual daily beach agenda to head to the skate park (too hot) and playground (better).

unsure about all of this
same bench, 2019 / 2021 / 2022
Josh and Cameron are mainly responsible for this. I am better at World than I am at physical puzzles . . .
“fancy dinner” out at Verandah (on the Omni property – close to our VRBO)

4- Does anyone else spend at least part of vacation thinking about future vacations? I recognize this is not very present-minded of me, but what can I say? I am trying to decide whether next summer’s adventures would be better in one ~2 week stretch vs two shorter ones. I’m thinking shorter but Josh is leaning towards longer, in part because that way we can see some friends/family in the Pacific NW. Longer is definitely more challenging to coordinate from a work/call perspective.

The way I feel right now (happy but also ready to return) makes me think a week is good for me?! At some point I just start to miss routine a lot! That said, maybe we can do a hybrid of the two or incorporate more ‘routine’ aspects into the trip itself.

5- How has back to school gone for those who started this week? In the area where we are staying, kids were back on Weds! I am planning on spending some time Sunday making signs showing our (ideal) morning and bedtime routines. I am really hoping to make this the school year we conquer bedtime as a major pain point and I truly believe each of my kids IS capable of going to sleep independently . . . with the right motivation and attention. Wish us luck.


run 3-4 miles


low-key lunch, laundry, etc

afternoon movie! (probably Minions . . . not my first pick but you know)

dinner @ Wicked Bao

Tomorrow we drive back & Sunday will be a day of organizing and planning for school. Ahhh!


  • Reply Lori C August 12, 2022 at 9:06 am

    Appending my question from yesterday about vacation schedule/itinerary planning… what about budgeting? We don’t really plan for the higher spending, we just kind of do it and move on…. Wondering if you and J agree to loose numbers or what you are going to splurge on vs save on? Ie dinners out, breakfast and lunches at the VRBO

    I must say your trip looks lovely and I adore that picture of the girls! Cannot believe how much G has grown. She is a little girl now and not a baby or toddler anymore! It seems like yesterday was your challenging América Island trip with a difficult to wrangle toddler! (Was that the trip where she wouldn’t sleep and was creating somewhat of a disturbance where you stayed? Seems so recent!!)

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger August 12, 2022 at 10:25 am

      We have a vacation category in YNAB. I do try not to go tooo far over what I’ve put in there but I am a bit holistic on what I allocate. I definitely don’t get specific about budgeting each vacation line item like lodging or food but more just keep an eye on totals.

      We are coming pretty close on this trip!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger August 12, 2022 at 2:31 pm

      And YES, that memorable trip (completely sleepless nights at the ritz, bad choice!) was 2019!

  • Reply Lori C August 12, 2022 at 9:07 am

    Sorry for the typos- commenting from my phone and it loves to autocorrect!

  • Reply Erin August 12, 2022 at 9:25 am

    We typically do a week long summer vacay and this year did 2 weeks – I think your mind adjusts to whatever the vacation is! In a week long trip, I’m ready to go home at the end, because I KNOW it’s over – and the same happened on the 2 week trip. We did 4 locations in 2 weeks (Boston, Cape Cod, Portland ME and North Conway NH) so it was also broken up by location changes and I was looking forward to each spot, so I didn’t want it to end early. I was extremely ready to come home, but I’m really glad we had 2 full weeks!

    • Reply Jessica August 12, 2022 at 9:56 am

      You could still go to PNW for just a week, or 1.5 weeks! I wouldn’t let the timeframe stop you from doing the trip you want.

      • Reply Jessica August 12, 2022 at 9:57 am

        Oops that was just supposed to be a general comment, not a reply

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger August 12, 2022 at 10:03 am

          We are doing an Alaska cruise out of Vancouver and then the question is – fly home, or spend some time seeing friends in Portland/Seattle areas? We probably will stay but I know that’s going to feel long. Will have to build in lots of rest/downtime!

          • Brooke August 12, 2022 at 11:26 am

            I live in Seattle. Both Seattle and Portland are awesome places to visit with kids. So is Vancouver. It might seem less overwhelming if you did a cruise out of Seattle instead and focused on Seattle/Portland when you are not cruising? Just an option. It’s about 3 hrs from Seattle to both Portland and Vancouver for reference, sometimes a bit longer at the boarder crossing.

          • Sarah Hart-Unger August 12, 2022 at 1:14 pm

            Definitely makes sense but our cruise is already booked (we are going with friends – we had originally booked 2021 I think but cancelled early in the year). I don’t think Disney sails from Seattle!

          • Erin August 13, 2022 at 7:59 pm

            We have that same Pokémon puzzle and the kids love it! My daughter (6) has made it her sick day puzzle. 🙂

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns August 12, 2022 at 9:28 am

    I love the year-over-year pictures from the bench and ice cream shop earlier this week! So fun to see how your kids have grown and changed. Your vacation sounds wonderful!

    My husband does not like to take long trips at all. We usually are gone for a max of 5 days with the exception of our 10-day honeymoon trip to Maui. It’s also harder for him to take a big stretch of work off since he works for a really small company. But we haven’t taken any trips that warranted us being gone for a long stretch. 5 days is about right for us with our kids at these ages. I am usually ready to get back home and back on a routine after 5 days. We are planning our first kid-free trip in December but will be gone for 4 nights as that feels like as much time as we can ask our parents to watch our young kids.

    School doesn’t start here in MN until after Labor Day in most places. I think it’s because of our tourism industry – if schools start too early, fewer families will utilize resorts in the area. I like the school calendar we have. School ends during the 2nd week of June. I grew up in ND where school ran from mid-August until the Friday before Memorial Day, but we had no spring break and very few vacation days besides 1.5-2 weeks at Christmas time.

    • Reply Griffin Lamb August 12, 2022 at 2:14 pm

      We just returned last week from a cruise that went from Seward, AK to Vancouver with the twins (now 10). We had two days on the front end in Anchorage, took the train to Seward to board crutse, then 2 days in Vancouver on the back end taking a red eye back to NC. It was great AND crazy to manage at the same time. Email me if you want to talk specifics.

  • Reply Alyssa August 12, 2022 at 1:33 pm

    I totally spend at least part of vacation thinking about future vacations. Although I do try to resist a bit by thinking about and asking my family members what’s going well with the current trip and what they would do differently next time. I think my husband appreciates this! As far as back to school, I dropped my daughter off for her first day of Pre-K today. A little emotional for me and why is the drop off so confusing?! They try to make it clear but I still get confused (Where’s the preschool drop-off? Where’s the before and after-school drop-off? Are they the same? Is the drop-off unique because it’s the first day and you can walk your child to the classroom?!).

  • Reply Megan August 12, 2022 at 1:46 pm

    So many things on this post I relate to! 1. I also love photo recreations! So much so that we have 7 family photos of us in the exact same spot on our annual summer vacation hanging up in our house. 2. YES – I never think about travel more than when I am on a trip. Seems like while traveling, I want to plan the next trip and think about all the places I want to visit. I try not to think of it as not enjoying the current trip but more I want to continue doing this since I’m enjoying it? 3. I very much miss routine on vacations and then sometimes wonder or feel bad that I have trouble mixing things up. Like am I not flexible enough? I try and tell myself my routines make me feel good so just “you do you” kind of thing and not worry about my family giving me a hard time for eating the same breakfast every day! But that does often make me happy to return as well and “get back to normal” so I am with you. But that is a conundrum re: cruise + extra time or not for next summer. My experience is moving locations during two weeks makes it feel different and having other people involved vs. only my immediate family also helps because kids are having fun with friends so the full time parenting of two weeks isn’t as intense.

  • Reply Marianne August 12, 2022 at 2:09 pm

    We started back to school on Thursday, and according to my sophomore it’s “boring.” They don’t get their Chromebooks until next week, so I guess it actually is pretty boring, except maybe in electives. She’s added two more advanced classes to her load from last year, so I don’t think she’ll be bored for long!

    Your chill beach vacation is looking pretty nice to me right now. My vacations this year have been a school choir trip, and a cruise with family, so loads of fun, but also a lot of time on the go! Unfortunately I’m now running low on PTO, so probably won’t get a real day off until Labor Day.

  • Reply Sophie August 12, 2022 at 4:48 pm

    I love to spend a bit of vacation time thinking about future vacations, but I do love to plan trips, so it feels fun. I generally like to reflect on life over the last little while, and think about future plans and goals during this time so it fits in this category.

    As a young adult I definitely preferred longer trips, with kids probably two 1 week trips would be preferable. Although my kids are younger than yours, so maybe that will change. You could definitely plan in some more routine into a longer trip though.

    So glad you are having a great time on your vacation! Loving these updates 🙂

  • Reply Kristin August 12, 2022 at 5:51 pm

    ‘m using the Take a Note planner this year and love it – very similar to the Hobonichi Cousin except it’s kind of like a hybrid between the Cousin’s weekly and daily pages. I’ve been wondering if you are going to review the Take A Note on Best Laid Plans (a great podcast!). I think the Take a Note is an excellent option for someone wanting a compromise between a daily and a weekly planner.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger August 12, 2022 at 7:05 pm

      I probably should, it looks lovely!!!

  • Reply Grateful Kae August 13, 2022 at 2:46 am

    As a generally “pro-long vacation person” (currently on a 2 week vacay right now), some reasons for it are: 1) I hate being rushed on vacation, or the feeling like I’m running out of time and won’t get to see/do things I want to do in a particular area. So, I much prefer having extra time factored in. I like to give special destinations the time i think they deserve, I guess! 2) I don’t really like the feeling on short trips that my “time is almost up”. Like Erin said above, I find that my brain just adapts to however long the trip is- a day or two before the end, I start feeling ready to go back to normal routine life, whenever that may be. If I’m on a short trip, that means I only have a couple days before I sort of start transitioning mentally! 3) if I’m going to a far away place, I like to take advantage of the flight money and experience much as I can there, or possibly multiple nearby destinations if applicable 4) there are so many different places in the world we’d like to visit, that once I’ve been somewhere, I always feel there is a good chance we might not be back! (Or not soon/with my kids, at least.) So if possible, I like to really see/do everything I’m interested in there, in case I never make it back there. 5) Our kids seem to do totally fine with any length trip- never have had them like, “burn out” on vacation that I can think of. They actually say they like the long trips! 6) I find packing/unpacking/etc to be a hassle- so in a way doing a couple longer trips vs a bunch of short ones feels a little easier to me. Just my opinions, of course! Shorter trips certainly have their benefits too, and different things work for different people! There’s no right or wrong answer.

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