The truth behind our family getaway

Earlier this summer I booked my family of five an Airbnb in Downeast Maine to explore more of the state we love, and areas we have never been to. It was going to be the most amazing getaway in a campy little cottage, with no frills or internet, perched on a rocky cliff above a private beach, in a very unpopulated part of the world. I was also thinking this would be such a great memory-making and family bonding road trip. Let’s go Team Taylor!

 Last week we took our highly anticipated trip north, (even though it’s called “Downeast”) and it was all those things. It was memorable, serene, beautiful and I am already looking back on it with such fondness. However I am not going to sugarcoat it. Our family seems to be in a phase where we’ve got some major head butting, conflicting personalities and opinions, and hands that incessantly find a way to poke and annoy each other. I’m not naming names here 😉 

We packed up Kevin’s pickup truck with paddleboards, fishing and snorkeling gear, bikes, helmets, a little bit of luggage, a cooler full of food— and then the five of us squeezed into the cab of the truck and started on our scenic adventure. Yay! 

Seriously within the first ten minutes there was hitting, name calling, and majorly rising stress levels. Ugh! “Why can’t we just be nice to each other, is that too much to ask?!” And this is how it went for pretty much the first 24 hours. My fantasy of a dreamy family get away was becoming just that— a complete fantasy.

I put myself to bed early the first night, feeling like a complete failure as a parent. “What are we doing wrong?” I asked Kevin. He half jokingly responded with two words: “military school.” 😒 

We made a pact to try and start fresh the next morning, which basically just means taking deep breath‘s and trying way harder to be super and kind to one another. This worked a little bit. In between the moments of insanity I was able to see some of the most beautiful moments too. I loved waking up early and walking down to this little beach with my coffee, and looking for sea glass with Sully. Also, climbing on the paddleboards with Lincoln and Kevin and learning the actual meaning of the word “baitball”.* Hearing the sounds of whales in the distance as they sprayed ocean water from their spouts. Tasting the salty ocean brine on the freshest seafood you could ask for. Watching the boys take turns jumping off a giant rocks into the cold water and laughing as they came to the surface. 

At the time these were just little things, but now looking back, less than a week later, these were actually the big things. The memories that I want to hold on to. The ones that I hope my kids will look back on and realize they had it pretty darn good.

I’ve let go of the mom guilt i was feeling by the way. This is such a ridiculously crazy time in our lives. I truly hope it’s something we will look back on and say “Remember the summer of 2020? Remember how it was so crazy with the coronavirus, and quarantining, and face masks?” I was talking to a girlfriend after we got back and she helped me realize that life is totally nuts right now, and it’s making us all go a little bit insane. My kids fight and I have way less patience than I would like. It’s a tough phase right now. BUT, every thing we do doesn’t have to be  a fabulous memory. Am I right? As I told my kiddos, we might not always like each other, but we love each other. And at the end of the day we’re still making some pretty awesome memories together. I’ll take it.

First stop, Camden Maine. What an adorable town. Masks on!

Next stop, Lincolnsville for dinner at the lobster pound.

Here we go!  The bridge over Penobscot Bay!

We made it to Brookesville, our home for the next two days.

We really got wild at night! Puzzle nerds.

Touring around the islands of Penobscot Bay; Deer Island and Little Dear Island.

My kind of snorkeling- without getting wet!


Nolan's first oyster- The Schooner Restaurant, Damariscotta.

We did it.  Mama's tired but feeling content.  

Cheers to more memory making for everyone! And double cheers for letting go of mom guilt.



*A baitball, occurs when small fish swarm in a tightly packed spherical formation about a common centre. It is a last-ditch defensive measure adopted by small schooling fish when they are threatened by predators. We saw lots of these and they are unbelievable.


  • Posted by Lindsay Greenshields on

    Hey Annie,
    I got teary-eyed reading your blog. Reading this came at the perfect time. You mentioned mom guilt and conflicting personalities. You also wrote about the beautiful moments and memories and everything was very relatable!

    It IS crazy right now and we are doing the best we can to raise open-minded, pleasant, conscientious citizens of the world all while dealing with the madness that is Covid. My girls haven’t seen any of their friends since March. My two year old painted a picture today and told me that “this is a playground full of kids playing.” It made me sad because she hasn’t been on a playground since March and honestly I didn’t think she’d have much recollection at such an early age so her words shocked me.

    In late 2019, we decided on a domestic vacation in 2020. I was bummed that we wouldn’t explore more of Europe like I wanted but I think my two year old is still a little too unpredictable for anything more than 5 hours on the plane. Fast forward to July 2020 and I am so glad we didn’t plan a trip abroad. We are headed to the Tyler Place Family Resort in Highgate Springs, VT in late August. I will remind myself of the words that you wrote when my daughters are biting and kicking each other. “As I told my kiddos, we might not always like each other, but we love each other. And at the end of the day we’re still making some pretty awesome memories together. I’ll take it.”

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Your words are timely and appreciated. Be safe. Enjoy the rest of the summer.

    Lindsay (Stedman) Greenshields

  • Posted by Jeanette on

    This is the first blog of yours that I’ve read and I love it. It brings many bittersweet memories. We camped every year with our three boys and it wasn’t always the vacation I dreamed of all year long. In fact I remember being very frustrated at times and I’ll never forget how much work it was. now those are the best old photos and sweetest stories our sons tell their children
    It’s all worth our efforts especially when we do it out of love. With gratitude and blessings I wish you many more “fun filled family vacations “

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About Annie

Annie’s three boys are her biggest inspiration, of course. They certainly have gifted her with endless ideas to help raise them to be the best little men they can be, and drive Annie to be the best mom she can be. She hopes her products help others live the life she strives for; kind, positive, connected, organized and well intended.