Every year for Fourth of July week, my aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins flock to Cape May, New Jersey for an annual beach trip. Since I was one year old, it has been the tradition to gather at Nana and Pop-Pop's beach house and celebrate the Fourth, and my mom and her two brothers' birthdays (which are all the first week of July). All 16 of us pile into "Pop-Pop's Funny House," as I would call it as a kid, and eat, sleep, shower and do anything else you could think of.

If you've ever gone on a family vacation with all your family and cousins you know how awesome it is. You're pretty much laughing the whole time at the random things that happen and at how nutty your whole family is when they get together. But there are also little things that start to bug the crap out of you after a while when you're all together!

Here are a few things that always end up happening on family trips of mine and I'm sure you can relate to some of the same shenanigans!

1. Sleeping in is not an option.

Whether it's the little guys running around downstairs or Nana coming in and throwing open the blinds at 8 am, sleeping in is just out of the picture this week.

2. Someone is getting a hair cut.

And most likely in a Mohawk. I'm not sure why, but these vacations always call for a buzz.

3. Get ready for backyard fireworks.

My pyromaniac brothers always make sure we have a boatload of backyard fireworks.... queue nervous mom and aunts, and scared dogs!

4. Something is going to need to be fixed.

When you get my Pop-Pop and uncles together we're either about to start a new project or finish an old one. The bike's tires are going to need pumping, the lawns going to need mowing, oh any way you can help!

5. Any diet you thought you had is going out the window.

Cookouts, desserts, snacks, snacks, snacks! I've been trying to be vegetarian this summer but I know as soon as my family all gets together my food choices aren't really my own. I'll most likely eat chicken, not because I want to eat chicken, but because we're having bbq chicken and that's that. Also, the pantry is filled with Chips Ahoy's sooo...

6. There is always cake.

There is always cake... and never candles. We're always scavenging through drawers to find odd end candles! And be careful you don't drop the cake!! (that only happened once).

7. Family photos will be taken

The annual Fourth of July cookout photo is something you can always count on.




(yeah we made the paper once, nbd)Cierra Peterlin

Most of us can look through albums and find family photos from vacations just like this. Even if you can't sleep in and have to shower last after the beach, these are some of the greatest times with some of the best memories. And, as I'm writing this article I am in the midst of another family trip, so I can't wait to see how the rest of this Fourth of July week family vacation goes! I'll tell Nana and Pop-Pop you said "Hi!"

(All photos are real, authentic Brown/Peterlin family vacation photos)