Sunday, April 19, 2015

.:Vacation Wrap Up and what lies ahead:.

We are home.
When we left sunny Florida it was 91 degrees, humid, and ah-mazing. Upon arrival in Des Moines, it was 61 {barely}, raining, and the sky was a lovely shade of nothing-gray. Ho-hum. Back to life and reality. Vacation was fantastic but of course there's no place like home!

The rest of our week in Florida included a lot of time in the pool or poolside, quality time with our children and in-laws and one frozen yogurt trip where I won FREE yogurt because I got exactly 11.4oz of yogurt. A contest of sorts. I'm not proud that I got 11.4oz...but, it was FREE so there was a reason. {wink wink} Also, it was delicious. No regrets.

We stopped by an adorable little run-down fruit store off of an orange grove. Aside from our conference this was probably my favorite. It was old and chippy and the real deal. We tried some alligator jerky, bought real honey in the honeycomb and grapefruit right off of the tree! I'm 100% sure everyone there knew we were tourists.

Now I need to gush about my children and how awesome they are. The Lord really carried us through this week and I am so grateful! When we got home from church last Sunday my big girl had a high fever and seemed to be on the decline in a hurry. We had less then 5 hours until we needed to board a plane and my mind automatically went to "well, better prepare my heart for not going." I was convinced she had something awful and I would be forced to miss out and stay home to care for her. So I took a few minutes while my husband took her to urgent care and just cried {literally} to the Lord. Why I felt like I needed to brace myself for the worst is unknown. But I did, and I was so thankful that I serve a God who hears and has compassion. Several hours later, because urgent care doesn't live up to it's description especially on Sundays, Brad was home with our girl. She was still feverish but the Dr saw no reason for her to miss the trip, citing a weird virus they had seen a lot of that week. Lovely. So with that green light and a slightly loopy daughter we made our way to the airport and began our journey.

On our way back to Iowa
My girls were champions! Even with one who had a fever, one who got air sick {literally, gag}, and a baby - they rocked it! I got many comments from fellow travelers about how well they did and how they couldn't believe how quiet they sat. I agreed at this miracle. ;) Our second leg of the trip had us landing in Orlando at the ripe time of 12:50am. By the time we landed, found our rental car and made it to the hotel it was close to 2am. My girls were exhausted, one was still feverish and one had the results of air-sickness on her shirt, but they just walked and did what we needed them to do. They crashed hard once in the hotel room and slept until around 9:30 the next morning. Is that not perfect?! I was so thankful for my little brood.

I was also thankful they were heading to grandma's for a few days because sharing a room with them is not ideal as I discovered we have one that grinds her teeth, one that talks in her sleep and one that's a baby. :)

On the way back it was even better. No air sickness and they slept the entire first leg (2 hours). The baby was magic and giggled and laughed at anyone who would look at her. And chewed on the seats and got any germs she possibly could into her little month. {geesh} She's a charmer, that one. I got many more compliments about how beautiful and well behaved they were. And if I can tell you the cold-hard-truth, it was nothing short of wonderful to see years of prayers answered after what felt like parenting in the trenches. Because not so long ago we wouldn't have even DREAMED of flying with my biggest girl again. We are seeing fruit of our labors in small doses and it feels so good. So maybe my mini lesson here is to encourage you mommas to KEEP IT UP! Be consistent, be loving, be firm. The icing on the vacation cake was our lunch today at Olive Garden. It was our last hurrah before reality sets in tomorrow - so we got a big, fancy meal and settled in. Our kids are 6, 3 and 10 months old so we are by no means silent. But the kids were so well behaved and we really enjoyed our sweet time around the table. I was already thankful for this fact - calm, eating, all sitting down family, when a lady walked up to our table. She began to tell us how much she enjoyed watching our family and how impressed she was with our children. {I may have looked around to make sure this wasn't a joke} She then went on to tell us how she's observed other families where the children aren't so agreeable but how she so enjoyed us today. We thanked her, confessed that it's not always this way, and showed appreciation for her kind words about how "pretty" our girls were. Then she and her husband went on their way and we wrapped up to go, too. A few minutes later the server came to tell us our bill had been cared for. Now, I can't be sure it was that couple, though we are assuming it was. Wow, what a sweet blessing to us! And what a blessing to Brad and I as parents to hear people speak of our children with as much joy as we feel about them. It was a booster at the end of an already incredible week - reminding us that the investment in our kids matters and the time spent is worth it. I'm reminded of a quote by Gloria Furman, who I got to meet this week {side note}:

"By God's grace, I can resist the temptation to treat my children as interruptions to my will for my life. Instead, God enables me to treat my children as precious gifts he is using to shape me into his image according to his will for my life."

What a great end to a great week. I'm so thankful. I haven't even mentioned the quality time spent with my husband or gone in depth about the spectacular teaching I was able to sit under at the conference. Some things I'll just treasure all for me. :) But, needless to say, we had a blast!
And as I sit here typing, looking out my dining room doors watching it pour, I'm thankful to be home, too. My place. My mission. I'm refreshed, recharged and ready for another week. 

So what's next?
Life, mostly. Just life. I have a loooong list of to-do's, ministry responsibilities and a nice stack of magazines that came in the mail while I was gone. {Kidding.} {Not really kidding}
Tomorrow I'm planning a trip to The Home Depot to pick up paint for the dining room! I'll have a little peek at that later in the week. Stay tuned. I'll do a full write up about the paint job AND the plate wall I'm putting up next month on the All Things With Purpose blog.
Have a great week!

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