08-07-17 We are home…

There’s always a sinking feeling when your vacation comes to an end and you know that you have to resume your regular life the next day. Not that regular life is bad, it’s just that having a break from it makes you realize how crazy and hectic it can be. Our family needed this time away and it did wonders for our little tribe. We experienced many adventures, milestones, and smiles over the past ten days and even though we are pretty exhausted, we have returned feeling a little lighter and a whole lot happier.

  1. Apparently, my children love to swim. Last year I couldn’t get either of them in the lake, but this year, after a slight hesitation, they got in. I assured them they were safe, we practiced swimming, made up songs to help them remember what to do, and within a few days, they were swimming all around by themselves, never needing us to intervene.
  2. Big E loves to run. He ran from his great grandparents’ house to the lake (about a half mile) following the van and pacing it at 5-8 mph.
  3. The big kids went camping. They were too scared early in the week, and even the night they did it, they were pretty nervous, but they learned that even if you are scared of something, it can actually turn out to be something amazing and fun.
  4. Baby E is unstoppable when given the opportunity, and don’t try to convince him he can’t keep up with the bigger kids. He has a wild imagination and loves to play games, especially ones that he makes up like running from the “Spider Finding Dory” (which Tim eventually explained to me was the Octopus from Finding Dory.)
  5. Children’s energy is pretty much boundless. It didn’t matter that they got to bed late, woke up early, and didn’t get naps, those children could run and play ALL day long.
  6. Baby E survived on a sparse diet of salami and grapes for the majority of the week. That sounds pretty unappealing to me, but it seemed to keep him going. (He will not be getting the same leniency now that we are home!)
  7. C spent three nights sleeping at the great grandparent’s house while we were in the hotel. The first night she did some sleep talking and when great grandma came to check on her and get her back down, she wouldn’t cooperate. (I think she might have been in a mild night terror, or something similar.) In response, great grandma laid down on the floor next to her and they both fell asleep. That seems pretty special to me.
  8. If nothing else can make a child happy, a Gator ride definitely can. The kids enjoyed riding the trails and paths around the farm, dodging branches, and eating blackberries from the bushes.
  9. Fish in lakes aren’t afraid to nibble on you. Beware.
  10. Sunburns hurt. Sunburns on top of sunburns hurt even more.
  11. For the second year in a row, C injured her big toe. Last year she dropped a brick on it. This year she stepped on the thorn or twig and cut it open.
  12. Either something joined Big E in his sleeping bag, or he rolled around in poison ivy, because that kid was covered in itchy, painful bumps. They were everywhere, and the first day they were huge!
  13. Sitting around a campfire is always better with s’mores and glow sticks.
  14. Homemade sweet tea is the best.
  15. Watching my children play and smile, was definitely my favorite part.

As I mentioned before I took a few pictures this year, but not nearly as many. In fact, while I packed our big camera, I never even took it out of the van. I contented myself with using my phone here and there, but in the end the trip isn’t documented as well as I usually do, and that’s fine by me.

This past year has been an incredibly rough one, in which I felt like I was being pushed and forced though some pretty horrible and unpleasant experiences. In the process, a part of me grew sad and numb, encouraging me to be more of a spectator than a participant. But in the past couple of months, I’ve begun to wake up, and the joy that had been dormant has begun to resurface. The sadness is no longer consuming, and the promise I have held onto, that He would not forsake me, has proven to be true. What an incredible blessing. So in response, I promised this week I would BE there. No sidelines, no spectator, but rather complete immersion. So while I may not have a ton of pictures, I have an overflowing portion of special moments and memories with my children. After all, they are only young once, and I don’t want to miss it!


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