Last night as I lay in my bed and listened to the wind howl all night, and this morning when I had to trudge through 6 inches of snow to get to my car to drive to work, and as I had to drive 30 miles an hour on sheer ice, I stayed warm just thinking of where I was last week – in 80 degree Florida!
It’s always so amazing how you spend so much time saving and planning for a vacation. It seems like the day you leave is never going to arrive. And suddenly, just like that, it’s over.
That’s how it was for this vacation. We planned for over a year. We saved and researched and thought out everything we wanted to do. We anticipated for months having this week together. And now it is a wonderful, warm memory.
We rented a large home in the Clearwater, Florida area. It had a large pool and hot tub and a dock in the back yard for the guys to fish off of. We didn’t have a boat – that would have been nice. Next time we will plan to rent a boat. It was nice staying in a home instead of a hotel. We cooked some of our meals. Why is it that cooking and dishes don't seem like work when you are on vacation? We each had a room to stay in that gave us personal space when we needed it. Except for poor Tara. She got the sofa in the “Florida room” and it was all glass windowed walls. She didn’t get a lot of personal space. Next time, Tara gets her own room.
We didn’t do a lot of tourist-y things. We mainly wanted to just be together. We drank coffee on the patio every morning and we went to the beach. We ate some great seafood. We did set aside one day where some of the group went to Disney World (I am such a Disney girl!) and the other half of the group went deep-sea fishing. All the girls treated ourselves to pedicures and the guys spent lots of hours fishing off the dock. We made popcorn in the evenings. We spent time (although it wasn’t enough) with Chuck’s sister and family who live in the area. We marveled over the fact that it was balmy and warm while at home it was COLD and SNOWING. Every morning as we drank coffee by the pool we laughed about how we could never do that at home during the Christmas season. We would be walking down the road and notice how out of place the Christmas decorations looked. I’m sorry but Santa in a sled being pulled by reindeer just doesn’t blend with flamingos and seashells LOL!
Jess got to go parasailing and she loved that. My mom collected seashells and she loved that. The babies got to put their feet in the ocean and they loved that. I got to live in the same house with my four sweet girls and my two sweet grandbabies and I loved that. I love when my four girls are all together. I just enjoy watching them interact with each other and studying their personality differences. I love how they love each other. That doesn’t mean there aren’t times of inevitable conflict, but their bond is tight and they are sisters in every sense of the word. That just fulfills my heart. I love watching two of my girl’s mother their own babies. It just melts my heart to see the love they have for their own little ones. There truly is nothing sweeter than holding hands with your husband as you gaze upon the people that matter to you more than anyone else in the world.
These girls are my very heart.
And being with my sweet grandbabies each day was just the icing on the cake!
Chuck and I took both our moms with us. They have always been friends and since they are now both widows it was a real treat for us to bring them along on our vacation. They were so good we told them they could come with us next time too!
One of the highlights of the trip for me was finding the house my grandparents lived in. When I was a little girl my family used to make the trip from North Dakota to Florida to visit them every year and I have so many fond memories of it. We used a gps system to find the house and the people who live there now came outside. I told them it used to be my grandparents home and they were so kind. They even invited me inside! They didn’t know my grandparents but they told me the neighbors still talked about my grandfather and what a kind and helpful man he was. In fact, he was known in the neighborhood as “the sprinkler man” because he was always helping people fix their sprinklers and plumbing. I loved hearing that.
So this vacation was everything I hoped it to be. If I could have changed anything at all it would have been to make it be just a little bit longer. I feel deep in my spirit that this is going to be a year of difficult challenges for me. I believe that I will be drawing on the reservoir of memories we built for many months to come. And I am so thankful for this week we had. We plan to do more things like this in the years to come, God willing.