Monday, January 5, 2009

Warm Memories

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.


Becky said...

Robin, I just loved reading this. I just loved hearing your heart, and knowing that the week was everything you dreamed it would be. And also that last paragraph, the struggles and challenges that are ahead this year. I feel for you. And I KNOW you will just hold this past week deep inside and ponder all it meant, when the need arises.

I am so glad you had a good time. I am so so so glad you had this week for all of you to share.

Blessings my friend! Stay warm!

Becky said...


Dawn said...

It sounds perfect! I know what you mean about the Christmas decorations in the tropics. But I still love Christmas on Kona!

How did you find the house - on the internet? It looks wonderful.

Sorry about the snow and ice - but it just makes the vacation seem even better!

I know this will be a challenging year for you and your family - I just know God will give you just what you need! And you can be so proud!

Karen said...

This is a beautiful post, Robin. The pictures of your family are so lovely, especially the one on your header. You all look so rested and tanned and happy. Your daughters are gorgeous!

I'm so glad you had this time to share. The memories will last forever, and you can draw on them in the year ahead. Blessings to you in the new year!

Judy said...

Awesome post! I especially LOVE your family picture and the picture of the girls on the beach. So sweet. Good for you guys for planning the coordinating attire beforehand! (assuming you planned it beforehand)

Willow said...

You sound so much more at peace and encouraged. That's good!

Your decision to have a family vacation instead of buying presents caused me to suggest it to my family and the idea was met with great enthusiasm and we've already started planning for 'two years from now'!

A Day In the Life . . . said...

those are some seriously good pictures - especially the one as the blog heading! tara always astounded me with her flexibility and adventurous perspective - in college, she could always sleep pretty much anywhere

Willow said...

Robin, I suggested London to the fam and they all looked at like I was daft and said, "Hawaii! It will be December!"

I went to Italy with my older dd Kiti in 2001. The Prof and I were in London last summer with my older son, The Chaplain, and his wife.

Kathy S. said...

Beautiful, beautiful! Oh what a treasure for you!! I want to go to Fl now!! I can relate to the cold, ice and snow...

I'll be praying for you. That your year will be rich in spritiual blessings!

Lovely family and photos!

Irritable Mother said...

Hi Robin,
I just popped over here from, um, I don't even remember where I just was. Anyway - I just popped over!
It was so nice to read about your vacation and your family time. I am a mother of three, ages 12, 10, and 8, and it's encouraging to read about siblings enjoying spending time together. I do NOT want to wish these days away, but some of the moments...*sigh*
So thanks for the encouragement - even though you probably didn't know that's what you were doing!

gail@more than a song said...

I so loved reading this Robin! It sounds like y'all had an amazing time, and have memories you'll treasure for years to come. Love the pictures, especially the one of your girls, they are gorgeous!
And I know you have a challenging year ahead of you so it's especially sweet you had this time...the Lord will be with you all the time!