my father also let us borrow his Ford F150 truck. we stuffed the back full and piled all six of us into the cab one frosty Wednesday morning at 4 am. and we were off. first family vacation 2013!
our first leg was to Virginia to see my mother's little sister. we made it to her house at just about 4 in the afternoon. no mishaps. no fighting, "mom! she's touching me!" of course we we're all touching. six people in a truck? yup, get used to being close girls!
we got to aunt terry's house before she got home from work, so we keyed in and sat and read magazines for a little bit. uh, by read, i mean looked at. our eyes were too travel weary to focus much, but sitting in her cushy leather furniture was a nice treat after the long truck trek. we could pretend to read.
terry took us all out for Italian food and we ate! and ate! and ate some more. i don't think there were many leftovers. driving 12 hours sure works up an appetite.
the next morning she had to go to work, but left her incredibly well-behaved dog, otter, home with us. after an excursion to the local Food Lion, daddy took the kids and puppers out for a long walk, while i cooked a chicken dinner and made a huge batch of fudge. (my aunt, the stinker, had neglected to remind me that she had given up chocolate for Lent.) wonder if it is still in her fridge or if she used the Sunday reprieve card? i wonder just how much fudge can one person eat in one day? maybe the tootsie pop owl might know...
the next morning she had to leave for work early, but not before we captured some bed head pictures!
even though we didn't want to, we had to head out just a few hours later. basha cried so hard. not sure if she was going to miss terry or otter more. that kid sure can love. a far cry from 12 months ago. look how God has created a new-loving heart in her! love it.
we stopped in Georgia for the night and the next morning headed out to visit with my 98 year old grandmother. although it was a short two hour visit, we were so happy to spend the time with her. it was nice that the children could meet their great-grandmother. we don't know when we'll be back in Florida again. i honestly thought that when i saw her a few years ago, it would be the last time, but God blessed me richly with more time. my heart was singing just being able to hold her hand for a short while.
we got back into the truck...not more driving!! ok, but this time next stop...DISNEY!!
we arrived at the same time as our friends from Texas. they moved from Connecticut last year and we promised everyone a Disney trip to soften the blow of the move. the kids screamed and hugged themselves silly in the parking lot. ok, so did the adults. it sure was a celebration.
we got settled into the suite and tried to recover from the drive. the poirier family drove from Texas also. up side, i brought my crockpot and the other mom brought a frozen turkey and other groceries. we're gonna eat like kings!
the daddies doing devotions with the children the next morning before heading into the Magic Kingdom-helps that the other daddy is in seminary and currently a youth pastor
friends reunited. i think they'll agree it is the happiest place on earth
learning Chinese hand games on the Disney transport buses. i hear there are children all over a small Texas town now learning the games too. guess our family rubbed off on theirs.
vandalizing Disney while waiting for the boat to the Magic Kingdom
the Disney police found out it was our kids that vandalized the walkway. Zurg is a tough warden, but let them off with a promise of future good behavior.
only in Florida-speaks for itself
cool nighttime shot of the castle
we had a magical week of reconnecting and bonding with people we love. we couldn't ask for more. the last day was hard, but everyone took it better than expected.
basha again took the goodbyes hard. the entire poirier family went into the room where she was crying and surrounded her promising that this wasn't as much of a goodbye as a so long. we hope to be blessed enough to see them when they come to New England for a wedding in late summer.
i'm glad they didn't decide to surround me in the shower where i ran off to have my goodbye cry. i'm not so good at them either, but it was time to dry our tears and head out to meet B's Chinese foster family.
because this travelogue is getting overly long, i'll paste Rebecca's post telling about our visit here. but i will add a few things. when we were leaving their house on the first day, B said quietly, "this was the best day ever!" melted my heart to see her reconnected with her foster sister. and i need to say how wonderful the McKee family is. i love them all. i am so blessed to have them as extended family. it was like we were all cut from the same cloth. wondrous indeed!
we all fell in love with Abby
their six with our four
thank you, McKee family for opening your hearts, home, family, and refrigerator to our family. we are truly changed by getting to know you. we cannot wait until summer when we might have the chance to visit again.
we left Florida the following morning around 7 AM and drove straight through, except for a brief stop at a hotel for some rest, arriving home 35 hours later. the trip was hard at times, exhausting at others, fun filled, and blessed. we spent time cultivating relationships, worshiping with friends, bonding as a family, witnessing to strangers, and praising God. it was everything we had hoped for.
just a mere 48 hours later we had everything unpacked, washed, and were back to the normal grind of our lives. daddy went back to working summer hours after only having worked two days a week for two months, and we added in more therapy appointments. we are up to 11 standing appointments, but we have some new diagnosis and some new and exciting life changes coming up, not to mention we celebrated our one year Gotcha anniversary ten days ago. i'll blog about all that later.
PRAISE HIM ALL OF OUR DAYS. WE REJOICE IN YOUR GIFTS, LORD. THANK YOU.