Friday, June 8, 2012

the best days continue

whew, it's ONLY Friday. We've only been here for 3 full days and when I try to list the things we've done, it doesn't seem all that much but if we are measuring quality verses quantity of things.... well, that valuable thing called making memories trumps every time.

To be sure we've had some surprises of the not always pleasant variety... rental car mix up out of the starting gate but that resulted in a FREE upgrade to a larger nicer complaints on that one...... however the motel surprises have not endeared us to this particular Howard Johnson's Express In. From squishy carpets to musty room smells, from miscommunications about housekeeping services to a lack of towels, from broken room phones to door key-cards that suddenly don't work (traipsing across the motel parking lot at 11 pm on a muggy evening, our arms loaded with our belongings, to politely ask the night clerk to reload our key cards)

(the issue of COFFEE is a whole 'nother thing that probably requires a separate post.... suffice it to say that a trip Walmart was in order to purchase something palatable for our room....)

But, Bruce and I have been praying for ways to shine our lights (yes, Melody Mae!!) and exhibit grace in the midst of pressure. To go the extra mile in offering a smile and saying thank you and meaning it. To not losing our tempers or our patience but rather thank God for a moment to share the love of Christ with everyone in any small way we can.

this is life. this is traveling. over the hills and through the valleys. It's the ADVENTURE!! And we're loving it.

how can we not be enjoying this when we have faces like these to kiss each day? 
Can I hug you Grandma? says soaking wet boy.

We are experiencing June in Florida. Thunderstorms each day. Humidity of near oppressing degrees, rising until finally the sky releases a torrential downpour of rain. Now, being from the PNW, we KNOW rain but not like this. It probably rains more in those 10-15 minutes than we get all day in our northwest corner of the world!

Accompanying the rain is thunder and lightening. while it is fun for the kids to run out and play under the hot showers from heaven, once the thunder warns, we must go back under cover. Lightening striking is just to real of a danger to ignore. We sit on the covered patio of my daughters house and watch the sheet of rain pound the ground in front of us and drink in the cooling breeze that eventually arises from the earth.

Last night, despite the threatening skies, we drove across town to the historical part of Pensacola to take in a parade. There are many festivals going on during the summer (a Pirate Festival this weekend but we won't be taking it in-- too much $$ when you try to multiply that with the size of our group) But the parade last night was part of the 5 Flags Festival. The history of Pensacola is rich with Spanish, French, British and Confederates all ruling this city at one time until finally America conquered. A festival of 10 days in length is happening while we are here so the parade was something we could easily fit into our schedule along with the desire to find fun free things to do with 5 children.

We learned at the parade that this was the FIRST parade Connor has ever attended! We learned that EVERY float, every parade entry was giving away things-- mostly beaded necklaces. A lot of Mardi Gras flavor in each float entry. We were given large plastic bags from a radio station early on in the parade so we could tote our stash. And we collected our fair share of necklaces along with candy, stuffed animals and such. it was a lot of fun!

Other than the parade, our time with the kids has been low-key, just hanging out and enjoying watching or being a part of, what the kids do. We had 2 full days with Zaccari, Kristjian and Faith before meeting our NEWEST grandchildren, Connor and Aiden.

Connor, age 8, very solemnly approached both Bruce and I at separate times the first night to offer this statement/question. "Zac Kris and Faith are my step-brothers and sister. So that makes you my grandpa/grandma..... right?"

Our answer was an unwavering YES. May daughter and her partner may not be legally joined in the eyes of the law but the laws of the heart don't always abide by those rules and to 8 and 6 year olds, especially.
so we have two new grandkids to brag on!! And two very sweet boys indeed.

It's a busy household. Zac at 13, towers above the other 4 both in size and in maturity but I imagine it's difficult at times for him to find his place. Not quite an adult, but much too old for the silly games of his siblings who now range from 6-9. (Aiden, 6, Faith, 7, Connor 8 and Kris, 9)

today Grandma and Grandpa are taking a day just for ourselves to go explore without children. It would be remiss of us to come this far southeast and not take advantage of the unlimited mileage on the rental car!! Our plan was to drive for 3 hours in one direction and see where it takes us. After studying the map and doing some configuring, we realized we could drive to Louisiana!  We are heading out soon to both enjoy the journey and the destination, planning to take in scenery, the locals to where ever we might stop and make a few memories -- and of course, the ever popular pictures of our feet in new places!

how beautiful are the feet... in Pensacola Florida!

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