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I’m BAAAAACK!

Didja miss me?

We had the best vacation we have ever had. Literally. I loooooove vacation! We went with our best friends in the entire world, the Dupps, to Niagara Falls and then to Kelleys Island, Ohio. Every day was nothing short of a gift.

To give you a little background (in case you don’t already know), we met the Dupps in Iowa. We lived a 1/2 mile apart, our husbands were in residency together, and since neither of us had family within several hundred miles, we became family to each other. During BJ’s last year of residency and Michael’s fellowship year, Gretchen & I and our kids practically lived together. It was a crazy, busy, stressful year for our families, but all of my memories are so sweet because we had such precious friends to share it with.

We each have three kids, and they were all born within months of each other. They are truly more like cousins than friends. They deeply love each other and have so much fun together, even though we only get to see each other once or twice a year.

So back to vacation. I am convinced now more than ever of God’s sovereignty and delight in blessing us. Gretchen and I could not have possibly known the kind of spring and summer our families would experience when we started planning this trip back in February…but God knew, and He knew exactly what kind of vacation we would all need – and boy, did He deliver! I am still amazed and humbled and a little overwhelmed at how perfect it all was. Our vacation with the Dupps last year was just as wonderful, but it was very different. Last year, we were hiking and touring every day – very active. But last year, we could handle active. This year, we needed to escape and relax. OH how we escaped and relaxed!

To summarize:

  • Flew up by myself with the kids and spent three days at the Dupps’ house in Cleveland. Kids played and played and played – mostly imaginary Star Wars and Harry Potter. Took them to have their annual portraits taken. Took the older girls to see the American Girl movie. (loved it!)
  • Michael joined us two days later, and we drove to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. “Awesome” doesn’t begin to describe it! Took a boat tour to the bottom of the Falls one day; took the tunnel tour behind the Falls and to the observation platform next to the Falls the next day. Really, really cool. Watched fireworks over the Falls.
  • Back to Cleveland, then took a ferry boat over to Kelleys. Got to take a sailboat ride around Lake Erie with one of their good friends. In the middle of the week, we took another ferry over to Put-In-Bay for the day – rented two golf carts and drove all over the island.

Island living is AMAZING. Gretch and I kept looking at each other throughout the week and saying, “I wuv vacation!” (a play on then-two-year old Christian standing next to Michael, who was eating strawberries, and saying “Michael, I wuuuuv straw-beh-wees.”) I can’t remember being so relaxed.

The house we rented for the week was great – not fancy (which was a good thing with six kids in tow), but it had this fabulous back yard, where the kids spent much of their time playing baseball and kickball and other yard games. It also had this great screened in porch, where Gretchen and I spent most of our days sitting and watching the kids play. And, oh yeah, the temps were in the 70s most days! We took scenic bike rides every day, went to the beach, strolled around the quaint little shops downtown. It was perfect. And – get this – no cell phone service at the house, no internet, and we pretended there was no satellite tv service. Just the ten of us and all that fresh air. Each night, after the kids were in bed, the four of us stayed up until at least midnight just talking and talking and talking. We loved every minute of every day.

And we hated saying good-bye. Good-bye stinks. Every year. We joked that there are probably very few people with whom you could take a week-long vacation and still feel like it wasn’t enough time together. I think we all could have been there another month and never gotten tired of being together. That’s what kind of friends we have. God is so good.

As a footnote, our flight back was less than uneventful. We got stuck in St. Louis for almost two hours later than planned, then when we finally got back home around 10 p.m., we had a brilliant idea for Michael to take Griffin and take the shuttle to remote parking and pick up our van while I collected the luggage, then he could pick us up outside of baggage claim. Stellar idea…if you remember not to pack your keys in your checked luggage. So – 11:00 at night – I haul two kids, a stroller, two backpacks, and four suitcases on the shuttle to meet him at the parking lot.

Oh, but wait. It gets better.

So the kids, the luggage, and I are sitting in the parking lot waiting area, Michael runs out with the keys to get our car …then 5 minutes later, I see him running back. Yes, our battery was dead. Beyond dead. Like the remote locks wouldn’t even work.

And it’s now 11:30.

So we find a security person to jump the battery, and we finally head back home. Keep in mind that our bodies are still on Ohio time, so it feels like almost 1 a.m. The kids fall asleep in the car (Nathan actually fell asleep in my arms on the shuttle and didn’t wake up until the next morning!), and I have reached the point where it is strongly advisable not to speak to me…

OK, I guess that’s enough about our vacation. We’re sloooowwwly adjusting back to reality, and we sure miss our island living. But it was a perfect escape and provided some much-needed rest and rejuvenation. I’m hoping now we can face all the ugliness we left with a little more perspective and patience.

I wuuuuuv vacation.

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