Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Orlando Adventure

Today is day 5 of my 4 night/5 day prize trip to Orlando, Florida.  It is hard to believe it has come and will soon be over.  We have had a wonderful time and every single day I have been amazed and grateful by this prize and the gift it has been for our family.  Considering we never saved up enough money for a vacation like this when John was making the big bucks, there is no way we could take a vacation like this at this point in our life.  The tickets to Disney for 2 days and Kennedy Space Center were over $1000 alone.  Not to mention the airfare, car rental and this beautiful 2 bedroom condo.  I am sitting in the quiet living room drinking a glass of OJ I poured for myself in the kitchen while my family sleeps, something that doesn't usually happen when we cram ourselves into a hotel room.  I normally have to go sit in the hallway or lobby with my pj's on until they all wake up and come searching for me.

We are planning to make the most of this last day at the hotel by spending all morning at the pool.  Or at least that is Isabelle's plan.  Our initial plan had been to come back from Disney mid day for some swimming, relaxing and dinner before returning for the evening fun.  However, we were so busy doing stuff and having fun that we decided against that plan and instead had a snack and ate dinner at 9pm in our room.  Isabelle was distraught.  So she swam for about 15 minutes the next morning before we did Disney part 2.  And I soaked my tired legs in the hot tub that night.  Kennedy turned out to be an all day affair as well but we did get home by dinner and John took Isabelle down to the pool and was super Father by actually getting in the water despite the 65 degree weather and played with her for about an hour.  It was helpful in easing her pool demands but I am sure will emerge from her room with her swim suit on this morning and be ready to head down.  As much fun as Disney and Kennedy Space Center were they really could have saved the money and just let us hang out at the pool all week.  I know Isabelle would have been just as happy with that.

But that is what the next 3 days are about.  We are heading down to see my parents on Marco Island this afternoon, hopefully arriving by dinner time.  And it is pretty much always 80 degrees and sunny down there so we are looking forward to Isabelle spending even more time in the pool and walking on the beaches and just relaxing and enjoying the sun and surf.

Each day I remind myself and the family that we are going to be present in the moment.  We are going to enjoy what we are doing and not worry about what is next.  Easier said than done when you are at Disney and there are a million things to do and you are trying to do them all.  Much easier said than done when you are 6 years old and your parents promised you would go back to the hotel to swim and then changed their minds.  Easier said than done when you are driving a strange car in the dark and don't know where you are going.  Easy when you are Jake, if only he was present with us instead of virtually with his girlfriend...

Still for the most part we have done well, we have laughed together, prayed together, shared meals together, experienced new things together.  It has been great.  I have been blessed to see my son being mature, helpful, excited, engaged, and often very present with our family.  He is not a little boy anymore and it has been wonderful to spend time with this young man.  I have enjoyed lots of snuggle time with my daughter, seeing the joy in her face at talking with the Disney princesses, discovering that she would rather be watching stunt car racing than go to the Muppet's ride and confirming she is a thrill seeker who loved Space Mountain. (And the whole family laughing because I turned out to be the one screaming the whole ride.)

I usually  think vacations will be times of introspection.  I will read, think about my future, plan for our return.  I am a little nerdy and think those things sound fun.  But vacations are more active than that.  They aren't at all about our real life, planning and preparing for day to day life, it is about escape, it is about living a different life for a few days.  A life where you don't have any other responsibilities, no worries, no homework, no job, no house to clean or meals to cook (unless you want to).  I have discovered that vacations are about being present in this moment with the people you love and loving every minute of it.  And I am inexpressibly grateful we get to do that.

"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thes 5:18

(I left the cord for my camera at home so I can't upload any pictures on the trip but I promise to do a whole post of pictures when I return.)

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