Thursday, June 11, 2015

Better Late Than Never: Reflections on Vacation

10 days.  8 states.  2700 miles round trip.  Seventeen or so hours in the van each way. That is a lot of togetherness.  And a lot of togetherness just in the van.  Did we get on each others' nerves sometimes?  Yes, of course.  Did we enjoy each other?  Yes.   Did we draw closer to one another?  Yes. 

On the way back from Virginia Beach, I have been reflecting on our trip.  Here is a compilation of things I learned, things I reaffirmed, and things I just want to remember.

Todd is always the first person to say, "Are we there yet?"  On the way out, he said it before we got to Kingdom City.  On the way back, we were just barely outside of Virginia Beach.

Seth gets the award for best traveler.  I don't think he ever complained...except when we told him to turn the screens off for a while.

Hannah's favorite activity to do in the car is snack.  She ate continually from Missouri to Virginia and back. As long as we didn't run out of penguin or whale crackers, she was happy.  Seriously, you have no idea how much food that little 40 pound body put away this week.  And to her credit, she still ate most of her food at meals too.

Hannah can hold up her end of a monologue for sixteen hours of more.  It doesn't even matter if anyone is listening; she is her own best audience.  Occasionally, she ran out of things to say in English.  That's when she would switch to "Spanish."  What she calls Spanish is absolute total gibberish-just random sounds connected together really fast.  But it allowed her to keep filling the air with her voice.

Also, it is actually better for Hannah to watch Frozen WITHOUT headphones.  That keeps the volume of Let It Go to a minimum.  With the headphones on, she sings way above the soundtrack since she cannot herself sing.  Did I mention that she has only two volumes?  Loud and LOUDER!
On our first morning in Virginia, I woke up with a terrible cold.  I was fairly miserable for the first two days.  But what I have concluded is this:  having a cold on vacation stinks.  But it beats having a cold at work!

The beach was awesome.  The ocean was pretty chilly, but we got used to it after awhile.  We were there at a perfect time.   It wasn't crowded at all.  It wasn't too hot.  It wasn't too cold.  So much fun to just play in the water and the sand.  We also loved the three or four mile walk we took on the boardwalk.  Such a great family atmosphere.

My husband is a trooper when it comes to driving.  I helped drive on the way there and back, but he did the lion's share.  He took all of the driving throughout the week and dealt with a lot of crazy drivers and really bad traffic.  He even drove in pouring rain with cars bumper to bumper all the way to Williamsburg and back.  And he never complained.  Well, he complained about the other drivers but never once about the person who had suggested making this particular outing.

Colonial Williamsburg was enjoyable.  The kids liked learning about how things were made and looking back in George Washington's time.  Hannah liked the shoemaker best, and Seth thought the blacksmith was really fascinating.  We just did a sample tour of Williamsburg because it was really expensive.  But as it turned out, that was the right decision anyway because it was pouring all day.  I don't think we would have wanted to see much more than we did because we were totally soaked.  It didn't start raining until we were on the way, and that is the only day that I hadn't checked the weather forecast.  The other three all had jackets in the car; I was very, very thankful for my fancy new school umbrella that happened to be in the van.

Before we left on our trip, Mark Landis told the kids several times to make sure we went to DQ on the beach.  We did that, and it was great.  But at the end of the week, we found a place that far surpassed having ice cream on the beachfront.  Can you say donut sundae?  One hot donut topped with icing of your choice and a giant mountain of ice cream, whip cream, and a cherry on top.  YUMMY!  Crazy good is right.

Our kids are pretty awesome.  (I knew this already, of course). I have never been more pleased and thankful for my own children than the day we went to the aquarium in Virginia Beach.  Apparently, it was National Field Trip Day the day we went; there must have been ten or twelve elementary schools also touring the aquarium that day.  To say it was chaotic is quite the understatement.  There were SO many kids there.  Many were loud.  Many were rude.  Many were obnoxious.  But our own children were not.  They were amazing at how polite and patient they were, even as those around were cutting in front of them in line or pushing them out of the way.  So proud of those two!  

One moment that made my week was when Todd told me that he doesn't like to eat out all the time.  He would rather eat my food.  Hooray for that compliment!

I also want to remember how thankful I am for Spirit FM.  As we drove and drove and drove, I had a really difficult time finding anything good on the radio.  When I finally found a station that played contemporary Christian music, it would fade to static in twenty minutes or so.  I didn't realize how much I depend on putting good stuff into my ears--and my mind--as I drive.  

Our favorite parts:

  • Seth liked collecting sea shells and seeing the sharks at the aquariums.

  • Hannah said, "I have more than one favorite.  First of all, the beach was cool.  Second, I liked playing in the ocean, even though it was cold.  Third, I liked the heated pool, and my best thing was the HOT TUB!
  • Todd enjoyed sleeping in every day and the Crazy Good Donut and Ice Cream place.
  • I had several favorites as well (crab legs, beach time, donut sundaes) but the best part was really just hanging out together and doing things at a slower pace than normal.  It was a great trip!

I sure do love this guy.  After spending every minute of 10 days together, I couldn't believe how much I missed him the day he went back to work!

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