Sunday, April 26, 2015

Change is good... so I'm learning

It appears my last posting was nearly 3 years ago.  I find this hard to believe, but one cannot argue with dates on a computer I suppose.  I used to use this blog as a way to update out of town family on vacations and other happenings in our life as well as a therapy tool to organize my thoughts.  I would often reflect upon previous posts and use them as a gauge of growth at times.  Recently it occurred to me I had not done this in a very long time, and I missed it.  So here I am.

I find myself quiet today.  I say this because it happens to be a rare occurrence.  I am sitting with my feet up, sunshine on my face and the sounds of a babbling creek and birds singing in the distance. This environment is my home base, my safe zone, the place I go when I need my battery recharged.  Lets just say I haven't quieted myself like this in a while, too long to be exact.  When life is moving at the speed of light I find myself not realizing just how fast I am going and how neglected certain aspects of my life have become.

I feel as if my life is a whirlwind and I am struggling to catch my breath.  I am very much a creature of habit and struggle at times with change.  Somehow however I have found myself in a season of life where nothing is as it used to be.  Not one single aspect of my life is the same as it was 6 or 3 or even 1 month ago.  Oddly enough... I'm still standing and life continues to move onward.

Last June our daughter married our now son-in-law Anthony Rohrer.  Beautiful wedding, beautiful couple.  Late October Greg and I discussed purchasing a property as an investment property and flip it early the next spring.  December 2nd we closed on said property.  December 15th-December 28th Greg and I spent most of our time painting, removing carpet and wallpaper and finally started to see the full potential of the house (which we lovingly referred to as Flipper).  We are the worst house flippers in the history of house flipping because we decided to keep the house and move in.

Three days after this decision Leslie and Anthony decided they wanted to purchase OUR house. We then found ourselves in a two house project because our other house was not quite move in quality for the kids as we had unfinished projects (which we lost interest in ) that still needed to be finished.  We all went to work each day and came "home" to our second job as a construction crew where we painted cabinets, laid new flooring, installed new appliances.. the list goes on and on.  All of our belongings were spread out between two homes and neither home looked or felt like home.

Nick was not at all disturbed by any of this because he was gaining a lower level bachelor pad and couldn't get moved in quick enough.  He didn't even wait to have the flooring replaced in his room before moving in and still has psychedelic carpet in his room. It resembles the aliens in the Atari game Space Invaders in case you needed a visual.

In the middle of all of this we were told we were going to be grandparents!

We couldn't be more excited about the change that is happening in our life at this moment.  ALL of it is great stuff, I just feel so much of it has happened so quickly I haven't had time to soak in one before another one hits.. until today.  Today I am quiet.  

Yesterday, as we were listening to the rain, Greg said " I think God created rain not only to water the earth, but to also create a stillness in us, a way to quiet our minds and our bodies".  He was absolutely correct in that moment because had it not been raining he and I both would have been outside working on our non existent landscaping, or mowing the grass, or painting, or doing any other outside job that needed attention.  Instead we were inside, laying on our bed and listening to the drops of rain.  
Eric Church sings "Turn the quiet up, turn the noise down, let this whole world, just spin around".  This morning at church we were asked to quiet our hearts, focus on the quiet whisper of God and not the ever so loud voice in our head telling us to focus on ourselves.  I again remembered what it felt like to be quiet, really quiet.  Not the quiet you feel just as you fall asleep because your bones are so exhausted they might burst into dust, but the quiet you feel when you again realize life is so much bigger than you.  The quiet that brings peace from a quiet whisper that says "I got this".  In this moment I feel silly stressing over  unfinished back splashes, or grocery lists, or unpainted stone walls, or... well, you get the idea.  All of this is so unimportant and I am sad I have missed several months of quietness and the appreciation of simplified living.  

Its odd to me that my place of solitude, my home base and safe zone is forever changing season after season and yet it is where I go to draw peace for my life.  I'm thankful for the creator of my ever changing life and thankful He is my one constant that will never change.  

So, I'm learning I can survive change and it really CAN be good, and on a side note...Immersion Therapy works.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Destin 2012 Day Four

Today we woke with a birthday breakfast made by Anthony.  He was very sweet and thoughtful and made us eggs, bacon and toast for our birthday.  The rain was still coming down, but we had hope that the weatherman was correct and it was all going to end by 10am.

We had called several pontoon rental places to lock down a pontoon boat a couple days earlier, but apparently everyone else in Destin wanted to take out a pontoon boat as well. Everyone who was scheduled to go out yesterday pushed their reservations to today due to the big storm.  Greg worked his charm and by the time breakfast was finished we had a pontoon boat in our name.

Everyone was asked (several times according to Greg,  Nick and Jonah) to make however many sandwiches they feel they might like to eat on our 8 hour pontoon adventure.  I didn't want anyone to give me hungry puppy dog eyes while I ate my sandwich because they didn't make one for themselves.  Soooo, I may have mentioned sandwiches a few times prior to leaving.  I am talking to the same group of boys who had to make at least 6 trips from the condo to the beach each day because they forgot sunglasses, towels etc.

The weatherman was correct and by 9:45 the rain had stopped and the sun came out.  Just in time for us to board the boat at 10:00.  We struggled to find the place because we called Wet-n-Wild for our reservation, but after a phone call to them telling them we were lost, they told us the name of the place was actually Pelican Adventures.  Even though they answered the phone "Wet-n-Wild Water Sports".  Once we knew the correct name we found it right away.

After a short run through about the boat given to us by a very tan, very blonde surfer dude and we were on our way.

Crab Island was something none of us had experience before.  It was like a giant beach party in the water.  Boats were anchored all the way around a HUGE sand bar.  It used to be an actual island, but the hurricane washed it away.  The water range was from 2 feet-5 feet deep depending on where you park.

There were little restaurant boats,

 boats to rent floaties, boats to rent Jet Skis, boats to buy ice cream.

   There was an inflatable slide and a small water trampoline in the middle.  People were floating on floaties, playing music... it was really neat.

THEN.... out of no where there HE was.  A dude on a water jet pack.  Everyones lives changed at that very moment.  Greg said he had to have one.  Anthony later looked it up... they cost $100,000.00 I'm thinkin we probably won't be purchasing one anytime soon.

We enjoyed watching this guy, he would dive in and out of the water like a dolphin... it was really cool.  When his friend took a turn he was not nearly as good as this guy and we realized none of us could do this even if we were given the opportunity to try it.  We would have drowned ourselves.

We had fun lounging on the boat for a while...


We had a really bad anchor.  Greg said it weighed less than a pound and he could tear off one of his toe nails, dig it into the sand and tie the boat to it and it would do a better job.  

 The kids had fun feeding the sea gulls off the back of the boat.  90% of our Goldfish fishies were fed to the birds.

While feeding the birds one of our floaties fell off the boat and the waves took it faster than Greg could swim to get it (thanks to our less than a toe nail anchor). These friendly people saved it and brought it to us.

 Then the other one fell off and Jonah and Greg were fighting over it....

 While we were lounging, and while Leslie and Anthony were out snorkeling, my glasses were stepped on and my lens came loose.  Loose enough that when I put them on the lens fell out and I watched the lens hit the sandy bottom of the ocean.  Jonah jumped in to try to save it, but we were drifting so far he quickly lost it.  Greg jumped in and tried to pick it up with his toes but he too couldn't find it.  I was quickly settling in to looking like this for the rest of the day.

Leslie and Anthony came back with the snorkeling gear and both jumped in to look for it.  Leslie immediately found it.  She had it in hand before Anthony was completely in the water.  She saved the day.

Snorkel picture from Anthony...

Then Greg said lets take a ride.... he was having a blast trying to splash all of us by hitting the waves JUST right.  Nick was one of the instigators in helping his dad find the right wave.  WHAM... we hit a good one....

Leslie had to wring out her towel...

Greg and Nick high five one another on a job well done...

There were many, many waves like this one... then Greg hit a REALLY big one and the entire front end of the boat was under water.  We thought we were sinking.  Everyone ran to the back of the boat as Greg reversed and pulled us back up out of the water.  All of our shoes had floated to the back of the boat and everything was soaked.  Once our adrenaline was back to a normal level we thought it was pretty funny.  Greg didn't hit anymore waves as we headed back to crab island.  Something we won't forget anytime soon.  Boys are such boys sometimes.

Nick drove for a while...

 Jonah texted....

We started a very annoying sound on the very first day of vacation, as we were driving across the Destin bridge to be exact.  It is a very high yell... kind of a hum, but not really.  Anyway, if someone starts it then everyone HAS to do it or you get slapped.  I know, as violent as it may seem... it is true.  As you can see in the picture, either Leslie or Anthony has started it, and in the next picture Nick has joined them.  I swear we all need therapy.  We actually had the Thoma family in on it while eating at Pompino Joes.  We received many weird looks, and some of them were not nice.Who cares... we are on vacation and will probably never see those people again.

Nick was a super hero...

Jonah tried to be a sail...

We parked back at crab island while Greg, Jonah and Nick snorkeled and found these crabs.

 The kids spent some more time feeding the birds again and then our two kids hung out together for a while on the back of the boat.  It made my heart melt watching them talk and hang out.  I love both of them so much and I love seeing them as friends.  I know this very well could be the last family vacation as we know it... It is a bitter sweet feeling.  I hope they will always remember their vacations together as brother and sister and the memories we have made will be cherished in their hearts and laughed about often.

We lounged around a little while longer...

We were all exhausted and were ready to be out of the sun.  We headed back in a little early to beat the mad rush of pontoons coming back in for the evening.  We made a stop at the CVS (which Greg called my vacation Kroger since we visit there so much) to pick up some Aloe.  By the looks of everyone in the van we were going to need it.  Jonah told me as we were heading into the dock he didn't put any sunscreen on his face.... and you could tell.  Silly boy.

Our evening was pretty  uneventful.  We were too tired to do much of anything else.  We did manage to shower, apply aloe and eat.  Then eat again.  We devoured several pizzas, spaghetti casserole, ice cream, chips and anything else that got in our way.

Nick took his shirt off and we then began to call him Zorro... .here's why...


He sprayed sunscreen on himself in a zigzag motion.  At least we know the sunscreen worked.  If it was applied correctly.

It was a fantastic birthday... couldn't have asked for better weather or better company. Happy Birthday Nick, Greg and Jonah. Thanks for sharing my birthday with me today, and thank you Leslie and Anthony for helping to make it wonderful. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Destin 2012 Day Three

Day 3 started out with a tremendous down pour of rain.  It didn't look like it was going to let up, and I wasn't feeling very good so Greg took Leslie and Anthony out to shop for fruit trees.  Nick and Jonah stayed here at the condo to just chill and hang out.

The shopping trip was a success.  Two lime trees and a lemon tree was found at an Alvin's Island further down from the condo.

 A stop at Moe's for lunch was a must.  Greg absolutely LOVES Moe's and they don't have them near us anymore. 

Apparently there were 100 plus drink flavors you could have at Moe's.

Greg froze up because there were a lot of people in line behind him and ended up just getting Coke.  Anthony and Leslie laughed and teased him, Anthony then said it must have been out of his comfort box.  Leslie and Greg then turned and teased Anthony.  He made a similar comment on a different trip about opening his shell a little bit  instead of coming out of his shell.  I am sure Greg and Leslie didn't let this one go any easier.

Moe's was enjoyed and everyone came home VERY full.

A big thank you to Anthony for taking these pictures... without them I would have been able to document the day since I wasn't there. :) AND a big thank you for Leslie for letting me in on all the jokes so I could then tell them to all of you. :)

Once they returned from Moe's and from shopping Leslie and Anthony walked to the beach to do a little snorkeling.  Jonah and Nick went for a walk too.  

Greg and I took Jonah and Nick to the beach to try to take some senior pictures.  The lighting was not the best since it rained most of the day, but we were able to get a few.  Here are a few sneak peeks of unedited photos.

Tomorrow is our birthday party on the pontoon.... out in the open... motor boatin.  Good night all.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Destin 2012 Day Two

This morning we woke up to have breakfast.  Greg was sitting on the other side of the bar and said, "Can we play diner and we can pretend you are the waitress and you could give me a cup of coffee? Your name could be Flo".  I said "Kiss my grits".  Greg and I thought it was pretty funny, but the kids had no clue what we were referencing.

 I thought I would check out Facebook a bit while we ate breakfast and woke up.  I noticed a grade school/college friend of Greg's, Steve Thoma, and his family were vacationing close by.  After a few comments on Facebook, a couple texts and a phone call we had it set up to spend the day together.  It was so fun seeing them again.  We talked and we think it had been nearly 8 years since we had seen one another.  Way too long!

 We has some beach time before the rain moved in.

 Anthony took some pictures...

 New hat because I forget to bring mine every time we come to Florida

A very large storm moved in and chased us off the beach.  We waited until the very last second, thanks to Steve and Greg wanting to play in the water a few more minutes.  We were soaked by the time we made it back to the condo.

We dried off, ate, caught up on lost time.  Jonah played card games/magic tricks with Maddie and Meredith while Nick played Halo with Michaela.  The rain had eased up after a while so we packed up and went back out to the beach.  

Even Jonah and Nick joined us...

 and passed ball too....

The boys met some girls on the beach, how could they not since they looked so cool..

It started to sprinkle again, but who cares when you are already wet in the water.  We had a blast!

We worked up an appetite so it was time to get cleaned up and go to dinner.

 Group picture take one:  Maddie isn't in the picture..

Group picture take two: we gain Maddie but only Steve's eye is in the picture.

Group picture take 3: Greg stands up to take picture, I told Steve to REALLY lean in this time.. ha ha

Can't put into words how fun it was to spend the day with these great friends.  To sit at this table and reminisce about the days prior to marriage, prior to kids was so fun.  Then it was overwhelming to look at the beautiful faces of the kids at this table 20 plus years later.  Table of 4 grew to a table of 11 all because 4 silly college kids fell in love. :)  Thank you Thoma family for joining us today.  Lets not wait for another 8 years to catch up!

As we were leaving it was raining again so Steve and Greg went to get the cars while the rest of us stayed dry. Sonny and Cher's song I Got You Babe was playing and none of the kids knew who Sonny and Cher was... we felt old.  Jonah was trying to pick up a 50 year old woman, gotta keep an eye on that kid.  She smiled and chatted with Jonah like he was her age, unbelievable!

Once we said our goodbyes we went back into the condo for dessert... frozen fruit bars and Drumsticks.  I made the mistake of only purchasing ONE box of Drumsticks.  There are 8 in the box and there are 6 of us.  There was discussion about who would get the other 2 drumsticks.  Greg said it would be based on merit.  I then made my second mistake by saying I didn't really care for Drumsticks and didn't want mine.  All 5 of them yelled at the same time " Dibs" or "I'll take yours".  To end the yelling I yelled "Okay, okay... I want mine".

Greg and I went upstairs to go to bed, watch a little TV and read.  Within minutes all 4 kids were standing in our stairway.  Leslie was laughing and was trying to speak at the same time but all that was coming out was high pitched squeaks.  She was trying to tell me Anthony did not have a blanket for his bed, he had been wrapping up in a fitted sheet like a cocoon the past 2 nights.  Anthony was then trying to say he didn't WANT a blanket because he would get hot and he actually liked his fitted sheet cocoon.  I asked him if he would at least like to have a flat sheet to cover up with and he declined.  Leslie asked me if I could sneak down in the middle of the night and take a picture of him all wrapped up.  I think Anthony felt this would be creepy.  These kids are so much fun, mucho laughter all of the time.
Good Night!