Saturday, August 3, 2013

And Now For the Rest of the Trip....

Are we there yet?
Although our amazing day at Disney World was a super highlight, it was not the reason we went to Florida. As I mentioned before, a wonderful friend gave us a free week in a condo in Orlando so that we could be part of a mini-reunion of Congo adoption families that were all going to be there at the same time.  For the past 3 summers we have attended a reunion of OFA families in Indiana.  But this summer plans changed and we didn't think we would get to see any of our beautiful friends and their Congo babies.  Boy were we wrong.  One night we managed to get everyone together at one of the condos.  There were 15 Congo kids all in one room.  You'd think I'd have a picture of that, but I have lost the cord to get pics off  my camera, so no luck. Thank goodness for my phone camera!  Below are some of the highlights of our trip.

For me seeing the Sullivan's, Bakers, Bergstrom's, and of course the Craig's (who we spent every single day with) was so WONDERFUL!  These folks are like family to me and my kids.  We got to go swimming everyday in a giant sized kiddo pool that was just the right fit for our swimmers.  And we got to enjoy so much time just being a family together.  No TV, no computer, just us!

At the end of our trip we headed over to Sarasota to visit the Monahan's.  This family has been so dear and supportive of our adoptions from the very beginning.  We met while waiting to bring home Grace.  They have a teen-aged son from China.  One of the things that I love the most about the Monahan's is they are very neat and orderly people, but they still seem to genuinely love our kids and the chaos they bring. They arrived home from a two week trip to China just one day before we landed on their doorstep.  Amazing! While in Sarasota we got to do my second favorite thing after Disney.  We went to the beach!

I have never really thought of myself as a big beach person, but that day at the beach was just magical for one of my kids and therefore an extra special day.  If you know Manny, you know he is our serious boy and very prone to meltdowns.  But Manny just came alive when his feet touched the ocean.  I have never seen him so relaxed and joyful as he was that day.  So yes, I am totally ready to move to the beach!

We had a very quick visit with some friends on the way to Florida and on the way home.  In Biloxi we had dinner with Sze and her husband Tyra.  Sze was an exchange student from Hong Kong in our theatre department several years ago.  And  the Pierce's met us in Louisiana at a Chucky Cheese on the way home. They have 3 of the most attractive kids you've ever met!  What a great family!

Now our trip was not completely wonderful and stress free.  We were traveling cross country in a van with 6 kids.  It couldn't possibly be all sunshine and roses.  The kids NEVER SLEPT!!! Never.  And they spilled every single snack or drink we gave them.  Kat and Louise screamed at each other across the aisle for long stretches of time.  Potty breaks were always a nightmare.  And by the time the trip was over I was ready to NOT be stared at for long long time.  It gets old.  We had a particularly unpleasant stop at a Steak and Shake in Florida.  Everyone was looking but no one was smiling.  It really wears you down.  Finally, on our way home we stayed at the 2nd most disgusting hotel I have ever slept in!  OMG.

But all in all I would say the trip was SPECTACULAR.  And I'm ready to go back.  Unfortunately, school starts in less than 2 weeks.  Booooooo!  Guess I better get off this computer and soak up a little more summer!

Cuddle puppies!
Daddy's girl!
Ready to roll.
Grace and Haven too cute holding hands!
Are you ever gonna let us out of this thing?
Glamour Girl
White water rafting :)
Kat is ready for some serious swimming.
Tigger sighting
Oh, its only JoJo.

I interrupt this blog post for a short dance party!

The dancer in stripes is blue stripes is Manny!  Next to swimming at the beach, I've never seen him let loose like this.  He loves music!

Vacations wear me out!
Even in the water JoJo is always carrying around a truck.  He might be ALL BOY!
Armed and ready!
Oh I loved the beach! 
Really loved it!
It was like my kids were never meant to leave it!
Everyone loved it except Louise.  She doesn't like to be barefoot.
Have I mentioned I loved the beach?
Sweet swimmers.
Seashell hunting was Grace's favorite!
Water Baby.!
Taking a break.
Grace in a beautiful dress the Monahan's brought back from China.
While on our trip we encountered some very scary monsters!
Oh, its just Louise!
One of our last stops before home.
I love this beautiful little six-pack!
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