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Island Love

It’s been really difficult to sit down and write about our island experience.  Words don’t seem capable of conveying or summarizing the depth of adventure it was for us.  I didn’t even wash my hair for a couple of days after we got home, because I didn’t want the sunshine and saltwater to disappear.  There is something magical about knowing the last thing to rinse through your hair is the crystal clear water of the Caribbean ocean.

We weren’t prepared for the wave of emotion hitting us in our gut as the airplane circled the island.

The tears were rolling down Matthew’s cheeks.  We both glanced around the airplane at the six beautiful bodies accompanying us on this epic adventure.  When I stepped out onto the tarmac and was met with the warm tropical breeze, the smell of jet fuel hugged me like an old friend, making me feel immediately at ease.

While getting our rental van sorted out, we saw a nice-looking young man who looked like he needed a ride.  After offering him a ride to wherever he was going, it turned out he was going to the same place we were going!  It later became very clear just how Providential a meeting this was when we arrived at our hotel.  For some reason, our reservation was coming up on their end for only one bedroom and they had no more rooms left.  Our new friend, Will, offered us his room and said he could easily find another room somewhere, but it would be pretty near impossible to find a place for 8 people for the next 10 days.  God bless Will.  2017-02-24 17.05.33The following days were spent playing “Where’s Will”, and we ran into him a couple times each day, somewhere on the island.

When we lived on Roatan thirteen years ago, we spent the majority of our time at the hotel where we stayed.  We visited a couple places, but didn’t play tourist very much.  This time we had a deep bucket list and hit just about everything on that list.  We reunited with old friends, went back to where we used to live, and took in gorgeous views of the island from our fantastic van.

One of my favorite parts was always being together.  Hot and sweaty and often sandy, but always together.

We absolutely adored being able to squeeze Harry’s chunky thighs as we ditched the winter garb for ten glorious days.2017-02-27 16.19.11Another one of my favorite parts of our time there was every morning.  We would wander downstairs to the cafeteria, which was under the hotel.  It faced the ocean, and we would order hot coffee or tea, a delicious breakfast, and simply be.  No agenda but to sip tea and snuggle a baby.DSC_0024

DSC_9884We really enjoyed going to a Gumbalimba Park one day, where we went zip-lining, held macaws, monkeys and more!  I was totally impressed by Betty, who fearlessly zipped her way through the canopy.

A huge highlight for the boys was swimming with the dolphins.  I learned that Matthew has always wanted to do this, so it was incredibly special to watch him fulfil that dream.

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The spaces of our days were spent in the sun, paddleboarding, cartwheeling, climbing, playing, snorkeling, eating, dreaming, talking, and enjoying every single moment to its fullest.

Never did we think this dream of returning to our Island home would come true.  But God knew we needed this time and provided incredibly for us to be here.  Many thanks to Matt’s employer, who made it possible to go.  So grateful, too, for my Plexus business which made it possible to buy passports for 8 and eat for 10 days!  Our trip home was bittersweet.

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Our not-so-comfortable layover in Texas

We now have our hearts all over the globe.

There is so much more I could write about, but it’s almost April, and I really need to hit “publish”.  We will treasure these memories and are blessed to be able to share a small bit of our adventure with you.

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Better Than a Box of Chocolates

Why are some days so hard?  This question was texted to me from the other room.  I sat upstairs feeding Harry, while a raucous crew finished their supper.  For various reasons, we both had an uphill day.  I woke up with the urge and desire to make our bedroom look cute and tidy.  But all I managed to do today in my room was eat chocolate.  Because even though the incredible supplements we use have taken away my cravings for donuts, candy, just about every cereal, and most things found in the center aisles of the grocery store… chocolate is still okay in my book.  In fact, today I did something I’ve always wanted to do.  A rather nicely sized box of mixed chocolates came into my possession this week, and I took a bite out of every single one.  Just to see what was inside it.  None of this dainty and mysterious picking out of what you really hope isn’t orange-cream-filled chocolate or weird chocolate liquor.  (At least that’s not my favorite.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.)  I bit into each one, leaving a tooth-marked morsel in its place.  It looks like an animal sniffed out and sampled the box of crack.  I mean chocolate.  Nope.  Just a mama of six who may have had one or more things overwhelm her slightly sleep-deprived mind.  I claim with Anne of Green Gables: “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it.  Yet.”

Betty decided today was a great day to pull out all of the summer clothes and try them on for size.  I suppose I forgot to mention where we are heading in twenty days.  Our entire family will be boarding a plane and flying to Roatan, Honduras!  2017-01-25-19-24-25-1It has been our dream to return, since Matthew and I lived there for six months when Nadine and Elijah were babies.  Now, thirteen years later, we are.

It’s hard to imagine Caribbean temperatures and bathing suits as I sit wrapped in my scarf, clutching yet another hot drink.  2017-02-01-18-11-07-1As Betty squealed with excitement over her shorts still fitting her, it slowly started to sink in today.  The last time we traveled outside of the country was to Belize, when Jack was Harry’s age.  I guess I should start thinking about fitting into my bathing suit.  Stupid chocolates.

So why are some days so hard?  I don’t have a solid answer, but my reply was: So we will long a bit more for Heaven.  Because as awesome and beautiful as our life is here, it’s covered in pain and sickness and brokenness and imperfection.  If you don’t know where you’re going when you die, this is as good as it gets.  But if you have peace in the finished work of Christ, then the best is yet to come!  Better than a box of chocolates.  With no mistakes in it.  Ever and for eternity.  Come, Lord Jesus.

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Fifth Annual Kids’ Day and Other August Adventures

August has been simply amazing.  One highlight was our Fifth Annual Kids’ Day.  We decided to pack up the kids and take them to Six Flags Great Adventure for a day of thrills and laughter.  Everyone loves rollercoasters, and even though the one who loves them the most is the shortest, we still did a whole lot of fun together.  On the Congo Rapids, we laughed so hard because on each and every opportunity for water to crash into our raft, Jack and Matthew got soaked.  Meanwhile, Elijah, who was the only one hoping to get wet, stayed completely dry.  He wasn’t too happy about that.  My favorite part of the day was going on Nitro with the three bigs, in the dark, right before closing.  It was so fun, we ran all the way around to the front of the line again so we could ride it one more time, and we made it to the second to last ride before it shut down for the night.  We laughed and screamed and declared it to have been the perfect adventure.
August 2015 phone photos
Our second adventure in August was our family vacation down at Ocean City, NJ.  I barely pulled out my camera, but we sure had a blast.  Betty adores the ocean, is fearless to ride the waves, and we all had so much fun boogie boarding together.  It’s been a long time since I’ve body-slid onto the shore from the top of a wave and had my bathing suit filled with sand.
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This is how sad Betty gets when she’s told Daddy needs a break.
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A few gorgeous runs with Matthew lit up some of the mornings.

One night, we hung out at the boardwalk.  I asked someone to take our family’s picture, and happened to ask a professional photographer.  He nailed it.
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That night we enjoyed the musical talent of many different bands, and joined in the dance party with some friends.  It was a blast.  At one point I had ice-cream dripping down both of my hands, where the kids had stuffed their cones so they could dance instead.  They busted some sweet moves and won enough free mini-golf games so they could go golfing the next day.  One night I found the kids on the upstairs deck, talking and laughing together.  It felt strangely grown-up-ish and not childish.  Good food, walks, talks, sand, sun, runs, and many wonderful memories made it the perfect week.
August 2015 phone photos1
From there, we traveled to MD to visit friends, and then to Washington D.C. to see the sights and more friends of ours.  It was a great memory, for sure!
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By the time we reached the White House, our feet felt like they just might fall off.  Some, more than others.  However, it was still worth the time and mileage to make those memories together.
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Summer’s memories are treasured, like love notes tucked into my pocket. Every once in awhile I will pull them out and smile, remembering each moment together.
A favorite song of mine recently has been rolling around in my head all week.  I thought it fitting to put the words on the backdrop of one of this week’s sunrises.
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