Friday, March 12, 2010

Life Is An Education..

..So is vacation! Another perk of homeschooling, we can go on vacation WHENEVER! As stated in the blog below, this was our first family vacation in probably 5 years or so. Here are a few of our highlights. Today, I will take you on a tour of two of our highlights! The Hotel (my kids' favorite part of any getaway) and The Food!!

The Comfort Suites in Miami was very nice. It was clean and it had beds...that is all I cared about. My boys, however, were in Heaven. #1 We all slept together in one room! #2 We all went to sleep at the same time! #3 It had a hot tub! Nice!

This picture above was my humble attempt at setting my camera for automatic time delay! Really, here we are no long the Engels...we are the Bucketts. (You know, from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!)

It cracks me up that we go on vacation to get away from the normal routine of life. Then we get to our hotel and unpack our bags in dressers, set up the kitchen like at home, and bring as much stuff as we can to remind us of what we just left! Hmmm? What is wrong with us!? Here is Kyle with his Webkinz.

The Hotel was one of our children's highlights. The food was one of ours. We miss the international food of New Jersey/New York. Where we live in Florida, we can get good seafood, but the we miss all the different cultural experiences we had living in the melting pot of the North East. So while in Miami we knew we could probably find good authentic Spanish, Cuban or even El Salvadorian food. Boy, were we right!

Above is a picture of where we got some delicious take out. Of course, the language barrier was an issue. So somehow we ended up purchasing WAY TOO much food.

When we lived in New Jersey we lived in a two family house. Our neighbors downstairs went to our church, they were close friends. The wife was from El Salvador and the husband from Costa Rica. OH MY GOODNESS...the smells coming from downstairs was a little too much for this "pregnant-with-twins" Mom and so Ana began to cook for me! Pupusas (homemade) and all kids of amazing food.

Here are some of our delicious delicacies.

OK, so I had to throw this picture in here. My husband worked for Starbucks for 10 years or so. Hence, we became what some might snobs. I don't know why people would say such a thing. We just love good quality, bold coffee! So we are so grateful that these places are everywhere...we could not handle the hotel's "dirty water" coffee! So we must have visited this particular place (or one's just like it)...ummm...10 times in the four days we were in Miami and the nearby area!

Except when we visited here. Because here we could get authentic Cafe con leche! Be still my heart! Again, another friend of ours from college, Hendor, originally from Cuba introduced us to cafe con leche years ago. We can make it on our own, but seldom do we ever do that!

Apparently this place is a chain, because we another one driving home from Miami!

This is Kyle (our most picky eater) eating a Yucca Stick! (It wasn't was yummo!) We were so proud!

Churrasco Carretero with chimi-churri sauce, plantains and moros rice.

This is a very sleepy me on our first night in Miami adding the cafe to my leche!

So this was the first highlight of our journey...stay tuned for the Miami Metro Zoo and South Beach!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Living For The Moment

I am going to write about our vacation in the next few posts. We haven't been on a family vacation in close to 6 years. So this was a big deal for us! We really, really needed this. I probably, more than anyone else really needed this. I have been feeling like I've been sinking, my mind is like a whirlwind or a cyclone and I haven't been able to sleep a full night's sleep in a couple of months. My husband and I care for his grandfather, who is 92 years old. I love him dearly and am so glad to be able to do this for this journey of his life. He has advanced dementia and it has begun to really take a toll on me. Pop has his nights and days confused, so when we are sound asleep at 2:00am...he comes into our room and wants to know the plan for the day. He wants to talk. We take him back to bed, but he is doing the same thing about an hour later. He has been eating 6 breakfasts a day because he is convinced that every time he wakes up from a nap, it is the morning of the next day. The days are full of questions, confusion and conspiracy. My heart breaks for him. This plus the daily concern of him burning down the house because he places clothing and towels on his heater and the his personal hygiene factor plays a part in my exhaustion. (Not to mention all of those other "balls" I juggle...homeschooling 3 boys, one with a learning disability, starting a new ministry and speaking every month, regular duties of a wife, mother and friend.) I have been crying a lot lately. Both Mike and I felt like it was time to get away. After setting up "Pop Care" with some of my friends from church, we were off for 3 nights and 4 days away.

I learned something very valuable during my vacation. We left Friday morning and arrived in Miami by Friday afternoon. We had a nice afternoon getting a hold of where we were and just driving around. I actually slept 8 straight hours on Friday night. I haven't done that (not even close to that) in several months. Saturday arrives and we have a great day, but back at the hotel that night I laid in bed and cried. I just I have been doing too often! I was distraught. I had gotten a full night's sleep and yet I still felt like my world was crumbling. My husband just held me and prayed for me and I cried myself to sleep that night.

Another full night's rest! I woke up Sunday morning and felt pretty good. We went to the Everglades and then to the Florida Keys and I had the most wonderful, refreshing day I have had in such a long long time!

Here is what I learned:

I learned how important sleep really is for the body and the mind. I needed to catch up a little bit. One full night's of sleep is not going to catch me up after not sleeping but 3-4 hours a night for months.

I learned that we need to live in the moment every once in awhile.
Take in the beauty that God has given us!
I learned that sometimes, we need to stop talking about the future, the past, and just live in the moment. That Sunday we did just that. We didn't talk about Pop, the house, school, ministry...we just took in the sights and sounds of the day.

We held hands, used our binoculars (we love our binocs) went for walks and laughed. We haven't laughed like that in months. We ALL needed this getaway.
Yesterday it hit me when I was in the car with my three boys and we were coming home from soccer evaluations. We were laughing and my one son looks over at me and says..."Mom, you are so funny, that is not like you!" Wow! That was painful! But it is true. I let the pressures of this world take a part of me and change me. I don't want to do that again. I know we need to plan, organize and think of the future. I know I am responsible for our grandfather's well being. I know also, that I need a full nights sleep every so often and I need to spend time having fun with my family. I need to make some priority changes.

So stay tuned as I log our amazing vacation in South Florida!