The day, the hour, the minute...finally arrived. January 2, 2012 - VACATION! If you follow my life at all, you will know that it has been a very long time since our last vacation. Even our last vacation (3 days in Miami) was wonderful, but it took me 2 days to stop crying and then I only had one day of pure enjoyment. I don't know how else to explain the emotional, physical and mental exhaustion that comes from caring full time for an advanced Alzheimer's loved one can be (but that is what caused my 2 days of crying on our last vacation). We absolutely are grateful to the Lord for the opportunity to care for Pop for all of those years. It was an honor and our way of honoring our elders. We would do it again without question. However, even the facility director of the home where Pop and happily resides and Pop's physician told my husband and I that we went way above and beyond what anyone would ever expect. We didn't know...we wouldn't have even considered putting him in a home if God didn't orchestrate every detail leading up to that decision. My family unit is blessed to be able to know that we loved and cared for Pop for so long and we continue to love and care for him, he just doesn't live with us anymore.
With all of that said, the thought of going on vacation seemed like a distant reality. With Mike in school and our finances extremely tight, we really couldn't justify going on any vacation...our day would come...when Mike got a job.
Well, as the Lord would have it, we were blessed by another family who were unable to use their entire stay at their condo this particular week and they offered for us to stay in Kissimmee, Florida. I remember the day I was approached about this, I felt like Jimmy Stewart from "It's A Wonderful Life." We happily agreed.
The week or two leading up to this particular day found my dog very sick and in need of x-rays and medication and 2 vet visits, my need of 3 medical exams, (a brain scan, mammogram & an ultrasound...all without health insurance), and finally the day before we left found out that we were never sent our homeowner's insurance bill and our policy lapsed and we now owed more money and a new policy had to be drafted. Whew there blew our budget, like in no time at all. I really didn't think we could do anything that resembled a vacation. I cried a river at how rapidly our funds were disappearing, but after my quiet time three days before we left, I had a new vision about our stay in Kissimmee. My goal was not to spend more than $50 a day on anything. We did it and I am amazed by God's favor once again!
So off we go! I was going to name this blog "Having a Blast on a Budget", but opted for the Creation.
In the beginning, God created an opportunity for us to get away...
Day 1 - found us drooling over the condo and feeling like giddy little children!
And there was evening, and there was morning--the first day. - Under budget...success!
Day 2 - I can go a little crazy when I give myself my challenge - but we still had one of the best days ever..and spent NO money at all!
And there was evening, and there was morning, -- the second day.
Day 3 - After someone spotted my pictures that I posted on Facebook, via my phone..(did I mention that we didn't have wifi...another serious blessing actually) one of my friends mentioned that my vacation looked a lot like my normal life, minus the chores. I reflected on her words and thought...wow, she is right. Any given day you can find my household watching movies, engaged in nerf gun wars, or reading good books...so I've come to the conclusion that vacation is a state of mind. Day 3 found us doing things that we would do if we were home.
And there was evening, and there was morning, -- the third day.
Day 4 - When we woke up there was this feeling of...this is our last "day" here. Kyle was the first to utter it in actual words, but we were all thinking about it. I tried to break the mood, by focusing on the fact that our day out wasn't going to be long and we still had one more movie night here in the condo.
So off we go...
Worth every single dollar if you ask him. I was a tad jealous, so happy for him! Next time I'm totally doing it!
There were all sorts of snakes and birds...this really is our kind of fun!
And there was evening, and there was morning, -- the fourth day.
Day 5 - The final day = Legoland
It was bittersweet. We knew we would be going to see friends, but leaving...was a tad more difficult for some of us. Particularly Shane, Kyle and myself. Maybe it was the bonding time, the sleeping arrangements, the lack of a cat, dog, 3 toads and fish to take care of, I'm not sure...but I sure am going to miss our little get-a-way! Off we were by 7:30am
Legoland, didn't bust the budget either. I organized a field trip and invited a bunch of homeschoolers and if we had a minimum of 15 children on this organized trip, we could get tickets for $5 per person. So for $25 my entire family got to experience a super fun filled theme park. All of it for less than the price of one ticket normally. We had an incredible time and even more special because we could share it with our friends, but I have to say, I would never pay $75 to come here...Disney, yes (even though that is hard to swallow too). However, my children would say YES..it was worth every cent! I agree it was awesome and I'm thankful we each paid $5.
Here are just a few of the pictures...trust me..some of those Lego creations were breathtaking! I won't show all of my pictures, don't worry!
The park closes at 5:00pm..which was exactly when we left. We had such a good time. We went a little over our daily budget because we had to buy lunch...too much thought going into making lunches and packing up my car. I wasn't prepared with the proper equipment to pack lunches on this day..so we bought lunch...the good thing was..it was a big enough lunch to cover two meals..so we went straight home after this.
We talked about how much we missed our pets and what a wonderful vacation we had. So thankful that the Lord provided a way for us to get a way, and provided people to take care of our pets! I almost cried when I picked up Dodger...I was worried he wouldn't remember me...no worries...his tail is still going!
And there was evening, and there was morning, -- the fifth day.
I look over all of these pictures and all of our memories and I can see that it was all very good! And there was evening and there was morning --