paradise found: part I

Besides a date night here and there, he and I rarely get away without the kids. We like the kids to travel, experience new and special things, and have time away from their everyday life. But, if I stop to think about it, HE and I will, Lord-willing, be together as a couple without kids around for a much longer period of time than the time with children around. And if we don't put time and effort into our relationship now, we may just have a rough go of it after the baby flies the coop.
That's why I had ZERO guilt about leaving the kids home with the grandparents and the babysitter while we flew the coop to stay with our friends. And, for the sake of authenticity, I'm going to let you know that I was also not guilty about not missing them. Yep, I said it. I didn't miss the kids for the 5 days we were gone. They were well-cared for, it's good for them to see Mommy and Daddy investing in each other, they are with me 24/7.  I can give plenty of reasons but reasoning implies guilt and I have none.  Yes, if I pictured their sweet faces and heard their voice over the phone, I did have a twinge of, "Awww, I'd love to give them a big hug right now", but then I hung up the phone and got right back to my sunshine-laced blissful state of thankfulness for where I was and who I was with.
Which was in Florida. On Siesta Key off of Sarasota. With our best friends. In the 83 degree heat and humidity and cloudless skies. As I mentioned before, our friends are snowbirding there and invited us to come down to stay with them. Our friends who are like our brother and sister. My husband lived across the street from Gary when he (Gary) was still a bachelor and he (Hubby) as a 6th grader would go over and cut Gary's lawn, shoot hoops, hang out. He watched God bring Tammy into Gary's life, them marry, start a family. Gar and Tam mentored Hubby and I as we dated for 5 years. Took us into their lives, loved us unconditionally, put up with our stopping by unannounced all the time. :) Gary stood up with my man-soon-to-be-husband as we made our vows before God. We've had the joy of watching their kids grow from babies to college-age and beyond and now their first is getting married. We've vacationed together, celebrated milestones together, prayed together and marveled over God's grace through the years in both of our lives. Our lives have strangely mirrored theirs....2 sons close in age and then a daughter. Phew....all that to say that we LOVE THEM! And we are beyond thankful that they're in our lives and for their generosity and we had

29 degrees in Michigan when we left, 82 when we touched down in the land of sunshine. Oh, yeah, baby.
Gary's such a good man, working hard via phone and computer while we three played all day.
Oh, those tropical plants and mockingbird song and shockingly pink flowers, so foreign to my eyes and so gorgeous.
Riding vintage-cool bikes out to eat. We laughed & laughed and felt like kids again.
I couldn't get over the amazing banyan tree at this yummy restaurant.
So, Tammy is a huuuge dog lover and listen to what happened to her while we were waiting out under that banyan for our table to be ready. A young man was walking towards us carrying a teeny-tiny puppy. Tammy said to us, "Ohhhh, I love that dog," and in mid-stride, the man handed Tammy the dog and said, "You can have her for a while. I'll just be inside at the bar. You know where to find me." What?!! We all stood there dumbfounded. "I don't know what just happened but he may not get this dog back. She's too cute!" Turns out little Olive was an 8-week-old mini daschund/chihuahua mix. Tammy snuggled her into her jacket where Olive promptly fell asleep and then fielded questions for a half hour about "her cute puppy" from the other patrons waiting. Needless to say, Tammy was sad when our table was ready and she had to hand Olive back to her owner, who was living it up inside. We laughed about that the rest of the trip.

For the foodie, restaurant-lovers like me, I know you'll appreciate this photo even though it's grainy and terrible.  It's my incredibly yummy fried green tomato salad with goat cheese and applewood smoked bacon.  Mmmmmm.

OK, the trip photos will have to be continued tomorrow night.
Signing off from Michigan (which was 63 degrees today)!
(Thank You, LORD!)

"This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it."
Psalm 118:24
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  1. Beautiful photos! And how refreshing to hear your honesty about not missing the kids! I went on a 4 1/2 day trip alone this past New Years, leaving my 3 kids behind for the first time and was beating myself up for NOT missing them. It makes sense the way you explained it, thank you!

  2. when we went away for our 10 year anniversary we didn't call for 5 days. i just couldn't handle hearing the updates and who did what wrong....i was AWAY! i didn't want to know! my mom was pretty mad about us not checking in with her. ha ha ha!
    i am jealous of your trip. it sounds so relaxing!!!

  3. So happy you had an amazing getaway, and even better with close to no or zero guilt :0 b/c it can be SO hard to leave...
    PTL for your amazing friends and their invite and your time, (what a story about the dog when you were eating...so cool)

    we are headed to CA next week, so your warm weather you've just experienced has got me more excited. I get to bring my husband and daughter to the town I grew up in :)

    Welcome home!

  4. Oh my goodness! I love the bikes and the salad looks so delish! I need a sunny vacay promptly! Thank you so much for sharing. Glad you and the hubby had such a refreshing get away.

  5. oh man! i am both insanely jealous and so happy for you at the same time! here in seattle, it's been cold and dark and i just can't take it. i need to see some sun and citrus trees! good for you for not feeling guilty about the kiddos! sounds like a wonderful time!!!


you and your words are a GIFT to me! thank you!