Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Six states, 29 days, 4,862 miles

The Short Version:

Our family trip started June 30th. We took off from our home in Florida to our first stop outside of Birmingham, Alabama. Mike's dad and his wife just moved into their new home this spring. It is set on a beautiful hilltop with gorgeous views. We celebrated his Dad's 60th birthday and enjoyed hanging out with Mike's sister, Lauren and her family. Next we headed out to Mike's Mom's new lake house, under construction, east of Corsicana, Texas. The girls caught their first fish off of their pier on the lake and we got to spend lots of time with Mike's brother, Daniel and his girlfriend. From there we went to Boerne where Jessica's whole family was having a big 80th birthday bash for Granny Bert. Granny was so thrilled to have everyone there to celebrate. We ate and ate and ate! At the end of that week Mike had to fly back to Florida to work. Jessica and the girls went on short visits to see Shannon and McKayla and also Maria and her kiddos. Then it was off to Shenendoah, Texas to chill out and shop since the lake house was so muddy. After a brief afternoon at the Dallas Zoo with the McBrooms, Anna and Sarah got three days with their grandparents at the lake again while Emily and Jessica hung out in Fort Worth with a few friends. Mike flew back to Dallas on the 26th and we began the long journey to get home by the 29th.

The best parts (in no particular order):
Getting to see some really great friends and catch up in a way that you can't do so well over the phone.
Seeing nearly all of our families and getting to hang out and relax together. Some we haven't seen in a couple of years or more.
Granny's birthday party was a wonderful way to show her how much everyone loves her. She was so happy that weekend and I am so glad we got to be a part of it.
Getting away from the everyday routine.
Experiencing seeing our kids through other people's eyes. They were so sociable and friendly, very flexible, complimented by everyone at every turn, really showing love and grace to everyone we saw. I am so proud of their conduct during a trip that required great flexibility and a lot of patience.
Our van held up remarkably well. We are now at almost 171,000 miles on our '98 Sienna!
Making it back to our Florida house safe and sound.
Praise God for providing for us and for making our trip such a blessing

For those who like stats and are on the edge of their seats thinking I forgot to share......I counted 42 different state license plates, including Alaska, and 3 different Mexican state plates while we were gone. I won't include NJ which I actually didn't find until we had been home a day and half. Most of the out of state plates were on Florida interstates. Mississippi had the least variety.