Tuesday, March 5, 2013

buttoning things up

Tomorrow night our family leaves for a ten day trip road trip to California. It's been five and a half years since we took such a trip, and I'm looking forward to our time together...I'm sure there will be happy memories made, as well as some things we can only laugh at later on. The last time we did this our fifteen passenger van got stuck in the middle of that drive-thru tree in the Redwoods. Literally stuck. Thank God we got it out and didn't have to spend the rest of our vacation eating cheese sticks and capri-suns while someone sawed down a very large chunk of history. We laugh now, but at the time...not so much.








Anywho, we're in the midst of packing and cleaning and - to coin my husband's favorite phrase - "buttoning things up" around here, in our effort to leave tomorrow night after church. We're making a good part of the drive through the night to try to avoid sibling rivalry as well as road-trip burnout...which is characterized by hearing the phrase "are we there yet?" fifty-nine times in one hour, and equal amounts of "I'm bored" or "I have to pee".





So in the middle of all this pre-trip buttoning up, Tyler is battling a severe sore throat, and Abbi woke up with her entire left jaw swollen up like a balloon. I now have doctor appointments scheduled for this afternoon to add to my list of things to do... picking up our van from the shop...last minute laundry... and grocery shopping for capri-suns, cheese sticks, and a host of other road snacks to keep a super-sized family happy while traveling.






It's not easy taking a family our size on the road for ten days, but it is worth it.




The same could be said of the financial investment to takes to make this kind of trip. Several people asked me on Instagram how we can afford to take a large family to Disneyland...three words: it ain't easy. Which is why we only do big vacations like these every five years or so. Typically we save for a few years and invest every extra penny into the family vacay fund...this trip was thrown together at the last minute, thanks to a very hard working daddy who got double bonuses in January.






A few other money-saving tricks fell into place to make this doable...we scored a terrific hotel with a family suite that can accommodate all of us and is very affordable. They serve free breakfast AND dinner, and they have a shuttle to and from Disneyland. So we're bringing several suitcases (okay, backpacks) full of snacks for the three days we'll spend in the happiest place on earth, and gorge ourselves on the complimentary hotel meals in between. We have a relative in the military whose wife is going with us (hooray, Emily!) so we landed a bunch of half price tickets. Grammi sent the kids birthday money to spend there - THANK YOU, GRAMMI! - and we are skipping all the March birthdays - seven of us this month - in lieu of taking this trip. So there you have it: Disney on a dime. Well...not quite...but less than it would have been.






Maybe we won't have the jacuzzi tub I've been scouring Craiglist for the whole winter - I miss my garden tub at our old house :( :(  - but we will have a week of wonderful memories to make. And when my kids are grown and gone, I trust that these trips are the things they look back on and cherish. And I know I will too. Childhood is so fleeting, and we won't always be able to be together as a family like this... I'm soaking up every blessed minute of it while I can.




When we return I'll be hosting a big giveaway called Saving Penny to help her family with their adoption. If you missed that post, please go back and read it... after taking a break from fundraising for a few months, I am totally pumped to enter that arena again. I was so upset about the whole Russian ban on adoptions, and I still am...this giveaway is my way of fighting that feeling of helplessness after watching those events unfold. I'm not giving up on fighting for orphans with special needs, no matter what insanity is happening elsewhere in the world. These kids are WORTH the fight, and I intend to do everything I can to help rescue them.





In my absence I have asked several mamas to contribute blog posts for a series I am doing on grief, hope, and miracles.

I've been in touch with an amazing young mama over the past few months who inspired this series. After being told her unborn daughter Emma had a rare chromosomal problem, she just received news that her baby has very little, if any, chance of surviving once she is born this month. Emma's mommy and daddy are praying their hearts out for wisdom and strength, and of course for a miracle. I'm asking Lily's readers to join in prayer for Baby Emma and her family. If you have any stories of faith and encouragement you would like to share please leave them in the comment section here. Our family believes in miracles, and we're praying earnestly for one for Emma.

seven out of eleven of my treasures (baby on board)



Please keep coming back to read while we're gone - you don't want to miss these upcoming posts from the hearts of mamas who have walked through incredible trials. And please spread the word about our upcoming giveaway for Penny - I can't wait to see all that God will do.


20 comments:

Katrina said...

I emailed you Disneyland tips. I hope you guys have a blast. I forgot to add that you can usually see some of the princesses and get amazing pictures over by the Wishing Well next to the castle. They also have ducks there :)

Marietta said...

have a wonderful time together! Memory makers - that's what these times are. God keep you safe on your travels!

Gretchen said...

You are a brave Mama, taking on such an adventure while cookin' a baby! I hope y'all have a fantastic time!

If you want to hit up a beach...Huntington Beach is awesome. Just sayin' - not that I'm biased.

DRIVE SAFE! (And are there pictures of the van stuck in the tree? That is hysterical!)

goldenleaves said...

I hope you all have a great time!

nicole said...

I'm still "stuck" on the Redwood story. Unbelievable!

Dylan'sMommy316 said...

Have an awesome time!!

cara said...

Beautiful pictures!!!!

I am thinking about precious Nora Rose when I think of Baby Emma! Her mommy has a blog that I found through your blog. Nora made it even though expected to not. Her mommy is an amazing woman of faith. I love how she always brings her posts back to the Word of God. I do not have a link for it. Maybe somebody else knows??

We were praying for this precious baby Samuel at our church. He was in the womb with his organs growing on the outside of his body. We began to pray along with so many others, and his organs went inside, except maybe a couple that could be repaired with surgery. He made it alive and it was truly a miracle by God. Many, many people were praying by faith for that to happen. It was wonderful to witness.

Oh, I can think of so many stories of faith and things that the Lord has done that are impossible with man. He is truly amazing!!!!

cathy said...

Have an AMAZING safe vacation...You deserve it


xoxo
cathy

Keri Jo said...

have fun! take it easy momma...

Maureen Huizinga said...

Have a great trip!!! :D I second a few others, you can't leave us dangling with that kind of story & not have at least 1 picture of van v. tree, lol!

Patti said...

oh gosh, laughing so hard at how many want to see us stuck in the drive thru tree ! I'll try to hunt for it, I don't have a digital one but I do have a realllly funny hard copy :)

Mrs. K said...

Love all the pictures as usual, but what is with the unmatching socks Johnathan? Is it a fashion statement? And Papa sent the money too. Have fun on your road trip and stay safe. Love ya, xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxooxoxoxooxx

teal915 said...

It's not fair that some people stay all skinny and cute while they are pregnant, and I'm doomed to be a house, complete with puffed up water weight. But anyway, have fun on your trip. Sounds amazing. My father in law planned and paid to take us on a Disney Cruise this summer, but you can't cruise past 23 weeks on a Disney cruise, so we had to push it til next year. Something to look forward to, I guess : ) We would never be able to do that without him doing that for us. Love Lily's stiped leggings too.

Leah said...

Have a great Trip! Thanks for another reminder not to Give up! This whole thing with R has just hit me like a wave. I will be continuing my $21,000 goal by helping other orphans & families adopting. Wish I could meetup with you while your at Disneyland. To the mom, I have a friend who had a baby with trisomy 13 who was not suppose to make it past birth, today she is 6 years old. I believe in Miracles too!

Kelly Marin said...

Yay Patti How fun ! I'm so excited for you and know you will have the best time ever! Looking forward to seeing you at the Parenting seminar:)

angie said...

First, let me just say how beautiful you look.

Second, may I ask what hotel this is you are staying at? We are cooking up a similar roadtrip next summer, and that sounds perfect for our family that will have grown to 8 by that time. :)

Race Bannon said...

Who needs Disneyland when you have a park like that down the street! And...LUNCH is included in that park!

Patti said...

Angie - Homewood Suites ! :)

angie said...

Patti- thank you so much for responding when you are so busy. You're the best. :)

Heidi Ehle said...

To Emma's mama: Shortly after my LO had open heart surgery, I had a pregnant mama come leave a comment on my blog. She had just had her 21 week scan and the doctor had given her a 2 page list of all the things they saw wrong with her unborn daughter. a 2 page list!!!!! They were convinced she had some sort of chromosomal defect but were unsure what it was. As time went on, they gave that baby girl less than a 2% chance of even making it to be born, and the possibility of her continuing to live after birth was slim to none. I could go into some of the major things that were seen on that ultrasound but in the end, they don't really matter much....
Sweet Lily was born slightly over a year ago, minus the issues that had concerned her mama's doctors so much. She was a tiny peanut, but full of spunk and fight. That sweet baby girl who wasn't supposed to live? Spent no time in the NICU and went home with her mama 4 days after birth. She DOES have a chromosomal defect, Turners syndrome, which means that she has a few challenges to face in her life. But then again, don't we all? Some are just bigger than others.
During those remaining weeks of her mama's pregnancy, I built a friendship with her and I can say without a doubt that although I have prayed for many, never have those prayers been as unceasing or as heartfelt as those prayers for Lily. And because of the friendship I built, I have had the distinct pleasure of watching this miracle baby grow from afar. :)
Keep the faith, mama. Pray without ceasing. Know that only God has the power to bring you through, no matter the outcome. And in the meantime, I'll be praying for your miracle as well.....Best of luck. God loves you and that precious girl.