Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Spring Break . . . at the beach

Last week was Mason's spring break.  Yes.  I know exactly what you're thinking.  But no one consulted me regarding the school calendar.  It's been a long time since Christmas break . . . only six days off since then . . . but, by this time, I think I would've rather just skipped out on spring break and gotten out a week earlier in May.  After all, we have only three weeks left now.

But God is in the details.  And being that Baby B will arrive mid-July, we won't have an opportunity for a family vacation this summer, much less a trip to the beach.  Let's just say that hasn't exactly set well with the two youngest members of this family.  And while I'd tried to plan some sort of family vacation for spring break, although not necessarily to the beach (because no matter how much I LOVE the beach, I'm not loving being 7 months pregnant at the beach), nothing worked out.  So at the last minute (meaning last Friday) we found out that Seth's work schedule would allow for him to take the week off.  Have I mentioned I don't do last minute?!  I had to reschedule a doctor's appointment and arrange everything around Hannah Kate's dance awards night, but everything worked out so we left after church last Sunday to go to the beach.  We usually go to Destin, but we didn't want to go that far.  So we stayed at Pensacola Beach.  It's much less developed than Destin and some of the other popular destinations, but it was absolutely gorgeous!  I don't know that I've ever seen the beach so beautiful, so perfect.

As soon as we got to our room, Mason ran out on the balcony, took a look and said, "This is gonna be awesome!"  And that was all it took.
 This was the view from our balcony . . . did I mention PERFECT?!

If you live in the southeast, you may recall that, after having virtually no winter, a cold front rolled through last week.  The weather was perfect, but it was quite brisk.  Actually, at times, it was rather chilly!  And the water . . . well, it was cold!  I wasn't sure if anyone would go in . . . here they are sticking their toes in . . .
But it didn't take Mason long . . . he couldn't stand looking out over that expanse of water with the waves crashing in without doing something about it.  Again, he was only a little excited to be at the beach.
And windy.  Did I mentioned it was windy?  Hannah Kate's little ponytail was flying in the wind.
The water was a little too cold for her so she was content to play in the sand.  She's proudly showing off her name.  We're still working on writing those N's the correct way, but she still loves to write her name.

 I think I forgot to mention how much Mason LOVES playing in the ocean!
One of my most favorite things about the place we stayed (besides the beach, of course) was the pool.  No only was there a zero-entry pool, but there was also a lazy river (with tubes provided!) and a waterfall.  Here's the view of the pool area from our balcony.
Not only was the ocean a little nippy, but the pool was, too; however, that didn't stop this little guy.  He went straight from the ocean to the pool.
We woke up the next morning to more of the same.  I don't think the temperature topped 70 degrees, but that didn't stop us.  I mean . . . just look at this perfect expanse of ocean and sand!
I wasn't sure if Mason and Hannah Kate would make it into the ocean.  They played in the sand for awhile . . .

And tippy-toed into the ocean a bit . . .
And played in the sand some more . . .

And every once in a while, they'd take a break and wrap up in their towels to get warm.  This is one of my favorite pictures of Daddy and his girl.
After spending most of the day at the beach, we decided to ride around and explore a bit.  But here's a picture of Mason and Hannah Kate sitting in the huge elevated swing in the pool area.

No matter which way we went, there was nothing but sugar white sand and turquoise waters.

And there was a cross sitting on a hill . . .
When we arrived back at the hotel, Mason couldn't stand it.  So back to the beach we went.
The next day was more of the same . . . only a little warmer and a little less wind.  And the beach was calling our names.  So that's where we spent the whole day.

And then we enjoyed some pool time.  There were three jacuzzis so Mason and Hannah Kate spent some time in the warm waters of the jacuzzi and then would head out for the chilly waters of the pool, only to return back to the warm waters of the jacuzzi . . . and so this continued for at least an hour or so.

And then came Tuesday night.  Hannah Kate woke up around midnight with a stomach virus.  Oh yes . . . in the bed . . . that she was sharing with Mason.  I wasn't sure if it was really a stomach virus (it later became obvious that it was) or perhaps a symptom of the sunburn she'd gotten the day earlier because Mommy didn't immediately apply sunscreen to her back when she took her cover-up off while playing on the beach.  But, regardless, we made it through the rest of the night without incident.  It was obvious to me on Wednesday morning that Hannah Kate just didn't feel good.  At that point, I wanted to go home.  Besides, we were leaving the next day anyway.  But we decided instead to take a break from the beach and go play putt-putt.  Mason and Hannah Kate had both been begging to play.  Hannah Kate actually called it pat-pat.  At first, I didn't know what she was talking about, but when I figured it out, I corrected her.  Her response?  "Well, that's just silly," she said.

So here we are playing putt-putt.  And can I just tell you that I'm really glad Mason and Hannah Kate were so eager to retrieve my ball out of the little hole each time . . . because do you know what it's like to have to bend over 18 times when you're 7 months pregnant?!

Here's Hannah Kate and her signature golf swing! 

By this time, I have no doubt that Hannah Kate has a virus and fever is beginning to set in. I really wanted to scoop her up and take her home.  She was such a sweet trooper.
And Mason . . . wasn't it just yesterday he was still in diapers?!

 Before we left, Mason and Daddy rode a go-kart.  This was Mason's first time in a go-kart.
He said he had fun . . . but he was hanging on for dear life when they rounded that first curve, and I'm thinking "deer-in-the-headlights" is a rather accurate explanation of the look on his face at that point!
When we got back to our room, Hannah Kate laid down for a nap with Daddy.  And you'll never guess what Mason wanted to do.  So I loaded up my beach chair, book, towels (to wrap myself in because I was so cold!) and beach toys, and he and I headed down to the beach.  This was one of my favorite moments of the whole trip.  It's not often that I get to spend time with Mason, just the two of us.  And I had the best time watching him play and enjoy himself.  It was one of those moments that I worked hard to sear into the permanent reaches of my mind so I could always see it.  It was one of those moments that I didn't want to end.  It was one of those moments in which I didn't think about anything else except just enjoying that very moment at that very time.  Because, you see, I'd forgotten how to do that.  It's been a very long time since I've done that . . . just stopped what I was doing, stopped my mind from thinking, planning, doing . . . and just soaked up the blessings right in front of me, no matter how small, at that point in time.

I'm so tired of hearing myself exclaim, "I don't have time," or "I haven't had time . . ."  Because that just isn't true.  I do have time.  I have all the time in the world.  As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, I have been given eternity.  How much more time could I ask for?! The problem is that I've filled too much of my time with things . . . good things, mind you . . . that the Lord hasn't intended for me to do at this particular time in my life.  The past two years have been a journey in learning this.  Preparing for the arrival of our third child has renewed my passion for mothering and re-prioritizing my time around the ministry and mission of motherhood and marriage.  I decided then and there to dump out my bucket list.  I don't need to go anywhere or learn to play a new instrument or start my own business or read a list of books or learn a new craft or hobby to bring a sense of accomplishment or personal fulfillment or (gasp!) "more happiness" to my life.  It's all right here.  Right where I am right now.  I am surrounded with it.  Their names are Seth, Mason and Hannah Kate (and Baby B).  It's the moments like these right here . . . the moments in which I stop . . . and stare and breathe and just take it all in . . . I'm filling my bucket with more of these!  

And then Thursday morning we headed home . . . with so many new memories made and the recognition of the many gifts and blessings God has given me . . . and a heart full of joy and anticipation . . . because the next time we enjoy one of the most beautiful places in all of creation, we will be a family of five!


The Applings said...

I loved this post - especially it's ending (which is really a new beginning)! I'm so glad you had the chance to slip away for one more beach trip before baby B arrives. Looks like you had a fabulous time - and I do LOVE that pool! I may have to get the name of that resort from you ;)

Julie Meunier said...

I second that. I would love to know the name of the resort. It looked great! You are truly a gifted writer and I love reading your posts. The only thing that I saw missing from this trip was some photos of pregnant mommy :)

Mama said...

Yes, sweet daughter, you have a big ol' bucket filled and overflowing with God's great things!