Monday, May 16, 2011

We planned it on Monday.  Or maybe it was Tuesday.  Regardless, we planned this trip earlier in the week and somehow managed to keep it a secret from most of our family and friends.  We lined up a babysitter.  We lined up a flight.  We finally found what we've been slowly searching for and made the decision to pursue.

Saturday morning my alarm went off at 3:30am.  Considering the fact that the prior night was a night of interrupted sleep for me (due to my sweet baby deciding that the middle of the night was a good time to want to eat and play!), I was not too thrilled with the timing of my waking.

I dragged my tired butt out of bed and got ready for the day.  At 4:30am, completely ready to go, I went and woke baby (since he had already been "complaining" a little bit for the past hour).  Changed his diaper.  Fed him a bottle.  Cuddled him back to sleep.  I was still holding him when Holly (our babysitter) arrived at our house at 4:50am (what a wonderfully sweet thing for her to agree to arrive at our home that early!).  I put Ethan back in his crib and kissed him goodnight.

I gave Holly instructions for the day, made myself a cup of coffee and followed hubby out the door.  We drove to the airport, making really great time (but I suppose I should have expected that at 5:00 on a Saturday morning!).  We parked, checked in and made it through security in a relatively short amount of time.  We decided earlier that week, when purchasing our tickets, that we were going to fly first-class, as I had never been a first-class passenger, and the up-charge was only $15 per ticket.  Ironically enough, we discovered upon check-in that first-class passengers don't get charged for checking bags (though we had no bags to check, the screens on the check-in kiosk informed us that there is no charge for the first two bags); if this is the case for all flights then we may just be flying first-class more frequently!

Flying first-class also gave us the option to budge in the head of the line at the security check point.  Who knew?!  So, we got through the checkpoint and then headed to the first bakery that I sighted to get some breakfast.  It was yummy!

After breakfast, we found our gate and eventually boarded our plane.  The flight was bumpy, as predicted, but efficient.  Upon arrival in Chicago, we called the gentleman who was picking us up, met up with him and began our half-hour drive to the dealership.

Dealership?  What are they dealing that we would fly all the way to Chicago to purchase?  Why, cars of course!  You see, with the continual rise of gas prices, Monte and I have been discussing for awhile that it would be a good idea for us to purchase a commuter car. We both drive SUVs (as it is required in order to fit all five of our kiddos inside and still not be a mini-van driver).  They both get really awful gas mileage (I'm talking 14-16 MPG on the highway).  NOT conducive to saving money.  Since both of our SUVs are paid off, we decided that it doesn't make sense to trade either of them (as we wouldn't get anything near what they are worth, and, if one of us happens to take an SUV and leave the other one at home with the five kids, then the other one doesn't get to leave the home EVER, as you can't legally travel with six people in a five passenger car).  So, we set a price limit that we would spend with some of the money we had saved, and we set out to find a car.

We test drove some in our local area and we really weren't finding what we were looking for.  So Monte expanded his search and sent me a link to this vehicle at the beginning of last week.  It was a bit above our price range, but had a LOT less miles than anything that we had been looking at (as it had only 46,XXX miles!).  Upon contacting the dealer and finding that the car really was the thing that Monte had been dreaming of, we made the decision to go ahead with purchasing.

Back to the long-winded story.

Upon arrival at the dealership Monte examined the car and I waited inside (it was COLD outside!).  He came in, signed a bunch of paperwork and we were off!

Our road trip home was amazing.  We left Chicago around 9:00 or 9:30 in the morning and didn't arrive back home in Minnesota until 7:30 in the evening.  We made many stops for restroom breaks, snacks and lunch.  We made a few stops just to stretch our legs and make me a little less stir-crazy (it was a long trip!).  We hit an awful construction zone in Wisconsin that delayed us by almost two hours.  However, among all of that, we thoroughly enjoyed our road trip ... and we averaged 29 MPG on the way home - which made both of us absolutely elated!  We had to stop and fill with gas twice - once in Chicago and once in Wisconsin, so very close to the Minnesota border.  It was so wonderfully amazing to drive a vehicle that didn't cost over $100 to fill the tank.  Who would've thought, in this economy, that THAT was possible (I tease, I tease)?!?!

So, after a very long trip, we have our commuter car.  I'm going to clean it out later today, scrub the carpeting and such.  We're going to enjoy the car, just as we enjoy our SUVs.

For us, this trip was entirely spontaneity at its best!

Friday, May 13, 2011

I just tried to log into Blogger, as I haven’t posted an update to my blog in awhile.  Upon clicking the link, I received a message stating “Blogger is currently unavailable.  We apologize for this interruption in service.”

So, here I am, writing out this blog post in Word with the intent to post it when Blogger becomes available again.  The irony of Blogger's unavailability is the fact that I feel like that could be MY status message lately.

“Kami is currently unavailable.  She apologizes for the interruption in one-on-one time.”

Life has been BUSY.  In a home with five children, this is never a new thing.  In the spring, however, our normal busy takes on a whole new level.  This spring Claire has been in softball, Iain has been in baseball and soccer, and Ellis has been in soccer.  To say that keeping up with our sports schedule can be overwhelming is a huge UNDERstatement.  Getting our kids to and from practices and games, arranging rides with other families when we have one too many things on the schedule, trying to feed them a nutritious meal before they leave the house (which almost never happens!), and trying to do that all while maintaining the eating and sleeping schedule of my five-year-old and my baby, well that’s just what life is about for us right now!

Coming from a woman who is used to having her kids home every night, having dinner at a specific time and enjoying family time together every day, this schedule is starting to wear on me!

The more I think about how I'm handling my schedule, the more I realize that I'm handling it all wrong.  Yes, I get my kids to their sports on time and either Monte or I are almost always there to watch their games.  The wrongdoing that I'm speaking of is my own doing: I have become so wrapped up in my own schedule and so wrapped up in getting everything "just right" that I have made myself Currently Unavailable to the One who brings peace into our hectic lives.

I have told God that I don't have time.

The irony in this is that I really DO have time.  Between feeding Ethan and reading "Star Wars" books to Colin, there is down time every afternoon.  Down time that used to be consumed with time in my Bible, time in prayer and communication to my Savior.  Now I'm feeling so stretched that I have taken that time as down time for myself.

More irony.  When you take God, the source of peace, out of your life, your down time is not so relaxing.

Lord, I'm sorry that once again I've tried to manage my family on my own.  I know that I need Your strength and Your love to move through me in order to be the wife and mother that You intended for me to be.  Please forgive me for leaving You behind and help me to take that step toward a right relationship with You again.  I love You, Lord.

Monday, May 2, 2011

... Monte and I are probably there!

It all started in December of 2008, on our honeymoon.  We were on the island of Kaua'i, in Hawaii.  We were to spend eight or nine (I honestly don't remember) glorious days in our oceanfront cottage, enjoying the sunshine, catching the tourist sites and enjoying the beginning of our married life.  Day one was beautiful and we spent it on Poipu beach, catching those beautiful rays.  Days two through the end of our trip we experienced torrential rainfall and the island of Kaua'i began flooding.  We had to leave our beachside cottage and fly to the island of Oahu, Hawaii in hopes of leaving the rain and finding the sun (and in hopes of not being stranded on Kaua'i!).  The flooding truly was that bad!  However, upon arrival in Oahu, we realized that we had not yet escaped the rain.  We spent many days of our honeymoon going out and visiting the tourist sites that Oahu has to offer, and we enjoyed them all in the continuous rain.  Thankfully, God blessed us with one very sunny day the day before we had to fly home.  So out of our eight or nine days in Hawaii, only two of them involved sunshine!

Fast forward to this past April.  We decided to take a vacation, just the two of us, to San Diego, California.  We were planning on enjoying five fabulous days in the sun, away from the snow that was continuing to plague Minnesota, and away from the chaos that our schedule currently holds.  When we landed in San Diego, however, it was raining.

It continued to rain throughout the week.

Thankfully, God smiled on us and allowed half-days of sunshine to peek through here and there, and we did both come home sufficiently sunburned!  I must admit, though, that the rain definitely put a damper on our plans to not do any touristy stuff and spend the entire time lounging at our poolside or on the beach, which was a mere block away from our hotel.  Thankfully, we found some touristy stuff to do on the days that it was raining, including renting a car for the day to tour Coronado Island.  We also got to enjoy some time with my cousin, Jill, who lives in San Diego (and who I haven't seen in about 10 years!), which was truly a blast!

All in all, I do believe that we really enjoyed our vacation ... but I really am starting to believe that maybe it's Monte and me that bring the rain! ;)

Me and Monte enjoying the sunshine on Coronado Island.