Our Summer Family Staycation – Part 1

Last month Dan took a week off work and we enjoyed an action-packed staycation (with an overnight trip in the middle). We started off with a day-trip to our church camping trip, which affirmed our earlier decision NOT to take our children camping overnight. Camping is fun when you’re a kid. Maybe it’s fun when you’re an adult. But when you’re chasing around three little Munchkins (and pregnant) it’s a LOT of work. We enjoyed our day of fun and I decided to let Lydia sleep in the tent with me for one night, in our back yard. Even that was a big much for me this time, with a baby in my belly, a bathroom trip in the middle of the night, and a leaky air mattress, but we survived. And, Lydia thought it was a lot of fun.

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Next up we packed everyone into the van and headed down for a day at the Toledo Zoo. I may have mentioned before that we bought a family membership this year, and this was our second trip out. Since we are able to go periodically now, we don’t burn ourselves out trying to see every single exhibit. Instead, everyone picks one thing they want to see and we call it a day.

My choice came first: the Arctic animals. They are my favorite. We made it just in time to watch the trainers feeding the seals.

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Then we went inside and watched their Mommy and Baby polar bears swimming together. So sweet.

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As always with our kids at the zoo, the statues were almost as much fun as the real animals.

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Lydia chose to see the giraffes next.

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Then we took a break to let the kids play on the splash pad. It was short break, though, because the splash pad turned out to be extremely slippery. After a few wipe-outs we decided to move on.

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Abby chose to see the monkeys, and by now most of the visitors were clearing out. We got this little guy all to ourselves.

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Dan chose the aquarium, which is always his favorite. When you first walk in there’s this big wall of bubbles that amazes the kids, again, almost as much as the animals.

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Once we made it past that bubble wall, I loved watching the kids expressions as they got close-up looks at some of the animals.

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Then we called it a day. The next day we stayed a little closer to home and had more of a low-key trip: Ann Arbor. It’s a family favorite. First we visited the Natural History Museum, where we mostly enjoyed looking at the dinosaur bones. Afterward we piled everyone onto a Blue Bus and took a trip around North Campus. Sadly, the bus trip proved to be a little too long for our kids and the novelty wore off after the first few minutes. Lesson learned.

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We had to change our plan at this point, because we had planned a beach day for Thursday, but it was supposed to thunderstorm. So, we bumped up that part of the trip, but that’ll be continued in Part 2…

The Roller Coaster of Life

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When I was a young teenager, I decided that life is like a roller coaster. Any time things seem to be going great, that’s the top of a hill and it’s only a matter of time before everything is going to go down. While that might not be the most Biblical view of things, as a teenager, that seemed to fit life just about right.

Well, lately life has been that roller coaster once again. This time it’s not due to being a teenager, it’s due to a very emotional pregnancy. I know it’s not right to blame a pregnancy for my behavior, but I can make a fair assessment that those pregnancy hormones are making life’s roller coaster a lot more hilly these days. And even if you sit me down and explain all the logical reasons why I’m overreacting, that I’m just being emotional and will feel better after a few hours or a good night’s sleep, those drops on the coaster still feel like the end of the world. And they happen much more frequently than they did back in those teenager years!

This weekend was very hilly.

Dan and I had been planning a big anniversary date this weekend, and at the last minute our plans suddenly changed. I was devastated. Two nights in a row I felt like my life was over. Saturday Dan was supposed to spend his entire morning, and early afternoon, at a church event without me or Lydia, and then our afternoon suddenly was plan-less. I could paint quite the word picture trying to describe how sad I was. In fact, as I lay in bed Friday night I had a pretty good blog post planned in my head all about suffering and disappointment. Then on Saturday, I realized I was overreacting. Again.

God is so gracious, though. I felt like I should tag along with Dan to the church event, where he was scheduled to be a judge. He couldn’t figure out what I was going to do the whole time, and I couldn’t really either. But I refused to be any farther apart from him than necessary, and I was determined to make the most of that day. Well, one of the judges wasn’t able to come do her judging and, as it turned out, I got to be Dan’s partner. So we spent the morning co-judging and then took off when the function ended.

As we left, Dan declared Saturday to be, not an anniversary date, but Taylor Family Fun Day. We started off with some errands, and got lots of free stuff. First we had to return a couple of items to Whole Foods, where we made the rounds through the store to try every free sample available. On the way in, we were informed about a Grand Opening across the street, so afterwards we headed over to the new North Face Store where we were given free carabineer key chains and water bottles. Then it was off to the library, where Lydia got a free set of gardening toys, three stickers, and a book. (These were prizes for the Summer Reading Game. We read her 10 books and she got the prizes)

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On our way back to the car, we passed a store that was having a big sale on skirts and Dan bought me one as a Taylor Family Fun Day treat. For lunch, we broke all of our healthy eating habits and enjoyed some Cottage Inn pizza and loaded waffle fries. Yes, waffle fries. Even Lydia got to eat them. (Side note: Lydia is very small for her age, but you couldn’t tell by watching her eat. She can pack a ton of food into that little belly. But, maybe because of the pizza and fries, or maybe just because, in this picture she actually looks like she’s gaining a little weight!)

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And then the roller coaster hit another drop as we made a “quick” stop at a store where I was looking for some maternity clothing. After far longer than anyone intended, we walked out empty-handed with a tired Daddy, grumpy toddler, and disappointed, emotional Mom.

For a while, it looked like Dan’s Taylor Family Fun Day had come to an abrupt halt. Still, we drove over to Ypsilanti for a free Ben Hoppe concert. We arrived late and I took a while to compose myself before we found some awesome seats. (Our seats wouldn’t have been too bad if we had brought chairs, but we were sitting on a blanket on the ground)

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However, it was during the opening song that hit my why I was feeling so absolutely devastated. It’s those crazy pregnancy hormones. Maybe I’m not as ridiculously hopeless as I thought…or at lease I have an excuse. This made the whole day better. I apologized to Dan and told him my sudden realization, something which he had known all along, and then we enjoyed the concert (except for Lydia, who had had far too much fun and far too little sleep for one day).

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