Thursday, March 09, 2006

Highlights from our trip to Ohio...

While we were traveling home I thought of several amusing incidents that I could use for this post, and now that I am sitting here there is only one that comes to mind and truly it was for me the complete highlight. We left the Raleigh area at about 8:30 am sans breakfast as I had not had time to get groceries over the weekend. We left the older crew some hard cash and a list of menu ideas. They were about to embark on Survival 101 as we rolled onto the highway towards Ohio. At about 9:30 am we pulled up to a Pilot which had a MacDonalds, or as Tanny Paul calls them – Happy Donalds. Much to Tanny’s dismay we learned that ‘No – they do NOT serve happy meals at that time of the day.’ So hash browns all around it was. And, of course, even though I only ordered twelve hash browns I got the standard double take as they repeated; “Twelve?”

We settled ourselves back into the van, re-did all the straps, buckles and seat belts we had fastened only a short 60 minutes earlier and we were off. I think we managed to get another 2 hours in before we had to have a pottie break and we started watching exit signs for Pilots. As you can tell, these are our favorite roadside stops.

We had to make several more pit stops to give Elsa a “carseat break” as she was born hating the car seat. In this way we were able to more or less maintain everyone’s sanity. Of course, in the long run this slows the whole trip down and even though mapquest had assured us that the trip was a mere 8.36 hours…. It actually took us closer to twelve. Then only ten – twelve miles from the hotel Elsa hit melt down point and her screams of rage filled the van. Bethany’s eyes filled with tears as her little sister stretched her arms to her, begging to be taken from this horrible form of restraint and torture. I peered though the rain and growing darkness watching for road signs and counting them down.

“Hup – exit 97, almost there!” I cried, trying to keep everyone’s spirits up. At long last and two more left handed turns and we were there. Hugo pulled into an empty spot and I jumped out and rushed inside to register while Hugo rescued the sobbing princess. We hauled kids, back packs, pillows, medicine bag, cooler, babas and sippy cups inside and collapsed on the couch. Within seconds the kids had found Disney channel and Hugo and I just stared at the blank screen on our TV. Elsa scrambled back and forth in ecstasy to be free to move about and roam without constraint.

“Well – the pool closes at ten, Hugo.” I piped up. His head swiveled and his eyes, owl shaped, stared at me horrified.

“The pool, you were serious about the pool?”

“Umm, yeah. I packed everyone’s suit.”

Ignoring the look of desperation on his face, I calmly explained how we would supervise five non-swimmers in the pool.

“Look, I’ll take Emma to the pool – she hates it so she probably won’t stay in it long at all. She probably won’t even go in BUT she HAS to go, you know? So I’ll take her and while I am gone, you can, ummm, put Elsa’s little swimmer on.”

I flipped one out and passed it to him. He nodded, as I jumped up and grabbed Emma. In two shakes she and I were out the door as I called back to him; “Don’t forget to change Elsa into her swimmer!”

As I suspected Emma promptly sat on one of the beach chairs lined up along the side of the small pool and said. “I’ll tit here Mummy.”

“Don’t you want to go in the pool, Emma?” I wheedled.

Uh uh, she shook her head.

“Well then, lets go back to the room.” I reasoned.

“No – I want to tay here, at the pool.” she replied as she settled her 2.5 ft frame onto the 5 foot long chair.

"Well – if we are staying at the pool – we are going IN the pool!" I said, as I scooped her up.

Less than a minute later we were wet enough for me to feel we had justified the traipse down the hallway to the pool and I toweled her off and we returned to the room.

Elsa was ready and waiting in her lovely hot pink swimmer that was adorned with a lovely little belly button in her chubby little belly! I carried her to the pool and she was breathless with delight as we slowly walked down the steps into the hugest bath tub her little eyes have ever feasted on. I let her toes dangle into the cool water and there was a sharp intake of breath and then she leaned forward in my arms to touch the water with her finger tips. We played in the water for several minutes until the hot tub beside it became unoccupied. As I walked back up the steps out of the pool, Elsa squirmed in my arms and shook her head back and forth in protest.

‘Hey – don’t worry,’ I crooned to her. ‘We’ll be back in the water in a minute.’ Carefully I introduced her to the warm water in the tub and she quickly relaxed and started chasing the bubbles that danced across the water top. She grunted and stretched and splashed and played. Sometimes she leaned into me and just sat quietly watching the bubbles, her eyes never leaving them. I kissed the top of her little red head, and smelled her luscious baby smell. And I thanked Jesus for this gift of life that he has blessed me with, not just once but TWELVE times.

Finally the timer I had set for the bubbles, reached it’s end and the bubbles died away and with Elsa relaxed in my arms, I carried her out of the hot tub, just the two of us all warm and cuddled together. I stripped her little swimmer off and wrapped her naked, warm body up in a fluffy towel and carried her back to our room where her daddy took her from me. As I gathered her jammies and fresh didies up to dress her for bed I was able to admire her rosy pink cheeks and damp soft curls from her Daddy’s arms. Once ready for bed she nestled in my arms, had a wee snack and fell asleep. That half hour, alone with Elsa, was my highlight of our trip.

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I have sweated, and prayed and debated over this thought for the past day. As I mentioned yesterday we lost a couple of thousand dollars of equipment that my husband had just purchased to sell online. (Some gentlemen, who remove metal from our property, mistakenly took it to sell to the metal yard. By the time we realized they had removed the wrong items, they had already sold it for pennies on the pound…)

We are currently three months behind in our rent. Our land lord is patient, but he has written and asked that we do something soon to avoid eviction. This loss of the merchandise is a terrible blow. I think if I were to detail everything that has gone wrong in just 24 hours; you would think I was making it up. I have placed, again, a cheque under our statue of the Infant of Prague in hopes that Baby Jesus will come through for us. Since then, I have been coming back to the thought of a donation button and almost immediately pushing it away.

Finally, I decided to give it a try. For three weeks, about half of Lent, I am going to have a Pay Pal donation button on my blog so that if anyone would like to help us out of this predicament they may. I will be honest. I am a bit embarrassed to do this as I feel as though I am imposing on those who read my blog. It is harder to receive than to give. And very hard to ask. I am especially worried I will insult my readers by putting a donation button on my page. But then I said to myself. Nobody has to give. Not one person. But, if I do not ask, no one who might like to help - can.

Please, if I have insulted you by doing this, accept my heartfelt apologies. My husband is a very hard worker, and works around the clock doing what he can to keep this business going. I am only trying to open a door through which the Lord can help us, if it be His will. Regardless of the outcome, I will remove the button three weeks from now. Thank you for understanding my trying this, and all of the prayers and notes of encouragement that you have sent our way have been very appreciated.

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