Polka Dots and Pineapple: Life of Family P

Blessed to be a blessing...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

We Made It!

4 weeks
3 time zones
2 lovers
1 adventure

We arrived safely again in Seattle late Monday night/early Tuesday morning.  It was fun to see the Space Needle just before we landed!  We were welcomed by the typical Seattle rain upon arrival.  Our bodies are still adjusting to the time difference.  I am proud to say that I represented UK from coast to coast on Monday by wearing my UK gear!  Unfortunately my plane wasn't the one that did the C-A-T-S cheer in air, but I proudly wore my blue and white!

When I was putting our room together yesterday morning, it was very evident that we packed considerably less stuff than last time.  That might mean doing more loads of laundry - I'm okay with that.  The only thing that I realized that was forgotten is a swimsuit so I might buy one here. 

Same hotel, all is well, just not as quiet as last time.  I can definitely tell it's Spring Break because there are lots of families staying here and kids are around.  Last time it was obviously just business travelers during the week days.  The pool that was empty all day during our last trip was full of approximately 20 kids yesterday morning.  Maybe I won't buy a swimsuit. :)

Yesterday I received some news that a young woman (I knew her through mutual friends) passed away after a hard battle with cancer.  Only 35 years old and she left behind a husband and daughter.  My heart is aching for this  family.  In the midst of aching for her family, I am rejoicing because I know that Jesus rescued her from this terrible sickness.  I know she has been made perfect now.  I know this because I had the privilege of seeing her baptized last year!

I'm still sifting through some thoughts on my mind and in my heart.  I plan on writing about those.

Until then I'm going to thank God and be content right here, right now.  I hope you will too!

The offer still stands if anyone wants to see Seattle while we're here!  Book your flight and visit! :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The "Go With" Girl

Relatively speaking, I believe I'm agreeable and cooperative.  Sure, I am fully capable of covering a full spectrum of actions from planting my feet and refusing to move to leading the way to something else.  But when I think about myself over the past several months, I'd say I've pretty much been "go with the flow."  Nearly everything I knew and lived was turned upside down and changes were taking place all around and within me.  Definitely a learning and growing experience for sure, with ups and downs along the way.  Right before moving, I received several sweet gifts from friends.  One was a beautiful black and white hand-painted wooden plaque that says "bloom where God plants you."  I have a long way to go, but I can look back and see major progress.  For that I am grateful.

After we moved I told my husband I would follow him anywhere, going to the ends of the earth with him wherever he leads our family.  I don't know what that means for us long-term but I do know that resisting ideas is a sure way to be in the midst of them.  (The phrase "never say never" ring a bell?)  Of course the phrase "go with your gut" can have some relevance but is also not a guaranteed wise method of discernment.  Additionally, there are many things that I can't just "go with the flow" of the world.  If I did it would be at the expense of my values, faith and beliefs.  I have learned that as long as I stand strong in what really matters, it's much easier to "go with the flow" on everything else since I am firmly planted and rooted in a strong foundation.  Like an aged tree in the wind....flowing and moving, yet remaining rooted in the ground.

This "go with" mentality continues to bring many blessings.  While it is sometimes easy to get down and out about circumstances and why certain desires haven't been fulfilled, when I focus on the positives I can see how clearly blessed I am and how only God's perfect will can bring such blessings.

Sticking with my "go with" efforts, I am excited to say that I will once again "go with" my hard-working husband for another four-week rotation to Seattle.  We leave in a few days and I look forward to more adventures to come!  Also, I welcome any friends and family who might want to see Seattle during that time - I would love for you to visit and show you around!

Friday, March 11, 2011

When you need an excuse to go to Chuck E. Cheese

When you need an excuse to go to Chuck E. Cheese, just borrow someone's kids!

That's exactly what we did Wednesday night!  After talking about it for weeks, we finally set a date with their parents to take the three R kids (ages 7, 5 & 4) on our own to Chuck E. Cheese.  We were pretty excited because we love these kids and wanted to do something fun and special with them.  In case you're wondering, we do not have "baby fever;" we just really love these kiddos!  I packed a bag with baby wipes, hand sanitizer, camera, a mini first aid kit, and a little treat for each kid - then we arrived at their home to pick them up where they were freshly bathed and so cute. 

We loaded up, buckled up and headed on our way.  It was during rush hour and there was a wreck on the bridge, so it took almost an hour to get there, but the kids were great travelers.  

We arrived at Chuck E. Cheese and held hands while walking in, got checked in with the same hand stamp (security feature at CEC that shows which kids belong to who, that way they can't be taken by strangers....brilliant!).  The lady who greeted us said "how nice of you kids to bring your parents out to dinner!"  The kids smiled and no one corrected her that we weren't the parents, but I took that as a sign that we must have looked normal and we didn't look like we shouldn't have kids under our care.  Does that make sense?  Anyway, I appreciated her comment.

If you can channel your childhood self, try to remember what it was like going to CEC.  I did that for a couple days prior so that I would be as prepared as possible.  I remembered going in, then our parents would place an order for food and tokens.  The sounds of the games are loud and other kids are already playing.  While the parents order, you want to run off and start playing.....but you have the wait for tokens first.  You couldn't care less about the food because all you want to do is play games and win tickets.  (On the drive, we asked multiples times "are you hungry?" and each time they all said "no."  Ha!  That was me about two decades ago!)  I believe this is the story of every kid at CEC! 

Josh placed our order and we quickly divided tokens so the kids began playing.  They were winning tickets and bouncing from one game to another.  The food arrived and we had to lure them to the table to eat.  Josh made sure hands were cleaned while I fixed drinks.  He served pizza and gave a blessing over the meal.  They were still thinking of the games, but were very good and sweet.  Everyone had to eat one piece of pizza before we would let them up to continue playing.  Dinner time didn't last long and then they were playing games again.  We ordered one more set of tokens and divided them again for more game playing. 

Tokens were running out and bedtime was getting closer, so the kids cashed in their tickets at the ticket muncher machine.  

Lots of thought was put into making the decision for which prizes to choose, but all were happy with their selection!

I think a good night was had by all!  But my favorite story of the evening was when we were leaving CEC walking together hand-in-hand when all three kids exclaimed "I'm hungry!"  I so saw this coming!  Good thing we had the leftover pizza in a carry-out box!  Since we had already gone outside, but Josh and I weren't sure if they should eat in their mom's car (plus the safety concern of them eating while we were in driving - we didn't want to take any chances on choking), so we just set down on the corner of the sidewalk and they finished off the remaining slices!  We had a great time giggling and enjoying these kids for a few more moments. 

I should also note that the 7 year old had to buckle the 4 year old in his car seat after I couldn't figure out how it worked.  She said "it's a good thing you don't have kids!"  Ha!  So true!

Loads of silliness filled the car on the drive home!  Made up songs about Josh, silly jokes, talking with the vampire teeth......sweet times!

We had a great night with these precious children and are thankful that their parents shared them!