First Vacation! Day 4: Beach Day!

On Thursday, we got up early and rented a car then drove to Indian Rocks Beach outside of Tampa. It wasn’t very crowded and the beach was really pretty. We rented some chairs and umbrella and hung out all morning… Spencer took to the beach like he was born to be there. He dug in the sand and dumped shells in his bucket and kept playing in the waves. He also found the seagulls very loud and offensive and kept yelling at them at the top of his lungs.

We ate lunch at an adorable little family owned restaurant next to the beach and it was delicious. We headed back to the beach after that for another hour or so of fun in the sun. Shortly before we left, a seagull pooped on me and Spencer ran out to Jordan in the waves yelling “Mom got poop on her!” 🤣😷

We drove back to the hotel and Spencer and I both took naps in the car. Jordan took one when we got to the hotel so I took Spenny down to the food court for some ice cream and then we looked around the gift shop. There was another boy in a stroller and Spencer said “HI I’m Spencer, I’m two.” ❤️

We went to a minor league baseball game in the evening – the Florida Fire Frogs. There weren’t a ton of people there so we got to sit wherever we wanted. It was beautiful warm weather and fun to be at a new (to us) stadium. Spencer was beyond ready for bed by the time we left – all things considered though, he was an amazing traveler and adjusted well to our busy schedule all week.

Advertisements

First Vacation! Day 3: Animal Kingdom.

On Wednesday, we headed to Animal Kingdom and went straight for the safari ride. Spencer wasn’t fully awake and was still in grumpy mode, but Jordan and I loved it. Then Jordan went to ride Expedition Everest while I walked Spencer around some of the trails. We ended up in DinoLand and spent a looong time there just playing.

While we were playing, birds ate Spencer’s snacks and pooped on his stroller tray. 🤣😳 One thing is for sure at Disney – the birds are opportunists and not afraid of humans whatsoever. After thoroughly cleaning the stroller, we grabbed lunch at what I think was Restaurantasaurus – don’t quote me on that. Spencer was about done for the day but Jordan still wanted to look around, so we pushed him around in the stroller for awhile and he eventually fell asleep. We ended up leaving after about an hour because it was starting to get really crowded and very hot out. Spencer managed to sleep for the ride back and then all afternoon in our room.

After naps, we went down to the pool to swim. Spencer loved the pool and found a ball to play with. The best part of every day for both of us was seeing how overjoyed Spencer was about everything – he was having a blast.

After swimming, we changed and ate dinner in the food court, then played in the arcade. We took a walk after it was dark and watched some fireworks over the tree line. It was a nice relaxing evening after two busy days at the parks.

First Vacation! Day 2: Magic Kingdom.

We woke up early on Tuesday to get to Magic Kingdom before they opened the rides. Spencer was having allergy issues and was a little grouchy but also couldn’t wait to run around and see everything. As soon as the rides opened, Jordan went to Space Mountain while I took Spencer on Buzz Lightyear. He was a little freaked out for the first 30 seconds or so but then realized this was a fun thing and started yelling about all the aliens. 🤣 We rode the People Mover after that, which ended up being one of his favorite rides.

After Jordan was done with his ride, he took Spencer on the teacups… a few times, because he loved them. He just spun and spun and laughed his little head off.

We took the train to the other side of the park after that and watched some of the bigger rides while Spencer rested in his stroller. We decided to check out the Country Bear Jamboree – which Spencer loved – then grabbed some delicious nachos and churros at the restaurant next door.

We went back to Tomorrowland to use our FastPass for the Speedway; Spenny didn’t seem to love that once we got on it… I think it was too loud, and he was starting to get hot. After that we took Jordan on the People Mover and then waited to meet Buzz Lightyear.

After naps at the hotel, we came back for the evening and met Mickey. We ate dinner in Tomorrowland and then Jordan took Spencer on Buzz Lightyear again. We rode the People Mover and teacups yet again 🤣 then Winnie the Pooh and It’s a Small World. For a little while, Spencer chased another little boy around at this kids’ dance party. It was super cute to watch. We watched most of the fireworks and then headed back to our hotel for the night. Overall, it was an exhausting but magical and perfect day.

First vacation! Day 1.

We just returned from our first family vacation. It was an awesome time from start to finish.

Monday morning, we woke up very early and flew to Orlando. It was my first flight as well as Spencer’s – I thought I’d be the one comforting him on the plane, but it was 100% the other way around. 🤣 I’m embarrassed now of how much I panicked but flying has always been one of my biggest fears… trapped in an enclosed space, high up in the air… nope. I have to say I was impressed with the level of empathy and compassion that my toddler displayed though… he held me while I cried and kept saying “it’s going to be ok mommy.” 😭

Photo taken by Jordan, obviously... I wasn’t about to look.

We landed in Orlando around lunchtime and took a shuttle to our hotel – one of the Disney All-Star resorts. The whole way there, Spencer was staring out the window and yelling about things that excited him… like DIRT MOMMY! and A LAWNMOWER!! I was reminiscing on the shuttle ride about how much I always loved Disney World as a kid and how I felt so blessed to be able to share the experience now with my own child and my husband.

Spencer and Jordan were both immediately thrilled that our hotel was sports-themed and we walked all over the property admiring the giant sports sculptures.

We changed clothes and got settled in our room then got on a bus to Disney Springs… Spencer was fighting a nap up to that point but immediately fell asleep on the bus. Fortunately we were able to transfer him to the stroller when we got there and he napped for another hour or so while we walked around.

We ate dinner at Rainforest Cafe… Spenny was beside himself excited about everything and our food was delicious. After dinner we went in some shops with Spencer until it started to get dark and we got too cold.

“Lots of Toys”

This morning we slept in. Spencer woke up crying around midnight last night and I ended up just falling asleep on his bed with him… usually we get up by 7 every day, but today we slept until close to 9 and it was fantastic.

Jordan saw on the news that Toys R Us might be closing all of their stores in the next few weeks and decided we needed to take Spencer there while we still have a chance. Spencer calls it “Lots of Toys” and can’t talk about it without referring to the time he got sick there on his birthday (“I puke at Lots of Toys!”) When we pulled up in the car today, he cheerfully declared “no I’m not feeling sick!”

We walked around and played in there for at least an hour. Spencer carried around a bucket of plastic sharks before changing his mind once we got to the section with all the toy cars. He picked two cars (well, one car and one snowmobile) and started running for the registers. The cashier was a really nice guy and told us he has 7 kids at home.

We walked next door to Pure Hockey after that and Spencer tried on a bunch of different gloves. His favorite was the pink one.

We went to the mall after that and Spencer played on the playground. He’s in a phase right now where he is having trouble sharing (imagine that), so whenever we go to a playground he runs up to his favorite toys and whines if another kid is playing with it (“that’s MINE car!”) He took a liking to a little girl at the playground who didn’t want him to play with her and he kept running around after her.

It’s hard for me to imagine him not as a little toddler. I remember feeling that way when he was a baby though and now I barely remember his baby days. I do think I’ll always see him as my smiley blond two-year-old though, no matter how old he gets.

We ended the day by going to church. Spencer made a picture in class and proudly gave it to us when we picked him up. He’s in the “blue room” now with the bigger 2 and 3 year olds and he’s extremely excited about it.

Trading worry for worship.

Right around this time 3 years ago, I took a pregnancy test in our downstairs bathroom. I was home alone when I saw the two lines on the stick. Immediately, I felt this overwhelming sense of unconditional love and intense pressure to protect. I knew my baby was just a speck at that point, but I instantly felt bonded to him and also terrified that I was going to be inadequate to take care of him.

That feeling hasn’t gone away and he’s almost two-and-a-half.

Being a mother has made me feel the deepest love that one human can have for another. At the same time, I’ve also experienced this overwhelming sense of danger. Since the moment I knew I was pregnant, I’ve been fighting off thoughts of all of the many things that can go wrong. All of the ways I could lose him, or he could lose me. All of the ways I could screw him up as he gets older.

In those moments when I feel inadequate or overcome with worries, I cling to the truth that God is loving but also sovereign and holy. At the end of the day, if I can honestly say that I’ve done my best to protect and raise this little life that I’ve been blessed with, then that’s enough. I have to accept and trust that God sees and knows Spencer’s past, present and future. Some things may be out of my control, but nothing is out of God’s.

Distracted.

It’s been awhile since I posted anything. Keeping up with a blog was much easier when my son was barely toddling and I only worked 3 days a week. 🙃

I need to get something off my chest, though. It doesn’t even have to do with parenting or with Spencer. It has to do with church.

We went to the 9:00 service today; it seems like that is usually the busiest one and we generally prefer to go on Saturday nights. It was fairly crowded and as people were finding their seats, they were happily greeting friends and carrying on conversations (you know, typical Sunday morning church stuff). The service began and the worship leader began to share about the songs and praying over the service.

I couldn’t hear what he was saying because so many people were still talking and laughing – loudly. This continued through the first few songs. People were filtering in, walking around, hugging their friends, loudly catching up all through the worship service. Very few hands were lifted, some people were drinking coffee or eating their breakfast.

Near the end of the service, the pastor was wrapping up his message and praying and I was incredibly disappointed to see a whole crowd of people walking out while he was still talking.

I wasn’t even raised in church but I have always felt that I should be reverent in a church service, whether I want to be there or not. I don’t have my phone out, I don’t bring in food or drinks, I don’t socialize until after church. I know God isn’t confined to a building but isn’t the purpose of gathering together in a church service so we can worship God as a congregation and be present before the Lord together? I’m honestly not trying to be judgmental, but it saddens me when people take church so lightly that it’s nothing more than a place to hang out and be seen on Sunday mornings.

I’ve had a very hard time fitting in and feeling like I’m part of our church. I’m not going to deny that. We’ve met some great people and strong Christians through our life group, and I absolutely love serving with the toddlers every week. Everyone I’ve met has been friendly. The weekly sermons are challenging and always rooted in the Bible. The pastors are incredible speakers. The musicians are nearly flawless. The church is heavily involved in serving the community outside the walls of the church building, which I love. There’s so much about the church as an organization that I love.

But week after week, I have such a hard time motivating myself to attend the Saturday/Sunday service. I’ve prayed that my intentions are pure and that I’m not just looking for things to be “my way.” I genuinely want to hear from God, to be united with my church community in worship and prayer, and to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Week after week, it doesn’t happen (for me, at least).

Every week, I pray that I’m not distracted. Please, God, remove the distractions so I can solely focus on YOU. Aside from blindfolding myself, I don’t know how to tune out the distractions when I’m at church. Not only are people walking around through the service and/or talking, but the service itself just distracts me. The colored lights, the cameras all lined up, the very loud and very talented and very contemporary worship band. The constant flow of the schedule and how there is never unscheduled time to just pray or be still and quiet before the Lord. The casual, laidback approach of the congregation distracts me. The mere fact that every detail of the service is so organized and pre-planned and scripted distracts me, which I’m sure makes no sense.

I don’t want to feel this way. I don’t want to be homesick for our old church every single time I’m standing there during the worship service. I don’t want to notice everyone around me who isn’t paying attention because I should be paying attention myself. I don’t want to be hypercritical of the details of the service. I don’t want to use the word “I” in so many of my sentences. I want to get back to a place in my life where going to church is something I look forward to and am expectantly excited about.

Does anyone else feel distracted during your weekly church service? What is it that distracts you and how do you move past that?