Once upon a time, there was a girl.
Actually, a mom.
A mom and her three little kiddos.
Uh, yes, three kiddos. One didn't make it on the picture.
And she had a friend.
A very dear friend, whom she had made so many memories with in Pennsylvania and Ohio and all across Asia.
This same friend invited her to Florida for several days.
The mom deliberated.
It sure sounded fun.
This friend is so dear indeed.
And there was a new baby girl to meet.
But it was 6 hours away. One way.
With three kids. Because it didn't work for Husband to go.
Would it be brave or crazy?
There was much deliberation.
But then she decided:
it was waaaay too much fun to say no.
So they went.
And they picked up the mom's sister on the way, which also added to the off-the-charts fun factor.
They stayed at a house with the friend, her friend's mom, her friend's mother-in-law, her friend's sister-in-laws and baby.
It was such great times.
There was always a party.
Even for the kids.
They got to meet this adorably beautiful little girl, who has so much personality for a three-month-old person.
And the time with the baby's mother was just so amazing.
Real friendships just are so precious.
There were a few moments of stress for the mom,
including one morning when all her kiddos awoke at 7am to a house that was planning to sleep in.
She had to send up an SOS to the Lord to calm her soul,
and help her with a vacation that was more like a superfunsuperbusytime than rest and relaxing.
Kids sort of make that change, and she wasn't quite prepared.
But after that one morning, it was really great.
There was her grandmother to visit, Grandma Susan, as the kiddos call her, about fifteen minutes away.
[and no, I'm no towering giant. my dear grandma is not quite 5 feet. :) ]
There were oceans to visit.
Or, I suppose it was actually the Gulf.
There was a fabulous kids' paradise to spend the day at.
The kids and the mom were even brave enough to touch the snakes and gators.
There was an auntie who loved her nieces and nephew so very much, and was a great help to the mom.
And a mom/daughter picture that hasn't happened for a very long time.
There were jungle trails to walk, with popcorn in hand, of course.
What else would you eat while walking a jungle trail?
And there were flamingos to feed that made the oldest daughter simply leap with excitement.
The happiness factor brought sisterly hugs to pictures with not even a hint from mom.
There was a favorite little breakfast joint to eat one morning. Er, two mornings.
And ice cream. They couldn't forget the ice cream.
It was a daily necessity, from anywhere and everywhere.
This was probably the favorite place.
It was a pretty big WOW of their vacation.
And then, despite the attempts to lengthen the days and the desires to the kiddos to "let's MOVE here!"
it was time to return home to their very own little cottage.
The sister's husband came to have a romantic weekend getaway with his bride.
And the three kiddos and a mom made their way back home.
The first three hours was a dream.
It really was amazing. Sleeping children, singing children.
It was too good to be true.
At hour three, we ran into a problem:
the interstate was closed. Closed closed CLOSED.
There was a massive detour which would take hours longer.
The mother, who had been deliberating whether to call herself 'brave' or 'crazy' decided on crazy. :)
A stop at Walmart to buy movies (hey, movies are cheaper than a hotel!)
a stop at McD's for Happy Meals (gotta keep up the morale with new toys)
and a few years, I mean tears, later,
they all arrived back home safely.
The six hours home only took nine.
She felt like a rag doll when she got home.
It was a delicious vacation, there in Florida.
It was worth every minute of that nine hour trip home alone.
But three kids and a mom [on vacation] later, they're happy to be back home with the Daddy of the family.
And they all lived happily [ever after]....... :)