Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hello, Beach

After our adventures to other places while on vacation we decided it was time to revisit a favorite destination closer to home. We were out running errands on Thursday and took the long way home so that we could stop by the beach. It was a beautiful day.

On the way to the beach I turned around in my seat to catch Addie doing this:

I get the feeling she thinks she is ready for a forward-facing seat. I think I'd get bored looking at the back of a seat, too.

I complain about the heat that we're experiencing here because I long for the change of the seasons - it is one of the things I miss most about living in the Midwest. While on vacation it was so nice to see the colorful leaves and to feel the cool breezes and to wear hoodies! But, being on the beach for that little bit the other day, it sure was nice outside, feeling the warm sun on our cheeks and being able to enjoy it given that it is almost November. I think one of the reasons I have been complaining about the heat lately is because it is a little too warm for this time of year - even the weather people are saying so. See, I am justified...

We took a little walk and met up with a fisherman, who pulled this out of the water:

I've never seen a stingray this big on the beach. But, despite this occurrence, Addie was more interested in watching the birds. Gee, I wonder who she gets that from.

Check out all of her hair, blowing in the wind!

So here we are, getting resettled in Wewa and preparing for a busy couple of months. I am thankful we have moments when we can just enjoy the sand between our toes and feeling the waves crash against our legs. Right now it really is one of those little things that we can appreciate.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chaney Vacation '09

Why is it that work weeks go by so slowly and vacations rush by like the speed of light?

We hit just two states, but we did quite a lot. It was a little strange - in years past we've headed straight for the beach when we've had a few days off, but now that seems a little silly, given that we can "hit the beach" just 20 minutes from our house. So, we decided early on that we would visit the Smokies. We'd been before for our first year wedding anniversary, and thought we'd go back this time of year since it is supposed to be so pretty.

Sabian suggested we stop along the way, so he mapped out a route taking us through Savannah and Atlanta, GA, where we could see some sights that were totally new to us.

That's the famed fountain in Forsyth Park sprouting out of Sabian's head. I posted a little from Savannah, which you can read below, and you can check out more photos of our time there. We had a great time wandering around the park and the streets all around it. It is worth it just to see the homes there. As we strolled around I wondered why buildings aren't built like that any more. I am sure someone has an answer, but I don't think it could be good enough. They are amazing. We took some time to walk by the river and in and out of some of the shops in downtown Savannah. When it got too chilly and when we were just plain too tired to go on, we went back to the hotel and dreamed of the trolley tour that we were going to take in the morning.

We did things a little backwards by taking the tour the morning we were leaving, but we're glad we did. We saw some places we'd visited the day before, learned more about others, and caught sight of other places we'd like to visit when we go back.

It was time to move on to our next stop, which was Atlanta. We spent a week in Atlanta a couple of years ago with a group of students from our youth group in Illinois, working with homeless people on the streets of the city. During that trip we did have some free time and were able to visit Centennial Park, the aquarium, and we took the CNN tour. This time, because it was along the way and was another good way to break up the trip, we stayed one night there.

We pulled into town with enough time to grab dinner at The Varsity before it was time to put Addie to bed.
We booked early tickets to see the World of Coca Cola, something we didn't do the last time we were in Atlanta, and then we took advantage of the beautiful day and spent a little time in Centennial Park. We enjoyed it, but we had to move quickly so we could get on the road to Pigeon Forge and check into our cabin for the next few days. Check out more of our Atlanta pictures!

We arrived at our cabin after dark and encountered a bit of an adventure trying to find it. Some of the streets were not as accurately marked as we would have liked. But, we made it, set up camp, and tucked in for the night to begin the rest of our adventure the next day.

While we were in Pigeon Forge we made our way through the Smoky Mountain National Park, visited Cade's Cove, and hiked to see some falls. Along our hike we did see some bear cubs in the "valley" down below us and while there were some onlookers stopping to snap some pictures, we kept moving. I'm a fan of all of my fingers and toes and wanted it to stay that way. No bars or barricades here!

We also took a day and went to Gatlinburg and stopped by the wax museum. Another day we took a tour through the Forbidden Caverns, and then wound our way up through the mountains again for some pretty awesome mountain views. The colors this time of year make for a very picturesque setting no matter which way you look.

The photos don't do the views justice, but you can see more if you like.

Coming back to real life is always bittersweet. While we had been on trips before with Addie - a couple of conferences and to Illinois a couple of times - this was our first time as a family on vacation. We enjoyed it and made some fun memories, and can't wait to revisit some of these places when Addie is a little older. In the meantime, it will be fun to show her the photos later on and tell her of where she went when she was too little to remember.

I am thankful for being able to go on this trip, and even though I always feel like I have a period of "transition" when we get back to Wewa, I see the provision that has been made possible for us here.

I hope you enjoy our pictures and that viewing them is less like being forced into slideshows at someone's house and more like simply checking out the fun we had.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Whirlwind Tour

We're still on our whirlwind tour! Just two more days and we will be back in Wewa, but I don't want to think about that yet.

Addie's had fun in many places, which I will tell you all about next week. Hope you're all have a great week.

I am thankful for being able to get away and enjoy some time in new surroundings with my husband and daughter. We're having a great time!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

On the Road Again - Sweet Savannah

Here we go again!

We're making our way up to the Smokies and doing some sightseeing along the way. First stop, Savannah, GA. Six hours to Savannah seemed like a drop in the bucket compared to the six I drove to Illinois when it was just me and Addie. Having someone else along (namely, Sabian) makes it sooooo much easier. We made great time yesterday and got up this morning, ready to see this beautiful city.

Wow. It is so pretty here. So, so pretty. We've already decided that we want to get back here when we have more time. Today we explored, mostly on foot, Forsyth Park and the surrounding areas. We ate at a cafe called Clary's where I had some tasty hot chocolate that included FREE refills! Where can you get free refills on hot chocolate? Okay, so it was only one free refill, but who needs more than two mugs of hot chocolate with whipped cream in one sitting?

The hot chocolate was much needed - it was a pretty but chilly day. But, cooler temps are one thing we're in search of on this trip so we soaked it up. We bundled Addie up and trekked along.

I am thankful to be on vacation! Here are some photos from our day.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

It is hard to tell from the photo, but these are bras - over 7,000 of them. We were passing by the mall in Panama City about a week ago and I saw this huge curtain of something in the parking lot. I said, "What is that?" and my husband casually responded, "Bras." Apparently this display had been put up while I was out of town and Sabian had already had a chance to see it, hence his familiarity with it. We pulled into the parking lot for a closer look and sure enough there they were, bra after bra after bra tied together. Unfortunately my camera battery was dead and by the time we got back out there the display was gone, so I Googled it and found this one so I could show you.

One of the radio stations in the area sponsored a bra drive in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness month. It's a different way to do it, but it did its job by catching the attention of passersby.

It is a sad thing, but I am sure in some way we all have some sort of connection to breast cancer. I know you must see it everywhere, but this is just a reminder that not only this month, but every month before and after this, to remember and pray for those who have lost loved ones to breast cancer, are currently supporting loved ones battling it, or those who are in the midst of fighting it themselves.

On a happier note, we can also celebrate those who have beat it.

I am thankful for my mom who, in the midst of dealing with more than one major life hurdle at a time, has shown strength, grace, and courage.

Monday, October 12, 2009

All About Addie

These days Addie is a ton of fun. Well, maybe not a ton, more like 15 pounds of fun. Here's a bit about her.

We visited the doctor last week for her six month check up. We were a few weeks late in doing so, as she is SEVEN months old today (!), but we got in, talked to the doctor, asked a bunch of questions, and couldn't leave without a couple of shots. She did really well with her shots, crying a little during the process but done before we hit the lobby. She's 28 inches long and weighs 15 pounds, 15 ounces. Her weight concerned me just a little since she has only gained about a pound since her last appointment at four months, but the doctor did not seem to be worried. She is our little grasshopper!

Sitting up is the name of the game lately. Addie has been working on it for a few weeks, and really got it while we were in Illinois. Since we have been back from our trip she's been doing really well. She still topples over from time to time, like last week when I heard a loud "thunk" during my mom's group from the nursery across the hall and it was her head. I know it happens and will happen, but that sound still resounds in my head!

Addie is also sporting a mosquito bite under her eye. I have no pictures of it, but this weekend when we took her to the park for a swing and a walk, the varmint did his duty before Sabian had a chance to knock it off. The next morning she woke up with a big, red bump under her eye. Poor girl.

We're also in the midst of teething. Last week she was a bit fussier than usual and when I stuch my finger in her mouth I felt them - two sharp, protruding points sticking through her little gums. We really only had a couple of off nights; since then she seems to be doing pretty well.

She's still sweet as can be and moving all the time and we are enjoying her.

I am thankful for a sweet girl!

Friday, October 9, 2009

And Away We Went

A couple of weeks ago Addie and I made our way to the Midwest. Over two days we battled fussiness, tears (from both of us), rain, constipation (Addie), and traversed five states to make it to my mom's BUT we DID make it. Both in one piece and with smiles on our faces. I'm not exactly sure that I completely thought through the idea of taking a 12 hour road trip with a six month old, but before I knew it we were in the car and on our way, just the two of us, and it was totally worth it.

I decided to make the trip in two days, staying overnight about halfway through the trip. We drove about six hours each day, and I think six was just enough before either Addie and I couldn't take any more. I'm used to making the drive all at once, but for her sake I knew that would be too much and it really was the best decision. Plus, the "all at once" drive is usually with two of us - an extra pair of hands in this case is invaluable.

After stopping three times before we made it halfway through the first day (that would be only three hours at that point) I seriously considered turning around and heading back to Florida. I mean, what was I thinking? I'd already left the baby wipes in Alabama, treated Addie to a spoonful of peaches to the eye, and stopped at a Wal-mart to buy prunes for Addie's, er, condition. Did I mention that I left said prunes in the bag at the self-checkout? Luckily I realized my mistake before we'd made it to the car. Needless to say, I was feeling a little in over my head. After a good cry and some encouragement over the phone, we barreled along and the rest of the day was much, much better.

Addie was pretty happy when we arrived at the hotel that night. She spent much of her time rolling around on the bed, stretching her road-weary limbs. Once she was all wiggled out, we tried out some of those prunes and went to bed.

The second day was a breeze compared to the first. We made great time, mostly due to knowing that our prize was just a few hours away. We left earlier that morning and rolled into 328 Roanoke Drive in Belleville around 4 o'clock that afternoon. Boy, was it good to be home.

We spent most of our time hanging out with mom, running around, doing some shopping, and simply hanging out. That weekend we made it to Strange Folk with my sister, Lesley, sister-in-law, Misty, niece, Eden, and friend, Leah Beth. The weather was amazing and we had a lot of fun strolling around, taking a look at all of the awesome things people can make. I made a couple of purchases and we had some lunch before the rains rolled in. Addie and Eden had a chance to hang out and by the time we left, Addie was ending her Strange Folk experience with a nap. I'm pretty sure she wants to go back next year.

Oh, and as far as general shopping goes, this is how Addie likes to roll:

If you had legs like her, wouldn't YOU prop up YOUR feet?

We spent some time with the rest of my family and Addie became acquainted with Bull Taco, my niece, Bryn's, guinea pig.

As great as it was to be at home, and as wonderful as it was to enjoy the cool weather they were having, we did miss Sabian and hit the road again after being in Illinois for about a week. We did the trip in two days again and since I knew more of what to expect, it was a smoother trip. I didn't leave anything anywhere, there were no trips to Walmart, and the weather cooperated. However, during the last hour of the trip I found it fruitless trying to explain to Addie how close we were to home - especially since she was likely unable to hear me over her screaming. The one and only time she really lost it, we were about 45 minutes from Wewa and she was done. Done. Done, done, done. I felt really bad for her, but we made it to 233 Lucy Drive, tore out of the car, and got into the house where she smiled and stretched her limbs. No longer confined to that prison of a car seat, she was a happy girl again.

We came back to hot Florida weather, hotter than normal for this time of year (lucky us!) and a clean house. Not only was the house clean, dishes done, and laundry fresh, but these were on the table as well:

I am thankful for a husband who understands my need for home and does not object when I simply say, "I need to go home." I am also thankful for a baby who tolerated the trip to and from Illinois so awesomely well.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Belated Birthday Bonanza!

When you're married to a pastor if your birthday falls on a Sunday it's a little like when you were younger and you had to go to school on your birthday. Such was the case for me this past weekend. Add to it that Sabian was preaching both services (our pastor is on a missions trip to the Galapagos Islands - how cool is that?!) and it was the icing on my Sunday birthday cake. Knowing this, we had planned to celebrate the day after and Sabian was in charge of planning the day so I had that to look forward to.

I guess you could say my celebrating really started with my trip home the week before. That post is still to come, but it was good to be with my family for a few days. Then, the Saturday night before my birthday a lady from our church had us over for dinner and cake.

Sunday morning I felt like I was in a Twilight Zone episode, or some other surreal show/movie. I'm not one to proclaim that it is my birthday but it seemed as though no one knew or remembered. One person at church wished me a happy day but other than that it was as if it was any other day. Which, come to think of it, I suppose to them it was!

Since Sabian was preaching both services and had command of the microphone that day I had previously warned him to not make any announcement regarding my birthday. He obliged until after the service Sunday night when, apparently a surprise cake and ice cream gathering had been planned. It was all very sweet and was not planned by him, which was his out. I had expressed to him earlier my observation of my seemingly forgotten day and that night he said, "See? No one forgot, they were just playing coy."

Here's me and my girl on my day:

Monday brought about the day Sabian planned for us, which started with a little sleeping in and then a trip to the beach for the three of us. The weather wasn't the most cooperative, but it cleared up enough for us to spend some time out there, take a quick dip in the water and a walk. We steered clear of getting in too deep because the water was actually fairly rough and Addie was none too fond of the dancing waves.

When the rain started making a reappearance, we packed up and headed down the beach to a restaurant where we could still enjoy the sand and water from the safety of shelter. While I thoroughly enjoyed my crab legs, eating this particular meal with a sleepy six month old was a bit of an adventure. Once through with her carrots and fruit, Addie was ready for a nap. I cracked those crab legs faster than ever and then snuggled a sleeping Addie while Sabian finished his. Crab legs are a lot of work, but oh so worth it.

After the beach and lunch it was time to head home for showers. I still didn't know what was in store for the rest of the day, but got Addie and myself ready. When we were just about done Sabian laid out the plan - we were going out on a date while Addie spent the evening with a couple from our church. You'd think that this announcement would evoke excitement, and while it was an appealing offer, seeing as it would be Addie's first time with a sitter, my emotions were...mixed.

I know, I know - crazy that this was the first time we'd had Addie stay with a sitter in all of her six, almost seven, short months here, but it simply boils down to us being able to have her be with one of us or both of us without any problems. It isn't that we haven't wanted to spend time just as a couple, but until now we just hadn't made the effort to think about who we would want her to stay with and we've just been able to pack her up and taken her with us wherever we go.

Maybe it was good that I didn't have time to think about it, because before I knew it we were on our way to the sitter's. As it turns out, Sabian had done some covert homework while I was gone and during a phone conversation brought up the subject of sitters and got my take on who I would feel comfortable with. He was able to line up a couple from our church who had previously offered to watch Addie whenever we needed them to and they were more than happy to take her in for the evening. Long story short - Addie did great and I only called twice. She was sound asleep when we got there and had had a fun night.

Our night consisted of dinner, dessert, and a trip to the movies. We saw 9, which was my choice, and we really liked it. We had the whole theater to ourselves, something that hasn't happened since we went to see Ray way back in the day. Sabian did remark that it was funny that we dropped Addie off and then went to see an animated movie. Speaking of the animation - it was awesome.

So, birthday 2009 is over and it was a good day. I am thankful for my husband who planned the festivities and thoughtfully made time for the three of us to have some time together and then just the two of us.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Drugstore is Closed on Saturday

The drugstore in Wewa is closed on Saturday. I knew that. Well, I didn't know that in my head, but in my heart as I set out to go buy some decongestant for my stuffy nose I just knew it wouldn't be open. Sure enough, when I pulled into the parking lot, there were no Saturday hours posted on the door. I thought at the very least they'd be open in the morning, even until noon. I mean, c'mon! Come to think of it, I don't think it is open on Wednesdays, either. No, I know that for sure, when I stopped by there to get something for youth service one night only to discover that it was...closed.

Leave it to Wewa, just when you really need something, the place where you need to get it or whatever it is you need is unavailable. That might sound harsh, and typically I would read that, feel bad, and delete it, but I'm coming off of a week of being at home with my family, so anything that isn't Illinois at this point just isn't measuring up. Bear with me - I'm in my "readjustment" period.

Thanks to Dollar General (I never noticed that all small towns have a DG until I moved here) I was able to get a hold of some medicine and I'm - hopefully - on my way to decongesting.

Since I am in the stuffy nose/head zone and I am currently still sorting through items left over from the trip and trying hard not to breathe on Addie in the process of getting settled, I'll wait until I have a clearer head to write about my trip home. For now, just now that Addie and I both made it there and back in one piece. Phew.

I am thankful for many things today. Tomorrow I hope to be thankful for a clear nose.