Thursday, July 17, 2008

Beach Photos

Just wanted to share more photos of our time at the beach. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Back From The Beach

Well, we're back! It's amazing how fast it went by, but it's also good to get home. I'd like to summarize a couple of things that I found exceptionally special about this trip.

First, Michelle was able to spend precious time with her mom and sister. They recently lost a special member of their "family of ladies." Her name was Mimi and she was Michelle's grandmother. Since I met Michelle in late '95, it was always the four of them. Mimi was always right there in the mix keeping up with whatever activity was going on. She lived a good strong life right up until the end, and I sense that the remaining three really acknowledge how important it is that they spend time together. I could tell that they all felt right at home when they were in each other's company.

Secondly, I was able to be with my family 100% of each day for a solid week. Although it may seem like I'm just stating the obvious, it's really an amazing thing when I step back and think about it. During most of my routine life, the time with my wife and kids is chopped-up into little opportunities here and there. During this vacation, we were in a place that didn't allow us to be apart, and I cherished every little second of it. We woke up together, played together, rested together, ate together, and just lived as one close-knit crew for 7 straight days. It was so amazing.

I don't have any humorous angles to spin on this blog because I'm kind of heavy-hearted right now. I guess I'm just in a state of thankfulness for my family. And yes, in-laws are included in that statement. That may have sounded like a jab of sarcasm, but I'm serious. They're awesome. I've always been a somewhat sensitive guy, but as I get older, I'm just turning into a complete sap. Oh, well. It's all good. Later.

Oh, yeah. Here is a picture of the beach and also one of Michelle's mom and sister with the kids.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Beach (Date Night!)

Tonight is DATE NIGHT! Michelle and I are going to have a moment alone! We have no idea what we'll do or where we'll go, but does it really matter? We'll be free for a good 4 or 5 sacred hours!

All kidding aside, it is good to have some time to "date" my wife. I'm so guilty of letting routine and fatherhood get in the way of my relationship with Michelle. I truly believe that at the nucleus of a successful family is a close marriage. That's why these opportunities are so important. Not because we need to have fun together or get a break from parenthood (although those things are great too), but more importantly, Michelle needs to know that the fire hasn't died in my heart. I don't want her to just feel like she's a part of my life. She needs to understand and feel like she's the pinnacle of my life, above which nothing else exists except for our relationship with God. Pardon me if that sounds mushy, but it's true. There's God, then there's our marriage, and then there's life, which is derived from those top two elements.

So anyway, we're going out tonight and I can't wait. It shouldn't be too long from now. Michelle is with our three oldest kids at the pool right now, but once they get back, it's on, baby.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Beach (Day 3 of 7)

Each morning I've gone down to the shore at around 6:30 to just take in a moment of relaxation, because once the kids get up, my day usually becomes a string of tasks with three common goals:
  1. Maintain peace and order
  2. Sustain life
  3. Prevent self-inflicted harm

After sipping coffee by the water and watching dolphins skim the ocean's surface, I returned home to the sound of my oldest son vowing to never use his (current) toothbrush again. The reason for his proclamation was because his sister had accidentally used it. Although her mix-up was an honest mistake, I can truly sympathize with him. Throughout the night, something happens in my beautiful daughter's mouth that produces quite lethal vapors by 7:00 a.m. or so. If you stop to think about it, the whole purpose of a toothbrush is to remove most, if not all, of the nastiness that's causing those smells of death. For that reason, I too, would vow to replace my toothbrush if faced with such a dilemma.

The rest of the day was really great. I kept the kids while the ladies did some afternoon shopping at the local outlet mall in Foley. My wife, Michelle, brought back some crawfish etouffe from my favorite local restaurant. It was awesome. So far, this get-away has been exactly what we hoped it would be . . . FUN.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Beach (Day 2 of 7)

We just completed day-2 of a 7-day vacation in Fort Morgan, AL. Basically, it's a little strip of sand that somehow stayed above sea level and they built some beach houses there. If you look it up on Mapquest or Google Maps, you'll see what I mean.

We're having a blast! We've seen dolphins each morning just 100 yards offshore, which was a first for me. We've also been stung by jelly fish and fooled by a floating trash bag disguised as a sting ray. Boy, did we look stupid jumping around shouting "STING RAY." The drawstring really gave it away several minutes into the gleeful celebration. I guess everyone needs a humbling moment like that every now and then.

Tonight we went "crabbing." That involves running around the beach with a flashlight, net, and bucket while chasing little crabs who just want to be left alone. In the end, we let them all go, but I'm sure they weren't amused by our idea of "fun."

Well, I'll stop right there and share more in a day or two. When we get home I'll post some pictures. Until then, take care.