Sunday, March 16, 2014

Our Epic Florida Trip: Day 3- What Were We Thinking

Let's just say that the 3rd day of our trip wasn't so good.  We woke up to a hotel room still saturated with smoke (that wasn't a dream) and children with red eyes from said smoke.  Eli still calls it our "stinky room."  We went out for breakfast and attempted to do some grocery shopping for ourselves and a lunch we were having for our students that day.  Looking back this probably wasn't a good idea...we were exhausted and stressed and the baby was fussy (this was not a good combination).  Upon returning to our stinky room Joe tried everything he could to get us a new room.  We KNEW that we couldn't stay wasn't a matter of having a good attitude or even of being unhappy with staying right by the very noisy street...we couldn't stay there for the health of our children (with a baby, a 6 year old with allergies, and a 4 year old who has had respiratory issues in the past we just knew this wasn't an option).  Honestly I was beginning to wonder if we would need to leave Joe there and head back to Orlando for the week.  The hotel was telling us that they didn't have any rooms available and that they might have to move us to a hotel a half mile down the road (which wouldn't have worked for us either for a number of reasons).
And as this point we were definitely asking the "what were we thinking bringing our children here" question.  Here we were in Florida (warm, sunny Florida on the beach) and all we wanted was to go home.  It was awful.
And then I did the best possible thing I could do for myself and the kids...while Joe dealt with the hotel and Liam napped I took Lily and Eli down to the beach.  The fresh air, water, sand, and sunshine did us a world of good!  And after returning to the beach we learned that Joe had solved our hotel problem (I love that man) and shortly after we moved to our new room!  I just can't even tell you how much better our new room was!  First of all (and most importantly) it wasn't saturated with smoke!  And just about as wonderful was that the hotel gave us a 3 bedroom place (while still charging us the price for a 2 bedroom)!  And the reason that this was so wonderful was that it meant that our friend Andy (who volunteers with Cru and leads the ministry at Husson University) could move in with us and stay in our extra bedroom (since we really only needed two).  And this meant that a space was freed up in the room he was staying in which meant that one of our students (Hassan) could stay there!  Hassan is a muslim international student studying at U-Maine who decided at the last minute to join us at the conference!  We were so excited to have him come with us, but by the time he registered for the conference they didn't have any spaces left at the hotel and Hassan's only option was to camp at a campsite that was close to the hotel.  He was willing and borrowed camping gear for us.  I'll admit that the housing situation made for a stressful and exhausting first day for us, but in the end it was really cool to see how God provided for Hassan through our difficult housing circumstances!  God is good all the time!
And God was good to us in this too because our second place was so much nicer (I actually felt comfortable putting the baby on the floor), it was away from the main road, it had a patio space that opened up to a lawn area where the kids could easily play (wonderful for when the baby was sleeping) and it was right next to a great, warm pool!
Day three found us taking another fun trip back to the beach (and later in the day even a trip to the pool for Lily and Eli) and the conference started that night too with some great worship and speakers! We still found ourselves wondering what we were thinking some of the time, but overall day three ended so much better than it started!

Eli watching some students playing ultimate frisbee right outside our condo (he was fascinated)!   
The beach!
Building a sandcastle with one of the students.  
My beach babe!
Heading back from the beach.

I think Eli had a little sand in his mouth (by the end of the week there was just sand everywhere and on 

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