I am typing this from the airport in Tampa, Florida.
Due to my new position for the 2018-2019 school year, as the Director of Special Services in my district, I was asked to attend the Council for Exceptional Children's national convention in Tampa this week.
Making the decision to accept the invitation was a big ordeal.
There were many factors to be considered:
- leaving Mr. Farmhouse and the girls for four days
- putting my classroom in the hands of a substitute for three days (for the umpteenth time this school year)
- missing the girls' school picture day, Valentine's parties, and basketball games
- the cost associated with traveling out of state
With much encouragement from a few colleagues and a long talk with Mr. Farmhouse, I decided to jump in head first and head south for the winter.
Okay...head south for four days.
I dropped the two older girls off at school Wednesday morning, dropped my Mattie-girl off at my parents' house, and headed north to meet a few coworkers who were making the journey with me.
About five minutes from the location I was to pick up my teacher-friends, Kathi & Jolie, my cell phone buzzed with a plane delay notification from my Delta app.
Your flight has been delayed. 12:15 takeoff time, now 1:32.
Okay...so an extra hour and fifteen minutes in the airport won't kill us.
Our connecting flight in Atlanta didn't take off until after 3:00, so we would still be fine.
We sat down at IHOP for a little brunch, just in case we were unable to grab lunch during our layover in Atlanta.
As we were pulling into the airport, we received another notification.
Your flight has been delayed. 1:32 takeoff time, now 2:07.
Okay...so we should still arrive with half-an-hour to spare.
We parked, jumped on the shuttle, and headed to the Delta gate.
As we were standing in line to visit with a Delta employee about our options, just in case the delays kept coming...it happened.
Your flight has been delayed. 2:07 takeoff time, now 2:57.
And with that, our chances at making our connecting flight went out the window...or down the runway.
We found a seat near an outlet to charge our phones and we started receiving texts and calls from the secretarial staff at school, who apparently had been notified off the recent changes to our itinerary.
The bookkeeper got us a new hotel room in Atlanta for the night and cancelled our Tampa accommodations and it was settled. We would stay in Atlanta on Wednesday night and get up super-early to fly to Tampa on Thursday morning.
We made it to Atlanta and headed to Ground Transportation to grab a shuttle to our hotel.
At 7:16 p.m., we finally made it down to the shuttle parking lot.
Our hotel shuttle left at 7:15 and would be back at 7:45. Seriously.
So we sat on a bench to wait.
Eventually, a shuttle driver from another hotel offered to take us to our hotel and we decided it was well-worth the large tip we would give her in exchange for a ride.
We checked in, dropped our belongings off in our rooms, and headed to the restaurant.
After a tasty "soul food, Atlanta, Georgia" supper, we headed to the hotel and went to bed.
Thursday, we were up at 4:00, at the airport by 5:00, and flying into Tampa by 8:45 a.m.
At the recommendation of one of my BFFs from high school, we decided to eat at The Columbia in the Ybor City Historic District of Tampa.
I was so very thankful to be able to meet up with the best man from our wedding and enjoy a meal with him. After an eventful and somewhat exhausting trip, it was amazing to see his familiar face and introduce him to my colleagues.
Friday, we were up bright and early to attend the rest of the conference sessions we were looking forward to!
We learned so much, found many resources, and I am excited to be able to share our newfound knowledge and strategies with our SpEd team when we return!
When the conference ended on Friday, we had time to make a short trip to Clearwater!
We ate at Frenchy's Rockaway Grill on the water and it was ah-ma-zing. The fish tacos were spectacular!
We ended up at a Little Greek Restaurant by the hotel.
I had a gyro and it was also spectacular.
I called Mr. Farmhouse and the girls and we all rejoiced that I would be home in less than 24 hours.
Okay, two of three girls cried...
one made funny faces at herself as we FaceTimed,
and Mr. Farmhouse rejoiced.
So now...our journey begins.
Praying for traveling mercies, an uneventful trip home, and a happy reunion at our nice, warm farmhouse sooner than later.
Much love to you, friends.
This morning was the day our rest & relaxation would be coming to an end.
We would enjoy our last few hours of vacation, pack our belongings, and leave the lake house to come back to reality.
I pictured us arriving home about lunchtime, unpacking, doing laundry, and spending the rest of the day outside with each other.
I woke up about 3:00 this morning feeling dizzy, however. Feverish. Miserable.
I tried to sleep it off, but as the rest of my family woke up and began making their way to the breakfast table and then down to the dock to fish, I couldn't make myself get out of bed.
In fact, I stayed there until noon...willing myself to feel normal and be able to get out of bed.
It never happened.
Finally, around 12:15, I got up and got dressed.
By this point, Mr. Farmhouse and the girls had packed the truck and were ready to head out.
They had some lunch and we loaded up.
Since being home, I haven't done one thing that I had planned for myself to accomplish.
I have been sitting or lying flat for the last seven hours.
With the stress of the closing date being switched so many times, the school year starting up in the next two weeks, and trying to get settled into the farmhouse...I kind of think my body is just tired.
I guess I was to the point in life where I needed to choose to slow down for a little while or my body would force me to.
I'm already in bed.
Praying to wake up in the morning feeling like myself.
Trying to remember that stressing about anything in life isn't helpful.
Hoping that in a few weeks, I will look back at this summer and wonder why I got so worked up over the whole house situation.
Until then, good night friends. Sleep tight. ❤️🏡❤️
Our mini-vacation to Oklahoma was so much fun. We leisurely drove down on Thursday afternoon. We missed a turn and kept right on going to find a new route instead of turning around.
When we finally made it to Bartlesville, where we were staying, we found a Japanese Steakhouse and enjoyed supper together.
No rushing around.
No numerous bathroom trips with various children.
Just peace and quiet...and my first experience with sushi. Still not so sure about THAT.
We got up Friday morning and enjoyed The Pioneer Woman Mercantile and some boutique shopping in downtown Pawhuska.
I made a few purchases for the farmhouse.
We laughed a lot.
Enjoyed some nice food.
And did some serious walking.
We dropped Mom off to get some work done at the hotel and the three of us girls went to the mall.
By mid-afternoon, we were ready to head back to our room..
We spent some time resting and relaxing, watching television, reading, and visiting.
It was strange not having the seven grandkids running around between the two hotel rooms, visiting with Grams and playing noisily.
It was so quiet. Almost TOO quiet.
That evening, after a quick trip to WalMart, we came back to the hotel to sleep.
"I wonder if they would let us check out a day early." Mom said.
"Maybe. We can always go ask."
So we did.
And they did.
Yesterday morning, we woke up and got around slowly.
We stopped and did a little more shopping (yay, Hobby Lobby!).
Besides the canvas United States map I picked up at the Mercantile, the galvanized metal distressed Farmhouse sign was definitely my other favorite purchase.
You can see how wide it is right now, sitting on my piano music stand just waiting for its new home when we move into the farmhouse. It will be the perfect focal point in the new living room (I think...if that's where it ends up).
I got the other three tin quotes on clearance (along with about 5 others) to round out some various gallery walls I have planned for the house. Acts 2:46 will hang in the dining room, "I choose fabulous" will (of course) be in the Claire Bear's room, and Jeremiah 1:5 will hang in the playroom to remind the girls daily that they are set apart for Kingdom work!
After the "brief" Hobby Lobby stop, we loaded the van up and headed home.
Mr. Farmhouse and the kids didn't know we were coming home early.
The kids were out at the annual antique tractor show in our town and Matthew was putting up hay.
So I leisurely unpacked and soaked up a little more of the peace and quiet before I went to pick up the girls from my in-laws.
Three big hugs from three little girls.
Smiles and dancing from the three-year-old.
"I missed you so much," from the older two.
We probably won't have a chance for another "girls' trip" like this for another year or two, but that's okay.
There definitely is no place like home.
A few months ago, my sister, my sister-in-law, my mom, and I planned a road trip to Pawhuska, Oklahoma to visit the Pioneer Woman Mercantile.
Originally, with our closing date being June 16th, we were planning to be moved into the farmhouse and ready for a relaxing weekend girls' trip.
Since life didn't quite work out like that, we'll be relaxing on the girls' trip and also planning excitedly for the moving process and decorating the farmhouse. I'm hoping to pick up some vintage goodies on the trip, like a square cast-iron baking dish, a strawberry can for above my kitchen cabinets, or some cow plates for my sweet Mattie Moo.
We're leaving in a few hours to head south for the weekend.
I'll let you know what treasures we discover!