Friday, April 2, 2010

Elyse's First Birthday Celebration that lasted 9 days

We are finally home from what has been our longest vacation in over 3 years. 9 whole days away from home. As we mourn the loss of Elyse, our hearts' desire is to honor and remember her on a regular basis, and to celebrate the time we had with her. We are striving to create special times as a family to be together, talk about her, cry with each other, and even try to have some fun in the whole process. Here's how we spent the last 9 days:

Thursday... Disneyland

We were way blessed by our friends John and Christie with complimentary park-hopper tickets. Sara (April's sister) and Eric brought Sam & Ben. The three boys had a blast together and loved just about every ride we took them on. Buzz, Small World, Tea Cups, Peter Pan, Pirates, and all the kids' rides at California Adventure. We ended up staying there for a whole 13 hours, and I don't think Peter hardly ever melted down. It was a phenomenal day, and a great time to connect as a family.

Friday... No Agenda
Friday morning we ran around the workout track at the park near my sister's house in Alta Loma, where we were staying. What a great morning to just hang out, get some exercise, and then be lazy. Yard House for lunch. Buy Cliff some new running shoes. Then off to watch all the Hume crew doing some filming for the summer video nearby. Highlight of the day... on the way home, we saw a guy riding his motorcycle down the street STANDING on his seat, with his arms out wide to balance him. Didn't have time to get the picture.

Saturday... Elyse's Birthday
I'll be writing a separate post on how we celebrated her birthday.

Sunday... Tom and Cindy's
Tom and Cindy live out in Valley Center, about a half hour beyond Escondido. For years they've been telling us that we need to come out and stay with them for a few days. And of course, we think... yeah, who would want to vacation in Valley Center?  Well... we do. This was the most amazing 2 days for us. They rolled out the red carpet. The Master Suite. Home-made meals. Age appropriate toys for Peter. Coffee on the patio overlooking the valley and all the orange orchards (it smelled like Soarin' Over California). The name of the game was rest, and rest we did. They were a great encouragement to us, and Cindy gave us a lot of insight into how Peter's probably dealing with the loss of Elyse. It was sad to leave after such quality time.

Monday... The Wild Animal Park
Last year we had annual passes and even spent Peter's 2nd birthday there. It was fun to go back and enjoy the day with Jay, Jen and Tanner. Peter loved feeding the Big Horn Sheep lots of leaves.

Peter and Tanner had a blast together seeing all the animals, and again it was a good day.

Tuesday... San Diego
Another day with very little agenda. Breakfast at Con Pane, our favorite bakery. Quality time with friends. We even drove the route of the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon that we're both running June 6. When we got back to Pt. Loma, Peter had a blast playing in the big tree right outside of the house. He was well entertained for over an hour.

Wednesday... Sea World
We were pleasantly surprised. The Shamu show was quality. Peter loved the Beluga Whale, the Dolphins, and the Sharks. We got our annual passes for the next two years so are planning quite a few trips back.

Thursday... The Long Trip Home
A long day through So Cal traffic, but quality time in the car with my family. The entire trip was exactly what we needed, but we are sure glad to be home. It's good to have Peter back in his normal environment. For April and I, we have two month remaining to train for this 13.1 mile race on June 6. (Are we crazy?)

As Good Friday comes to a close, and Easter Sunday approaches, I must admit that we have an entirely different perspective on Christ's redemptive work on the cross, and the pain the Father must have gone through to sacrifice His one and only Son. We are so grateful for His sacrifice, and even more grateful for the redemptive work of the Resurrection. We truly find ourselves longing for heaven more than ever before. We long for redemption and perfect peace, and of course we long to see our little girl in her glorified body. And we long to see Jesus face to face and hear Him say, "Well done!"

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