Saturday, July 3, 2010

My Orlando Reflections....

The past couple of weeks have been psycho. Seriously nuts. I have lots of pics and posts to prove it. However, I wanted to do this post first (mainly b/c I didn't want to forget). I took a day before we left Orlando and had some "reflection, processing, whatever-you-want-to-call-it time". It was good for me. I did some journaling (ummmm, yes, the first time I had journaled in a LONG time :). The two years we spent there were some of the hardest of my life....attributed to many different factors. I AM so thankful that we were able to go there and Shane was able to get his seminary degree. SO very thankful. The Lord definitely sustained us in every way, every single day. There were many days that I didn't think I was going to make it....but I His grace alone. I learned a ton...mainly about myself....and things I wouldn't have learned if we had not been down there. So, I am thankful. I also made a list of things I would miss. I took pics of almost all of them. I also thought of a few things I WILL NOT miss. I will start with those :)

Lord willing, we will NEVER live in a gated community again. NEVER. It definitely drove me crazy. I hated having to punch in a code every single time I entered the neighborhood. I also despise Home Owner's Associations. I am convinced they are just made up of people that have control issues and want to drive around with magnifying glasses and find things they can use to fine you. At least this was our experience with our first (and ONLY) home owner's association :)

The other thing I will NOT miss is all the parking codes in the neighborhood. We had cars towed from in front of our house 4 times in the two years we were there. One of those days was on Thanksgiving Day. Yes, that is correct. You can also thank the lovely home owner's association for these ridiculous rules. I guess no one in the neighborhood ever has anyone come to visit them and actually STAY OVERNIGHT and need to park their car somewhere?? Thank you HMO. We were not allowed to park in front of our OWN house overnight. If you did, the "snatch-and-grab" truck (yes, that is what it was really called b/c they would come between midnight and 6am to tow your car without any warning so that you could not protest it) would come tow your car a zillion (yes, slight exaggeration, but you get the point) miles away for you to then find another car to take you to go get it and pay a large amount of cash to get your car out. OK, I will stop now. I have made my case. Now that we are back in Mobile, I feel like parking my car on the street just because I know it WON'T get towed (stolen, maybe, but at least not towed!)

The next few pics only apply to the last few months we were there. We sold all of our furniture before we moved (actually I put it all on craigslist a few months before we left and it all sold very quickly....thus leaving us "furniture-less" for a few months...thus the following "what I (but ever more so what Shane) won't miss....

having to put the girls chairs on the floor for every meal since we didn' t have a table/chairs. This allowed them "scoot" their chairs all over the place thus driving us both insane :)

Many times not having a table resulted in them sitting in Shane's lap while he was trying to eat. Not fun times for daddy :)

We won't miss having dinner guests over and having to eat using lawn chairs and T.V. trays. Our friends, Roy and Becky, didn't seem to mind :)

Won't miss eating on the floor....

OK, I'm done with the "what I won't miss" on to "what I will miss"....

1. The amazing splash pads. The girls loved them. I loved them.

2. Our photographer, Emily Anderson. She is amazing and so are her pictures.
Here are a few reminders...

3. Shane's classmates. Of course, he got to be way closer friends with them than I did, but they were all so wonderful and I am so thankful to have gotten to know them.

4. Amaya Papaya. The indoor play place that I took the girls to on occasion. Fantastic idea. Loved it.

5. Sidewalks. I know this is random, but it's true. I will miss sidewalks. They were EVERYWHERE down there. You could run or bike anywhere b/c there were sidewalks. Not so much here in Mobile...atleast where we live.

6. Publix. I love Publix. I know that there is a Publix in Fairhope, but that is 45 minutes away! I will miss having a Publix on every corner.

And these carts at Publix are the best invention ever. They need to have these at EVERY grocery store in America!

7. IKEA. Oh, how I love thee! This is the most amazing store on the planet. I want everything in it. (maybe it's a good thing that there isn't one remotely close to Mobile :)

8. My twinsie friends. I didn't make very many friends during our time in Orlando, but I am so thankful for the few that the Lord did give me. These are my 3 friends that also have twins. We all went to the same church (isn't that crazy? and the church isn't very big either). We got together every week for playgroup. I don't think I would have made it if the Lord hadn't brought them into my life. Sarah, Julie, and Ashley....miss you so much!!

Our twinsies (Julie's, Ashley's and mine) all playing together....this makes me sad...the girls ask for their "fwends" all the time :(

The girls with Sarah's precious twinsies :)

9. My other two children :). We really all did have four kiddos for the last two years. They all totally thought we were one big family...why wouldn't they?? They girls really miss their brother and sister. It is going to be so weird not watching Jayden and Journey grow up in front of us! This is totally one of my favorite pics of all four kiddos....

10. Michi and Mamie...that's what the girls call Demetrius and Amy. Too cute. I remember several years ago being over at D and Amy's house eating dinner and talking about how we should all go to seminary in Orlando and live together. Wow. I can't believe it actually happened and is already over. That's crazy. Oviedo Party of 8!!! Whoop Whoop! Miss you guys!

11. Our GINORMOUS house. (remember, not the neighborhood...just the house :) Atleast it is ginormous to us...especially now that we are back in our not-so-ginormous house in Mobile. Don't get me wrong...I LOVE our house here, but I am missing all the extra space just a tiny bit!!

12. The Running/Biking trail that goes for miles and miles and miles. This is where Stacey and I trained for the half-marathon. It was right across the street from our neighborhood.

13. The Oviedo YMCA. This was my best friend while we were there. No joke. I wouldn't have made it without the Y. If the girls were not sick...we were there EVERY SINGLE day. I loved it. The girls loved it. It was just a great place. I miss you Spin class...more than words can say... :)

The AMAZING girls at the YMCA childcare center. The girls LOVED them. And they loved the girls. Mrs. Kristine wasn't able to be in the picture. That was the girls tumble teacher. I kind of think they would have chosen her to be their mommy b/c they were totally obsessed with her!

14. The Oviedo Chick-Fil-A. It was our second home. They all new us by name. That's all that needs to be said :)

15. Dr. Coffield. He was one of Shane' professors and also who I went to see every week for counseling. Amazing man. Miss him so much.

That about does it on the things I will miss. It was a crazy two years. So thankful for it. And so thankful that it's over at the same time!!