"We are ALWAYS going somewhere!" is what Kayla said as we packed suitcases and backpacks one more time this week. The suitcases have been out since early May and have indeed been in some state of packed, unpacked, or in between since then. It has been a chaotic summer, and this week was no less full than the others ~ especially since it included Kayla's 11th birthday AND we would be on the road.
Tuesday, Robert and I returned from a trip to Boston and a dinner there with other church planters and pastors. The very next day, we loaded up and headed to southern Connecticut for a 16th birthday party for one of my Classical Conversations students, Megan. We decided to stay overnight with our friends Shaun and Deshni in Norwich, CT, since we had been invited to Mystic, CT for Thursday by a family from our church. Shaun and Deshni are also church planters, so it was fun to see their place and hear their stories. Deshni made a big breakfast and even had a birthday card and shopping money for Kayla yesterday, the morning of her birthday. I supplied the gluten free cinnamon rolls, and brought along the other gifts ~ the main one being displayed on her feet in the above photo!
Yep, she's had her eye on those shoes for weeks!
She also got more spending money for a shopping trip with friends coming up tomorrow afternoon and she's now in a dilemma over how she will spend it ~ clothes or a Nintendo DS? Tough decisions!
We said goodbye to Shaun and Deshni Wednesday morning and headed to Mystic, CT (Actually, Mason's Island) which is only about half an hour away. After some meandering, and a quick peek at the Mystic Seaport area, we arrived at the beach house of some friends from church. They had urged us to come this week, as next week a family from Manhattan arrives to rent the place for a month. I'm so glad we were able to take them up on it ~ truly a wonderful experience!
First up was lunch on the sunny deck, and then a kayaking trip! The boys each had their own; Kayla and I shared. We paddled all over ~ getting to see lots of different boats anchored in a beautiful area where Long Island Sound, Fishers Island Sound, and Block Island Sound all sort of meet together.
After kayaking and a birthday ice cream outing, we went swimming around the dock. We were a bit unnerved by the fact that it is the season for various types of jellyfish in the area!
Our friend, Jennifer, simply explained that all that was needed was someone to stand watch on the dock while others were swimming. Admittedly, I was skeptical until I actually saw one of the jellyfish. They were easy to spot, fairly slow moving, and the water was clear. Jennifer stood watch while Cooper and I braved the waters ~ so cool and refreshing, but still a little scary. We did get up enough courage to jump of the end of the dock a few times, though. By the end of the day, everyone but Kory had taken a dip. He opted for fishing and more kayaking. (Can't really blame him!) At high tide, we got to see lots of jellyfish, and Cooper and Kayla even began catching the non-stinging clear ones! They were like little clear globs of Jell-o.
We stayed until nearly 9pm ~ had one more meal on the deck, watched the sunset, and returned to the dock to look for more jellyfish, and observe the rising tide level. I love how the seaside provides endless entertainment for my kids. They never tire of looking for new creatures, swimming, gathering rocks and shells, watching the beautiful boats, and staring at the surf or sunset.
And though I was feeling a bit guilty for not being home on Kayla's special day, it turned out to be quite special anyway! Cinnamon Rolls, pink and black Converse high tops, shopping money, the ocean, ice cream, and jellyfish ~ who could ask for anything more?
And I love this picture of my sweet 11 year old girl! Her Aunt Melissa (my sis) took it back in January, and it is one of my favorites.
Happy Birthday to Kayla who is such a gift from the Lord to our family!