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Monday, June 13, 2011

The 6 Miracles of my Family Vacation

My family vacation to California can be summed up in 6 distinct experiences.  

These experiences can be labeled as miracles or disaster?
You decide.

Miracle #1
The car was packed to the max, all the kiddos were buckled, the gas tank was full and the counselor and I started down I-10 in Phoenix and headed to California.  I had just turned on Gnomeo and Juliet for the kids on the portable DVD player when I slammed my foot on the brakes.
 “I forgot the Disneyland tickets.  They’re at home on the kitchen counter!”
We turned off the freeway and drove the 30 minutes back to the house.  I ran in and grabbed the tickets while all the kids came into the home and went to the bathroom again.
This is not a good way to start a six-hour car ride, but to my family’s credit, no one was upset about this mishap but me and that says a lot about the type of man I married and the type of children I have!

Miracle #2
When we arrived in Newport, I walked into our condo rental while the counselor worked on carrying in all the luggage.  
We’ve stayed at this place several years in a row, so before I even had the lights on the kids ran into the master bathroom with the huge whirlpool tub.  After a nice hot bath, I wrapped Reef up in a towel.  I was ready to put on his P.J’s, when I noticed him limping.  Reef, my adorable little three-year old has always been a little too thin, a little too pale and gets sick easier then my other kids. 
I notice he’s limping, not just a little, but like he’s crippled.  At first I think maybe he has a poky in his foot.
“Did you hurt your leg?” I asked, but he’s oblivious to the whole thing. He just wanted to jump on the beds like his older brothers.  I have him walk to the counselor and it looks awful, but he doesn’t appear to be in any pain.
The counselor was really upset about it, but growing up with 8 brothers and sisters I knew better then to panic.  Since Reef didn’t appear to be in any pain, we decided to give him a day or two for his body to work it out.  We also said a family prayer and had faith that whatever was wrong would correct itself.  The next day, we noticed a little improvement and by day three, he was walking normal.
I still don’t know what happened to him, but I recognize the miracle of him walking like a normal kid again.

Miracle #3
Sometimes I work more then I should.  I know, huge shocker, but before we went on vacation, I stayed up late nights working and trying to get things done before the trip.  On day two of our trip, I woke up in the middle of the night with a sore throat.  By morning, I could hardly turn my head.
Walking Pneumonia! 
I have had it so many times, I can diagnose myself.
By lunch, the infection had moved into my neck glands and ears.  If I didn’t get an antibiotic soon, I would be in desperate shape.
To stay healthy, I drink apple cider vinegar on a regular basis.  Last July, I had horrible symptoms of walking pneumonia.  I had gone to see my doctor and he’d prescribed me antibiotics, but I worked one more day with my own natural remedies.  I had caught my symptoms in time and I didn’t need the antibiotic he’d prescribed after all.
I remembered I still had that prescription in my purse.
I called my doctor and told him what was going on and that I needed an antibiotic immediately.  I also told him about the prescription in my purse
He told me I could still use the prescription from earlier, that it would be just what I needed to get better.  The counselor drove into Laguna and within 30 minutes, my prescription was filled.  I felt better by the next morning.

Miracle #4
We visited Balboa, Newport and Laguna Beach.  

They we're THAT excited!
Yes, we're THAT family!

The counselor did his thing, trying to capture all the fun on film!

While in Laguna, the boys and I were out knee-high in the ocean, just goofing off and jumping over waves.  
I noticed a woman on the shore motioning me toward her.  I walked over to her and she pointed out to the surf.  No more the 50 feet away, dolphins were playing, jumping, twisting, diving; being so beautiful I jumped up and down with joy.  For over an hour, my little family watched this dolphin family ride the waves and play.  I had never seen anything like it in my life.
My children know of my love for the sea and my desire to be part of the sea.
“Mom, go out there and swim with them,” Chandler said.
“Yeah, Mom.  It’s your dream to swim with dolphins,”  Payson said.
I stood comfortably on the sand and about chocked on their suggestion. 
“I can’t go swim with wild dolphins!” I said to them.  “That’s not what I have in mind at all.  I know I’ve always wanted to swim with dolphins, but I want to swim with trained dolphins in a closed off area with life guards and instructors.”
Winona would do it,” Chandler said, referring to the main character in my YA book, Colors of the Sea.
Aren’t kids great when they're honest!  
My kids couldn’t believe I wouldn’t go out there.  And I realized I’m somewhat of a hypocrite because I’ve always wanted to swim with the dolphins and my children know this, but there was no way I was going out in the ocean to swim with those dolphins.  But I sure loved watching them.

Miracle #5
On day six of our trip, we drove to Dana Point to visit a tide pool full of starfish, hermit crabs and other little beautiful creatures.  

We spent a couple of hours scavenging around the beach and walked back to our car parked in an underground pay-by-the-hour parking garage.  The kids jumped in the car and I buckled the babies when I heard the counselor try to start the car.
“I think the battery’s dead,” he said.
Neither he nor I are handy around a dead car, so I asked a few people in the parking garage if anyone had jumper cables.
“Why don’t you ask at the hotel up the street,” a man suggested.
So, I walk about ¼ mile up Pacific Coast Highway to the Montage Hotel.  

This place was so glam, I felt like a member of the Beverly Hillbillies that didn't quite fit in.  I did my best to flatten my wet messy beach hair behind my ears and asked concierge if anyone could help up jumpstart a car down the street that was stuck in a parking garage.
I made it clear I was not a guest of the hotel and the lady working concierge made it clear she would do everything she could to help me.  Don’t you just love nice people!
She radioed her maintenance guy and said he would meet me in the garage after he went to pick up some jumper cables from the local mechanic. 
So, how did God turn this disaster into a miracle? 
He sent a maintenance man in a silver Mercedes that looked like Enrique Iglesias.   
I just had to post this picture of Enrigue because this guy was really that good looking!  Mr. Gorgeous jumped our car (and my heart) and followed us to insure we arrived safely at the mechanics.  A new battery, including labor was $100.00.
How did we pay for it?
The counselor and I had toured a timeshare in Newport and were given $100.00 Visa gift card for attending.
Battery and labor paid for in full!

Miracle #6
After a few days at the beach, we went to Disneyland.  That morning, baby princess woke up with a fever, but with no other symptoms.  Eden has had such a difficult time teething and I had a feeling that’s what she was dealing with.  So, my little one-year old spent three days at Disneyland on baby Motrin.  Every morning, that fever was back, but she was such a trooper.  I’ve never seen somebody have so much fun while trying to fight off a teething fever. 

Although, she did have her moments.

So, what do you think?
 Miracles or disasters?

I know, many of them were disasters, but when God answers prayers in silver Mercedes and with a package of baby Motrin, then I know He’s there taking care of me.
I call them miracles because everything worked out, God answered my prayers and I saw dolphins swimming in the ocean.
And even now when I think about, there is no way I would’ve gone out there and swam with that beautiful dolphin family.
It was nice to watch a miracle happen while standing with my feet planted firmly in the warm white sand.


  1. You need to come to Australia and go swimming at Monkey Mia with the wild dolphins.

    My mum once patted a wild dolphin that came up to her, here in Darwin when she was fishing. I see them all the time but none has ever come up to me. And neither has a saltwater crocodile thank goodness.

    My partner blogger; The Rambling Expat had a close call with a salty 4 wks ago, he came home really shook up.

    I also see Dugongs sometimes - now that I would like to swim with and pat. I think they are beautiful.

  2. Thank you for sharing. Definately miracles. Your attitude changes a situation. Who is to say that the original delay was to protect you down the road from an accident on your way out. Your battery could have died out in the desert...and on and on. What satan meant for evil, God turned to good.

  3. What an amazing trip! I really enjoyed reading all about it on here Laura. I sure do miss you... your family is beautiful ;) (I'm back in Arizona now, living at my Dad's house. Just returned Thurs June 2nd) ~Christy Call

  4. Wow! Thanks for sharing! Love your posts!

  5. Found your blog! Yay! It was so fun to meet you the other day. I would love to get the boys together soon. Sorry last week didn't work out, the day got crazy. Great blog and great post :)

  6. Your positive attitude made this trip a wonderful experience for you and your family. I think the kids had the time of their lives, especially when you were in Dana Point and Laguna Beach. I would also want to tell you that I was impressed at the way you handled mishaps in this trip. It’s quite challenging to deal with a broken car or with your child getting sick while you’re in Disneyland. Thanks for sharing your experience with us, Laura!