A wordy post

We're in the place where time stands still. I think that best describes Monterey Bay. Sure, things get updated, new stores come in and old ones {occasionally} go out of business. But for the most part, this place has so much of the "this is how it was when I was little!" spots and places that make me go from thirty-one to eight years old in a matter of seconds. The look, the smells, the familiarity of it all is crazy. I was never the kid that hated hearing "when I was little" stories from my parents. I always loved when they'd take us to places they went as kids. To see their old schools, the homes they grew up in, parks they played at, restaurants they loved, etc... it never annoyed me. Its another life, another time. Its me connecting with them when they were my age. It always seemed so weird to think of my parents as kids. But it was in those "when we were young" moments I realized they actually DID understand more of my day-to-day life than I gave them credit for.  
So our kids, whether they like it or not, have been hearing all of Mommies "when I was your age!" stories for the past few days, and so far, they appear to actually enjoy hearing them. I'll tell them those stories now, before they annoy them ;-) 

loved being a kid. And I know I've said that more than once on this blog, so its no surprise to any of you. I hated letting go of my childhood. Played dolls and dress-ups until I was at least 14, using my younger siblings as an excuse to get away with it. 
I loved make believe, I loved kid's movies, books, and the carefree-very little responsibility days-seeing life through the eyes of a child, life. I love that my parents encouraged me to enjoy my childhood. They didn't make fun when I acted young when I was entering my teens. They often told me "enjoy it, because it will be gone before you know it" {SO true!} 
I get a big thrill watching my kids live out their childhood and its helped me to cut loose and lighten up in ways I never thought I would. 
I'd say my biggest "mommy issue" these days is the worry and anxiety {are those the same things?!} over the "what ifs" and reminding myself on a daily basis that, while its my job and responsibility to watch over and train up my kids, God is ultimately in control. He watches over them better than I ever could. His angels protect them on a minute-by-minute basis. Not sure I gave much thought to angels until I had kids ;-) 

We've only been in Monterey for 24 hours {when I wrote this on Tuesday night} and I'm already feeling like I could get used to living on vacation pretty much forever, if I had to. 
We're staying with our good friends Brian and Shanna, who will soon be renamed the best hosts EVAR... in the world. Jason and I are learning a lot about hospitality while we stay with them! 
*Lots of neat things to help make your guest feel welcome and at home
*ways to avoid making someone feel like they're intruding 
*planning ahead so that you're not planning or prepping while you're guest are in your home. 
We were given full rein of the master suit {they use it as a guest bedroom/bathroom} where all 5 of us fit quit comfortably. Its the first time since our honeymoon that Jase and I have used a king sized bed and Kara has been taking full advantage of it :) She still wishes we'd let her sleep with us at night, but since she flails about and I lay in fear all night of getting a black eye, we tell her "sorry, our bed is too small" and once she falls asleep, we put her back in her bed. She walked into the room we're staying in here, saw the size of the bed and announced "Oh! Its big enough for ME too!" ...Crud. 
Sure enough, around 2am she came up to my side and asked "Can I sleep wif you guys, Mommy?" and since I can never say no, I don't even try. Ended up working out great! 
Even though we don't care for the king size, that just might have swayed me.  
The bathroom had travel sized lotions, shampoos, conditioners, toothpaste, Q-tips, etc... in little baskets {just like at a hotel!} towels for each of us were stacked on the tub, new bath toys and body paints for the bath were sitting out for the kids to enjoy, along with bubble bath. Little snacks were in our room and their kids even brought in some of their toys for our kids to enjoy while they're in here. They brought cars in for Ethan, since he's a boy :) 
How cute is that?!
We're taking away some great ideas from this visit. Just some realistic, simple and kind ways to help us be better hosts. You do what you can do for sure... I know not everyone has a master suit to let people use {when we stayed with Brian and Shanna during this visit, they lived in a tiny 2 bedroom, 1 bath home and we felt just as cared for} so it was just some creative and really thoughtful, intentional things they do that have given us inspiration for our future guests :) 

Time with my parents is winding down, but has been pretty awesome thus far. After they leave, we'll be meeting up with J's family and spending the rest of the week/end with them here. We haven't seen his parents since November, so we're pretty excited about our time with them! I'm hoping to bring the kids out to see the little lighthouse in Pacific Grove and maybe even enjoy a day in that city. Our last family vacation {which was so long ago, it was before I was even pregnant with Kara!} was spent at a beach house in Pacific Grove and Ethan keeps asking to go drive by that house, so hopefully we'll do that as well. 
Its a long time to be away and we sure to miss our home back in Washington, but we're thoroughly enjoying this time away as a family, with extended family and friends.  

Pictures and follow-up posts coming soon!

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