This past September, the church planting network that helped start our church also helped launch a church in Miami, and the lead pastor invited Jordan down to preach and share his story with their new and growing community. Since Jordan also had a training in Key Largo later that week, we decided to make a trip of it, and Jameson and I tagged along.
The church meets in a hotel in the Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami. Neither of us had ever explored that part of the city, so we had a great time walking around, enjoying some great food, and taking in the harbor views.After checking in, our first stop for lunch was GreenStreet Cafe, which we were told was a local favorite, and it was easy to see why. The outdoor seating is the perfect spot for people watching (and car watching, since this is Miami we’re talking about). We both had orders of french toast — mine, coconut, and Jordan’s, nutella — and as a self-proclaimed french toast connoisseur, both were delicious. As we stuffed our faces, Jameson had a pretty great time hanging in his high chair.
We also had a great coffee and the most delicious pastelito at a cafe called Panther Coffee. Jordan got the pastelito for himself, but after I ate about half of it (“can I have a bite?” got way out of hand), we ordered a second.From our hotel room balcony, we had fantastic views of the harbor and downtown Miami. As much as I love NYC and our apartment, I really appreciate when we visit places that have an outdoor space — especially now that we have Jameson. Sometimes the fresh air is just what he needs to mellow out.We had a free day before Jordan’s training in Key Largo, so we decided to spend a night in South Beach. We found a great last-minute rate at the Royal Palms South Beach using hotels.com. They’d gone through a modern renovation in the last few years, and we were upgraded to an ocean view room. As you can see below, the bed was Jameson-approved.For breakfast in Miami Beach, we made an early morning stop at a place called O’ My Buns. The concept behind the place is pretty unique, and we’re always happy to try something we can’t get in New York. They serve customizable coffee buns that originated in Asia. And they. are. good. Do yourself a favor and visit if you’re ever in Miami.
We were excited in be in South Beach so we could facilitate two important introductions: 1) for my brother to meet his first and only nephew and 2) for Jameson to get acquainted with the beach and ocean. Jordan was so excited, he decided to dougie as we walked down the strip. With a baby strapped to his chest. And he still holds onto the dream of being the “cool dad.” [insert wide-eyed, hard blinking emoticon here].
The first introduction was a great success. On average, I get to see my brother about once per year, so the time together is always really special to us. Jordan said I was like a kid in a candy store, which is pretty accurate. You ever have those moments where you’re listening to yourself talk 800 miles-per-minute, and yet you can’t figure out how to stop yourself? Yeah, that was me. It was great to catch up on life, and he loved meeting Jameson.Now the second introduction was not so successful. Like the eager parents we are, we got Jameson all dressed up in his swim outfit, donning his nautical hat, and slathered down with sunscreen that has a ridiculously excessive amount of SPF.
We walked down to the ocean and dropped Jameson’s little toes into the water.
Instant tears. We thought a compromise would be to place his little toes in the soft sand.
Additional tears. Hmmm. Not what we planned.
After he recovered, we settled for a few minutes in a baby pool, but Jameson wouldn’t relax unless I cradled him in my arms — the whole time giving me this look that said, “Lady, don’t get creative. Don’t play with me.” Ha!At least he looked adorable.
That afternoon, we packed up to head to Key Largo, which I’ll write about in a separate post. This first leg of our trip to Florida was a sweet time. Catching up with church planting friends is always nice, as we get to talk about the unique challenges that go along with this sometimes crazy ride and encourage each other in it all. As the wife of a church planter, I think there’s a tendency to feel pressure to be everything to everyone — the ultimate wife, the mom giving her kids a montessori-level education at home, the friend who remembers every birthday, the woman who cooks an amazing meal for guests, the person who bakes a fancy dessert and delivers it to someone in bereavement. Come to think of it — non-church planting wives likely feel this pressure too. So one of the best parts of the trip was having candid conversations about how important it is to set boundaries and recognize our limitations.
And time with my brother was really special. I suppose ‘family’ means different things to different people, and I certainly can’t say I grew up in a family that’s particularly tight-knit or could be used as anyone’s model. But still, there’s this inexplicable thing for me when it comes to being with my blood relatives. It fills me up in a special kind of way.