Our Weekend

It has been such a busy week that I haven’t found time to post pictures or a recap of our little weekend getaway.  On Friday last, all six of us drove to Austin where we dropped the four children with my parents for the weekend. Nana and Grandpa have been encouraging us for some time now to take a little break and let them handle the children for a night or two so Jay and I can just have some time off.  Which is really nice of them, considering all the work our four kids are!! and so we happily waved goodbye and headed off to nearby Hill Country to stay in a lovely little inn.

It was a great place and we picked it with relaxation and good food in mind. The inn

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is set on 100 acres, with trails aplenty for exploring, and beautiful views of the Texas country.

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They serve a big breakfast as well as supper on the premises, (here I am in the middle of the wonderful dining room):

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so if you just want to kick back and read, take a walk, enjoy a good meal, and be lazy for a day or two, it is a perfect place. The room are really nice as well, with cozy beds (here is where Jay slept),

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beautiful antiques, and exquisitely appointed bathrooms. Which, as it turned out, was truly a high point for me, as I spent much of our “getaway” weekend sadly, quite sick. And in the company of not my handsome husband whom I had dreamed of spending so much quality time with, but instead, that lovely bathroom, where I slept:

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Ok, that is a joke, but not too far from the truth!

I knew my tummy was not happy before we got to our inn, but had hoped and prayed it was a temporary state of affairs. Sadly, it was not. And given the menu for our meals was pre-done, we really couldn’t request the lighter, gentler fare I needed. And so at each meal I tried bravely to enjoy the glorious food set in front of me, and with each passing hour, my stomach got angrier and angrier at me for not listening to its cries of distress.  Oh the misery!

You must know, dear reader, how I struggled with frustration over the weekend.  And even felt a bit peeved with God, who of course had the ability to remove my ailment but who despite my pleas for a healthy stomach, appeared to answer “no”.  I kept reminding him (you know, just in case for a moment there He, um, forgot?) that Jay and I get very little “alone” time and couldn’t He maybe save this rotten virus for another day, and maybe allow us to get our money’s worth out of this wonderful weekend we had been planning for so long? Was that really so much to ask? Hmmm?

And on Saturday, I actually did have a few hours where I felt pretty good: we had a nice (and even educational) outing to a nearby ranch that produces olive oil and also houses a winery on its premises. We enjoyed a light lunch afterward

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at a charming little restaurant which you must visit if you are ever near Wimberly, called The Leaning Pear.  The young owners (who are Aggies!), as well as their staff are lovely people, and the food is delicious and very fresh. We saw several waitresses hoof it out to the herb garden just behind the restaurant to cut fresh basil, etc for the food as it was being prepared. Oh how I do digress…

The point of all of this is that throughout the weekend, as I over and over prayed for relief from my woes, the verse I kept remembering was in Corinthians where poor Paul is pleading for the Lord to remove a “thorn” that ails him and God doesn’t take it away. Nor does He really give him any huge bolt of lightening regarding why is he suffering, or what huge purpose it might serve. God just gently tells him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

And I was reminded, as horrible as I felt, that God’s grace is felt over and over, everyday in my life, the good days, and the bad days. That it was a blessing to even be able to go away and take a break, that if I had to be sick, I was in a restful, peaceful place with a man who loves me dearly, and most of all, in the care of a good and loving God.  And while my tummy still hurt, I was thankful for that reassurance.

On Sunday we called home to my doctor on our way back to pick up our children. Dr. F put me on a liquid diet to rest my insides, and after a few days of very little food, things are much, much better.

A big thank-you is in order to my folks, who took stunningly great care of our progeny all weekend, and really enjoyed it and even asked us to bring them back soon when I am feeling better for another go at this weekend getaway thing. Thanks, Mom and Dad — You guys did great. And yes, sure, we’ll bring them back.

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Conversation with Nicolas

Nicolas: Momma, can I please go finish my computer game that I started earlier?

Mom: I don’t know, Nicolas, I think you have played enough computer already today.

Nicolas: Oh please, Momma, I just want to finish my game!

Mom: Honey, it isn’t actually good for your brain and your body to play too much on the computer.

Nicolas: But Mom, it’s helping my brain, really it is! The game is teaching me how to “right-click”!!

Hmmmm.

A Weekend of Wise-dom

I am just back from a trip to College Station: several friends and I traveled this weekend to attend a conference where Susan Wise Bauer was the keynote speaker. I went mostly thinking it would be a fun road trip “with the girls” and hoped to leave feeling more inspired as we prepare to embark on this home school journey.  And well, in reality, I have returned home feeling so blessed to have been able to sit under this woman’s teaching and instruction for even a few hours. As we said goodbye to each other at the end of our weekend, I gratefully hugged the necks of all my friends who really were the reason I ended up making the trip – had it not been for their enthusiasm I would never have gone.  (Had it not been for Jay’s delightful management of the household in my absence, I also would not have gone, so thanks, Honey for all you did to make this trip possible!)

While I won’t take the time now to elaborate on what I learned, suffice to say I would encourage anyone who has an opportunity to hear Susan speak to run, don’t walk!! to get in line for a ticket.  The wisdom she brings to the world of Classical Home Schooling is well worth your time and effort to go hear her.  Not only did she speak throughout the day on a variety of very pertinent topics, but she spent lots of time in between talks answering our granular questions about this and that curriculum, listening to our inquiries regarding our own particular situations with our children and what we are trying to accomplish this year, and offering thoughtful advice to help us navigate these home schooling waters with our own families.

You can read more about Susan Wise Bauer, as well as visit her blog at her website.

What a great weekend!!

Because every scurvy pirate needs a backpack…

to store his pirate booty in.

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Aaarrrrrrr, Matey!!

Thumbs Up!

Our dog Lucy is sick. So sick that she lost the contents of her stomach three times yesterday, in a most violent fashion.  Sadly the first episode took place on one of our beautiful new wool rugs. I had just sat down for a minute’s rest in our front room, and of course my faithful doggie, needing to always be as close to me as she can, laid down predictably at my feet. A minute later, there was a sickening sound, and then a sickening scene all over my pretty, pretty rug. Lucy was quickly banished to the backyard to continue getting ill (don’t worry, I am much more nurturing with my human children when they are tossing their cookies!) and I frantically called my “neatnick, knows how to clean anything, and I mean anything” of a sister in law, explained my woe to her and got her advice.

Which was “Act immediately, do not wait for a stain to set! Scoop up anything you can first, and then blot, blot, blot. Then spray a solution of water mixed with vinegar (I used 1 part vinegar to two parts water) over the area, blot, blot, blot. And REPEAT!” Wow, she’s like a professional at this.

And you know what? It worked. Amazing considering the nastiness of the mess – and since the subject matter in this blog entry is already so low,  it surely won’t hurt things to clarify that this was by far the messiest and most disgusting dog vomit I’ve encountered, and believe me, I’ve encountered a fair amount! I still cannot believe the rug came through such yuck unscathed. But next time we have an issue (and you know in this house there will be many, many next times!) I will know what to do. Thank you Jamison – you are my hero!

Here are my two littlest guys happily laying on the now-clean rug just to show you how nice it looks.

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Cousin Camp 2008

First, I have to take my hat off to my talented sister in law, Jamison who has already done a bang-up job covering the topic of Cousin Camp. I will not even attempt to top her photo essay of the week. See it here.

But I am happy to jump in with a few photos of my own, and say in my own humble way that we really had a great time last week down in Austin with Nana and Grandpa. Katie was the official weekend photographer with her snazzy new SLR

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Though the rest of made noble efforts to keep up with her too.

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Here are the youngest campers in the group, or at least most of them:

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We visited the lake and park nearby

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and learned (sort of) how to skip stones.

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We ate

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and ate

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a LOT!

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and then ate some more since we had a couple of birthday parties

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for two of the campers

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(thanks, Nana for the fine cakes!)

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Everyone went to see fireworks, which I think was one of the best parts of the whole week!

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There was lots of kissing

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and

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hugging

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(what can I say, we’re an affectionate bunch!)

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And more than a little

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craziness.

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There was even wild dancing

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with Uncle Andrew.

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and Monkey, oops I mean Unkey Jay!!

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But it was mostly great just

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being

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together.

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In fact it was such a great week that Jamison and I were despondent over having to leave.

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Thanks again to Nana and Grandpa for their gracious hostessing and hard work to make it a great week for all of us! We can’t wait to come back soon!

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Listening to…

…beautiful music: my 9 year old playing the piano, my 6 year old accompanying her with the guitar, and the both of them plus my two year old all singing “Nothing But the Blood”.  Priceless!

Happy 6th Birthday….

to our little Aqua-Man!!

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