Guess What We Did This Weekend?!

We carved pumpkins.

We carved pumpkins.

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Monkey completely designed and carved her own this year!

Monkey completely designed and carved her own this year!

We love how they turned out.

We love how they turned out.

We hung our new quilt, made by the Amazing April.

We hung our new quilt, made by the Amazing April.

And it looks awesome!

And it looks awesome!

Monkey's doll and dog went on a forage through the woods...they had an awesome time.

Monkey’s doll and dog went on a forage through the woods…they had an awesome time.

Went on a hike with friends...

Went on a hike with friends…

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Yessa found this awesome trash on the hike...

Yessa found this awesome trash on the hike…

Then we went out for pizza and fro yo. Kids thought that was awesome!

Then we went out for pizza and fro yo. Kids thought that was awesome!

We went on a hunt for the coffee bar. No success yet.

We went on a hunt for the coffee bar. No success yet.

I cut the top off these two shrubs that were hiding the front of the house.

I cut the top off these two shrubs that were hiding the front of the house.

I would say they look awesome, but they look pretty goofy.

I would say they look awesome, but they look pretty goofy.

And finally, the children and I built a fire pit!

It really is awesome!

It really is awesome!

For the purposes of my future self, I have edited any parts of the weekend that were not awesome: Zachary getting the schucks from too many grains, the bickering that occurred during the family folding party, and learning that the water spout on our fridge is hooked up to the hot water line.

But, despite all those difficulties, we watched “Rise of the Guardians” for Family Movie Night (Monkey bowed out of this one. She suspected too much emotional upheaval for her comfort level. I think she’ll like it, though. Hint, hint, Monkey!), and that was really good. And in general, we had another splendid weekend spending time with Buds. Cousins stopped by two different times, too, which is always a treat.

On to another week!

Time in Virginia

We had a wonderful, fun-filled, busy 5 days in The Commonwealth. We left our driveway at 9:30 a.m. on a Friday (Exactly 7 days ago, as I write this.), and hit Kelly and Paula’s driveway around midnight. The drive was way too long, but everyone did a good job. When you stop for all three meals, and a couple breaks, that adds up.

Saturday morning, thanks to having made a date with Tania, we walked into CrossFit Reston (CFR) at 8:15 a.m., and were immediately enveloped by clapping, hugs, smiles, and slaps on the back.

For me, that was the beginning of an incredibly emotional, yet healing weekend.

How do I describe being welcomed back with so much warmth and love by the two communities it was so hard to leave? I was laughing at CFR because there were people clapping for us that I know had no idea who we were. But, oh, the joy, of all the faces we did know and cherish.

Great workout there, then brunch with Tania, filled with laughter and stories.

Now that a couple weeks have passed since our trip, I can’t remember the specifics. The pictures will fill in the blanks.

We dropped Monkey off at a best buddie’s house on Saturday, and didn’t see her again until Monday. She had a fantastic time, and those friends are coming to see us in November, so it helped to not make leaving as hard as it would otherwise have been.

While Monkey was off on her sleepover, the rest of our two families went to church on Sunday. My heart filled up with joy, and overflowed out my eyeballs. Sarah Jebian sang, and that was it for holding it together. I loved being back at UUCF. People were so loving and kind and so happy to see us, and it felt so safe and snuggled to be there.

Then we went out for lunch with K and P and the girls, so treat, after treat, after treat.

Sunday night was the Massadoah 30th Anniversary Dinner. To laugh and visit and learn more Massadoah history with this amazing group of people…we are so incredibly blessed.

A day of fun on Monday with our surrogate Virginia family…Clemijontri Park.

Buds flew to Atlanta on Tuesday. The kids and I toured potential new office spaces with a co-worker, then we were up and out on Wednesday morning.

Time went so quickly, but it was oh, so good to be there.

Over the rainbow

Over the rainbow

Picnic.

Picnic.

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Beautiful day in the sun.

Beautiful day in the sun.

Buddies

Buddies

Just a swingin'.

Just a swingin’.

Creating...

Creating…

More creating...

More creating…

A final snuggle on our last night.

A final snuggle on our last night.

The kids and I stopped at Massadoah for a quick visit on our trip home. It was so good to be there, too.

The new steps are fantastic!

The new steps are fantastic!

The beloved Minidoah

The beloved Minidoah

Just a swingin'.

Just a swingin’.

We were glad to be settled back at the new home, but was so nice to be reminded of the loved ones we still have at the old home.

Gentry Farm

The children and I had a magical morning at Gentry Farm. It was an early morning decision to go, and though The Buster was in the midst of reading Harry Potter #4, and didn’t really want to go, once we assured him he could just read while we were there, everyone was very willing to climb in the car.

Buddie’s family lore tells of a long-ago trip to Ireland where he was entranced by Trilogy, and could seldom be encouraged to look up from his book to witness the splendor all around him. The Buster is very much his father’s son.

Our day in pictures, though the pictures don’t give the true feel of the perfect, crisp Fall weather. It was a magnificent day.

Tried to get a cute Fall picture.

Tried to get a cute Fall picture.

It was a beautifully sunny day.

It was a beautifully sunny day.

I had the laughter-filled job of talking about the moon on the door.

I had the laughter-filled job of talking about the moon on the door.

"No, Buster, you can't sit here to read."

“No, Buster, you can’t sit here to read.”

The first reading location

The first reading location

Tree swings were a huge hit!

Tree swings were a huge hit!

Yessa liked climbing through the spider web.

Yessa liked climbing through the spider web.

Love this...

Love this…

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The second spot we parked him in.

The second spot we parked him in.

The pumpkin that wants to be a watermelon.

The pumpkin that wants to be a watermelon.

Lots of animals to visit.

Lots of animals to visit.

The egg cycle

The egg cycle

Love that euphemism...

Love that euphemism…

Give me a place to sit, and I can read my book.

Give me a place to sit, and I can read my book.

The day warmed up, and Red got hot.

The day warmed up, and Red got hot.

Waiting for the hayrack ride to begin.

Waiting for the hayrack ride to begin.

6th generation Farmer Gentry

6th generation Farmer Gentry

The swing and placement seemed applicable to our future fire pit.

The swing and placement seemed applicable to our future fire pit.

The original log cabin

The original log cabin

We loved the hayrack ride.

We loved the hayrack ride.

The hay bale maze was fun.

The hay bale maze was fun.

The tallest of them all.

The tallest of them all.

We'll compare next year.

We’ll compare next year.

Getting taller.

Getting taller.

Corn and wheat...the farmer's version of the beach.

Corn and wheat…the farmer’s version of the beach.

He stopped reading long enough to pick a pumpkin.

He stopped reading long enough to pick a pumpkin.

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Sweet baby pumpkins

Sweet baby pumpkins

A passel of pumpkins

A passel of pumpkins

This was a day I would bottle up to open later so it could be enjoyed again and again.

Yessa Did It!

A much longer post may follow about my learning to balance being a supportive parent, while making sure that our children have room to stretch, and grow, and fail…and succeed.

For now, I simply want to record the fantastic effort by Yessa to pass the swimming test at The Y.

Encouraged with firm, kind support by Ms. Chelsie, she jumped into the deep end, motored her way down the pool, and came out victorious. She’d been thinking and talking about it for days. She had many questions for me in the quiet of bedtime snuggles.

“Do I have to keep my head under the whole time?”
“Can I only swim freestyle?”
“What if I don’t want to do it?”

She told me afterward, “I just kept saying to myself, ‘you can do it, you can do it!'”

Such a well-earned victory.

The Little Fish and her green wristband of success.

The Little Fish and her green wristband of success.

And then she slid down the slide on the same day!

The pink blur is the girlie.

The pink blur is the girlie.

Amazing!

Nashville Note

I’ve spent time with approximately 6 adult Nashville residents that were non-work related people. These are six people I’ve spent enough time with to learn their life story.

Of those six people, four of them came to Nashville to be songwriters/musicians.

I find that very inspiring and fascinating. To have met so many people who followed their dreams to this place is amazing. Interestingly, all of them had some measure of success. None of them are involved in the music industry any more. Most importantly, all of them seem very happy with how their lives have turned out.

As one of them said to me today, “If I hadn’t done it, I would have been middle-aged and always wondered. And I couldn’t be more happy with my life.”