Saying Good-bye to Massadoah

In an unusual twist for the last few new family selections, the partnership found a partner family to replace us quite quickly. Despite the rational knowledge that this was the best decision for the partnership and our family, it was still with an underlying feeling of sadness that we realized our time as Massadoahans had come to an end.

So many fantastic memories with so many dear ones.

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Thanks for the memories, Massadoah.

A Local Massadoahesque Swimming Hole

Aunt A told us about a new park she found that her crew had enjoyed, so despite the heat I forced everyone into the car for some recreation.

With easy access to the Harpeth River, and a short drive, this would be a great spot for our splash-needs.

Monkey found a comfy spot in the shade since she didn't want to swim.

Monkey found a comfy spot in the shade since she didn’t want to swim.

The water in the shallows was very warm.

The water in the shallows was very warm.

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Buster hung out on the side to stay close to Monkey, but Yessa and I held hands and walked up river until the water was armpit level for her. The water was crisply cool.

I was so impressed with Yessa’s willingness to step forward into the unknown. The water was brown enough that the bottom could not be seen, and I walked tentatively, tapping with a toe before taking each step. She bobbed right along, ready to hop and swim if needed. It was fun, and the water felt great.

A return trip will definitely be in order…with a picnic.

Little Mother’s Mother’s Day – 2016

Pulling together the pictures for L.M.’s slide show was an adventure in touring the world, our various homes, and everyone’s many haircuts over the years. L.M. has an ability to bring fun and action to each day. She’s gives selflessly to our children, both by sharing her hobbies and experience, and by being willing to dive into their interests and hobbies to learn about them.

When I see pictures of her wearing a tiara, playing video games, and having a pedicure, that shows how incredibly devoted she is to her grands.

Happy Mother’s Day, L.M. We love you and your spirit.

On To Our Other Virginia Home

While Jenny and the children and I played at Massadoah, Buds rode into town with some other Massadoah friends, and moved in with Brendan so they could be bros for a few days. They had CrossFit, and the CrossFit Games were still on when Buds got to their house. They had a great time together, living the Bachelor Dream. (It gets old real quick. They miss their Lady Friends.)

Mid-week, we packed up at Massadoah, dropped off Monkey for a little more time with Lu, and the rest of us moved in with Kel and Paula, as we’ve done so many times before.

Many games of all kinds were played. I love that Buster even cajoled Kelly into playing.

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Turn, turn, turn.

Turn, turn, turn.

The evening that Buster and I had our ER adventure, everyone else headed to Jenny’s for a relaxed, delicious dinner.

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Please note J & B’s gorgeous sunroom in the background. I covet that room.

We had time to visit as adults:

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And one day I popped over for a lunch with my co-workers:

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Some sweet faces.

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As is always the case, Kelly and I must shed tears at the end of our visit. It’s good to have traditions!

P & I look like we're getting ready to "Do The Hustle."

P & I look like we’re getting ready to “Do The Hustle.”

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We’ve got our next time together planned, and that always helps.

The Salmon Were Jumping At Massadoah

We were lucky enough to get several days at Massadoah with Jenny and crew. It’s always so relaxing to be with them, and the laughter of the children and adults fills my soul.

Lu had been planning for the meal the girls would cook up in the apartment and Monkey and Yessa were tickled to jump in on the plan. The boys even went over to hang out and annoy them some.

Tables ready for action.

Tables ready for action.

Jenny ready to offer ideas.

Jenny ready to offer ideas.

Best picture I've ever taken of him. ;-)

Best picture I’ve ever taken of him. 😉

Mac-n-cheese casserole a hit!

Mac-n-cheese casserole a hit!

The chefs

The chefs

We all loved the chocolate ganache dessert!

We all loved the chocolate ganache dessert!

Notice the fresh-squeezed juice on the table, too.

These two crack me up.

These two crack me up.

We got lots of time in the Shenandoah, which was the temperature of a cool bath.

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One of the mornings we headed over to see Matilda at Alamo Drafthouse. We all love the movie, and the theater where you get waited on is always a big hit.

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Jenny also made a delicious meal, though the ganache won out.

She swims, she cooks, she's the real deal!

She swims, she cooks, she’s the real deal!

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The days flew by, and I’m so glad we got to spend them together.

The turtles in Turtle Cove were sad to see us go.

The turtles in Turtle Cove were sad to see us go.

Massadoah Time

Buds had the fantastic idea to host an off-site for his team of developers at Massadoah. The kids and I went along both so I could help with logistics for the event, and because we would never want to miss a chance to play at Massadoah.

We left on Saturday and stopped at a hotel, meaning that we only drove about 5 hours each day, making it a very relaxed drive for us.

We stopped at our favorite ice cream stand as we drove through town.

Our first stop at our favorite ice cream stand.

Our first stop at our favorite ice cream stand.

The long locks blowing in the wind.

The long locks blowing in the wind.

We arrived at Massadoah around 3, and the first Juicers drove in around 4. While we waited for the rest of the crew to arrive, Buds and the kids took the first set of tubers up to the put-in.

First crowd ready to go.

First crowd ready to go.

Returning home.

Returning home.

Buds and one of our co-workers, Djam, both had their birthdays while we were all together, so Meghna, another co-worker, brought a delicious cake for them.

It was awesome!

It was awesome!

They each got one candle.

They each got one candle.

The cake was beautiful, and it had a strip of plastic wrapped around the outside to help it travel well. And, the outside of the plastic was decorated with frosting, too. Monkey and Yessa had a few licks.

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On Monday the littles and I headed out to Alamo Drafthouse to see a movie. (Loved this place! I so wish there was one down here.) Monkey stayed at the house, and the adults did their work thing, with a few breaks.

The most computer power ever seen at Massadoah.

The most computer power ever seen at Massadoah.

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Monday night Buds made some delicious chicken, and it rained sheets of rain in the afternoon/evening. This lead to the unpleasant surprise that the basement drain had raw sewage splooshing out onto the basement floor.

After this interesting discovery, I came upstairs, made hotel reservations for all of us, and we decamped like a retreating army. Our co-workers were grateful for the internet, which had been lacking at Massadoah, and everyone got a good night sleep.

The next day I suited up in a homemade hazmat suit, and worked like a trojan.

Hazmat suit donned.

Hazmat suit donned.

Grossest thing I’ve ever done, and that is saying a lot.

The Dev. Team went to the Yellow Barn at Shenandoah Caverns. It’s a “whimsical” space, and it had wifi.

The Yellow Barn

The Yellow Barn

Love the glittery butterfly in the background.

Love the glittery butterfly in the background.

How are they focusing on work with all the whimsy behind them?!

How are they focusing on work with all the whimsy behind them?!

They took a break to go visit American On Parade, the warehouse of floats that feels like walking into a drug-induced dream.

See Buds driving the float?

See Buds driving the float?

'Murica!

‘Murica!

This screams "patriotic!"

This screams “patriotic!”

James dressed appropriately.

James dressed appropriately.

This day also held Michelin Man Soccer-Trademark Pending.

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Love his hip moves.

Love his hip moves.

We start our developers young.

We start our developers young.

Such a happy little man.

Such a happy little man.

She's so good with the babies!

She’s so good with the babies!

Our last outing together was to a delicious dinner. Much laughter and good conversation was a hit with all.

Despite the wrinkles, it was wonderful to be at Massadoah with people we enjoy so much.

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More Massadoah Time

We’re dropping back to the past for a few posts.

In July the kiddos and I headed up to VA to spend a week at Massadoah, beginning with a tubing weekend attended by lots of friends from our former church. A grand time was had by all, and getting time with lots of Massadoahans is always a bonus.

We love the Tastee Freeze in Woodstock.

We love the Tastee Freeze in Woodstock.

Hot day

Hot day

Ice cream...

Ice cream…

H brought his new sling shot.

H brought his new sling shot.

Slinged...

Slinged…

Headed off for a tubing adventure.

Headed off for a tubing adventure.

Visiting w/ Ms. Amanda.

Visiting w/ Ms. Amanda.

Laughter w/ M and C.

Laughter w/ M and C.

So glad to see these two.

So glad to see these two.

The tubes always need more air

The tubes always need more air

Board games

Board games

Lots of Board Games

Lots of Board Games

Sun and fun means a rest is needed.

Sun and fun means a rest is needed.

After everyone else left from the Tubing Weekend, the children and I made our plans for the week. I insisted on another visit to Shenandoah Caverns, which I love, and they indulged me. No pictures necessary.

We were very excited to check out the new Shenandoah Discovery Museum. We’d been to the old location multiple times, and loved it, and now in the new space, it had to be better. (You know where this is headed, right?)

Cogs...

Cogs…

On the roof

On the roof

Our son, the mop

Our son, the mop

Heart Facts

Heart Facts

Heart Beat Drum

Heart Beat Drum

Stringless instrument

Stringless instrument

In the long house

In the long house

Under construction

Under construction

Step 1

Step 1

Higher

Higher

Building

Building

Almost complete

Almost complete

All done

All done

As you guessed, the children were un-enamored with the new space. The Buster wandered all four floors, looking for two specific exhibits he was so hopeful they had moved over from the old space. Tiny heartbreak for him when he realized they had not been moved over. The girls found a couple things to like, but they, too, missed the cramped coziness of the old space. They were also frustrated at the stupidity of adults that someone had tied a knot in the rope for the apple pulley system, rendering it unusable for actual work.

Thanks to our Science Center membership from Nonni and Poppi, the museum was free, and after the children’s reaction, I was extra grateful for that.

All was not a total loss, though, because I had noticed a shoe store advertisement and when it turned out it was only a couple blocks away, the children and I headed down there. After at least a year of living with slippers that threatened to pour me out at any moment, I was able to replace these adored things.

Out with the old...

Out with the old…

In with the new...

In with the new…

Chris and Becky, two partners the children haven’t gotten to spend much time with, came to spend some time in The Valley, and Buster and Yessa took to them like bees to honey. It was really gratifying to me to see how open they were to the kids, and how much fun the kids had visiting with them. Friendship across all ages…

Chatting with Ms. Becky.

Chatting with Ms. Becky.

The week also held the treat of time with J and Crew, the whole story told here: An UnRulli Visit.

A few extra photos of that visit:

Let the laughter begin

Let the laughter begin

Birds of a feather

Birds of a feather

Jenny cleaned up a huge bug for me...I love her.

Jenny cleaned up a huge bug for me…I love her.

Outside another set of caverns.

Outside another set of caverns.

Fairy Kingdom Underground

Fairy Kingdom Underground

Space for A.J. He wanted no part of the picture.

Space for A.J. He wanted no part of the picture.

The long-hair twins

The long-hair twins

We seemed to be looking directly into the sun.

We seemed to be looking directly into the sun.

Finally, at the end of the week, we dyed Yessa’s hair in preparation for SUUSI.

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It was a great week. Massadoah always revives me.

A Pause For Massadoah

Friend Chris sent out this picture that he discovered online to a fantastic view of Massadoah.

Can you find the house?

Photo from: http://www.learnnc.org/lp/media/uploads/2007/12/shenandoah.jpg

Photo from: http://www.learnnc.org/lp/media/uploads/2007/12/shenandoah.jpg

Massadoah is in the center top, just a little to the right of the middle, at the base of the mountain. The view is taken from the air looking down at Massadoah from out on the main road.

Love this place.

Catching Up: Massadoah 30th Anniversary Visioning Weekend

Thanks to my marvelous mother spending the weekend with our crew, and our marvelous crew helping each other to make that easy for grandma, Buds and I had a splendid, relaxing, exhausting, connecting weekend with the other partners. (Mia, you were very much missed, but I would have wanted to just talk to you all weekend, so it all worked out. 😉

There was much laughter, as well as soul-searching.

There was much laughter, as well as soul-searching.

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Our first camping in a long time.

Our first camping in a long time.

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The "mostly" whole gang.

The “mostly” whole gang.

It’s hard to put into words how much we love and respect this group of “chosen” family. Massadoah is the unexpected gift that never ceases to fill me with gratitude.

With the move to Nash, I wondered how our Massadoah connections would change. This trip reminded me that great friendships are not entirely dependent on proximity.

Mom, thanks for making this trip happen for us. I’m sorry I don’t have pictures of you with the kids from this trip, but without you, we wouldn’t have any of the pictures…or the memories.