Back from the West

April 12th, 2015

Andrew and I are back from our great trip to the West.  All the way to California, to be exact.  We had a wonderful time, way up on top a mountain at Lake Arrowhead.  At an altitude of 5100 feet, we were far from the hot sands of California.  (For a point of reference for local folks, Massanutten Peak is 2923′.)  In fact, the first morning we were there, it was 27 degrees outside and there was slippery ice on our deck!

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I was seriously unprepared, having packed all short-sleeved clothes.  I planned to bring a jacket, but I left it behind by mistake.  Andrew and I had one sweatshirt between us, and he graciously let me have it on the chilly mornings.  Our second day there it warmed up quite a bit, to the point where short-sleeves were comfortable through the middle of the day.

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Andrew had a business conference at Lake Arrowhead UCLA conference center.  I was along for the joy of it.  That was the whole truth–I had a great time!  The conference was from Tuesday evening through Thursday.  On Wednesday morning, I did a short hike (just a few miles) around the lake with two other ladies.  In the afternoon, I took one grand nap for 2 hours.  (Crossing those time zones did a number on me!)

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The next day, the same two ladies and I, plus one more, wolfed down our breakfast and started out to hike all the way around this lovely lake and be back in time for lunch.  It was 12 miles.  It was not flat.  It was obvious to me after a while that I don’t normally walk 12 miles in a day, let alone all at once and up and down stairs and hills.  Need I say more?

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But it was gorgeous, the weather was perfect, the company was enjoyable, and the exercise was necessary after long plane rides and with all the fabulous food we had each meal at the conference center.  (I’m going to be googling recipes for roasted vegetables.  I ate several different roasted vegetable dishes during our time there that I would love to make at home!)

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Where were the kids, you ask.  Paul and Hannah stayed with Andrew’s brother and his wife and their kids in Staunton.  Marie and Rachel stayed with my sister and her husband and their three girls near Richmond.  (We flew out of Richmond, making all this handy.)

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On Wednesday evening, after the meetings were over, Andrew and I took a short hike along the lake before it was time for supper.  That’s when we took all these pictures.

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Like all great times, they do come to an end.  We left Lake Arrowhead in the wee hours of Friday morning and started coming back east where the sun rises a little sooner and the grass is definitely greener.  It was a treat to see our kids and hear their stories and chatter.  We spent Friday night in Richmond with my sister, and then headed up to the Valley after breakfast Saturday morning.

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We are so grateful to our families for keeping our children and making this work out for us.  Our kids have not ceased to tell us of the wonderful times they had with their cousins.  I’m not sure our kids were ready for us to come back!  Andrew and I are getting back into the home routines.  We stopped at the grocery store on the way home to get milk and eggs to get us started on food and cooking again.  I found it wasn’t too hard to get back into the routine of cooking our meals again.

Time away is always good.  This gave me a change of pace (even if I didn’t just kick back and read books and take naps).  It gives me a chance to come back and take a fresh start on my routines.  I have renewed resolve to make improvements to our schedule and routines as we start back into them.  We’ll see how much I can move from the “resolve” stage to the actual production stage this week!

Maidens on a Voyage & Mr. “Cutsie-putsie”

April 3rd, 2015

I stepped outside this morning, and all three girls were on a ship.

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Obviously one was riding a horse on the ship.

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They took time on their voyage to pose for some formal photos.

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Then the horse needed someone to pull him along.

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I just had to get a picture of this cutie pie in her lovely pink hat.

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When Paul was finished his school work I encouraged him to go outside and play while I did Hannah’s math.  For some reason or another, he tied Rachel Anne’s Minnie Mouse to the swing by her tail.  Then he couldn’t get it untied.  He had to wait until I was finished with the math lesson before I came to set the trapped rodent free.

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In the meantime, he asked me to take a picture of him “being all cutsie-putsie” (his terms!).  This is what I found when I went outside.

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I sure did take pictures of my handsome son being all “cutsie-putsie”!  He has always loved stuffed animals (all my kids have), and he still has fun with them.

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I’m loving this warm weather when the kids want to spend every waking moment outside.

P1000954It feels like we’re going to have a great summer!