Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Penn's Woods

William Penn got a good deal in that payoff.
Pennsylvania. Is. Beautiful!
And may I just say that toll roads are worth every penny?

It was refreshing to escape the noise and activity of suburbia on Saturday and travel to nearby Ohiopyle for a day hike with friends.
(Of course, apparently it was motorcycle day at the park, which made up for the anticipated lack of noise. But I digress)

The drive, alone, was spectacular. There is so much splendor to behold in this gorgeous state (when the snow FINALLY melts and the trees again don their spring garb).

Along the way we witnessed a multi-mile yard sale along an historic route, a real toll house, and even a wagon train with a police escort. 

Years ago, I didn't always take seriously the warning offered by older women that "they grow so quickly", as I couldn't then imagine a time when the children would no longer be small. This photo is very telling. Graham, 13, looks more like a young adult to me here. He's now wearing his dad's shoe size, and even borrows some of his shirts.

The dogs drew so much attention on our outing. We heard "ooh"s and "aahh"s at every turn.

Hiking right after a LOT of rain is quite messy. I opted against wearing my Five Finger shoes, and I'm certainly glad. Instead, I wore my Chaco water sandals, which were perfect for the many mud puddles we traversed, but really hard on my pedicure.

I love my silly girls!

Foiled by the elusive snake with a contingency plan

I never thought it would happen, but I've fallen. Hard.

Penelope had no shortage of willing volunteers to give her tiny legs a break from our trek.
"If you can't run with the big dogs, stay... in the sling."

At one point, we watched as a kayaker struggled to no avail against this current. I wonder if he ever got through...

If you don't do anything else this week, make this recipe. And then jealously guard it from those around you.

Jon's a big, tough football type with a big heart to match.
As we've waffled between names for Penelope, he's used "Chuck" as a placeholder.
Here, he's spending a little bonding moment with her as we rest by the water.
It was nice to get away for a few hours. Ever since we were in Moçambique, I've longed to go hiking. This was our first time on the trail since returning to the States last summer.
I'm thankful for the opportunity to get out and enjoy part of God's wondrous works.

Monday, May 23, 2011

This Is How We Do It

 "And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers." Acts 2:42

We had a really marvelous weekend. It all started with a day trip to Washington, D.C., with Craig - just the two of us! - for a meeting. I was privileged to tag along. Having eight hours alone in the car with him (aside from the calls he had to take) was dreamy!

We wrapped things up with a hike on Saturday (more on that later, if I get around to it), and a visit with my parents after church on Sunday.

In between - on Friday - "the guys" came to bless our family by making homemade pizza for us. Our friend, Jon, has been promising to do this with another friend, and the promise was delivered this weekend - and well worth the wait!

The girls and I thoroughly enjoyed our big break from the kitchen. We didn't even have to shop for ingredients - the guys did that, too! I'll admit, though, that it was hard to stay away. I wanted to make sure that they were able to find all of my gadgets and doo-dads that make meal prep snappier.

Even my dad stopped by briefly and added some kitchen-genius input. He's so good to have around!

We jammed a bit to some oldies music, as well as some biblically-sound, Christ-honoring rap, and played with the dogs outside while the men-folk were hard at work in the kitchen.

I'm so proud of these guys! They even prepared their mise en place!

I had to break my own rule and steal a piece of this chicken that was designated for two of the pizzas.

Penelope (we changed her name) had fun playing with Rhodes on the patio and stealing his bone.

Never mind that it's almost the size of her!

Brandon has "mad" dough-making skills! We were so honored that he agreed to join Jon in fixing us this fantastic meal, despite the fact that his pregnant wife was at home not feeling well.

Jon serenaded anyone who was listening as he worked.

What a blessing that our boys have strong examples of "Hazakim" to follow! 
"Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise"
Proverbs 13:20a

I found some great dog treats at Marshall's recently.
(Having Penelope is softening my heart even more toward Rhodes. I'm sure he must feel a bit displaced - especially seeing that Penelope is allowed privileges that are denied him. I'm trying to be purposeful about being nice to him.)
Anyway, I bought him some chicken-flavored treats that contain glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health, and some carob-flavored dog "cookies", since dogs can't have chocolate. (Poor things.)

Kait looks like she's modeling for a doggie ad.
(Who would resist such a cute puppy, especially when displayed with such a radiantly beautiful young lady?)
She's such a lovely example of biblical womanhood. We adore her and cherish her friendship!

OK, back to the matter at hand:

The anticipation was driving us all a bit crazy. Or maybe Zach was preaching about leaven?

This seems random, but Morgan was also taking photos of things outside - anything to distract us from our hunger and the tempting aroma of pizza prep wafting through the air!

At last!
Five delectable pizzas.
Eleven hungry people.

This was my favorite - buffalo chicken/ranch.

This was my second favorite. It was like an open-faced steak hoagie.
I could never be a vegetarian.
We wrapped up the meal with some Bible teaching from Craig. I'm grateful for my wise husband who is passionate about the Word of God and takes time to disciple young men through hospitality.
This is fellowship.
This is how we do it.