story of a weekend

is it possible to feel relaxed and rejuvenated after a weekend away with three kids, age six and under, and a three-month-old puppy? before this weekend i would have said, "nuh-uh." but then we spent three and a half days with david's sister and brother-in-law and their brood in michigan. despite the busyness of the weekend (which included preparation for and the execution of their church's 125th-anniversary celebration), we had a terrific time.

we arrived just after midnight friday morning, greeted by sister sarah, all comfy-cozy in her bathrobe. abel, the trial-basis beagle puppy, was asleep when we arrived, but we two dog lovers quickly roused him for a selfish cuddle. i think we fell in love with him right then and there.

we spent friday with sarah, nathan, and laura, while dad marc worked on the celebration preparation. when emily came home from school, we took abel to the open lot behind the church to run around sans leash. the day was cool and crisp, and emily and nathan had great fun chasing him through the tall grass, while i enjoyed following laura around and keeping her company. david, of course, was taking photos left and right. he's our own personal paparazzo, and we're grateful for it.

it was all fun and games . . .

until abel found the hind quarters of a rabbit in some bushes by the near-by track. lovely. i'll spare you the photo taken by my hubby. marc successfully rid the dog of his newfound prize, and we all went home to wash our hands, mouths, and any other part of us that abel had so lovingly licked post-find.

saturday i woke up with a raging headache reminiscent of the early stages of my vermont experience, so i took some aspirin and slept until noon. it was a blustery, grey day, so we stayed inside most of the day. that night, sarah and marc went out for dinner with some friends from church, so david and i got the chance to give the kids dinner and put them all to bed. this also included, for emily and nathan, a craft time to make signs for the church celebration the next day. i am proud to report that we made it through the night with no tragedies.

should we send this to the people at the north face?

sunday was the big day. the church's 125th-anniversary celebration. the morning service was very nice and was followed by another chance for david and me to babysit while sarah and marc took the guest preacher to lunch. when they returned home, david and i took a quick trip to the lake to take pictures.

it was the evening potluck and program, however, that truly made the day. members of the church volunteered to cook turkeys and prepare various side dishes and desserts, and everything was delicious! after enjoying dinner and conversation with a few of the church families, everyone was invited into the sanctuary where we had a good ol'-fashioned hymn sing (much too short for my tastes) and then saw a slideshow detailing the history of the church. in addition, members of the church shared stories of the church's part in their lives. it was a sweet time filled with laughter and tears of gratefulness and joy.

as sunday was our last night there, we four adults stayed up far past the kids' bedtime to play
scattergories and have a glass of wine. why is it that the camera never seems to make an appearance when only grown-ups are present?

sadly, it was also that night that sarah and marc made the decision that abel would not be staying with their family. there was a nice man who breeds and trains beagles who was willing to take abel, so they knew he would be going to a home where he would be getting the attention he needs, but the idea of telling emily and nathan about it was not one sarah and marc relished.

monday morning, the kids were up early, as usual. emily had a day off due to a teacher's in-service, so when david and i awoke, everyone (save marc, who was granted the right to sleep in post-celebration) was in the living room watching tv and playing quietly.

david and i joined them around 8:30, after which time sarah began to make a nice, big breakfast for us. i went to check on abel, who had messed his cage, so i took him out while sarah and marc cleaned up.

we sat down to eat and, by mentioning abel, emily gave her parents an opening to break the hard news. she wasn't happy, but she understood why he had to leave. i am such a softie, i had to fight back tears at the sight of her sad face. even worse was when david and i left that day and had to say our good-byes, not only to our family, who we miss and wish lived closer, but also to this puppy we had taken care of for a mere three days. we both knew that, if we owned a home or even if we lived in an apartment that allowed pets, we would have come home with a new puppy yesterday.


it was a full weekend, one that could have exhausted us easily. instead, i came home feeling relaxed and ready to face the week.

i may post more pictures from david's camera later in the week. he really does have a better eye than i.


simplicity said...

what a weekend! so fun to see marc and sarah's beautiful children. I helped at NPCC youth group when they were expecting emily...wow!

and abel, is very precious, though i'm still not at a dog point in my life just yet.

we do kids around here so far, not dogs.

Stuart Shea said...

That's one cute dog.

Alli said...

Ugh, I love him. Don't you think that if we threatened John and Sheryl with two vacant apartments they would HAVE to let us have dogs?!?

melissa said...

eye than i? groan. :) glad you had such fun!

audrey said...

that beagle was just TOO cute! i love the photos that you took, and do think that North Face should pay you for the one of david and able.

glad that you were able to spend some time with family, and that it was relaxing at the same time. hope this weekend is just as wonderful for you!