November 6, 2010

Weekend With Friends

A few weekends ago, we accepted an invitation to spend the weekend at our friends' home in Southern Virginia.
We left early Saturday morning to make the 3/12 hour drive.  It was 34 when we left home, but the weather had warmed up to a perfect 74 by the time we arrived. 

In addition to a warm greeting from our hosts and their 8 children, we were welcomed by the very large, but super sweet furry friends, Caspian and Elsie.
There was a time when a weekend with 15 kids would have seemed like a lot of work.  However, like us, our friends had the common sense to have daughters first.  (Yeah, you buy that?  We all planned it out.)  The girls kept us all well fed and comfortable throughout the weekend.  And, tell me, they had fun doing it, too. 

We had no sooner unpacked our luggage, than they set about preparing huge plates of sandwiches for our lunch.  Washed down with some good old sweet tea. 
So, the fact is, the whole idea of this weekend came about because our daughters dreamed it up and brought it about.  Not that we didn't all have a great time, but really, at least for this weekend, its all about these beauties.
After lunch it was naptime for the little guys.  "Oh, no!" she says.  "I just took my nap."
Well, at least for Elisabeth.  Who was excited to see the return of her friend the old pack and play.
The boys in the crowd, Nathaniel at eight being the oldest, headed out for some fun.
Us ladies took a walk through the garden sharing tips and hints about tomatoes and squash.
And the girls?  They stood around chatting.  Okay, in all fairness, they did stop talking for a while to play some Four Square.
This is Annie, the grandma.  But everyone calls her Annie.  We sure enjoyed meeting and getting to know her a bit.
The dads hung out trying to keep the boys out of mischief while waxing wise on topics near and dear to our hearts.
Eventually, the girls moved their chit chat indoors to bake a lot of cupcakes for the party they were hosting on Sunday. 
They sure laughed alot.  It was neat to see what it would be like if our kids had a bunch of cousins around. 
Quality control?
Recently the girls realized that they have all made matching aprons.  Since they knew they would be cooking, the "M" girls asked our girls to bring theirs along.
When it was time for some rest, Nathaniel found a quiet spot to do his Bible study.
Elisabeth and her little friend found a great compromise that worked for both of them when it came to sharing the flintstone mobile.
Leave it Allen to find something roudier for the boys to do.   They were sitting there nice as could be, when Pa decided it would be fun to toss the ball up and down.
When the boys caught wind of something slightly dangerous, they came like flies to honey.
Eventually, they were all up there shouting and having  a great time.
The "M" daddy was stationed at the bottom to catch the one who would fall over the rail.  I don't think anyone did take a spill, though.
Elisabeth tried to be a more calming influence by enticing the little guy to join her for a swing.
He didn't stick around too long, though...
...because once the boys decided the ball game was no longer rough enough, they moved on to a game of football.
Which was hilarious.  The dads were too chicken to get in between the Wachter and "M" boys going head to head.
Aedan took an interest in tether ball.  He's never seen this game before.  So when he saw the pole with a ball attached and a baseball bat laying beside it, he figured it went something like t-ball.  I attempted to teach the lot of boys how to play, but with their collective lack of coordination, quickly realized my life may be in danger and bowed out to join Ellie back at the swing.

Meanwhile, back inside, our young ladies, true to their gentler nature, were gathered at the piano taking turns playing and singing together.
The parents eventually settled on the front porch with an afternoon cup of coffee to watch the little girls play.  Our lovely hostess, the "Mrs."
The weather was so nice, we were able to eat most of our meals outside on the deck.  Including this amazing chicken pot pie for dinner Saturday.
Our family shared the enormous girls bedroom.  Even with four beds in there, you will see there was LOTS of room.  Ellie appreciated the little rocking chair for our family bedtime devotions.
More shots of the very large room.  I really have never seen such a gigantic bedroom.  Perfect for a family with five daughters.
And you might note that all that fresh air and running and playing wore the boys and Elisabeth out.  They were asleep within minutes of saying their prayers.
Which left the older girls and us grown ups to play a rousing game of scattegories.  We laughed a bit and enjoyed some tea. 

But the real fun started after we went up to bed.  The girls and I finished our showers and crawled into bed, where we laid chit chatting for some time while Pa went to take his shower.  Maybe it was the late hour.  Maybe the relaxed feel of the weekend.  Who knows.  But we all bust out laughing when the toilet wouldn't flush and we saw Pa and Mr. "M" tip toeing through our bedroom together wielding a plunger.  I guess you had to be there.  Us ladies laughed until it hurt.  Don't worry, they got it fixed in no time.
After a nights rest we all looked forward to going to worship together.  But first, breakfast.  How cute is this guy waiting for his turn in the buffet line?
Again, the girls had it all worked out and planned to prepare breakfast together.  A delicious breakfast casserole and coffe cake were the fare for the morning.  Our ladies made themselves comfortable in the foyer. 
Okay.  This I just thought was too funny for words.  Does anyone know what this is?  If you said Jonathan Park communicator watches, you got it.  My boys each have one and the "M" boys each have one.  They had spent a lot of time hunting down bad guys and fossils in the woods on Saturday.  Fearing that their watches wouldn't make it through Sunday, they found a way to charge them all up.  Girls wear matching aprons and boys have matching electronics, what can I say?
So after breakfast we had a pleasant time of singing hymns at the piano until it was time to head out for worship.  A rousing sermon, some great hymns and a stop for bagels were the order of the morning. 

When we returned home, the youngest among us went down for naps.  Everyone else found a place to rest before the company arrived. 

Aedan settled on the deck for Bible reading.
I spent an hour with Southern Living and my honey.
The little girls commandered the front porch.
And others gathered around to watch the butterfly emerge from his cacoon.
As if the number of girls did not already overshadow the rest of us, once the party arrived they made their presence known.  There were nearly twenty from the five families gathered.  They found a corner of the yard to eat their supper.
Love this pretty trio.
Before the cutting of her 16th birthday cake, Mr. "M" gave a blessing to the guest of honor.
These are the special cupcakes Emma and the younger girls decorated for Jo.
And of course, then there were presents!  All the kids, don't ask me how many in all, gathered on the front porch to shower gifts on the birthday girl before everyone departed for home.
With a long drive ahead of us, we could not hold off our leave any longer, either.  But first, one more picture.  Afterall, it's this gang we have to thank for this restful weekend. 
All right, one of the boys, too. 
Thank you "M" family for opening your home and welcoming our crew to bless us with a wonderful  weekend retreat filled fun, food, friends and fellowship. 


  1. That looked like a fabulous weekend! My favorite parts were the girls singing around the piano and cooking/baking together. I think it's rare to find families that do that anymore.

  2. That looks like so much fun.

  3. I haven't came by to "visit" for a long time, now, but I sure enjoyed your pictures of your visit on this post! Had to laugh at the first comment part where you said "They had the common sense to have daughters first"....yes! That's what I did too--It does make a big difference to have 4 older girls first! :D

  4. All those wonderful aprons!!!! Why is it that girls so get into the gift and grace of hospitality - but boys do totally don't!!! What a tremendous blessing you have!

  5. We had such a great time with y'all!!! And the pictures turned out really well :)