Thursday, February 26, 2009

Leaving Texas in a Cowboy Mood

     Before leaving Texas,there was one thing we had to do. It all started in Colorado Springs where we used to enjoy a chuckwagon dinner with the Wranglers at the Flying W Ranch.  They sing in the style of the legendary Roy Rogers and the Sons ofthe Pioneers. The last time we were there in 2007, we learned that there are Chuckwagon dinners throughout the West, including our partof Texas! In fact, one of the Wranglers we had met the first time we ever went to the Flying W Ranch in 2001, was Wes English.  He and his brothers now run the Canyon Trail Chuckwagon Supper and Cowboy Music Show.

     Last Saturday we got to go!  We had a wonderful time!  It is much smaller than the one in Colorado Springs.  But that is because the one in Colorado has been in operation for years (the first oldest group of this type is the Sons of the Pioneers) and the one here is quite new.  In fact, this is their second location, having only opened a few weeks ago. 

     We were met in the parking lot by one of the brothers, who said he was the handsome one.  (They use a lot of lighthearted family style humor in their show.)  He spent some time asking us where we were from.  We said we were from nearby San Antonio.  Somehow my husband got on the topic of how San Antonio is getting too big for us (we really like the hill country where this group is located).  With dry whit I informed him that San Antonio was getting so big, that we are now moving to Washington DC.  (Remember our ultimate goal is Williamsburg!) 

     Then we went indoors and another brother assigned us terrific seats at the front table!  Then we met Wes, again. There had been trouble with our reservation so we had just been on the phone with him.  He was nice enough to act as though he remembered us from 2001.  =)  We found out we live rather close to each other.  While this business is getting built up, he is also a music pastor at Oak Hills Church, where Max Lucado is pastor. (Some of you may have read his books or seen movies he's written screenplays for.)  

     Then another brother took us outside to teach us how to rope cattle!  I've lived in Texas most of my life, but this is something I've never done.  I guess it was about time!  

My son started first.  It took him a while.  We learned a lot of appreciation of the guys in the rodeo!



 Finally he got it! 



Then my husband tried.  He had a lot of trouble too. 

Watching the instruction, I started practicing with my wrist, trying to follow the instructions.  It's all in the wrist.  Finally my husband got it! 

Then my daughter tried.  After a couple of tries, woo hoo, she got it! 



Uh oh, now it was my turn!  I had trouble the first couple of times.  He gave me a few more tips, and then I got the hang of twirling that rope.  I got so good with twirling through the air, I couldn't figure out how to let go! But one sure could hear it zing through the air!  Finally by my fourth attempt, I got the cow! 



Overall, to our surprise, the gals got the cow quicker than the guys!

We went inside and looked at the animal collection.  Most of these had been caught by their dad, and some by them.

Mr. Moose...





Put up your dukes!  This polar bear was caught in Alaska.





Pretending to be on the Lewis and Clark expedition, running away from the grizzly (which was caught in Alaska)...



More of the collection...









Flags of Texas...







While waiting for the show to start, we could watch a power point presentation of old time cowboy pictures on the large screen/scrim.  In fact, there was a Roy Rogers movie playing upstairs.  The brothers have plans to expand the preshow entertainment over time.

Finally the dinner started in typical Chuckwagon dinner style.  Like in ColoradoSprings, it began with instructions of how to proceed down the food line efficiently, with tips of how to juggle the silverware, plate, and drink, with lots of great jokes!  I confess, I do not like the food at the Flying W Ranch. gasp  The kids feel the same way. Last time Igot the steak which was much better than the brisket. Therefore, I did not expect to enjoy this meal. Too bad they were piling on the food.  I hated to waste it. We did not have a steak option here.  I was given a good portion of brisket so I moved my plate to the baked potato section.  Wes plopped more brisket on to my plate!  Was he trying to fatten me up? (I have lost thirteen pounds since Christmas, due to nerves and busy-ness with this move.)  When I sat to eat the food I was surprised at how wonderful it tasted!  It was the best BBQ I ever ate!  The brisket was tender and smoked.  The pinto beans were nicely spiced and flavored.  The biscuits were the most tender I've ever eaten and piping hot.  The applesauce was spiced with cinnamon.  Even the potato was great!  I ate everything.  I wish I could have had a take home box like I usually get.  I couldn't bear to waste anything.  Then the spice cake was wonderfully spiced and moist and flavorful.  The brothers helped serve us, seat us, and serve us refills on drinks.  During dinner one of the brothers told funny stories while telling the history of Texas through the story of longhorns and cattledrives. (At the Flying W they tell ranch stories.)  It was great!  The kids remembered it all as review from what I taught them a few years ago! Yea!  And we learned a few new things too!

     Then they sang for us.  It was wonderful.  They have a terrific range of skill on various stringed instruments. Wes is the best yodeler in the West.  The jokes were funny!  We were sad when it was over an hour later.  When you're in the area, I highly recommend a visit with The English Brothers!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tears of Laughter; Tears of Sorrow

     To my surprise, an event last Friday brought more than a few tears to my eyes.  My friend Corrine insisted on one last get together before we moved...and she invited Beth from Houston who drove about 3 hours to meet us.  All together there were 3 moms and 13 kids!  We had a blast!    I met Corrine in the group while they were overseas.  We were thrilled to meet face to face after they moved to Texas.  Our families have had wonderful times together, she and I sewed a quilt together, and her husband performed my husband's retirement ceremony.    

     One of the boys is a few years younger than my son and seemed to be quite taken with him.   At lunch, they sat next to each other.  I sat across from them, inbetween two of Corrine's older daughters.  We had the best time listening to the two of them talk.  In fact, he had me in stitches for most of the day! (For ease and protection of identity, I am going to dub Beth's son, "friend" and my son "ds".) 

friend-What school do you go to?

ds-I'm homeschooled, just like you.

friend-WOW!  You are? 

ds-Of course, all of us here at the table are homeschooled.

friend-WOW!  That's incredible!!!!!

ds-That's how our mom's met, because of homeschooling.

friend-They did?????

     Beth said she doesn't tell her kids everything because then she has to answer a million questions.  I can relate!  I keep information from my kids sometimes for the very same reason!)

     Then Beth's son started asking about our summer vacation and he was shocked that we did the same things they did! He kept saying, "Wow! We did that too!" 

     After lunch I overheard Beth's son ask my son if he could call him _______________________.  This is the name of a famous American Revolution hero who shares the same first name as my son.  I never heard the response. 

   
     While coordinating all of this, I could have sworn I heard Beth's son ask in amazement, "How did your son learn all that math?"

   There was more funny conversation to overhear in the van.  Let's see what I remember. Hmmmmm, after discussion about something, I heard Beth's son incredulously say, "WOW!  You must be a scientist!"  My son said, "No, their labs blow up."  (My son and I recently discussed this. One night a few weeks ago, my son was going on and on and on about the Science Question of the Week, which he usually gets correct.    Due to all this, I asked what his favorite subject in school was.  He said science.  I asked why did he want to become a lawyer if his favorite subject is science.  He said he enjoys labs that have already been conducted hundreds of times quite safely. He would never concoct a new experiment to discover something new.  What if something blew up?  Well, I'm glad to hear that I don't have to worry about any explosions around the house!  Nevertheless, I think he's watched too much "Monkey Business" with Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers.

     The kids enjoyed the playground. 



     They especially enjoyed that it was across from the flightline.  While driving there, we even get to drive across a portion of the flightline.  I told the boys to watch for planes for me so we wouldn't hit one.  When they saw one of the small fighter jets fly overhead, they were really impressed!  I was able to capture a picture of one of the bigger planes.



     Corrine's girls and I had great conversations too.  While in the kitchen they were asking me which books I've read that make me cry.  Hmmmmm, I had to think about that one.  I still am!  I've been so busy getting ready for the move that I couldn't even remember any books I've read.  They threw out some titles.  That helped. Where the Red Fern Grows They agreed with that. This seemed silly, but I told them every time I read a biography on Lafayette, I start to cry when I come to the end of his life.  I have to start a new biography to get happy again. (In fact, the biography I've been reading got packed by the packers yesterday. I have left Lafayette in December of 1780.  I hope to savor Yorktown this summer.) Oh they could relate!  Then at the lunch table, the girls started talking to me about great movies.  We had so much fun. In fact, I'm ashamed to admit that I was so exhausted from all the moving prep I had been doing in the last month, that it was nice to just sit there and chit chat with the girls, instad of helping in the kitchen as much as I should have.     

     At dinner time there was more great conversation.  We all sat in the same places and the girls and I were once again laughing.  I don't remember everything now.  Let's see, Beth's son asked my son if he played soccer.  My son thought a moment and said, "No, I don't play professional soccer." 

     The best part was when Corrine's husband came home, in uniform.  Beth's son's eyes got huge!  He exclaimed with enthusiasm I have never before seen in a child, "W-O-W! He's a real military man!!!!!!"  The girls and I loved it!  I have learned something about Beth's son, after she told me a story about his talking to a soldier.  He is a huge fan of those in the armed forces.  However, beware of anyone who decides to become a turncoat like Benedict Arnold.  

     About that time I realized we had to go.  We said our goodbyes, and I started to get teary eyed.  It was certainly a day of mixed tears...joy and sadness.  I will miss these two friends and their wonderful kids! 

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Warning-Dissection Ahead

     My daughter is taking 9th grade biology.  That means dissections!  I ordered everything last summer.  Since we are moving to Virginia, I considered the options with these preserved creatures.  My daughter is not yet at the part of the science course to do the dissections.  Technically they should be done later.  But I did not want to pack them in our car.  Nor did I want to have the movers deal with them.  Sometimes things get damaged.  What would I write on the insurance claim?  "Damaged...4 dead animals."  Or what if they got lost.  "Lost...4 dead animals." What would the insurance company think?  No, we had to do them now!  Additionally, my sister-in-law, who is a veternarian, loves to do dissections and had originally agreed to do them with the kids.  So this afternoon we packed up the van with the dead creatures, and drove to her house.  (I explained to her they couldn't be done at my house because the appraiser could be coming through.  What in the world would he think?)

     My nephews were down for naps, so we got down to work. The plan was that she'd work with them and I'd take pictures.  Later, when my daughter actually needs to do the labs, she can do her drawings based on my digital pictures.  Also, she can use the zoom feature in the digital imaging program and look at any body parts up close for extra detail.  My SIL was impressed with this, saying that is how labs are being taught these days at colleges. 

     I was elated to have my SIL do this because I do not like to dissect animals.  Instead I got to sit back, take pictures, draw a picture of a fish for my 2 1/2 year old nephew, and cuddle with my baby nephew and give him his bottle!  I don't know when I'll get to see them again so I had to soak this up!

     My SIL was dubious that we'd get all 4 dissections done, but I was a woman on a mission.  My son really got into the dissections and would probably still be there exploring if given the choice.  However I made sure we got all 4 done before we had to leave. 

     Dissection number one was an earthworm.  I made sure not only my son, but also my daughter, got the opportunity to run their fingers up and down the earthworm to feel the setea, which it used to pull itself around.  The kids wanted me to feel for them, but nope.  I would not want to take away from their time to get the dissections done. (Besides I had done this in high school and college labs and it was my least favorite part of all the dissections I've ever done.) 



Dissection number two was the crayfish.  

Here are the gills...



And here is the rest.  They were able to figure out that it was a male.



Dissection number three was a perch.  My son was really excited to do this, because he loves fish.  It would have been great if I had my video on, because this was the fish that got away!  While my son was cutting into him, it flew out of his hands, flipped in the air and landed on the floor.   Alas there are neither videos nor pictures of this creature.  My son had a really hard time opening him up, then once we started taking a look around, nothing matched the pictures in the biology book.  We did figure out (we think) what the air bladder was and that was pretty cool.  Oh, we did have a good time inspecting the differences in the fins and looking at the gills.  Since we were  clueless about the rest of it, we simply explored the insides.  We decided this one was a dud.  My son tried to get into the brain, but it had a hard head.  I finally told him we had to move on to the frog, that should be a lot better and more productive. 

     Dissection number four was the frog.  We had no directions at all for this one.  The lab expected the kids to have enough experience under their belts to do a little on-line research to learn what they should expect to see.  Hmmmm....didn't have time for that.  So we just dug in.  My SIL and I remembered how to cut one open from our high school and college labs.  Upon first viewing, it looked like this...



Then I told them to just explore.  SIL really got into this (so did my son) and she was able to figure almost everything out.  We never would have come to the same conclusions she did.  Her explanations were extremely logical and taught us a lot about doing future dissections (future dissections?  ugh) Because this anatomy is a little more similar to a mammal, and she works with dogs and cats, she was able to draw from what she knew of dogs and cats and apply that to the frog.  For example, she figured out which organ was the heart, because it felt like a muscle.  She figured out the liver because the gall bladder was obvious.  The lungs made sense after finding two of them...deflated.  



We think this was a female because we think these are the eggs that were pulled out.  SIL and I thought they looked a little like caviar...not that we've ever eaten any.  (Please don't offer us any.  We agreed that is one delicacy we could easily pass up, especially after this experience.)

  

In the end, my daughter, who was dreading this opportunity, figured it wasn't so bad after all.  My son obviously had a blast because he does not have to do this for a couple of more years. I had to make sure he gave his sister equal opportunity.   My four month old nephew would not let me sit while I gave him his bottle. I had to stand so he could see everything.  He kept leaning closer and closer to the dissection.  It was not easy feeding him while he strained to watch every detail.  My 2 1/2 year old nephew did not want to touch the fish at first.  Finally he touched it and then he thought that was disgusting.  He really liked my daughter's biology book.  He had a lot of fun pointing out plants and animals.   My SIL felt like she didn't do enough, especially because she had to tend to her sons quite a bit.  Actually I think she did a wonderful job!  The kids got far more constructive direction from her than they ever could have from me.  My strengths are in other areas, but not dissections.  I am thrilled that I don't have to tote these things to Virginia.   

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

While I was Sleeping at the Witte Museum

     We have been working soooooooooooooo hard on this house to sell it and prepare for our move to Virginia, that we had to finally take a break and let off some steam!  Last summer I had gotten season passes to the Witte Museum.  They have a major exhibit that changes out three times a year.  Last summer we got to experience Leonardo da Vinci's machines.  Last autumn we immersed ourselves in bluebonnets and found Lafayette.  Now we got to delve into DNA.

     This was terrific timing since the kids have recently studied DNA in their science curriculum.  A lot of it was review, yet a wonderful opportunity to cement the concepts into their minds.

They got to see how DNA is normally spiraled...



They reviewed how adenine and thymine pair up, whereas guanine and cytosine make a match.



If one actually listened, there was a voice over that explained the DNA model.



Here they got to race the clock to make all the matches of A's to T's and C's to G's themselves...



Ta Da!



     There were lots of interesting displays that I never got pictures of.  There was a cool model of the cell where the kids got to move a camera over the different parts to see video and explanation of the different parts, like the endoplasmic reticulum (don't you love that word?), golgi bodies, nucleus, etc.  It was a great review for my daughter and introduction for my son. 

     I don't remember much else.  I was exhausted.  I hadn't slept much in months, worrying whether my husband would get a job. Then when he got it, we worked long days to get things spit spot to sell the house and to get rid of extras in preparation for the move.  After I saw all the displays, I decided to go sit on the nice comfortable padded bench against the wall and simply be quiet and relax.  Ahhhhhh.....it was so comfortable, I fell asleep!  When I woke up, the kids wanted me to do this machine.  This was easy.  It was merely matching up adenine and thymine and cytosine to guanine pairs for a code.  However I was so tired I wasn't quite comprehending what the code was and the kids weren't making much sense!  But they were impressed I was able to rotate the different strands of DNA to find the right match.  Oh that is so easy, I can do that in my sleep!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Preparing our Texas House to Sell

The last couple of weeks have been incredibly busy as we've prepared our house to sell to move to Virginia. We have pruned, painted, purged and polished!

While pruning back my entire garden, I found one last rose to enjoy before we leave. I was so busy I didn't capture a picture of it until it was at this point. I planted several lovely varieties of antique roses in my garden, because they are exceptionally hardy and require little care...called antiques because many of the varieties we see today may have been cuttings from roses found thriving on the side of a lonely road or in grandma's old flower garden.



Meanwhile work was going on inside the house too! We primed over all the wall murals I had painted in each of my kids' rooms and their bathroom. Then my husband repainted thpse rooms in a neutral color. These murals were a lot of fun to do. My kids have enjoyed them immensely over the years. It was heartbreaking to paint over them, yet I knew we needed to redo the house to appeal to the most buyers.

We painted over the kids' bathroom walls which took several layers of primer to cover over the paint. My husband did the bathroom and said after he primed one coat, you saw eyes looking at you everywhere. Sad eyes, sorry to say goodbye to us...






We painted my daughters garden bedroom after my mom helped me prime it...



My mom helped me prime my son's choo choo room too.

Walking into the kids' rooms with only one coat of primer felt surreal.  In my son's room, one coat made me feel as if I was in the middle of a blizzard in the Rockies.



In my daughter's room, it felt like a foggy morning in the middle of a garden...



I've also been doing a lot of purging.  I've had piles for trash, donation to charity, regifting, and books to sell to Half Price Books. It was hard to let some things go. But I knew the house would sell better without the clutter. Also, we had a weight limit to consider for the move.

As we purged the bookcases, I limited my daughter to her bookshelves. Nothing could be on the floor anymore. She has Sensory Integration Disorder and change and letting go is extremely difficult for her. She loves Adventures in Odyssey CD's (we've even done a taping with "Whit and the gang" a few years ago! Those went into cute baskets that she already had but no one ever noticed. They now have shelves of their own and look cute for all to see...though she  did not believe it until she saw it! I had her keep her big girl books. When she read Pride and Prejudice last autumn, she said she wanted all of the Jane Austen books. There aren't many, because the author did not live a long time. I gave her a lovely set for Christmas, hoping to inspire her to read big girl books. Overflowing from her shelves were tons of little girl books, many from very popular series. Many she had read, some she never has. When she has free time, she scrapbooks. So the scrapbooking supplies went into a box and up into the closet. About the books, I told her I'd sell her little girl books at Half Price Books and she could keep the money. If she ever wanted to read one of the books again, she could find them in a library. Well, okay. She took a look at her books and estimated they were worth $30. Well, she was right! I took them in and got $30 for them! In the end, she made nearly $80 from selling little girl books. Her room is now uncluttered and full of great classics, junior and senior levels, that now neatly sit on her shelves.

My son made about $10 at Half Price Books.My husband decided to get in on the action and sold a few of his books (he really isn't a bookish guy) and got $5! I have even purged the shelves and I have more to take in. I've made over $150 on books that weren't hits with the kids or me, and that I'd never use again. We still have a lot of books, but the best books are in the bookcases now. I became such a frequent seller at Half Price Books, I discovered this tag on my box when I took it home for another load. I guess I am now considered an employee!



While purging, I ran across a few things. Sadly, I found the file of my kitty's papers. Amongst the papers I found her collar and tag, which she hadn't worn in years. I think she figured out that if she crawled under our old sofa sleeper, the collar would catch on one of the wire rungs and she could slip out, because that is where I kept finding it. I always got a new collar for her that matched the new tags each year. The color always had a bell on it, so I could keep better track of her.  She'd go "ting, ting, ting," down the hall. Whenever I'd find that collar under the couch, I'd go looking for her and she'd go streaking through the house so quietly...it was as if she loved being, ahem, without anything on. When I'd put the collar on her she seemed so dejected and the next day I'd find the collar under the couch again. I finally gave up and that collar has sat in the file since the winter of 2000.

I've also had to consider what to do with a few fun Texas items. This one was on the garden shed. Hmmm...that wouldn't work in Virginia.





Then there are these fun Texas sayings. Obviously they won't work in Virginia either.





Of course we had to have a Texas flag.  Nope, won't work in Virginia.





All of this work has been definitely worth it! It's been extremely easy to keep the house clean now. I do believe the kids are more focused. I have minimized the things I'll have to find new homes for once we arrive in Virginia. And I wouldn't be surprised if I find a few Virginia things for our new home. Wonder if I can find any great signs in Virginia, such as "General Washington slept here." "Lafayette made his Grand Tour through here." "Patrick Henry vehemently spoke against treason here." or "Thomas Jefferson wrote something extremely important here."

Editor's Note: A few weeks later we sold our house for asking price in 24 hours! Virginia here we come! (Even though we will miss Texas.)  

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

We Accepted an Offer on the House!

"Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway."  -John Wayne



     I saw that plastered on a billboard the other day.  It was exactly how I have been feeling about putting our house on the market and making the move to Virginia.  I have felt that we have had to make decisions in the dark, not quite certain which way to go.  We have considered the option of all of us going up together and getting a short term furnished rental.  The prices boggle my mind more than the house prices up there.  Then we have considered the option of the kids and I staying here to sell the house while my husband went up on his own.  Then we've considered renting a house, hopefully month to month, to get things out of storage and move on in life.  Then when our house sold, to start looking around to buy. 

     While debating the options, we plugged along with the things we knew needed to be done.  And that was getting this house in tip top shape to impress a buyer.  We felt that it was already a pretty nice house, but we endeavored to make it shine as much as possible.  

     One item that concerned me was the huge pile of garden prunings and other large items.  How to dispose of them?  My husband called the city and he was told to take them to the dump.  He called a friend who brought his  truck and helped haul everything out.  We were blessed that it was a free dump day!  I don't even want to know how much it could have cost us.

     Sunday in church we sang a lot of songs about faith that helped to encourage us.  They were like a balm on all the uncertainties in life.  While coming home I saw the John Wayne quote on a billboard and I thought of how it was like faith.  Although faith can be affected by feelings, it shouldn't be run by feelings.  Despite my feelings, I was determined to push on in faith.  However I've had to pray a lot to God to help me overcome my lack of belief that He would provide for us. 

     Monday the house was officially posted on the web listing service. Our agent said that we had done all we could.  Now we needed to look heavenward for the rest.

     Tuesday, there were a few showings! In the meantime, I discovered we have something in common with San Antonio Spurs point guard, Tony Parker.  He came here  from France and joined the Spurs a few years ago when he was 19.  The local media has always played up his French heritage in an interesting and fun way.  Well, he put his home on the market the same time we did!  Although it is valued at over one million dollars, the economy is causing him to sell his house at under $900,000.  That made me laugh and actually feel better, even though I'm sure there will be a price war on his house! 

     While getting dinner ready that evening, the agent called and started to relay the events on his end...but wait a minute...he had another call and had to go. He'd call back. What????  Just leave us hanging???  I felt like "House Hunters" on HGTV.  My husband calls the host of that show "Miss Wiggle."  I could just hear "Miss Wiggle" now..."Did they get an offer for their asking price?  Stay tuned..."

     Well the short of it is, the house has generated interest by more than one family and we have accepted an offer!  Now we have the usual inspection, etc, etc, etc, until closing day.   Time to climb back in the saddle and mosey on down the trail in faith.    

         

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

We're Moving to Northern Virginia!

     My husband got the job in Virginia!  They want him to arrive the first week of March to house hunt and then start work March 16!   We have been through a roller coaster of emotions the last year.  At least I have.  It's quite a story how all this came about.  In the meantime, I've given this a lot of thought and talked to lots of people.  I've learned that people fall into two groups...either they warn all from ever entering DC or they think it's a great opportunity!  Honestly, I understand both sides of the scenario.

     The summer after we got married, we went to Alexandria to visit his sister who managed the restaurant on top of the Kennedy Center.  She taught me a lot of tricks for navigating DC!  That was the trip I first went to Colonial Williamsburg and it was more than I ever dreamed it could be.  Although my husband had wanted to live in Virginia, after that trip we couldn't see how it could ever be possible.  And living in DC...you've got to be kidding!  It's a jungle out there!  LOL  

     Fast forward to April 2008.  My husband went on a business trip to Maryland.  "Horrors," I thought!  "He'll make friends and want to live there."  I've spent enough time in the DC area to know that it is a nice place to visit but I'd never want to live there.  My husband had recently put in his papers to retire from his present job and I could see the writing on the wall.  I e-mailed my friend from Maryland and cried on her shoulder.  She kept reassuring me that God does provide even in and around DC.  I told her the good things about living there would be the friends (like her), the scenery, the seasons, and the historical sites.  But I was well indoctrinated by my parents that the only place to live is Texas.  

     Shortly after that, I ordered curriculum for my kids and I saw my life flash before my eyes.  My daughter was going to be in high school!  gasp  It won't be long before there's an empty nest.  What was I going to do with myself when they left home?  My emotions were getting increasingly heavy.

     Then we took our vacation to Virginia in August.  Our first three days were spent in Colonial Williamsburg (too short).  As I sat under a shade tree while my kids painted at the Geddy House, my husband struck up conversation with the man who worked at the foundry.  It was so relaxing, calm, peaceful, I could live there.  Why not?  Why not move to Williamsburg?  Perhaps I could get a job there, using my teaching skills and engaging with the guests in some way.  What a way to combine my love for teaching and my interest in the American Revolution at the place where "history lives"!  How thrilling!  My son wants to attend Patrick Henry College in Northern Virginia.  That was only a hop, skip and a jump from CW.  I told my family and they laughed about one of my dreams.

     Well, I was consumed with the idea so when we got back to Texas, I teased them about all the nifty events going on at Colonial Williamsburg.  In November, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt were at Kimball Theater with George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.  Wouldn't that have been too cool?  My husband is a major Theodore Roosevelt fan.  Bit by bit, I reeled my family in and they were hooked on the possibility of living in Williamsburg.

     My husband started sending out resumes in October and did some interviews.  He had done quite a bit of networking around here and we were pretty certain that several jobs here were in the bag.  In the meantime, we thought he could start a job here, then when something opens up in Williamsburg, move there.  In the meantime, the economy crashed and doors were closing.  As I prayed that he'd get a job, this little part of me dared to pray a dream...could he get a job in Williamsburg so we could move to Virginia?

     We started cutting back on our budget to put money in savings for that rainy day that was certain to come.  Christmas we kept simple.  We were all a bit down, instead of festive, to be quite honest.  Then a week before Christmas he got a phone call about a job in Virginia!  That set the ball in motion.  

          The positives remain the same as last year: friends, scenery, seasons, historical sites, Colonial Williamsburg!  After spending most of my life in Texas, I am thrilled with the opportunity to experience new things!   

     We have never had enough time to see everything on previous trips to Virginia.  We are excited about all the opportunities.  We will be studying the Civil War about the time we arrive in Virginia.  It's interesting that we recently had our last unit celebration here in Texas, about the Alamo.  Our first history presentation in Virginia, will be about the Civil War.  The last history presentation was poignant for my parents. They won't get to come to the next one.  It will be different for us too.  My husband will probably be the only audience and that's not quite the same as a few more people.  Nevertheless we'll make the most of it and make it special, as always. 

     Our long term goal continues to be to find jobs and a home in Williamsburg.  In the meantime, we'll get lots of use from our season passes!  
    It will be difficult to leave the memories, friends and family behind.   Already as I drive around, I think, "this could be the last time...make the most of it."  I feel a flutter of fear wrapped up in excitement as I try to get this house ready to sell and then to begin a new life in Virginia.