48 hours in Charlottesville

What day is it?  Oh right.  A week ago was our anniversary and months before we had booked a stay for a night away in Charlottesville.  Eight years in with three little ones (ok, maybe they aren't all that small anymore) we know the value of just 24-48 hours away.

If I'm honest I'll say I was itching to get home by the time it was ready.  It's not that I didn't like the time away- obviously.  How many moments do I wonder if I could have just 20 minutes of silence?! But then you get it, ok I got it, and it felt weird.  Benjamin is well aware of the water works that will happen when the boys all grow up and leave the house.  Meanwhile, he'll be throwing a party!

I've joked in the past that I blog for selfish reasons. It's a little true.  I started this blog to share with friends and family what I had been cooking and what I had been doing in California, and now here we are.  Talking about Charlottesville.

So, my hope and intent is to share what we'd recommend from our time away.  This will help me remember too, because let's be honest, a week out I'm already starting to forget!  Let's get to it.

Charlottesville is about 2-3 hours from us depending on where you go, so not too close, but not too far.  When we decided to leave in the morning, without a doubt we knew lunch had to be at Pippin Hill.  Imagine if Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn had a baby.  This would be their winery child.  I could post pictures of this place and it's glorious hydrangea path and farm and chickens and views all day.  If you're close enough to go, go.  If you make a trip somewhere near here, go.  If you need an excuse to go here, let the sliders be it.  We opted for some bubbles on our anniversary, had great service and enjoyed super tasty meats, cheeses, oysters, and then shared the sliders  Definitely get the sliders.  They brought us a dessert which was also excellent, so save room and grab some of that too.  Everything we've eaten from here has been wonderful.  It's not a spot I'd recommend bringing kids so try and go without them.  It's beautiful in every season, yes, even when those hydrangeas are all dried up.

After lunch we headed to the Farmhouse at Veritas.  I had heard about this place years ago, sent others there, and we finally got to enjoy it for ourselves.  This place did not disappoint, and it especially nice if you want to pair delicious food with your experience.  Our dinner was amazing and breakfast was even better.  They offered chocolate chip cookies in the kitchen and somehow I managed to find room for one of those too.  Everyone we met was kind and we loved our drinks on the wrap around porch out front, dinner on the patio, and breakfast in the garden house outside.  

I have had friends stay here who opted for the a lighter dinner option they have and I would definitely opt for that next time knowing how stuffed I was by dinner.  Pippin Hill showed me too how much I love just simple meats and cheeses and olives and how tasty that is, maybe even more so in wine country.  Before checkout we walked around a little and said hello to the sheep grazing outside, and then made our way to Monticello. 

Feeling food and wined-out we opted to go see Monticello.  I'm definitely glad we did this without the boys.  I would take them back when they are a bit older, but for now it was good to take it in without chasing a two year old.  I actually don't love history, but I am finding it more interesting as I learn things my elementary or even high school mind wouldn't have picked up on.  

We spent quite awhile there and afterwards had to opt for some more food.  I guess it's how we all survive, eh?  Thankfully we gave our bodies some time to get hungry and ended up looking for a brewery this time instead of more wine!  We went to Three Notch'd Brewing and would recommend if you're looking for good food options paired with drink.  The beers were all pretty big and it's hosting the Virginia Craft Brewers Fest this weekend so I guess it was a good pick!

Overall, a fun, relaxing, and delicious 48 hours in Charlottesville with the husband!  We'll be back- maybe in cooler temperatures, and definitely for more sliders.

is this what it feels like?

I'm good at looking ahead, but when a new season is on the horizon it can cause me to freeze a little.  I think there's a better term for this.  Something like fear or stagnancy or feeling stuck.  I know a change is ahead and a part of me wants to just stop everything in hopes it won't come.  Another part of me keeps looking ahead and like my son, counting down the days until the event, way too early.  I've already told my oldest we need to count down to Daddy's birthday before his, and if I hear about Halloween one more time I might combust.

I've had a planner since middle school and can remember walking into the Franklin Covey store and thinking how amazing it was. It's our anniversary tomorrow.  Maybe my spontaneous husband should have known these things about me!  Sorry, Benjamin.  I'm sure this was in my e harmony profile somewhere.

In this summer month of no camps or school or activities we're signed up for, I'm wondering if this is a bit of the freedom homeschooling families experience.  My husband was homeschooled and it's a method of education we've talked about, yet haven't chosen, for our kids.  I still remember pacing my bedroom in Santa Barbara on the first phone call Benjamin and I had nearly a decade ago when he told me he was homeschooled.  I quickly asked, "Is that something you expect of your wife and for your own family."  He responded that he knew it wasn't the best fit for every family and that he had no expectations that it would be how his kids would be raised.  Phew, I thought.  No way would I want to do that type thing.  Send those imaginary kids to school I thought.

Here we are though, and there are several things I'm loving about the time we're in. 

This morning I had Anderson do a few worksheets that were sent home from his kindergarten class as suggested work to do over the summer.  He promptly complied and finished the papers with ease.  Nope.  He was distracted by his brothers playing and it took some time and maybe a timer to get through a few pages.  As I try to plan well, I'm trying to help him along too so in a month we aren't amazed by the idea of homework.

I'm loving the slower morning of flipping pancakes, letting them watch a show, and getting my routine down.  I always throw a load of laundry in, unload the dishwasher, load everything else up, and try to get in time with the Lord.

I love days when we can head to the country, or pack up for the pool.  Evan still needs a nap so I know we can get out earlier but need to be back by a certain time so he can rest.  I shop online a lot now and only go to the grocery store once a week so those errands don't consume our time. 

Before all the homeschooling moms tell me this is absolutely not what their days look like, I get it.  You have rigorous curriculum's and it's no walk in the park.  I think the introvert in me is really liking the home time and the smallness of our life right now.  My brain isn't consumed with too many activities or people or events to keep up with.  I can do our family and feel like I have the time and space to do it well.  I can think more clearly about things I do want to pursue and see why they would be a benefit.

It's a good season to think on all I'll say no to this year too.  I've committed to a few new things, and so the 'no's' will likely be more frequent.

I need to say yes to our kids activities, to Friday's at home, to date nights, to Sunday's at church and with family.  I have to say no to things that aren't worth my time or that don't bring me joy or benefit my family.  I need to say no to comparison, and yes to freedom. 

Galations 5:1 states- "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."

Homeschooling or not, I'm choosing freedom.  Freedom to write and pursue things that benefit me, my marriage, how I parent, how I serve.  That's what God wants for me, and I know that's what he wants for you too. 

Perhaps it's not this idea of how we educate then, but freedom.  Is this what it feels like? I think so.