That having been said, we have been so thankful for the many blessings this past weekish. Last weekend we were able to attend a marriage conference on Friday evening and Saturday morning. It was an incredible time of laughter, encouragement and growth in the Lord. Many of our friends attended the conference as well, and it was a blessing to visit with them during the break sessions.
My parents-in-law came into town from Michigan to attend the conference as well, so we were able to spend the weekend with them while also attending the marriage conference. Since Daniel and I have been married (almost 6.5 years), I can't remember a time when just Doug and Jane have come without any of Daniel's sisters. While we always enjoy spending time with his sisters, it was an unusual treat to just have time with them. Patrick, Erin and Cammon were especially delighted to have time with "Opa and Oma" as we only get to see then a handfull of times per year.
After the marriage conference on Saturday, Daniel and I went out to lunch at Panera and had a wonderful time reflecting on some of the points from the conference. We cherish those one-on-one moments out together knowing that the kiddos are being well taken care of. It was also a blessing because I had to run 10 miles with a friend that afternoon (it took all afternoon, too!), so our opportunity to reflect on the conference together was limited.
Sunday, we all attended church together. My parents, sister, brother-in-law and niece also attend the same church. It was positively delightful to all sit together - Erin sat between my mom and Jane and was in granddaughter heaven with a grandmother on each side. :) After church, the weather was beautiful, so we decided to go to a local pumpkin patch. The kids had never been before, so this was a new experience AND their grandparents, and Aunty Sarah, Uncle John and Carol were there, too.
Patrick and Erin climbing the huge pile of pumpkins as we waited in line for the 1st hayride.
Poor Cammon - this whole waiting in line thing during naptime is exhausting!
Oma (Jane), Erin, Patrick and Gramma (my mom) on the hayride.
They had a great corn maze to explore as we made our way to the actual pumpkin patch.
Erin was quite taken with the corn - she collected a handfull and was trying to stash them in her skirt pocket. ;) I think she eventually decided it made more sense to feed the corn to the cows.
The pumpkin patch had this awesome tractor-drawn train for the kids to ride. Both Patrick and Erin wanted to ride in the first car, so it took 2 rounds for each of them to enjoy the train. Patrick had a grand time occupying himself on a hay bale while Erin rode the train.
Cammon finally woke up and Daniel took a turn carrying her in the Ergo. She seemed to enjoy looking at the cows, and the beautiful scenery.
The patch had this seriously nifty slide - I guess it was some kind of heavy-duty plastic or rubber or something, but it was long and the kids loved it.
The hayride back to the parking lot and a short visit to see the rabbits. Erin adores animals and particularly enjoyed this facet of the exploration.
We were also able to use this exploration as a Glory Hunt as well - the opportunities to seek out His glory are endless just about anywhere. We enjoyed pointing out the color contrast of the green grass, the mountains covered in fall-colored leaves, the blue sky, the remains of the corn stalks. All of it was stunning.