Sometimes life gets noisy. I’m guilty of allowing it to happen.
But out here in the country, there is stillness and quiet, something my soul craves. I found myself standing outside looking up to the expansive sky and feeling freedom. Freedom from walls and close quarters. Freedom from the cares of everyday life. Freedom to be myself. Freedom to run and play.
This is the North Texas countryside where we spent Fourth of July weekend with our friends Chris, Jillie, Harrison and Haddie at Jill’s parents farm. It was unusually cool and stormy for Texas in July, but it made it all the more relaxing and refreshing. While the country’s beauty can’t help but slow you down to take in a deep breath, unless the kids were passed out for the night or watching a movie, it was not all that quiet. They ran their little bodies into sheer exhaustion by the end of the day.
On a typical morning, the kids were up bright and early ready to hit the ground running. I am not exaggerating when I say that Brennan was literally jumping up and down in his pack n’ play, pointing to the door ready to see his best buds. While we parents drank our first round of coffee or somehow found a way to let our bodies acclimate from being out of bed and get breakfast ready, the kiddos plopped themselves down in front of the TV to watch some cartoons.
Yes, that is my son taking up most of the couch, lounging in his Christmas PJs that barely fit him with two toy cars in his hands. We were completely in vacation mode!
We were spoiled by Pappy’s (Jill’s dad) breakfasts of pancakes and omelets with fresh veggies from the farm.
Once the kiddos were finished with their meals and could be excused from the table, it was non-stop action, which included running back and forth chasing each other down a long hallway that went from the master bedroom, through the family room, through the kitchen and out toward the back door. Back and forth. Back and forth. Harrison first, Haddie second, and Brennan trailing as the caboose. I’ve never seen Brennan out of breath. And that he was.
The first day we were there, Brennan was introduced to a “gator ride”.
With the cool breeze blowing through our hair we drove around and admired the variety of animals on surrounding farms ranging from…
Cows, wondering why in heaven’s name we were disturbing them during their chow time…
To donkeys who, when Brennan and I first saw them the day before, proceeded to get it on with each other. Fortunately for us on our ‘gator’ drive, we weren’t subjected again to such raw animal magnetism…
To horses shootin’ the breeze.
This boy is ready to drive the ‘gator’.
The thought of our meals that weekend still make my mouth water! Jillie put together our lunches and dinners and boy, she knows her way around a kitchen! One night we had Pappy’s famous ribs, too. I’m not sure how much we talked that night; I think it was a race to eat as many ribs as you could before they were snagged. If my memory serves me correctly, I think Chris and Pappy hogged them all and I barely filled my tummy. They both stole my homemade chocolate chip cookies Jill made me for the weekend, despite my protests and an emphatic note that was sitting on top of my bag of cookies. It’s just wrong <grin> (I hope you know I write that fully in jest). I’ll get them back one day.
I’m not sure why my family is the only one looking at the camera and smiling (or just staring as in Brennan’s case).
There, that’s better.
I will break out into the Alleluia Chorus anytime for this baby: a lemon custard tart with Graham cracker crust. Wowzers!
It finally warmed up somewhat our last day there so we took a dip in the pool. Harrison and Haddie have become amazing little swimmers!
If we weren’t swimming, riding the ‘gator’, playing on the swing set, watching movies or eating, we were playing soccer…
Or watching from the sidelines in hopes of somehow catching up.
One night after the kiddos had gone to bed, we big kids played Mexican Train Dominoes. We had to wait to finish the game until another night because the boys were shakin’ in their boots afraid they were gonna lose. The following night we discovered that our game had been hijacked.
The kids ran themselves ragged on the Fourth so we knew staying out late wouldn’t be the best idea in the world. And who am I kidding, we were too tired ourselves. But before hitting the hay on our last night there, we had to take one more ‘gator’ ride. All seven of us piled in and took one more memorable trip down the country road.
We have a deep love for this family of four whom we miss like crazy. We’re sweet on Pappy and Nana, too. They all sure loved on us that weekend (I oddly even felt loved by Chris and Pappy eatin’ my cookies ‘cause I know they do it out of a good heart to tease me), and we’re grateful for the warm welcome into their home and their hearts. When they say somethin’ along the lines of, “Ya’ll come back now,” they really don’t have to twist our arms too much. In fact, they best be careful because once you get a taste of that soothing countryside, you find yourself hankerin’ for more.