Do It Again

Photos by LYNDSI Photography
Do it again!
We were in Half Moon Bay, a town 30 minutes south of San Francisco, at Sam's Chowder House, a waterfront seafood restaurant recommended to us by one of my husband's clients. Our west coast trip was coming to an end, but before we flew back east, Herm requested we stop again, for one last meal at this place, a seafood lover's dream eatery. I may have ordered chicken, that detail is no longer vivid in my memory.
Our car doors were barely open, my feet hadn't even touched the ground, when the lady, a robust and elegant looking African American with gorgeous curls and ruby red lips, exclaimed for the second time, Do it again!
Do what again?!
Pardon? Herm and I both looked at her in confusion. We hadn't even been there long enough for her to know what we had done in the first place. 
Honey, she smiled, her accent almost southern,  if he was an ugly child, she said, pointing at Carson who was now sitting on Herm's hip, I would say, 'Is he your only one? Maybe you should keep it that way.'  But lordy, you've made a gorgeous child, you two need to do it again!
And with that, she and her friends piled into their black Cadillac and were on their way, leaving Herm and I doubled over with laughter at the thought, wondering, should we take her advice?
Well, dear stranger in Half Moon Bay, I would like to let you know we haven't forgotten about you, or the wonderful advice you so generously gave to us. 
And now we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of another beautiful child, due sometime in May of 2016!
Yes, we did it again.


21. Take Dancing Lessons with my Man

Photo by Penn Clark
Dancing. It's something that most Mennonites are less than good at.
I'll be completely upfront and honest and tell you this, I don't have the moves like Jagger.
But dancing is something that I want to learn. It looks like a lot of fun, and it certainly would come in handy to know at least a few dances (other than the chicken dance) for wedding receptions and other formal occasions... So, dancing was added to the list.
I wasn't exactly sure how or where this would happen.
Our local town grange offered free square dancing lessons during the month of September, but Herm was working several evenings per week in order to get ready for our trip to Portugal, which resulted in a conflict of schedules those three Wednesday nights.
I'm entering 'crunch time' with this list, and it looked like perhaps number 21. Take Dancing Lessons with my Man would not get crossed off.
But then I heard about the Autumn Barn Party my church was hosting just after we returned from our trip, and how we would have a caller there for square dancing! Hallelujah!
The only thing left to do was work on convincing my man that he would enjoy it too. :)
Thankfully I have two great pals, Kate and Lyndsi, who took care of this for me. I later found out they both text Herm and Lyndsi bribed him into it with a coffee and donut delivery if he took his wife to the dance.
So there we were, at the barn after church on Sunday night, sipping on cider and nibbling bits of apple pastries, as we were waiting for the dancing to be begin.
We started the night off with the Virginia Reel (see what it is here). The caller lined us up in two rows, gentlemen on one side, ladies on the other, and began to call out the moves as the music played and people clapped.  This is a high energy, lively dance. It was fairly easy to catch on, and so much fun.
We stayed for one more dance, before Carson started asking if he could go to bed. The little man will do all he can to fight nap time, but every evening, like clockwork, he will request to go to bed around 8:30-8:45. I would have loved to stay for the rest of the night, but I wasn't going to deny a little boy his bedtime.
I had fun, even with just two dances. And I was happy, this was finally crossed off.

P.S. Herm really enjoyed the night too, and next time, even though I'm sure he'd still accept a bribe of donuts and coffee, it wouldn't be necessary in order to get him there.



When I created the list almost a year ago, I didn't actually believe that I would be able to cross 8. Visit a New State (or Province or Country) off of it.  I've already been to 31 of the 50 states, so in order to visit a new one, I'd have to travel pretty far west. I do get to Ontario, Canada, fairly often, but again, to visit another Province it would be a long drive for me. And a new country? With our stage of life it seemed impossible.

But then we were invited on a trip to Portugal with a few of our friends. We weighed the pros and cons -- Pro: Carson flies free until age two. Con: Flying to Europe isn't cheap. Pro: We had enough of credit card rewards to cover one of our tickets entirely and at least half of the other ticket, so we wouldn't be paying a lot out-of-pocket. -- and decided this was the year, we would go!
Our church is associated with a church in Sintra, Portugal. The main point of the trip was to spend time with the people there, to encourage one another and build relationships, but we also helped out with a few work projects in the sanctuary that is being remodeled, and of course we did a bit of sight-seeing as well.
Portugal has a vast amount of history, along with beautiful castles and palaces and coastlines to go with those stories. And the food... don't even get me started. Let me simply say this: I've never had such good bread or so many pastries served at every meal before. Carb overload.

We spent 10 lovely days in Portugal, and as much as we did love it, we were excited to head home again. Herm and I both share a love of travel, and we both tend to be homebodies as well. (How does that even work?) Trips like this are such a joy, but the saying is true, there is no place like home.
On our way home we had a 11 hour layover in Brussels, Belgium. We got a hotel for the night, then early the next morning took a train in to the city for a quick breakfast, before heading back to the airport for the final leg of our journey home. It was pretty dark out and we didn't have much time, but I feel like I can now at least say that I've been to Brussels. =)
We had such a wonderful time there. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to travel with my two favorite men. My hope is that year after year we will still be able to travel and visit new places, even as our family grows. This world is such an amazing place, and I feel like I've barely experienced it.