I had such a lovely day today!  It started out with sleeping in (no school today, so I did not have to get cracking till 7:30) and some mad cleaning.  My mom, my Aunt and a friend came over to see my house and have lunch with us.  It began snowing right before they came which shortly transformed the gray dreariness and made my road seem delightful.  When they arrived, the girls and I showed them around, and I tried to get a word in edge-wise.  Man, those girls of mine can talk! Well, to be honest, it was mostly the youngest.  More on that later.

We watched a “show” put on by I. who demanded that we all sit in chairs and NOT TALK, and pay attention to her as she sang and ran around.  Then S. read a book to everyone (she was an angel, sweet, polite, helpful) and then I sent the girls upstairs so I could have a turn to talk.  The adults women talked about decorating and interesting things and then we all had a delightful lunch.  I. was actually quiet while her mouth was full, but that was the last time she was quiet today!

After lunch we set out on an adventure.  All loaded up in my Mom’s van, we went to a nearby town and visited an interesting furniture store that had some very cool things in it.  My Mom and I have decided that we need to make hooked rugs after seeing their impressive collection.  We wandered around for a while and enjoyed thinking of decorating ideas.

Then the fun began.  We had heard that there was a small Amish community about an hour away from this little town that had some interesting shops, so we decided to see if we could find it.  We then proceeded to spend the next four hours in the van to end up at a small grocery store and buy some butter!  Actually, we had a hard time finding anything since Amish people tend to live in the stix.  And I thought that I was remote!  We saw a sign that I regretted reading aloud, “The Treasure Barn” because when it turned out to be “Scary Junk Shack” I. could not understand why we were not going to get treasures here.  By this point in the trip, I was wishing I had left her at home, she was suffering from no nap, feeling left out, and a terrible sense of self-importance.  She is loud ALL the time, but hours in the van with her can leave you deaf.

After the “Treasure Barn,” we were feeling less sure of ourselves and our ability to find our way back to civilization, so we ended up stopping at a children’s home.  This was very interesting.  We only went there because it looked like a place that might have a bathroom and people who could help us.  It turned out to be a pretty amazing place.  The founders have cared for over 800 children who have either been from foreign countries and needing expensive surgeries, orphans with special needs, or babies born to prison inmates.  They also run a school and many industries.  The couple themselves adopted over 30 children, and continue to help so many.  I was impressed with their vision and willingness to care for the least of us.

They told us the way to an Amish grocery, and so we actually did find what we were looking for.  I was THRILLED to drive up behind a real-life Amish horse and buggy.  It had the orange triangle on the back and everything!  At the store (it was like a bulk foods place) we found many wonderful things and for amazing prices.  There were a couple of families there speaking in , I think, German- not sure on that one- with the outfits and everything.  My Aunt bought my girls all handmade Amish girl aprons and we all bought cool stuff including jam, spoons, dried pineapples, butter, jerky, a rolling-pin, and lots more.

The store was interesting because I could tell that the intended consumers wer people who cooked food from scratch in large quantities.  All the things for sale were for REAL cooking- big stainless mixing bowls, great wooden spoons, pans made for lots of use, and ingredients that took time.  They also had many herbs and such for alternative medicine, which were very fascinating.  There are times when I feel like I do not belong in a house on a farm with 10 kids, and then there are times like today, when I know that I do.

The sweet teenager that pulled up in a 15 passenger van with some siblings, made me smile and hope.  Obviously they were not Amish, but somehow, living surrounded by fresh eggs, buggies, and not much else, seems to make you feel differently.  When I am in the city- out for as much as a night on the town that my city can give- I tend to think about my waistline, my shoes, and what I am driving.  Being in the country, I begin to think about wearing dresses, how many rows of strawberries my land could produce, and building a chicken coup.   I thought at one point in my life that I was not this person.  That I would never buy bulk grain, homeschool, and raise goats, but sometimes- on days like today- I think, just maybe.

The ride home was hard.  I was carsick, I. was louder and more demanding, if that was possible, and I got us lost for a while.  But eventually we ended up back at my place, and we were all smiling and proud of our treasures.  It was a great day.  The company was wonderful, and adventures like these are what makes life so interesting.