Sunday, October 25, 2009

Squeezing in some Fun too.....

by Sarah
Even though this has been the month we dedicated to planning and preparing for Luke's arrival and passing, we also have made a pointed effort to have some fun together's a little glimpse of what we've been up to....

Fall in the Flint Hills - 060

The weekend of the 10th, we set out for the beautiful Flint Hills of Kansas.  Back in July, I was really feeling like I was going to need some intentional time to be alone, be quiet, still and just prayerful about what was ahead (motherhood and major life change).  As someone who loves her alone time, I realized that with a new baby on the way, that precious alone time would become scarce in a blink.  So I got online and researched B&Bs in the Flint Hills (always one of my favorite areas of Kansas) and found one and made a reservation for myself for a personal retreat.  I'm blessed to have a husband who knows how much my alone time means and was completely supportive of me getting away by myself for a little bit.  It was something at the time that felt important and very far away (it was three months into the future after all).  But when we received Luke's fatal diagnosis, my personal getaway quickly turned to a little romantic escape for Joe and I.  While I had no idea what was ahead when I had made that reservation, I really think that God knew that we would need this escape in the middle of our hardest month- and it turned out to be exactly a getaway we needed.

Fall in the Flint Hills - 012

We drove out I-70 to 177 national scenic byway south and spent the afternoon meandering through the prairie.  We stopped for lunch at the historic Hays House in Council Grove and did a little shopping there too. Joe had some of the best pie ever (which I think will become legendary because we still talk about it today)- it was delicious! (Don't worry, Luke did not miss out!)  Our B&B was in a small town further south called Cottonwood Falls.  The weather outside was unseasonably cold (30s) and overcast- perfect for reading by the fireplace, drinking warm drinks, playing cards and wandering the property.

Fall in the Flint Hills - 041

It was a pretty spot and that evening we shared a delicious steak dinner at the one place in town that was recommended- The Grand Central Hotel. Our pace was leisurely and easy and we enjoyed being out of town and away from our reality for a weekend.

Fall in the Flint Hills - 036

Fall in the Flint Hills - 043
The Tallgrass is taller then Joe.

Fall in the Flint Hills - 050
Joe showing me how to set a trap.

Fall in the Flint Hills - 066

Fall in the Flint Hills - 092

Luke and Joe's K-State Game - 04

The following weekend of the 17th, we went to Manhattan, Kansas with our friends Amy and John to watch K-State play the Texas A&M Aggies. We tailgated in the ultimate spot.  It was away from crowds, had some grass, space for washers...and there were some giant trucks and silo bins nearby, but in my opinion, that just made things more authentic and fun. We had food imported from Aggieville at our easy tailgate and the boys trounced the girls in the best of 7 in washers.

Luke and Joe's K-State Game - 08

Luke and Joe's K-State Game - 15

Originally an afternoon game, it was bumped to the prime time TV spot and became a night game.  So while we were expecting to freeze, it actually turned out to be perfect football watching conditions.  This was not Joe's first time to the Little Apple with me, but it was his first time attending a KSU home football game. It was a blast showing him around and introducing him to many of the fun traditions of the Wildcat football fans.  Our seats were on the 4th row on the 35 yard line, so we were pretty much sitting on the field which was also fun.

Luke and Joe's K-State Game - 26

Luke and Joe's K-State Game - 06

But the best part was that the Cats won! No one was really expecting a victory, so I was planning to just enjoy the atmosphere with my husband and friends and have that be the "victory," but instead, the Cats dominated the entire game and won 62-14! Our throats were sore from yelling and cheering and poor Luke was getting all jostled around because I could not stop jumping up and down. It was a blast and another perfect escape for our little family.

Band of Brother's Retreat - 12

And then this weekend (the 24th) Joe was off spending the weekend with some of his pals at the Band of Brothers retreat weekend. This happens once a year and is in Southeastern Kansas at the Shalom Retreat Center.  The teaching is by John Eldridge and is based on his amazing book Wild at Heart.  He attended last year and loved it and I was so excited for him to return again this year with some of his closest friends...especially during this season of our lives.

Band of Brother's Retreat - 05

Band of Brother's Retreat - 19

Band of Brother's Retreat - 25

Band of Brother's Retreat - 33

While he was doing that, I traveled to Stillwater, OK for a girls getaway weekend with my friend Jenny.  We drove down to spend the weekend with Jenny's sister, my dear friend, Laura whom I miss terribly.  Laura and her awesome husband and adorable son moved there last year so that Eric could work on his PhD, and there has been a hole in KC ever since.  So I'm looking forward to some good girl time, great conversations and lots of laughter (and I'm sure a few tears as well).  Good friends all around. *

So lest you think we are just locking ourselves away and being sad all the time, we just wanted to share with you some of the fun things we are getting to do as a family as well.  We are working hard at living our lives fully despite our circumstances. Sometimes you just have to push back the sadness and live a little bit- or at least try.

* Editor's Update: Due to an unexpected attack of a head cold, Sarah's trip to Stillwater was postponed, and Sarah spent the weekend in bed.  She's still looking forward to a trip to Stillwater...someday!

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