Sunday, June 26, 2016


For years I've been jealous of Pete when he gets to go to conferences.  Staying in nice hotels, eating meals out, listening to fascinating ideas and talking to fascinating people.... what could be better??

This week I finally got to go to my own conference -- and it was just as good as I had hoped!  Pete actually came along so we could hang out together in the evenings and during breaks -- making this our annual getaway -- so that made it even better.
Our first dinner was at True Food Kitchen -- it was awesome!
The best parts were the sides and the honeydew ginger drink!

 The conference was about classical education and over 1200 teachers and administrators from classical schools gathered in Atlanta for 3 days.  We heard from several plenary speakers, who up until now I had only read, and then attended all kinds of workshops during the rest of the time.  Oh -- and we got to hear Keith and Kristyn Getty!  Since the theme of the conference was about truth in poetry, it seemed appropriate that the modern hymn-writers would lead us in worship.

It didn't take very long for me to realize I was going to like the conference; in the first talk alone, C.S. Lewis was quoted or referred to approximately 9 times.  The rest of the time he was mentioned on average about every 7.3 minutes, by my count.

A couple friends from GCC were there, including Ty who was one of the speakers.  It was cool to see him in his element -- and all grown up!

I made some good contacts and got a list of names to follow up with for a long-term dream I'm pursuing.  For now I probably have to put that effort on hold, while we move and bring our daughter home, but hopefully next summer I'll be able to pick it back up and see what happens!

In the meantime, I am re-inspired to continue teaching my kids in the classical ways.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Strider at FELC

This past week Strider attended the Free Enterprise Leadership Challenge camp at Wingate.  We dropped him off on Sunday, and haven't seen him since (my parents picked him up at the end because Pete and I were out of town, and now he's away with them for the weekend), but from the small texts and bits of phone conversations we've had, it sounds like it was a really good week!

All week the high school students were divided into company teams and they had to construct businesses, marketing them to the other students.  They also had several competitions:  speech, essay, and debate.

Pete and I helped write some of the curriculum for this camp, and Pete is a speaker for one of their sessions every year.  This year he did his usual talk, and didn't mention he was Strider's dad (to kindly protect Strider's street cred).  The next day, he got this text from Strider:

That's about all we heard during the week, so I stalked the FELC Facebook page to get some pictures and a better idea of what they were doing...

I see Strider in the third row -- clearly talking to someone instead of listening

Strider's team: "Team Honor"

Doing what he loves to do:  DEBATE!
More debating

The company presidents, each giving an ad for their product

Strider says it was great and he wants to go back next year, so we're thankful!  (We're also thankful that this camp is so cheap!)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Many Fishermen (and fishergirls)

We're trying to soak up our last few weeks with our pond (not literally of course -- that water is gross), so the kids have been out fishing just about every single day, for hours at a time.  Even Strider and Rayna have found the the joy of fishing now, so there's pretty much always someone out there.  And a lot of friends have come over lately to fish with them, as well as all of the cousins.  It's been fun, albeit hot, to watch.

Matt caught this fly fishing!
Sue and Al came for a couple of quick overnight visits, and within about 5 minutes each time, Al had caught some bass.  (Now the boys want rods like his, that fold up all nicely to fit in a suitcase!)

As Colsen often laments, it will be hard to leave this pond.  There will be a few overlapping days that we'll own our new house and still this house as well, so he says we'll get to call this one our "lake house" then, and we can still come over and fish.

"But," he says, "maybe it will be time to leave after all.  I think all of the fish in this pond know me by now and they're not going to keep biting on my line. They look up and say, 'Oh, I know this kid!'"

So, we'll just enjoy it while we can.  :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


I still maintain that one of the most challenging aspects of parenting is fielding the innumerable questions lobbed at one all day long.  To compound the struggle, many of the questions are outside the realm of rational thought categories, making one's brain just hurt.

For example...

Early this morning, before my brain even had time to get itself ready, Miles walked up to me, and with no context whatsoever, said,

"Mom, is it true that colors go on forever?"

I had no idea what he was talking about, so asked him what he meant.  He, of course, just repeated the question.  Thinking that colors don't really end, I guess, I said,

"Ummm... I guess so."

He clarified, "So there's no no more colors?"  (and by "clarified" I mean NOT AT ALL)

I decided to just agree with him...  because really I guess there are an infinite number of colors, right?

"I guess," I said.

At that, he turned around and left the room, saying with great disdain, "That just doesn't even make any sense!"

I just sat there wondering what had just happened.

p.s.  Just overheard this conversation...

Pete:  Miles, did you take a shower?
Miles:  Yes.
Pete:  Did you use soap?
Miles:  Yes.  You're lucky!
Pete:  Why am I lucky?
Miles: Because I hardly ever use soap!

Sunday, June 12, 2016


How is it possible that we now have a 16-year-old living in the house?  I'm really not sure... but it's pretty cool anyway.

The best part was:  He turned 16 on Monday, and on Tuesday, completely unbidden, in not one but two different conversations, I heard him utter the words, "You're right, Mom."  This was HUGE.  Those words have not crossed his lips in succession since 2009.

A corner has definitely been turned, and I like the new vista.

His actual birthday was a bit anti-climactic after going to Turkey for his 12th, going to Colorado for his 14th, and being surprised by his friends on his 15th, but he said it was a good day anyway.  His football team was set to have their first practice of the season that night, so one of his buddies came over to hang out beforehand.  Then practice was cancelled due to storms.  :(

Other highlights of this birthday included receiving a unicycle, some new cleats and shoes AND getting his first job offer!  His summer job begins tomorrow.  He's turned into quite a hard worker, laboring hard for our neighbors and my parents over the last couple of weeks, and we're excited to see how this new job (working for an expert tiler) turns out.

Our little boy has turned into a young man, and we're so proud!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Insulting Mom

Most of my kids have gotten pretty mad at me the last few days for various things, but I've found myself laughing at the ways they try to express it (sometimes).

For instance, Rayna just stormed up to her room, angry that Pete had sent her there, and she shouted, "I have a mean dad!  And a mean mom!  And I have a step-mom that's mean, too!"  She must be feeling really oppressed!

And then there's Miles, with no shortage of ways to express himself.  He told me yesterday, "You're being so mean, Mom. It's like you're not even a mom!  Like, if I didn't already know you were my mom, I would guess you're not a mom."

Man!  I had better shape up!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Fisherman

Colsen's been pulling bigger and bigger fish out of our pond over the last few weeks.

He and Miles have been begging to go to Bass Pro Shop for weeks (months?) now, so finally they got their chance.  As we walked in, the excitement was palpable and Colsen sighed audibly, saying, "THIS is where I was, like, BORN."  He then rushed all over the fishing aisles looking for all kinds of things like square-bill crankbait and 30 pound braid and other things I had never heard of.  Thankfully the employees there were more than happy to help.

Monday, June 6, 2016

A quilt for our new daughter

We are* planning to make a quilt for our new daughter to represent all of the folks who helped to bring her home.  She is coming here to a beautiful community, the fabric of family and friends woven together, and we want to show her that in a tangible way!

So, we would like everyone who supports us in any way to pick out a fabric square from the options below.  We will write your name on it, and then it will be sewn into the quilt for her to keep forever.

Just send me a message with the name of the square you choose.

We are so thankful for you!!  Our new daughter is blessed by you, as she will soon discover!!

"Red Daisy"
"Floral Swirl"
"Grey Flora"
"Strawberry Fields"
"Blue Vine"
"Green Weave"
"Silver Chains"
"Royal Blue Bouquet"
"Cheery Cherry"

*By "we are" I mostly mean "my mom is."   :)

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Family Camping Trip

The extended Wray family embarked on their second annual Montreat weekend camping trip recently.  Since our house was going on the market that weekend (and I don't particularly love sleeping in tents), I only attended for one day, but it was a great day!