Ridiculously, I'm still planning to finish recounting this trip. I have to, you see. Since I started this blog, I don't keep journals as well as I used to (I used to fill warehouses with my journals) and so I. Must. Blog. It.
We last left a dear old man in a souvenir shop. Bonnets and broken shot glass in hand, we headed to our van and began the long, winding trip from Gettysburg to Lancaster. We didn't realize it would be quite so long and quite so winding. Pennsylvania is lovely traveling indeed. But, it's also long and winding. Everything was looooong and
and took longer than we thought it would. Still, we arrived at our hotel in Lancaster by about 4 or 4:30, and I thought we'd be able to zip over to the Family Centered Picnic and still have plenty of time to meet, greet and socialize.
Well, that was in my dreams.
My reality involved things such as:
*forgetting that I needed to stop and buy food to take to the potluck
*kicking myself for not getting proper directions to the park
*getting lost three times
*stopping twice for directions to the park
*finally arriving at the park at 7 pm only to see a van pulling away as Atticus said, "That van has New York plates ... do you think that could be the Gunthers?"
My children let out a variety of groans, as they were quite eager to meet their longtime penpals.
There were, however, loads of people I was eager to meet, and the first among them was our gracious hostess, the amazing Michele Quigley, who came running to greet me, making me feel like a welcome guest and a dear, old friend at the same time. Michele, who runs Family- Centered Press (and wasn't I blessed to win one of her terrific planners in a drawing at the conference?) not only planned and pulled off this conference, but the very next weekend, her son got married. I am a sad, pale imitation of a multitasker compared to this woman.
I was also blessed to meet (some at the picnic that night, some the next day at the conference) : Margaret of Minnesota Mom, Meredith of Sweetness and Light, Diane of Journey of a Mother's Heart, Kimberlee of Pondered in My Heart, Mary Ellen Barrett from Tales from the Bonny Blue House, Margot Davidson of Hillside Education, Michelle of Rosetta Stone, Heather from Doodle Acres, Michelle of Living Waters, and wonderful (non-blogging) friends Erica and Irene. Irene's daughters and mine have been penpals for some time, too, and my girls had a fabulous time Saturday, spending time with Atticus, both sets of penpals and a couple of other terrific dads.
This entire weekend was a joy. If Gettysburg was "Daddy's gift" then Lancaster and the time spent with these gentle, beautiful, funny, gracious, wise, generous and fascinating women was mine. I had a wonderful time, and I am so grateful that the conference (which was originally scheduled for a week later) was rescheduled for late July, or we would never have been able to make it.
On Sunday, after Mass, we left Lancaster and headed for Washington, D.C., where we all received the next gift of the trip -- a reunion with old friends. But, that's another post.
I'll leave you with a few pictures of my treasured Lancaster gifts:
Margaret, me, Meredith, Diane (picture shamelessly stolen from Heather, because I didn't take a single picture at the picnic):
Alice, Meredith, and Kimberlee:
Cute Baby, Erica, me, Kimberlee, Diane:
with Michele Quigley:
With Mary Ellen and Small, Extremely Cute Person:
With Alice and another small, extremely cute person: