long winter weekend

Keats celebrated his birthday with friends on Saturday.  I made a chocolate cake using a recipe from Gluten-Free Baking Classics (my favorite basic gluten free baking book) along with my first attempt at chocolate meringue buttercream and it was delicious.  I much preferred it to the powdered sugar buttercream frostings I typically make.

We had one unexpected guest:  a hunting dog escapee.  He visited us for the first time the week before, and after many phone calls to his owner, was finally picked up.  It turns out he is kenneled right down the street from us.  He must have remembered us and the treats Larkspur gave him, because he escaped again and showed up Saturday morning.  He squeezed past legs through both the front and back doors multiple times, racing through the house with his muddy paws to the tune of shouts and laughter.  “Get that dog out of here before he hikes a leg on something!”  Despite being skin and bones, he turned his nose up to dog food.  I cooked him scrambled eggs and ground beef.  I won’t get into what I think about the way hunting dogs are treated by some people.  We’ll see how this story ends up.  We’re certainly not looking for another dog nor is that necessarily even an option with this one.  But, that face!  Those ears!

We spent Sunday in Washington D.C.  My younger (fighting the urge to type the word “baby”) brother, Dan, was in town visiting a friend so we drove up to see him, the first time I have seen him in over four years.  He hadn’t yet met four of my seven kids.  I’m so grateful we had this opportunity.  Beatrix loved him just as much as she did on my trips to New Mexico in 2010 after my stepmom (Dan’s mom) died, although for Bea it was like meeting him for the first time again.  When I think about how infrequently I get to see my brother my eyes quickly fill with tears so I kept myself in the moment on Sunday.  It was just good to be around him, even if it was just for a day.  We squeezed a lot in, including Mass at the Basilica.  I have a fear of traveling into D.C. but even that is no excuse for that being our first visit there.  My dad bought us a GPS for Christmas and that helped us navigate the city.  (Now that we have one, I don’t know why we resisted getting one of them for so long.)  Jonny and I discussed later that we both sat there during the service thinking to ourselves that we should be driving up there for Mass far more often.  My kids were impressed, but not as much as I thought they should be.  They were very anxious to get to the Smithsonian while I could hardly bear to leave that church.

We ended up getting back really late Sunday night, lots of tears and fussiness after a full weekend.  The dog was gone when we got home.  I wonder if he’ll be back?


  1. That baby gown is perfect! Love it!

  2. I will say that people tend to think hounds and working dogs are too skinny when really their house dogs are just overweight. People constantly tell us the foxhounds are too thin even though they eat plenty and the vet says they are a healthy weight., a lot of people have just forgotten what a working dog looks like. And we, at least, feed ours three times a day. They don’t get breakfast before a hunt because it will slow them down (just like a person with a full tummy), but they get their food as soon as we get back.

    That said, you do have to watch them. Some of our hounds were retired for a few weeks or the rest of the season because we couldn’t keep enough weight on them with the super cold weather. We always have a few who run weight right off, even with extra high-energy food soaked in oil. That dog is a cutie though.

    DC scares me too, if I can take Metro I’m fine but I’m terrified of their road system. Had to take my dad to MedStar for surgery a few weeks back and was panicking driving there and back. And then we got pulled over for merging through a funeral procession, it maybe wasn’t the best idea but I couldn’t avoid it without stopping completely and blocking the only other lane in the road.

  3. Oh, feed him, feed him! I live in the woods and have often longed to live in the country, but admit I would have a very hard time living near poorly treated “working animals” of any kind without going all animal rescue rogue on my neighbors….

  4. Happy Birthday Keats! So fun you got to go to D.C. and visit your brother! I remember reading about the first time Bea visited him! So crazy how time flies. The church looks beautiful!

  5. Happy Birthday to Keats! You packed a lot into your big weekend! So happy for you that you got to have time with your brother. We’ve been away from “home” now for 9 months, and I am missing some family and girlfriend time!

  6. I love this, Happy Birthday Keats!! Are those home-made candles on the cake?

  7. Okay, three comments: 1) the dog is super cute; how could you not want to love him?
    2) Why isn’t the mineral rainbow arranged in the ROYGBIV way?
    3) DC is a grid (my parents lived there, and I lived there for many years), and a GPS is good in many situations but being able to read a map is invaluable.

  8. I’ve been to DC and loved it. Going again in April for a cousins wedding….can’t wait. Lovely post.


  9. We took the kids to DC for the first time this past year and they loved it, especially the Smithsonian. It was during Spring break, so crazy busy, but we still really enjoyed it and we took the train into town. That church really is beautiful and when I first saw the picture of the dog, I did think that you had rescued him. He is so beautiful and even though there is so much going on in my life, just as yours…it would be hard for me to resist taking him in.


  10. How awful to see the dog’s ribs, through the window. I don’t think keeping him keen for the scent is any excuse for keeping him so underfed. My friend uses her dog as a hunting (bird) dog and he is not underfed. You could consider calling the spca on his owners…..

  11. That church is so beautiful! I love visiting different churches when traveling and am struck by how beautiful they all are in different ways.

  12. Love the Virgen de Guadalupe, funny to see something so Mexican so far from here.

  13. I feel emotion for many things you said here. For seeing a person you love very little because of distance, of taking your kid to a place that cause you such an excitement that your chest feels funny, compassion for the dog…
    This post really touched me, and I’m even a dog lover or devote of any religion, is the way you write, that makes me feel so close to how you feel, I hope someday we could meet. I started to write my blog only in English, and we got back to homeschooling, which was totally the answer and my kid is doing much better at violin practice, he is having a little recital this Thursday, thank you very much for your advice.

  14. Oh goodness, that dog is pretty cute!

  15. That basilica…*swoon*

    And is Job that big already? I could swear you had him yesterday. These babies, they grow so fast. Before you know it they’re 11. 🙁

  16. Love all the hand knits, looks like a lovely weekend and a beautiful church.

  17. WE have been to DC on several occasions, starting with my high school senior trip just a few years ago ;o)
    I enjoy is and love spending time in the Smithsonian. We’ve done the zoo, the holocaust museum, the memorials… I think it’s important to see the things that make up history. Hard for kids to imagine that someone dipped a feather in some ink and wrote in CURSIVE those whole big long documents and no spell check or erase to help them.

  18. I can’t believe you all have never been to the basilica! I’ve been meaning to go to look at the mosaics for our homeschooling field trip . I’m thinking when my parents come into town, that will be on the agenda.

  19. It somehow completes a circle to see your pictures from the Basilica. I used to check your blog daily from my office computer when I worked in Theological College (2009-2011) which is directly across the street from the Basilica on Michigan Ave. I think I’ve always slightly associated the Basilica with you, Ginny.

  20. I so love DC, it is an incredible city. My parents both grew up there, and I still have a brother who resides on the other side of the Bay Bridge, so we travel back often to give the kids a chance to experience so much goodness. The baby knits are just too gorgeous Ginny.

  21. I’m glad you had this time with your brother Ginny.

    I have a hard time understanding how someone could miss treat an animal. Hunting dogs are kept a little hungry so they will trail the animal they are after, and hunting dogs are always kept thin from less food and all the running they do; makes me sad. Mike just brought home another dog, a German Short Hair, that needed a home. This now brings my total to 5.

  22. The dog is beautiful. I can see why you’d be tempted to keep him (and why he’d want to stay … our dogs would LOVE a meal of scrambled eggs and ground beef!).

    What a lovely day trip and time with your brother. I’m so glad you had that time together.

  23. That dog reminds me of the Shiloh book series. Have your boys rea it? We listened to the audiobook while returning from Michigan last December. It was a tough, but good book.

  24. beth lehman says:

    oh, i love spending a day or two in dc. we have stayed at the capital holiday inn, which is right off the mall – a few blocks from the air and space museum – and parking is included. one of my favorite things is walking the mall area before the museums open and again after they close. you feel as if you have the place to yourself (well, this time of year, anyway!!). of course we do the museums, but i’d love to go to both the national cathedral and the basilica. what a wonderful way to spend the day! (we got a gps, which makes things so easy… unfortunately, we thought it would help with my husband’s sense of direction and instead it has only made it worse. he uses it to go across town!!)

  25. What a fun weekend! We have a cat friend who frequently shows up and stays then leaves for a time only to return. I love cats and goodness knows we don’t need one right now but like you said…who knows! A fun trip to DC. Since moving back to the area we have taken the metro into the city to visit and explore. Despite all the politics- it is one of my favorite places to visit and the museums are amazing. We haven’t been to the Basilica in a long time but I think after your pictures we are due for a visit. Happy Tuesday!

  26. how nice that you saw your baby brother 🙂 Maybe more visits will be in the future? you never know. I think you will be owning another dog, what a sweet face reminds me of my Zoe who passed in 2009. That church is gorgeous! For the past three years we celebrate Easter Vigil at a convent’s chapel and it has an incredible mosaic around the altar. Makes it very hard to focus on the Mass when you are appreciating art. But it does make the forever Vigil go quickly 😉

  27. What a wonderful day! That church is amazing, isn’t it? Yes, you should definitely get there more often 🙂

  28. GPS is a wonderful thing; my husband and I would be continually lost without it… Love that cookbook too… 🙂 learned of it via your blog, thank you!

  29. Oh! This photo of baby Job looks so similar to pictures you have posted of your husband! Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I am inspired by your example of humility and the light God has filled you with. Blessings to you…and welcome back from DC :o)

  30. I love a trip to the big city occasionally! We take everyone on the train though, its fun and much easier 🙂

    I love 10 minutes from my baby brother and I am so glad for it.

    😀 Jacq

  31. Oh what a beautiful church!!! So wonderful that you got to spend a day with your brother. I have not seen my oldest brother in about that long. It makes me so sad. On the GPS, it took Eddie a year to convince me a long time ago to get one. I thought for sure it was a government conspiracy to spy on me… hehe. I think they would have been pretty bored if that was indeed the case. Happy birthday Keats!

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