Dear friend and devoted reader, things have certainly picked up here at the Hunter house in the past few months. My Michael left his place of employment of the past 7 years and started a new job. He also applied to, got accepted to, and started graduate school. We thought we were busy before, but things have certainly been crazier than ever these past couple of months.
Allow me to brag a little: My Michael, smartypants that he is, got himself into a pretty good graduate program. He is now working on getting a Masters of Science in the Management of Information Technology from the University of Virginia's McIntire School of Commerce (say that ten times fast--I dare you). The program is geared toward working professionals and is an accelerated program. He'll have his M.S. in M.I.T. completed next August. Wa-hoo!
Now, he doesn't go to class for an hour or two every Tuesday/Thursday or Monday/Wednesday nights; instead he goes a couple of Saturdays a month, a l l d a y l o n g. Usually. In June, he had to report to the campus in Charlottesville, VA for two weeks straight.
Instead of having him drive home Saturday morning and head back to school again Sunday night, we decided to turn a weekend in Virginia into a family mini-vacation. The kids and I had never been to Charlottesville and we thought it would be a great chance to be together without a ringing kitchen telephone and the responsibilities of home.
After Teensy played in her All-Star baseball game, I loaded up the kids and drove to the hotel where my Michael had been staying. We piled into the hotel room and hit the ground running in the morning.
After a yummy breakfast at a little corner deli, Michael gave us a tour of the University of Virginia's campus. I really thought the campus was beautiful. I am a sucker for brick and the red brick buildings with large white columns surrounded by all the lush greenery sure made for a pretty, pretty campus.
After touring the campus, we headed out to Thomas Jefferson's plantation, Monticello. I have heard many wonderful reviews of other people's visits to Monticello, so I was totally excited to go. My kids weren't sure why they were going to visit some dead guy's house, but Mason quickly became a believer. He found the estate fascinating.
Check out how big the stump of this tree is! Our entire family could have fit inside.
It was a super hot day and Mackenna, especially, started to melt (emotionally and physically) but I think everyone had fun. Monticello has a special family-friendly tour and our tour guide was very good at trying to do hands-on activities to interest the children. There is also a children's Discovery Room with all manner of hands-on exhibits that our kids didn't want to leave!
Teensy and Kenna both loved playing house in the slave quarters of the Discovery Room. I tried to tell them that the real slaves had to sleep on the floor, work all day, etc. but the girls thought it all looked great to them!
Maia had fun working on a loom.
Here's Mason writing with a quill. He was supposed to write his name, but he wrote his catchphrase, "I like pie," instead.
I would love to go back sometime with my Michael to do the regular tour and to visit all the nooks and crannies our kids were too pooped to explore. The scenery around the house itself was stunning; I can only imagine how beautiful all those trees are in the fall!
I will say this: I cannot quite figure out Thomas Jefferson. Certainly, he was a genius innovator. And he no doubt had some great ideas and believed in America. I just don't know how to reconcile all that with the slaves and the slave mistress thing. It boggles my mind.
Anyway, I am glad we got to steal this little weekend away. With all of my Michael's church, work, and now school responsibilities pulling him away and me running kids to piano and baseball back in June, it was awesome to just get away from it all and spend time together as a family.