One of the benefits of working at a university is that we get breaks when the students do. That doesn't mean we don't always have things that need to be done over a break, but if the students are given time off so are we. About a week ago, TCU was on fall break, which means Gina got a 4-day weekend. UNT does not have a fall break, so I still had to work on Monday and Tuesday. No bitterness here. None. Really.

The first two days were spent at Granny and Granddad's house. Gina took them over on Friday afternoon and they all stayed until Saturday night. I spent the weekend doing mini-makeovers on some homes in Haltom City through the Building Community event at our church. While Gina, Sam and Nate went to a farm and played with Granny and Granddad, I scraped, painted, trimmed bushes and carried trash to a dumpster.But it was actually fun and helped some families out tremendously.

On Sunday, we relaxed and I recovered from all the manual labor on Friday and Saturday. I honestly don't remember what we did on that day because I was so tired, and so was Gina from two busy days in Garland.

On Monday, I had to go to work at UNT, so Gina took the boys to the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. They had a great time playing at all the different exhibits, and then Gina pulled the old "lets-eat-lunch-on-the-way-home" trick so the boys wouldn't fall asleep in the car. We have found that if the boys fall asleep in the car, even for a few minutes, they won't take a nap. And trust me, we want to ride the nap train as long as Sam and Nate are willing to keep it going. Later that afternoon, after I got home, we made Star Wars cookies with the cookie cutters Aunt Katie got the boys for their birthday.

On Tuesday, we decided to end fall break in style. Gina was still on break, and the boys and I played hookey from school to go to the State Fair of Texas. We went last year on a Friday afternoon, and we knew that we wanted to spend more time this year now that the boys are older and have a little more stamina. Emphasis on the word "little." The day at the fair was magical from beginning to end. Well, I will admit that we were all pretty cranky by the end of the day, and Sam did fall and smack his head pretty good right before the parade. So, that was a bummer, but other than some human error, the day was awesome. We started the day with a ride on the massive Texas Star ferris wheel, which is something I was very glad we did. We also let the boys ride some rides, and that was met with mixed results. Sam loved it, but Nate was not quite prepared for how fast these rides went. You can see him screaming in some of the pictures. Who is that cruel daddy who took pictures of his screaming child?!? We also got to see a dog show, stunt BMX riders, some cool model trains in the green house and of course we stuffed ourselves with a variety of fried foods. It should come as no surprise that the boys slept all the way home. By the time we got them to bed, Gina and I were spent. We pretty much went straight to bed and didn't move until the next morning.

An observation I have made about these "breaks" is that I am more tired after them than I was before. But at this stage in life I am OK with that. I guess the alternative is staying at home and taking it easy. But I know that these days with the boys won't last forever. They won't always look at every new experience with big eyes and wide smiles. They won't always be fascinated with the simple things I have learned to take for granted. I won't always be able to pull them around in a red wagon, and the day will come when they want to go off and explore the world without the company of mom and dad. They won't always fall asleep in the car the second it starts moving then let us carry them to bed without ever waking up. They won't always wake up early the next morning completely revived and talking about Big Tex and every other detail as if it were their favorite thing in the world. But they do that now, which is why "now" is the most important time in our lives. And it's also why "now" is my favorite time. Pretty soon "now" will be a memory and a new "now" will take its place and sweep us off our feet with more unexpected gifts that we never saw coming.

You can see more pictures of "now" in our photo album.