I am so grateful for the family we visited this summer. They were such gracious hosts to our family and showed us a fun time non stop. They were sensitive to the needs of our daughters and must have been the ones that invented the saying, "make yourselves at home."
There is so much fun. And even though it seems like there are a lot of pictures on this post I didn't take nearly enough. Not even close. Gosh darn, how did I get home without taking the time to get a family photo of them like last year? I regret that soooo much...
Just a ton of snapshots of the joy we had with this family.
So to start Cindy had researched, typed out and emailed me a detailed (but flexible in every way) itinerary. It was awesome!
And from the moment we arrived we had fun. Like at this farmers market where we picked up a few fresh ingredients for dinner and had a few treats along the way!
Janie and Abigail... love
And backyard fun.
Lovin the faces they all made as they were on that water slide!
We ate the most delicious food there! Dave prepared his amazing dishes and we cooked some of our favorites. This was campfire packets over Dave's fire pit.
Summer is eating in your bathing suit, outside, with best friends!
And smores at night
These were most mornings back at our hotel. Abigail would wake up in the morning when Scott ran to the store and she would be wide awake one minute and then zonked out the next in our bed.
We went Mass at such a beautiful church there!
And every moment the grownups were getting ready to go whereever was next the girls played like crazy (writing a play)
I love her but really I wanted to take pictures of all of Cindy's walls. Each one put together with love, filled with inspiration, color. She has a knack at making a house a home... that's for sure!
The fabulous five about to go paddle boating!
Aubrey's lost shoe... don't worry she got it back!
And this meal... worth 32 hours of driving. Amazing is not a strong enough word! Dave's sauce, Dave's homemade pasta, Dave's homemade ricotta filling (yup, he makes his own ricotta cheese), lobster ravioli. Did I say amazing yet?
A day at the pool!!!
And not just any pool. One with tons of twisty water slides and a lazy river!
I did not want to leave that place!
No one did!
That evening they put on a cute performance. I love this cast!
And then the last morning we arrived (thanks Cindy for the nightgowns for all of the girls) and all pretended we weren't going. Dave cooked brunch. Quiche, fruit, and walnut pancakes. The girls got out their favorite game.
And then it was time to go. No drama yet. Maybe this would be a visit without tears at the end?
(signing each others hands)
But Janey's tears started to flow and then... well we were all right behind her.
It's a lot of emotion really. First there's the end to your summer vacation. And then there's this huge drive home coming up. And then there's your girls emotions. But really, I had to say goodbye too. And it was hard. Hard I tell you. In some ways Cindy doesn't feel 15 hours away from me. She feels just a town away. We talk and text and our busy school lives are much the same in so many ways. Raising girls, laundry, being a wife and a mother, our homes, seasons, even baby steps back into the classroom... we share it all. (tearing up a bit here even though I'm trying not to) Cindy does it all better than me. Really. On my bad days I try to (don't laugh) pretend I'm her. And instantly I slow down, pick up a book and read to my girls. I find a way to fix a chaos moment or afternoon and turn it into sweetness. She has a way (seems magical) to do that. And I am blessed to call her my friend. I know that she'll be there with me as I walk through all the good and even some of the tough in life. She'll be the call I make when I can't breathe after dropping Anna off at college, and the one I can't wait to tell when I become teacher again.
Yes, this was just plain hard.
These are burry your head and their chest goodbye type of friends.
And ones you kiss (on the lips). Thanks Janey for loving so well.
And ones you just can't imagine saying good bye to.
Maybe that's why this blog post took me so darn long to write.
I knew it would remind me of that good bye day. And I didn't want to remember Anna saying good bye.
You know that quote, "parting is such sweet sorrow". Without the hurt, without the saying good bye pain there wouldn't be best friends.
In my heart I go to Riley's soccer games, Janey's dance recitals, and Aubrey's joy filled things too. And in my heart they are at viola concerts and Irish Step Celi's. I'm grateful for that. Just wishing it wasn't in my heart.
I'm grateful too. For this letter, this very first letter that started it all. Thanks for writing Anna. And Riley... thanks for writing back.