Wednesday, September 3, 2014

le saison change

The season is changing.

The sun is at a different angle. A 'summer is bowing out' angle.

We family camped. We 'girls only' camped. We ran. We hiked. We raced. We backpacked. We played with family. We played in the mountains.We jumped through sprinklers. We picked raspberries. We played with friends. We had birthday parties! We got sun burns and blonde hair. We rode bikes. We rode bikes in the mountains. We climbed rocks. We climbed rock faces and pinnacles. We got stronger. We got smarter. We grew. We spent long slow lovely evenings sipping wine with friends outside as the sun faded. We read books. We played 'I spy with my little eye'. We got frustrated with tourists. We saw a moose momma and a moose baby. We saw a herd of elk. We saw bison. We saw deer. We saw bunnies, and pikas, and marmots, and butterflies, and bees. We saw and picked and smelled and loved flowers of a rainbow of colors. We collected rocks and feathers and bones, and horseshoes.

There is still a bit more to come. A grown-ups only hike. One more race. One big wedding in the mountains. One more birthday (party!!). One more camping trip.

But summer is closing up shop-and I feel good. Content. Happy. Filled. Ready to take on the next adventure….

And when it comes- when that fluffy, cold, white color fills these big Wyoming skies you do not even have to rub your sunny warm fall weather in our virtual faces-because this is good. We sucked all the life out of the summer. We are ready to suck all the life out of the fall. Swimming lessons, and mountains in a fire of colors, and skiing, and pumpkins, and VESTS!!, and holidays (and a nephew!) on the horizon.

I am so frequently overwhelmed by the ocean of emotions flowing through here. I ride the waves and breath deep and try remembering to move with it instead of standing against it.

But the season is changing there too. There is a little more air at the top of those waves. Just a little bit. Just enough that I know we survived it. We aren't out of it yet, but we are going to make it out of the hard 'we have a little posse at home'. And we are going to make it out having lived. Having loved. Having worn holes in our jeans. Having worked. Having experienced and felt and grown. Having taught. Having fought and come back together over and over and over. Having discovered our strength. Having discovered our weakness.

And I feel good. Content. Happy. Filled. Ready for the next adventure...

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Mountain Women 2014

How do you describe this?






















It's been two weeks since the Mountain Women backpacked/adventured through 14ish miles in the Tetons. And I still don't know what to say.

Peace, beauty, amazingly fresh air..I mean, it feels like REAL air! Not recycled or controlled or filtered. Just air. Blue skies, flowers in varying shades of purple, pink, blue, orange, yellow, white… wild huckleberries we could just pick and eat!! WATERFALLS EVERYWHERE. Like in the picture…there is a waterfall if you look hard enough but we could see it for a LONG ways. We could HEAR it for a long ways. And it was a LONG waterfall. Bright vibrant 'its springtime!' green. Friends. New friends. Old friends. Family that is like friends. And the stars. SO MANY STARS.

These things sit in the soul like a puddle and are slowly slowly soaked into the soil.

It's seeping in slowly.

And mostly for now it's only these single words that seem adequate to describe it. Even though it's far from adequate. It's this big huge feeling.

We went in celebration of my cousin who just finished her Masters. It turned out to be perfect timing because she has had a lot of things going on her life besides school. She needed the break. The break to breath, to see, to feel, to experience life in this way. Disconnected-and more connected. She needed the space to push herself physically and mentally and know that she could do it and do it well.

When we got back I asked what her favorite part was and she said 'I don't know. There is so much. But having done it. Having finished it.' Accomplishing the thing we set out to do.

I am so proud of her. She took such great care of herself. Stopping to drink water and telling us when she was feeling the altitude and needed to rest (she was the only one not acclimated). Others (including myself) might have tried to push the limits and ended up sick-not her! She kept herself within her limits all the while pushing at those limits.

How else do you describe it?

There is this feeling out there in the wilderness. This feeling that comes when the climate controlled, machine run, technology driven world fades away. It's unreachable really. One of us was able to get one bar of reception on her phone and called to check in with her family. But the rest of us were untethered. And theres this feeling of letting go. This freedom to just be. This feeling of life-all the life that surrounds us…we humans are not the only ones breathing and eating and playing. The pikas and the marmots and the bumble bees. There is life everywhere pulsing through everything. And we are connected to all of it.

What else is there for me to do when I feel all these big feelings and see all these amazing things except to jump in the alpine, snow fed lake? And dry off on a boulder.

And close my eyes an smile at the wonder and beauty and amazing-ness of it all. That I am lucky enough to be here in this moment now experiencing life up here with these women…a life few people really get to see.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The first race

This girl:
had no idea what she was in for. But she was ready for it.

She watches me lace up my purple running shoes (I really believe in feeling pretty as much as possible), put on my running shorts (with my running tights most of the year), throw on a T-shirt (again, most of the year also my icebreaker and running jacket) and head out the door. She is worried when I tell her I'm going for a long run 'I'll miss you momma! I wish I could run with you!' and relieved when I'll be back before quiet time is over or before she is asleep.

But she doesn't run much. She is a mad hiker. She is becoming a mad biker. She has got some climbing skillzzz that I did not teach her. But as much as she says she would like to run with me, she doesn't last very long.

Until July 4, 2014.

The first annual Challenge for Charities 1 mile Mad Dash Kids Run.

She was excited about it from the beginning. Actually, it was more about the running shoes. But still. She was excited.

As the day drew near I could see the nervousness set it. She was not sure what she had signed up for but she didn't back down…she was going to get a Tshirt in her race packet!

We started the morning with some stretching and hydrating. We got dressed. We pinned her number on (714!!! I love my number momma!) We walked four blocks to the starting line. I carried her…there was going to be a lot of walking later and I wanted to save her legs. We talked about how the man would shoot a gun in the air and that would be our signal to go. We got in line. 50 kids under 9 and half as many parents. Cameras flashing everywhere, the parents staying behind reminding their kids to watch for the adults on the track who would tell them where to go and to follow the orange arrows spray painted on the ground. Sis was nervous. She was looking around and her body was tense. She was not letting go of my hand even though she had very sternly told me several weeks earlier that under no circumstance would she be holding my hand and she would be running in front of me. But she was ready. As soon as the gun went off we were off navigating around the kids who had been tripped accidentally by other kids and the one kid who was accidentally tripped by a parent. She moved fast and pretty quickly said she was getting tired but pressed on anyway. We slowed down a bit and then when she said she was ready we sped up. We passed a few people-all the parents saying the same things: 'We are pacing ourselves. Go slow now and then speed up' 'It's fine if you need to slow down' 'It's fine if you need to walk' 'You can do this!'.

Before we reached the halfway mark Sis realized that it was fun to pass people. She looked up at me and said 'Momma I want to pass that girl in braids!' who was 30 ft in front of us. She let go of my hand and sprinted up passed her and then slowed down and grabbed my hand again 'I passed her momma!!!' So then I realized that competition is what is going to drive this girl to finish the race…so we found another girl to pass and passed her. Then she sped up and passed us so we sped up and passed her. And found a boy to pass. She kept running! She got tired and we slowed down a bit. But then we reached the bridge! The final stretch! She kicked it into high gear running so fast that daddy barely got a picture of her. There were so many people cheering and some she even knew! And then we crossed the finish line and she was on top of the world. She got the watermelon they set out for the post-race refuel. Everyone was giving her high 5's and saying 'great job!' She smiled big and said 'thanks!' She said 'hi!' to everyone we passed. She was proud of herself and so were we. 

She ran the whole mile. In about 13 minutes-maybe less. We don't have the official time yet but that's not what matters anyway. She's learning how good it feels to work really hard to accomplish something…


Friday, July 4, 2014

The boy and the deer

In the woods.

Away from home.

Cold and rainy turns to sunny and warm.

But there are so many things that are 'no touch'.

Tents, knives, fire, stakes, coolers…

And so many people around. People are on almost every campsite around the loop.

Or so it seems.

This little boy hears 'No touch!'' and 'Come back! Thats not our tent.' and 'Don't touch that wood-it's not ours.'

Too many rules for a boy in the woods. Too many rules for a girl in the woods-but she is content to sit down and color. He wants to run. He wants to touch. He wants to taste. He wants to breathe.

The dirt, the rocks, the sticks, the flowers, the pine trees, the squirrels, the mud, the lake water, the clouds.

Instead of the correcting and the time outs and the frustration-we walked.

Around the circle and to a new part of the park. We stumbled along. Me still frustrated by his restless tired hungry boy-ness. Him by the rules. (No splashing in puddles with those shoes on. Don't poke momma with sticks).

On the back side of a secluded loop I looked up and saw a deer.

We see deer all the time. People all over see deer all the time. They are nothing new. Nothing like a moose which was what I REALLY wanted to see in this area. But she was 20 ft from us. Standing still. She saw us (heard more likely) before we saw her. But when we did, we put the stick down, we talked in hushed tones (he is very good at that), and moved slowly through the woods to see if we could get a better look.

We stared at each other quiet for a few minutes. She moved closer, then farther away. We crept closer. We kept quiet.

And then she was gone.

And so was the frustration. And the restlessness.

We were calmed by this creature who is seemingly so ordinary-but still so different from us.

When we left that campsite two nights, 4 bison, a herd of elk, a 2 mile hike to a geyser, and a lot of campfire time with family that are more like friends later we were full. Satisfied. Peaceful. Full of beauty and wonder.

I am amazed every time at how the simple things fill me up.

An ordinary deer still produces wonder. Early mornings snuggles with my boy set the tone for the day. Late night chats by the fire. Good wine, of course. Being outside. Being open to being amazed.

I want more simple.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The posse needs a name change. Rock stars is more fitting.

The white season is long here. And the colorful short.

I'm not complaining because there are a lot of beautiful things about the white season.

The sun, for instance. Never stops shining. Rarely is there a totally cloudy day.

But we have made it through to feel warmth again. To see green leaves. To see yellow, purple, pink, blue in several shades wildflowers painted on the hills of our playground. To see white, green, and orange with strange striped butterflies who cannot contain their excitement for spring flitting from place to place. To see birds dressed in striking red and bold vibrant yellow and to hear as they sing their songs loud and clear 'come out to play!'. To smell the dreamy intoxicating scent of lilac that covers the town like a fog. To feel the power of water (or rather to be made to feel small) as its white tips push into other white tips tumbling clumsily down the rocks with all the ice cold water that has most recently been snow at the top of the mountains.

We enjoyed the snow. We played hard.
But now there is something new.
And no more hatscoatsbootsgloves.

During the white season only a handful of trails are accessible. So we do those trails over and over and over. They are beautiful. We always find something new.

But now-we get to do new trails. Or at least trails we haven't seen in 6 months so they feel new.

Before I remembered we had so many new things to explore during the colorful season I made a goal for the posse (and myself). We were going to hike the 1.5mi to the Falls, be able to stay and play in the freezing water on a hot day, and hike the 1.5mi back to the car without anyone being carried. 3mi. I thought if we practiced and practiced we could do it. Maybe, by the end of the color. September. That was what I was hoping for.

We started practicing a few months ago with friends and lots of snacks. It was going well, so I thought. Each time out brought us a little farther down the path.

Then came yesterday. We went out to hike. No friends-just me, the posse, and ever interested in new smells Joki, and of course A LOT of snacks-because somehow we didn't make it out until it was almost lunch time. But it was a lovely blue sky kind of day so we were not going to miss it. We were headed to the Falls trailhead but then I remembered how crowded its been lately. A lot of tourists are starting to come through town and that's the preferred trail for them. I get it. It beautiful. It's fairly short and easy.
But not yesterday. I didn't want to meet a million people on the way-I still was not sure of Joki and how he does with meeting other dogs on the trail.

So I turned the car around with lots of 'Why aren't we stopping momma?! I want to hike!!' and found ourselves a trail we have visited many times but not hiked all the way. I thought I knew the path, though and where it would come out-a big loop. Easy.

We first had to rock hop across a very wide stream which Sis did with agility and balance I didn't know she had. She didn't need me to help her really at all. And then we needed snacks. And I told myself 'Ami, it's the being out here part that counts-if we only walk a little bit and have to head back that is ok' It's hard sometimes for my task-oriented-just-finish-a-thing self to be flexible with the needs of little people.

After the snacks I heard 'Im getting tired' and we'd been out for 15 minutes. Yikes.

But the lead hiker hiked on. The rear hiker continued picking up sticks and rocks, looking at ants, and pretending to be Dusty Crophopper as he trailed behind us never closer than 20 feet to me-the middle hiker. Lead hiker ran and danced, picked a lovely bouquet of very bright colored wildflowers 'for my daddy. I really miss him'. We started up a big hill and they wanted to quit-but I just wanted to get to the top of the hill to see what was there because we've never done this trail before. So I say we hike up to the top and then turn around. They agree. But we get to the top and it it just keeps going up and up and up. And the posse keeps finding red ants, and green (boy) butterflies leading us on, and white (girl) butterflies showing new rocks and new colored flowers and I roll with it. We keep heading up. Although I'm thinking I might have to pay for this decision later. We meet a friend and her dog-we say hello and pass quickly so the dogs don't have time to stop listening. Joki was awesome. We meet another dog and Joki was awesome. I now have confidence in his ability to meet dogs and listen to me about where he needs to be and what he needs to be doing. We reach the summit of our long trek up-I think its great timing, definitely time to head down. But the trail doesn't go down. It's just flat. We are walking along the side of one rim of the canyon. And singing songs and walking on logs and climbing up rocks.  Eventually we start to go down-I'm relived, I can see the parking lot in the distance-but then we start walking the opposite direction from the car…what? I'm a little concerned now about how far we are going to have to walk. I know that this trail does not go past a certain point but that point is very far. But no one is complaining. We just keep going. Bub is trailing a little farther so I pick him up for a few minutes. We take some water breaks. Joki is slowing down and starting to walk with us instead of running ahead of us a little more.

After forever we finally see the blue diamonds-the ones that mark the trail we are on-we haven't seen those in a long time! We run to each one knowing it's bringing us back to the car.

We looped around exactly like I thought we would-I just didn't know that it was (in my best estimation) 3mi. that looped. I thought it was more like 1-1.5. It took us 2.5 hours-a lot of breaks. A lot of playing and singing and looking at ants, beetles, bees, spiders, flowers, logs… but this posse did the thing that I had set as a goal to reach by the end of the summer. 3 mi!! And they were happy. They were still feeling strong. They were hungry. And ready to stop and see some fish in a place the river pools. But they did it. And had no idea what they had just accomplished. It was no big deal to them.

Just another day living life in the mountains.

But I cannot get over how strong they are and how much endurance they have. And what amazing things this kind of life is going to teach them about life as they grow...
With her bouquet for daddy



Sis carried these for the entire hike-they lived to be put in water where they are perking up a bit
PS the Rock Stars were exhausted and cranky last night and this morning…it was totally worth it.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The 57 hour adventure

One thing that was forgotten in all the wonderfulness of catching up with old friends: stolen wallet.

No driver's liscence, no credit card, no cash, no nothing.

Having flown from the cowboy state getting past the TSA on the way back seemed like it was going to be an issue. But it wasn't. Husband FedExed all important identifying papers to me.
I read all the TSA info available online, and this seemed like the most plausible easiest way for me to get through.

What all the info didn't say was that if you do not have a photo ID-no matter how many or how 'good' your papers are-you are going to get pat down and have your bag searched. No matter that I am by myself with a 2 & 3 yr old. I take a deep breathe and do my best to keep everyone moving through the chaos and try and explain to them what is going to happen while I'm not exactly sure myself. I just know that after the x-ray I am not allowed to touch them or our stuff…I can't help them put their backpacks back on and people are pushing on all sides. Some people are even trying to help and getting scolded by the TSA agent like I'm a criminal. Some people are offended for me 'Really? You are doing this to HER?? She has two kids with her!!!' They are totally ignored.

Sis was a bit freaked out. Bubs refused to listen. But we survived. It was fine. We found our gate. We sat down. We ate peanut butter and jelly. We got on the plane.

Our seats weren't together, and the woman who I needed to trade seats with in order to be with the posse didn't speak English and was cranky. She just said 'NO!' and sat down next to a worried looking Bubs and Sis.

A Spanish speaking kind stranger helped us figure it out…so we are settled in for the flight to Denver. Quick change to Salt Lake City. Almost there. Just a few more hours (I think.)

Right outside Denver we have to start circling because there is a huge storm over the airport. Bubs needs a nap but is instead crawling on top of me, taking his seat belt on and off, standing up and asking everyone he sees what their name is.

OH! And my phone is basically dead. 10% battery left. No movies to entertain, no communication.

An hour goes by and we have to land in Colorado Springs bc we are low on fuel….but so are all the other planes that have been circling for an hour…so we sit there for 2.5. hours. We stand in line for 15 minutes to use the bathroom with Sis (who hasn't peed all day) screaming 'I don't like this potty!!!!!!!!! Don't flush it!! I don't like this potty!!!!!!!!!!!!' We meet a cat traveling with it's owner. We tell stories even though I am so exhausted that I'm hardly keeping my eyes open (I'm a traveler who likes to nap-you can't do this when you are the only adult…so I'm having a hard time resisting the urge to nap) We sing songs. I worry about how and if we are going to catch the next Salt Lake flight…but not too much because everything has bee grounded in Denver.

We finally take off. And land and taxi and taxi because all the other planes are landing too. We finally get off the plane and it is past 6 o'clock. We left KC at 130. They said there would be a customer service representative to help us get on our next flight but there are SO MANY people and Bubs does NOT want to hold me hand but run and run that I cannot find this representative. All I know is that we missed our flight and the next one was supposed to leave at 9p but is now delayed until 1030p. YIKES!!!!

I just really need to get my phone charged so I can let people know what's going on. We walk up and down the concourse looking-scouring every corner for an outlet. I'm basically dragging the posse. They don't want to walk with me. Or walk at all. We find one right outside a Schlotsky's. We park it. Charge the phone, get some dinner (I at least have a few cash dollars thanks to my parents even if I have nothing else), and text and call and explain what it going on. Bub is eating off the dirty airport floor. Scooting around and getting in people's way. Sis doesn't want to eat anything. I scarf down half my sandwich, take a drink and start to feel better. We can do this. But it's time to go. Bub is eating off the airport floor!!! We look for the customer service representative again. Find her/him/them. At the end of a 200+ person line. We get in the back of the line. People line up after us. Bubs immediately starts rolling on the floor. Sis starts twirling and running into the people in front of us. They play tag running in circles around the people in front and behind us. We've been in line 15 minutes and have moved 2 feet. This is not going to work. I'm talking to Husband. He's going to get us a hotel (But then I'll have to do the whole pat down thing again only at this huge airport with lots more people…not really a positive thought at this point) more running around. More me saying 'you have to stand with me-you cannot run out of the line!' More Husband calling so I can't keep track and they run out and people almost trip over them, we almost spill lemonade all over the floor several times, the patience of our fellow line-waiters is running thin-they aren't in a good place either-and so is mine. Husband says no hotels are available. The airlines are buying up the rooms! Ok, next idea: rent a car. I don't have a driver's liscence!!  Running out of ideas. Running out of patience. It's 730. This line is going nowhere and my phone is going to die again because I only charged it to 30% last time to come stand in this line.
We look for a quiet(er) spot where we can still see the line. Park it and watch movies-while receiving and making phone calls. When I'm on the phone Bubs is in the middle of the walkway rolling of the floor. The whole airport feels tense and annoyed. Bub hasn't napped. Sis hasn't napped. They are exhausted. It's past their bedtime. The people we were standing with are not even half way to the front. Husband is having no luck rebooking us on the phone or online-everyone else is trying that too. Looks like we are going to have to sleep here…which means we are NOT going to sleep.
Husband has the idea that we need to find someone we know in Denver to come get us. But who do we know? We know one family but don't have their numbers…so he calls our parents to see if they know anyone. My mom does! A good friend of hers son and family lives there!!! She calls them and even though I haven't not seen this guy in a good ten years an we were never really friends-he is younger than me- and he lives an hour from the airport he will come pick us up! We can stay with him tonight and figure things out in the morning. !!!!!!! I feel so relieved. I do not have to 'sleep' at the airport with the posse.
While we are waiting for this rescue I find an airline agent in a short line that I can talk to-Bubs is crawling and rolling on the floor. Sis is trying to run behind the counter in the opposite direction. Awesome. The agent says he can't rebook me because thats like cutting in line. His advice? Get comfortable and watch the line. Oh, and if I leave the airport and come back in the morning they can't rebook me there-it has to be here or online or on the phone. We are definitely leaving so Husband needs to get that done.

But really-I just want him to come get us. I know its a long way. I know he has just worked 9 really long hard shifts in a row. But I cannot even think about spending the night, going through the whole pat down thing, getting on another plane, arriving in SLC, probably spending another night with friends and driving the 5 hours home ALL BY MYSELF. I could do it. If I had to. But I really don't want to. It sounds awful. It sounds like I might lose my mind…or just cry the whole way home. I don't want to be anywhere near an airport or planes for a good while.

But we have a dog now (I haven't talked about him yet!) So we need to figure that out. I text our friend who knows Joki really well.

It's 930 at least by the time we are outside the main terminal waiting for the white CR-V to rescue us. Sis cried on the way out because she really didn't want to stay with a stranger. While talking with my mom for a second Bub tried to climb UP the down escalator with people on it. All that flashed through my mind was an episode of Rescue 911 where a kids shirt gets stuck in the teeth of the escalator. It's scarred me.
Sis is whimpering that she is so tired and feet are hurting so bad.

But then the white car pulls up. I've never got in anything so quickly. We are out of the airport. No more recycled air. It takes 5 minutes for the posse to fall asleep-Sis sitting straight up. We drive the hour, we get out, we get settled in a dark guest room with one twin mattress and one toddler mattress on the floor with lots of blankets and pillows. It feels like a room at the fanciest hotel. It's dark. It's quiet. It's warm. We settle in fall asleep pretty quickly. And sleep. And sleep.

Our friend calls to say that she can't watch Joki but she knows someone she would recommend…are we ok with that? Yes! We are.

Husband called on the drive home. He is going to come get us. He can't get through to the airline. He's going to leave early in the  morning on his first day off in 9 days off and drive 6 hours to get us. I'm elated.
We spend the day making new friends, playing at the neighborhood park, praying we don't stink too badly and pretending we don't feel the fuzz on our teeth.

After a couple hours of not hearing from Husband I start to get really worried…although I shouldn't. He is driving through Wyoming and suddenly a car pulls up! We are saved! But his phone is not working…he needs a new one.

We go to Target (where the whole mess of having my wallet stolen started) to pick up a few needed things-our bags are in Salt Lake City- our friends will pick them up and drive our Jeep back up to Lander for us so we don't have to drive over there too.

We drive to a hotel and settle in for the first night in almost two weeks that we all have been together.

We get up eat a leisurely breakfast-make one more Target stop…It will be awhile before we are back-and make the drive home. We stop to see friends and get a new phone along the way so it takes a bit longer than it should.

But the relief on everyone's faces and in their attitudes is palpable.

Vacation was so fun.
But we are so glad to be home.
We are so glad to be back together.
We are so glad that there are people out there who are willing to help others out…without their kindness this would have been a different (more horrible??) story.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Vacation

The posse and I have spent the past week away from our mountains.
Away from rugged trails and waterfalls and raging-spring-run-off-rivers.
Away from small town-no-traffic.
Away from Superman/Jack Bauer/Jason Bourne depending on the day and skills required to ford the current situation.

We have gone back home. My home. Where I grew up. Where those roots were planted.

It's been amazing.
It's warm and sunny and GREEN and FLOWERY like it is not yet in the mountains.

And here there are good friends.

There are aunts who know things that few others do. Who I know are always on my side. Rooting for me and mine and loving me all the way. Who take me to coffee where I can see the difference between her latte and my cappucino. The barista gig is so fun.

There are friends that I have been friends with since I was 11 and we (basically) close down Starbucks (I can't believe I'm admitting that...OLD TOWN COFFEE still has my heart) catching up about living and mothering and wife-ing and working and loving. And say a few healing words to the wounds we understand in each others hearts.

There are friends who I spent some of the most intense moments of my life with-friends who I learned how to travel internationally with-friends who watched me freak out when our flight was cancelled and we had to stay over night in a hotel when we were barely 20. But we lost touch. Life got in the way and we spent the whole evening on the screen porch breathing fresh spring air and recounting the good and bad and beautiful of the last several years.

There are friends who I have known since preschool, and lived with in college, and in the same town after college and who I know will always always always be there. She is one who I've called when I didn't know who else to call and she was there. Every time. And she has amazing beautiful joy-filled things going on her life and it's amazing to see it all on her face. In person.

There are friends who taught me how to run. Taught me that I liked running. Taught me I was stronger than I knew. Who I was pregnant with at the same time and we both had boys that were 4 days apart.

There are grandparents and uncles who put together a special meal just because we've come back in town. And go out of there way for an impromptu photo session.

And there are cousins who I have no words for how much they mean to me. The roots I've talked about before. Our growing up together created something that....well....blood is thicker than water is what they say.

And of course, grammy and pop-pop. And time spent drinking wine on the deck in the setting sun eating and enjoying the moment and each other.

But man, we miss that Superman. And those mountains...time to get back to our other home soon for our adventure filled summer!