summer in between

doha.

everything was still in bloom.  allergies blossomed in full.  brilliant green growth and fresh, cool air.  a baby calf was born and we watched with wonder and stillness. an apartment near my childhood home with furniture filled with air.  unexpected, completely welcomed, cold nights and finding warm clothes in thrift shops.  meeting 2013 baby nephew #1.  welcomed-soaking rain and powerful thunderstorms.  LASIK eye surgery for us and enjoying the freedom from glasses or contacts.  Short, sweet visits with grammy and pawpa.  johnson farm:  a quick drive a way.  lilacs.  lighting bugs and crickets.  mosquitos and repellant.  rainy welcome to pittsburgh and such a sadness with sophia's words, expectation of tozer peeking out of the front window at 5443 wellesley.  my heart aching as i said further good-byes to our 5443, remembering what we left behind.  such goodness in staying with the burdettes; for being in  our beloved pittsburgh once again.  open door church.  these friends of ours.  familiarity.  the soft, lingering question of will we return here?  mommy-get-away to DC.  being with peebles.  free museums and quiet.  off to california and excitement with seeing--finally--the delgados.  wine and nurturing conversation.  children in innocent superhero design underwear leaping and dancing on the trampoline.  exploring tide pools on the beach of the pacific.  the chill and the brilliant pound of the waves.  feeling accepted and being reminded of the treasure we have in these people.  hoping our children will marry.  disneyland:  a dream come true for 3 generations.  overwhelmed and unexpected tears of happiness.  real tears.  seeing my girls surrounded by magic and enjoying all of it (except the lines).  exhaustion mixed with deep appreciation and awe.  mini mouse ears.  meeting 2013 nephew #2.  fireworks and cookouts.  heart-of-wisconsin 4-H fair and audrey practicing her animal noises.  parks of emerald on silver-sky days.  parks with childhood memories.  pools on occasion.  the library summer reading program!  Known places easy to drive and walk to.  familiar food.  windows down and (occasionally) country music on.  vegetable stands in small towns; a modest harvest from raspberry bushes in urban yards.  an old friend.  babysitters and natural, uninhibited family talk.  euchre and beer.  lakes and fire pits.  state-side new (to us) car taking us to michigan.  meeting 2013 baby nephew #3.  sweetly welcomed into another collier home.  poor, awful sleep, toddler-generated.  cabin on the lake with newly expecting prymus fam.  better sleep.  beautiful place in sight and in our hearts.  water tubing with our fearless sophia who seemed to never break out of her smile.  new board games...hinabi.  tall trees and night wind lullabies.  remembering my old stomping ground.  enjoying being there and giving a small gift of my childhood to my girls--the really good pieces.  walks and culver's custard.  collier family get-away.  cousins dancing and playing in dirt with sticky melted popsicle stained hands.  great laughs and stories.  slow summer days with grandma and grandpa.  seeing cousins and aunts, uncles.  being with my sister:  zoo and ella's deli.  visits with my gram and rolling in the grass on her farm.  tea party with my gram:  one of my fondest memories with her now experienced by my children.  rummage sales and target trips again and again.  daddy-get-away and coming back to us refreshed.  mommy and daddy-get-away:  ben's first at medieval times; good food; perfect b&b; wine; games; uninterrupted talk; coffee shop luxury slow-pace.  conflicted and emotionally ripped-open over sophia going to school--should i homeschool instead?  sophia saying:  "i want to go to school to see my friends.  not a school at home, mommy."  but still feel a bit unsettled about the decision to send her to compass. packing up our little place and scheduled final get-togethers.  ben leaves for FL conference.  cardboard boxes and sifting through:  take back in luggage, mail back, or keep for next summer.  not so sad saying good-bye, surprisingly excited to return.  long, noisy, tiring flight back home.  welcomed by our fifth family member: the furry-four-legged one.  and i know that sophia grew taller, i'm sure an inch (i need to measure yet).  audrey is three months older now and all that that entails:  talking in sentences; remembering names of people; climbing higher; becoming braver (was that possible?); running [away from me] faster; weighing two-front-teeth-lighter; fearing and remembering fear for doctors; and so on.  i am so thankful for the summer in between.  

doha.