Winding down the trip is always a bit sad, and the sadness started kicking in during the last couple of days of my trip. However, there were definitely a few highlights left.
The morning of July 3rd, I got to enjoy breakfast with my good friend, Janelle, and her beautiful daughters. It is AMAZING to me to see how big they have gotten, physically, but even more, how mature they are! It was SO fun to chat with them and to hear about what they love about school, what their hobbies and interests are. It is fun to hear that they each have their own voice, and they are growing into such lovely young ladies! It was a great morning, indeed!
Lunch provided another bit of time with Rach and Roz! Rach came up to Amy and Ryan's for lunch - she even brought lunch! :) And it was fun to listen to the two Mamas talk while I just loved on the babies.... (see below)
Love these girls!
Love their babies, too!
The Fourth of July was a very low-key, relaxing day. Just what the doctor would have ordered, had I needed to ask. Lots of kid and baby cuddles. Quality adult time. Yummy food. All things that I have come to love most when Amy is throwing a party. She is one of the best hostesses I have ever known. She has a gift for bringing people together and making them feel loved, and she has blessed me with these talents of hers in excess over the last several years.
Beyond the food and conversation, of course, there were fireworks.... it is quite clear from these pictures that Amy was MUCH more excited about the fireworks than Cody was....
It was also fun to see Marilyn and her handsome little Zayden, too!
The morning of July 5th was the only day I dreaded of my whole trip. I woke up and I was already sad. Saying goodbye was nearly impossible, but thankfully, there was a plan for a really fast goodbye, so I didn't have time for much more than a tear or two. But first, trying for a picture of the boys and I....
Add in mommy....
And that's as good as it gets. :)
Amy dropped me off at Dear Alannah's, where Erin, my teaching partner from Madison, met me for some tea and treats. It was so, So, SO good to visit Alannah and John and to have Erin there at the same time. Alannah is fighting through another form of cancer, and she blesses my life with every interaction I get to have with her - on the phone, via email, in person.... I can't get enough of her. I have learned so many lessons from her strength, courage, wisdom and grace. She is one of those mentor-like friends that every girl should have.
And Erin, I have NO idea why anyone ever assigned me to be her first-year-teacher mentor! She was kicking my butt as a teacher within hours! Her energy and zest for teaching, combined with her logic and good sense, makes her a phenomenal teaching. And, let's just say, when I think about the kind of friend she is, I think about laying in a large canoe, on our backs, floating on Greenlake, staring at the sky, and not saying a word, at one of the most difficult times of my life. She was there. She was living it with me. She lived it with grace and someday, when I grow up, I want to be like Erin.
And there ya have it. That was my trip. It took much longer to get on the blog than it should have, but I think I was hoping that if I avoided putting it here, maybe it wouldn't really be over. Alas, it is really over. I have been back to work a couple of weeks. I still miss everyone like crazy, but I have stopped crying. :) And, dreaming about next time....