The past three weeks have been filled to the brim with fun memories. I have traveled from one coast to another. First, I took off by myself (seriously, I can't remember the last time I went by myself anywhere longer than 12 hours) to NYC to stay with one of my oldest and dearest friends, Valerie. A week later, our little family traveled to California for a fun family vacation.
Valerie and I have been friends since junior high. If any of you have ever read "Anne of Green Gables", you'll know what I mean about a 'bosom friend'. That's Valerie. She and her husband Jared (another friend from HS) and their little family have lived in Brooklyn for the past 5 years. And so, for 5 years we have been dreaming up a little adventure where I might come and visit her. Thanks to my fantastic family, our little wish finally came true. I had a wonderful time! It was so good to spend a week together. As an added bonus, she has 3 of the cutest little girls I've ever met (and I have to say. . . I know a thing or four about girls).
So to Valerie, Hannah, Ella, and Violet (sorry Jared, this is kind of girls only):
Thank You. Thank you for letting me come and be part of your world for a week. I think of you all the time. The funny things you say, the way you made me laugh. You made we me feel right at home. My goodness, you even shared your bunk bed with me! I now like to eat "cheesy niblets" and wear my "shiny lip stuff" with pride every day. What a great time we had. I hope my girls can get to know each of you. It has been so fun to have pictures to help them put a face to someone they've heard so much about!
As I walk down my gravel road past hay fields, horses, and the occasional tractor, I'll look back with a smile at our subway rides and daily adventures around the city. I'll never flood a sink again without laughing a little and remembering the evening we caused your downstairs "brothers" to have an indoor rainstorm. Someday I hope to bring my girls to see your neck of the woods.
I read a quote today that reminded me of you and the way you've tackled this challenging adventure in life. "Being happy doesn't mean everything in life is perfect. It means that you've decided to look past the imperfections." Valerie, my dear, you are simply amazing. Hannah and Ella, you are beautiful. But what is most important, you are even more lovely on the inside. And to little Violet, you are adoringly sweet. I hope you and my Claire will become great friends.
My week with you taught me so much. I was reminded of who I am, and that we are all part of a grand plan. I remembered how blessed I am. My week with you will never be far from my heart.
We also took a little day trip to Legoland, where we had a great time.
We saw cute old men. . .
and rode some fun rides. Beetle Bounce was definitely a favorite. Kate loved the Project X roller coaster, but Ryenne wasn't so sure. She said she couldn't stop shaking for quite some time following her ride!
I wasn't aware of the water park inside Legoland, so we didn't bring swim gear. As you can see, that didn't deter the girls, who begged to "just get our feet wet". However well intentioned that was, it didn't last long.
I love this picture of Ryenne and Emmy because they've had a hard time getting along as of late. They look so happy in this picture-it helps me forget! (I'd love any suggestions for that too.)
As you can see, Claire loved the zoo.
Nothing like the ocean. . .
We had a great time. It was so nice together without all of the pressure of work, homework, practicing, and such. More memories to put in our bank. . .