Wet towels piled lifelessly in the laundry room thick with sand, sweat and lake water. Suitcases lie half-detonated on the floor, crumpled clothing scattered like fallen popcorn across a theatre floor as the closing credits roll across the screen.
We're back to reality from the place where time stands still for 2 weeks out of the year. We are home from our "home away from home." I took over 400 photos, but will spare you and offer only a brief flipbook.
We're back from the place of all things good. Where family is king and doesn't battle for airtime with any distractions of modern life or external people and forces. No internet, no cell phones, no T.V., no long hours; only family meals, long hikes, fresh water, clean air, untouched earth.
Bike rides, boat rides, long walks, challenging hikes and leisurely swimming during the day. After dinner there is ice cream, hammocks, star gazing, books or cards, good wine and late bedtimes (accommodated by the luxury of sleeping in the next day).
We went to the mountain much earlier this year, which offered more for the kids to do. With this change in schedule we were on vacation for the celebration of Pink's 8th birthday...
and our 9th wedding anniversary.
We took time to visit the vista where my grandmother's ashes were scattered last year. Tomorrow marks the anniversary of her death. I felt her there in the setting sun's rays, in the breeze though the leaves, in the giggles casting from my children's lips as they echoed through the valley.
I was a graffiti artist for you, Gramps.
Every year we do something new, woven in with the traditions of the old. A new children's trail offered music and interactive play in the woods. We were there for the annual "Bug Olympics" where Tink and Pink's ants won ribbons in the dash and the obstacle course. We took a new hike and participated in the fourth of July parade.
And of course I'm in heaven just reading like a fiend. Blood, Bones and Butter was a particularly good one, but then again I'm always a sucker for a good memoir.
No vacation would be complete without Knoebels, and every year as the girls grow they can go on more and more rides (and I can accompany them on less and less).
I didn't want this post to be too obnoxiously long, so Part II will come tomorrow. There's lots of unpacking to do right now and we've come back hitting the ground running with 2 school sessions, neurologist visits, birthday parties, more blood draws and the normal shenanigans.
At some point, I'll get my head back in Jersey but I'm already dreaming of next summer.