Seeing family is always filled with so much goodness, like slipping into a warm, easy pool where we can all touch the bottom (versus that cold, deep ocean where I struggle to keep my head above water). I get all warm and fuzzy surrounded by people who love my kids as much as I do, when it is not just me and my husband alone wrapping them in our blankets of unconditional love. If my kid slips, she won't drown. If she takes off in a wayward direction, I'm not the only one calling her back.
I don't often get good photos from these family trips, though I do at least get snapshots with crappy lighting for the family album. There is a degree of presentness that keeps me away from the camera, although I usually regret it later. That presentness is a good thing. We still have the snapshots, even if they don't make it to the sphere.
But here, some photos I did get from our time in Zoo-town.
:: Caras Park, just our nucleus of four.
:: In line for the Carousel with cousins Owen and Sam. My kids are obsessed with this carousel even though Hazel's only been to Missoula twice and Juniper was just a baby when we left Montana. Their grandma gave them a booklet of all the horses and they quickly memorized each one, naming their favorites. (Click here to see Juniper riding as a babe, and here for last Thanksgiving.)
:: Spring unfolding.
:: As my mom puts it, Juniper has no social filter. So she doesn't think twice about adopting a dog from a perfect stranger. (She has been obsessed with pets for two solid years...we need to get a dog.)
:: At Nana's new apartment just down the road from Aunt D and Uncle M.
:: Downtown (no where near Nana's apartment) walking to the Farmer's Market where I bought the tomato plants that are now producing nicely in my garden. (You go Sweet Million!)
:: Lunch downtown with the kids and Aunt D.
:: Winding through a narrow valley to Aunt D and Uncle M's place. You'd never know this is just 20 minutes from downtown Missoula, the second largest city in Montana.
:: At their homestead. Barbed wire and blossoms, kids playing in the creek, the cows.
And my nephew, Sheriff Owen, going after the bad guys.
:: Huge family playdate at the pool.
:: Mother's Day. It went like this: my husband and his brother awoke early and went on a wild turkey hunt, literally.
The rest of us awoke to snow. The husbands came back in time (shocking!) to get ready for our Mother's Day Plan. The plan was to surprise my husband's mother at church (even more shocking!), presenting her with a corsage--a tradition she'd had with her own mother and aunt--and join her for the service.
My sis and I had gone out the night before, so Mother's Day was really about this lady^.
I think she liked it. As for my kids, it was their first time in church. Juniper adored Sunday school (they watched a video, so of course) and Hazel made it about half way through before she and I ended up sitting in the truck.
:: As for me, I got the best gift: a night out, a rose, and a card full of love:
"I like the way you talk." --Juniper
"I love your fingers." --Hazel
"I love how the birds sing songs to you." --Juniper
"I love your little boobs." --Hazel
"I love the way that love fills your heart." --Juniper
"I love your soft things." --Hazel
:: And it's always glorious to come home.