We’ve been here, there and everywhere since the post many weeks ago.

Before we hit the road for our summer travels, Katie and her two sidekicks came to visit. Our last several visits with them were riddled with sickness, so we started prayers and elderberry early to boost our immune systems. Annabelle was skeptical about how successful their visit would be.
“Remember when Kezi visited and she pushed me over when I was reading a book?”
“You were 11 months old and she was giving you a hug because she loved you.”
“But remember when she visited and then she cried and tried to run away to Colorado?”
“You were both 6 and now you’re 9. You’ve both grown as people.”
”But remember when—.”
There were a few bumps in the road, but the first full day they played together for a solid eight hours without issue so overall it was a win. As I said to Katie, it’s hard work forcing people to be best friends. There’s no forcing with us. We’re on year 31 and still going strong.

Next it was time for our annual summer trip to Massachusetts. There was a kerfuffle and delay upon delay at the airport so we screeched into Gate B23 as the first passengers were boarding. I HATE arriving to the gate that late. I want time to get coffee and snacks, wander around Hudson News and listen in on the phone conversations of fellow passengers. I started a sinus infection the morning before the flight so the change in air pressure was a real delight, but the Lord gave us the gift of the only empty seat on the plane being in our row so I could spread out and moan without disturbing anyone. It’s the little things.

The next morning I was reunited with my favorite baby boy, Oliver. He was not as thrilled to see me and barely looked in my direction. My questions about what a cow says interfered with his train playing and throwing wooden soldiers. It wasn’t until I gave him chips (my favorite form of bribery) and played with him in a puddle that he really came around. I also sang him an original composition called “Oh, If I was a Koliver” about a little boy named Oliver who wears a koala costume. Tune into the Top 10 hits to hear it for yourself.

This year was the seventh annual Aunt Camp. The campers are 9, 7, and 2.
We went to the zoo which had a deer petting area. I could have stayed there for hours.
I took Koliver on the train and carousel as part of my mission to win him over. We talked about “up and down and ’round and ’round” which are words that speak to his heart.

Grandma’s health is really going downhill, so I spent a few overnights with her to help with some basic needs and calm her anxiety.

She can’t drive anymore which means she is constantly asking for others to take her from drives around town. When I called to tell her we were coming, she asked specifically that Christopher take her for a drive. She didn’t know that he’s a terrible driver. Or maybe she does and that’s how she wants to go. Either way, we all went for a drive together and stopped at an Italian bakery where Grandpa used to buy us pastries many years ago. Grandma’s go-to game is Rummy. All her children and grandchildren know how to play. I can’t begin to count the number of games I’ve played with her. She was feeling so bad it didn’t seem like we’d play this visit. I don’t know how many more times we’ll see her so I came to terms with the fact that AB would never play it with her. Miracle of miracles, she perked up after a nap and they got to play a few rounds. It was so special.By the last night of our visit, Koilver had been completely won over. He was so deliriously tired he couldn’t remember our names but I’ll forgive him. Elizabeth and I had been having a funnest aunt competition and he was the lucky recipient of our affections. It takes a lot of energy to be the center of everyones world. He waved his arms in our general direction and sadly said, “Those names go home?” I wanted to stuck him in my suitcase and take him home.