We are so relieved to be out of the car and back in our own house here in Texas, and we missed our friends here so terribly. Looking back through all of the pics from our trip though, I can't help feeling a little homesick. Anytime that I go back to my parents' house to visit, there are often various flare-ups between all of the various strong personalities in my family (and yes, I am definitely a big part of that!), but this trip was absolutely the most peaceful, productive and loving that I have experienced...probably since I got married. It was amazing.
One of the coolest parts of going back to visit is getting to know the people my younger siblings are becoming. When I left the house, my youngest 5 siblings were approximately 1, 4, 6, 8 & 10. It's amazing to get the chance to get to know each of them a little better every year, watching them change and grow up, and finally being able to relate to each of them as friends (...rather than someone I just babysat for all the time). Pretty much there's no way around it: my brothers and sisters are turning into -- have already turned into -- some of the coolest people ever. Also, I feel like I've grown a lot as a person in the past year or so, which made it so much more possible for me to really appreciate them.
This trip I especially focused on spending time with my mom and my 4 sisters -- we even all managed to all meet up for lunch one day for our collective favorite sandwich (bagels and lox) (!!!!!!!), gave ourselves fun manicures (RACHEL!!! My quirky fashion/fun twin!), had a few super-late-night "sisters only" parties (can't wait till Rachel is old enough for those!), and I felt more connected to them than ever.
All of the ladies of my family (please notice how quickly it all deteriorates.....):
Joy, Rachel, Grace, my mom, me, Allison (Jonathan's wife), Hannah
As I was hugging my sister Grace goodbye at the very end of the two-week visit, we were both crying and I told her that this had been the very best visit ever. She said "Yes, this has been! I think it's probably because we've grown up so much, and you've stopped being such a bitch!" We both started laughing WHILE crying, because it's even more fun to do those two things at the same time...and because it's pretty much the perfect quote, encapsulating the most important part of this trip for me, emotionally. They've grown up, and I'm not such a bitch anymore. Have I said how much I adore Grace??
What I would really love to do at this juncture is share with all of you a hysterical video of Grace dancing to the Beatles. But I promised I wouldn't (I'm watching it again right now though all by myself, and I'm laughing so hard I'm crying!). So instead, here's the rest of my Instagram pics from our trip that I haven't shared yet, and a few extras....
My littlest sister Rachel (....who is actually about 4 inches taller than me. Oh well.)
On the road...
(Knotty Gloves project details here)
Sunflower field at a rest-stop
A Rachel/Faith manicure and a cup of french-press on my parents' front porch
Sisters night in....cherries, white wine and martinis
Junk Food and Trashy TV Party with my sisters:
Greg, Hannah and me, drinking red wine out of metal canteens, telling stories and being way too loud outside our motel rooms (the night before Jom's wedding)
The first picture we've ever gotten of the five of us sisters together (unless there's one of us much younger?? I'd love to find that!)
Lined up in order of age (!!): Rachel, Joy, Grace, Hannah, me.
And finally....back home to Texas.
My heart is full, and overflowing.
(All pics of our trip together in one place here in the Flickr collection)