Moving to Kentucky 10 years ago moved me 1,000 miles away from my family. I was blessed beyond belief to be embraced by my in-laws, and can't imagine what life would be like without them so near to my heart - and in close proximity. I love them and they are truly my family.
But my upbringing, my stories, my childhood... they are different. And there are days when I feel every foot of the 1,000 miles - say thankya for Skype and Facetime.
An unexpected blessing of living in Lexington is that my mom's hometown - and the town I where I would visit my grandparents when I was small - is only 3.5 hours away. It took 8 years for that to sink in, but growing friendships with my cousins and a need for that family connection, prompted me to pack up the car and drive north.
Over the past 2 years I've made a couple of trips with Sophie and Miller. This past weekend, my mom flew in and the whole brood - Roy and Riley joining us this time - drove up for a small family reunion.
There are tons of pictures taken this weekend and I have very few. But the highlight was heading to the swinging bridge where I would visit with my grandpa
And walk the trails.
Riley did everything he could to annoy the crap out of my mom.
The experience of older cousins (3rd cousins, if you can believe that!) gave Sophie the confidence to take to the bathroom and put some work into pulling her first tooth. She took the 8 year old's advice of 'wiggle wiggle twist' and it seemed to benefit her.
Still, it took a big brother's patience and iron grip to actually do the deed.
Mom and I were reminiscing on a drive back from a campfire at my cousin's house and she said, "those days are over." While I share her sorrow at their loss, what wonderful memories we are creating now.