Final days in the States

We are back safe in Fiji.  I am trying to keep my completely sleep deprived body awake at least until it gets dark.  The struggle is real!  I'm exhausted, but we are safe!  We've been traveling for what seems like forever, but really only for about 55 hours including layovers, drives, etc.  I'm happy to be home.  It was hard to leave, but also so nice to come back.  The kids are now playing with Warren (wrestle parties and pool parties) while I unpack, write, and clean up.   Our view still takes my breath away.  It does something so good for the soul to be surrounded in this beauty.

After my conference, I had two full days in Richmond.  The first day (Tuesdsay) Kathleen and I took our girls to Chuckie Cheese, since mine have been begging to go.  As annoying as that place can be, it's fun to see such joy on their faces.  I absolutely LOVE seeing my girls with Kathleen's girls.  They rarely see each other, but they love each other so much!  I loved getting to know Kathleen's youngest too, Vivi.  What a cute personality!   Mom and I ran a few errands and then we had all of the neighborhood girls (Lullington ladies) over for a yummy Mexican meal.   I grew up on the coolest street.  There were 5 girls my age (with a younger generation of younger sisters as well).  All of our parents are still married and most of them still live on the street.  It was a special little place.   It was nice to see everyone again and get filled in on all of the neigborhood gossip and relive old memories.  My only regret is not taking a picture!!!!

On Wednesday, we had our final doctor appointments, then Kathleen treated me to a mani and pedi!  So nice!   Mom and I ran the final errands (Trader Joe's among others) before we headed to the perfect send-off/birthday party for Andie at Bonnie's house.  My parents were invited too and everyone had a great least I know I did.  I love these people SO much.  It's easy to picture myself there.   I love seeing everyone in their element.  I also love how kids cannot see each other all year but just hang out like they've known each other their whole lives.  They all play so well together. Kids are easy like that.   It's particularly fun for me to see that Andie plays just as well with boys as she does with girls.    We ended the party with an attempt to go see my dad's friend's blue grass band, but they had already finished playing.  While it would have been nice, it was also nice to just watch the kids play and enjoy being together outdoors.  It was the perfect send-off (followed by ice-cream at Ray's just to make sure I got in an extra lb before I left!  (I gained a grand total of 13 pounds while in the States! Holy Moly!)  

I came home and packed until the wee hours, slept for a few, and then woke up for a final run with Kathleen at dawn.   Kathleen is coming here next summer so it was super fun to plan throughout our run!  We ate breakfast at my dad's favorite breakfast diner/pharmacy with some sweet friends of his who gave the girls fairy gifts, and then we got on the road to DC for our flight.  (Thanks Mom and Dad for driving us through hellish traffic).   So thankful that we were able to stop at Anne's and eat lunch with her and Kate and cousins before we left.    Perfect way to spend the day (with family) on our last day in America.  

sweaty after run

on the way to airport

Andie and Zoe dressed the same (twin power) without even coordinating ahead of time! 

Overall, the trip was a whirlwind...but an extremely happy one!  I am SOOO happy we did it and that it was so easy to reconnect with everyone.  It made everyone feel just a little bit closer - despite the distance.   Feeling exhausted and happy.