We pulled into our driveway late Monday night, after a long day of driving. Driving 16 hours TO your vacation seems to go by so quickly, but the 16 hour drive home feels twice as long for some reason. But we made it and are slowly getting our groove back. Our trip? Pretty much awesomesauce. We had a wonderful visit with David's brother, sister, and mom in the small town where David grew up. We brought the kids bikes so they could ride anywhere and anytime, and they took full advantage of that freedom. When they weren't outside, the kids were visiting with their grandma in her apartment or riding the ancient elevator with a gate for a door. So cool. We also took advantage of the local pool and old jars from Grandma to catch fireflies.
To double the fun of our trip, we headed over to the Twin Cities for the Mehaber, which is the huge picnic for families who have adopted from Ethiopia. It was at least 6,000 degrees that day and I wound up just standing in the shade visiting with amazing friends. Zinabu and Carver played soccer and ran around, while Lily found Jayme's kids and pretty much spoiled Izzie all day. Hands down the best part of the day was when Zinabu expressed interest in the Ethiopian clothes and wanted new pants and a shirt. He's been wearing them (as pajamas) every single day since. (Thanks for the tip, AnnMarie!) We chowed down on Ethiopian food, which by the way was so, so amazingly delicious.
Seeing Tesi again was just plain amazing, but meeting her kids was so, so special. I always feel bad for the kiddos of my blog friends because I feel like I know them so well and I can't help but gush over them while they look at me with a "Should I know you?" expression. Tesi is really lucky I didn't pack her kids up in my suitcase and take them to Colorado. And Binyam? Well... you haven't lived until you've met Binyam.
I also got to meet Kim and her husband and boys, yet I have no photographic evidence because I am lame. But meeting Kim and seeing her boys on their first big outing since arriving in the United States just 3 months ago was a privilege. Talking with Jayme and Katie and Kari and Molly and AnnMarie and Stacey and Cindy and so many others was just icing on the cake. We had so, so, so much fun. (I'm dropping the word "so" a lot but it's necessary!)
David's aunt and cousins had a gathering on Sunday morning so we could see them all. It was heartwarming for several reasons. Mainly, David's dad died before I met David so I never had the chance to get to know him. Being with that side of the family makes me feel a little closer to him. Also, one of David's relatives has 5 children from Ethiopia, two of which were adopted the week after we adopted Zinabu. These boys were in the care center together and certainly played and ate meals together. It astounds me.
We feel especially thankful for good friends and family. Our world of loved ones grows in number each year, and it was fantastic to see them all face to face on this trip..