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There’s no place like home

The thing about having moved too many times to count is you’re perpetually homesick for somewhere.  This ache for a place you once called home and then the joy of revisiting it is a constant see saw of emotions and memories.

We returned to Belgium on Sunday, and we’re so glad to be back.  We missed our dog, our bed, our life here.  But, it comes at a cost because we will now go back to missing our loved ones ‘back home.’

I cherished my time with my kids, and I’m glad Joe and I got to travel around so much of the U.S. this summer.  I have not been on American soil for that long of a time since I moved overseas.  In 5 weeks we got to visit our nation’s capital, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri and Indiana.  Here’s a quick rundown of our highlights.

Arizona

Staying in Phoenix in the summer at homes without pools is tough.  I missed my pool more than ever during this visit.  I’m an outdoor kind of girl who loves to sip her coffee with the birds and, well, the bees (or flies).  It’s hard to do that when you’re melting (I used to sit in my pool and sip coffee), but it’s all good I did get a little pool time in during our vacay.  Besides this trip was truly about soaking up family time, and I got to spend time in each of my children’s homes.

I also got to sip coffee outside in northern Arizona over the July 4 holiday weekend (at a lovely house we rented in Oak Creek Canyon) and another weekend in Flagstaff.  I loved that I got to whoop up the 4th with this crew!


For some reason I can no longer format the way my photos post — argh.  I’ll figure out how to fix that next post.




It was also fun visiting Flagstaff, Williams and Prescott.  It’s just way too hot to stay in Phoenix in the summer.  And, I did get to play with Torin in a pool.

Little monster is just too too cute.  I miss him dearly.

New Mexico

We drove from Flagstaff to Santa Fe, New Mexico where I got to catch up with an old friend.  We stayed at a lovely hotel in the art center area.  It was beautiful, and we so wish we could have stayed an extra night.

I’m really annoyed by photo editing right now, so it’s messing up my writerly vibe as well.  But, oh well,  you see that plate full of green goo — OMG I crave that  now.  I’ve discovered hatch chiles and christmas sauce.  I may have to go back just to eat that meal again!

Colorado

It was so good to visit Kyle and Kendra in Castle Rock.  The only thing missing during our July 4 feast was these two.  Plus, you can’t go wrong visiting the big C during summer.  It’s always gorgeous there.

Kansas

From Colorado we headed to Indiana to visit Joe’s sister.  We spent a night in Kansas next to a truck stop.  Lol there’s really not much I can say about Kansas (although we didn’t explore much).  The highlight for me was taking a side trip to the Oz museum and Oz winery.  Those snazzy slippers that start this blog were bought there — love them!

Indiana

Before reaching Indiana we spent a night in Missouri near Columbia.  We regret not taking an extra day to explore the Ozarks (especially since we love the show set there), but perhaps another time.  Again we didn’t do much sight seeing, but we did spend a lot of time having fun with Joe’s sister, who lives in a Disneyesque town called Carmel.  LOL I swear they even pipe in the wildlife because while we were sitting at the fire pit we were entertained by racoons, foxes and a possum.  During the day blue jays and cardinals stopped by to peek at us peeking at them.  No need to do much exploring when it’s all right there.

I loved the artwork all over the town center, and a cool restaurant had my favorite bathroom ever. Who knew Indiana was so progressive?!

We spent a day sitting waterside sipping bevies, which was wonderful.  It made me miss living by a lake (but that was several lifetimes ago!).

And then our road trip was over.  We flew back to Phoenix for a few days, packed up and returned to Brussels.  Luckily we totally missed the heat wave.  I cannot imagine attempting sleep in my third-floor, non air-conditioned apartment in 106 degree temps.

I wish I would have taken the time to write the many reflections I’ve had during this trip, so that I could share the good ones with you, but I didn’t and now that I’m typing I can’t think of any of them.

I am torn between wanting to move back to the states to be closer to my kids (and their kids) and staying here where I’m in a bipolar relationship of peace and wonder and frustration and WTF (you never get used to eets a problame, which basically means “bitch you’re gonna wait another week, two, three or maybe four before this shit gets fixed”).

But, I do so love my home here and my job and the life, so it’ll be a while before I go back (unless my employer has other plans for me).

I am also heartbroken and enraged that a few days ago I messaged my children that I loved them and to please, please be safe and vigilant. All of the places where mass shootings take place could include any of us.  We love festivals, shopping, drinking and getting educated.  The story of the young mother dying in Walmart while shielding her infant crushed me.  The only saving grace is that wouldn’t be my daughter since she probably owns stock in Amazon by now, but why oh why are we so violent?  America I love you, and all my people there.  I truly believe there are more good of us than bad, so please, please, please let’s get our shit together and quit letting shit talkers stir it up (and noooo I’m not blaming politicians for the murders, but our leaders aren’t helping make change for the better, and we’re getting caught in the web with our own arguments and circular reasoning.  Bottom line: conservatives and liberals want the same for their children:  safety, growth, freedom and opportunities).  We know how to get along and play nice in the sandbox, so let’s get to it.  And, yes, that includes me.

Okay, this isn’t a blog about my country’s issues, so let me get back to the whole point of this post.  It was great to go home for a bit, and it’s just as great to come home!  I loved time with my people, but most of all my absolute favorite thing was rocking and singing my grandson to sleep.  OMG it is amazing how much a baby can fill your soul with love and hope. (um, maybe we need to all rock babies before problem solving?)

 

Bonding in Sedona…

 

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Forgive my focus on all that green, but you see I see so little of it so it gives me joy.

It’s raining real rain — not the normal two-second tease — in Phoenix.  It’s dark outside, the dogs are huddled by my feet (as if I could protect them), and my youngest is snuggled up in his bed sleeping his way through the storm.  It’s an awesome morning to sip my coffee and share some more photos.

A few weeks ago Kyle moved from Colorado to Sedona, so on Wednesday Kaylene and I took a mother-daughter day to enjoy one of our favourite places on earth while getting the chance to visit our boy.  We treated ourselves to a ‘room,’ which turned out to be a mini cabin.  We loved it so much I’m thinking of booking a night there with Joe (because I now have a really good excuse to drive up to Sedona again, although does one ever need an excuse to visit living art?).  I won’t waste your time bragging about how wonderfully awesome my kids are (hehehe guess I just did), but I will tell you how proud I am of my babies.  Man oh man I have spent countless hours worrying about each of them and some of their choices, but this time I have with them now is proof that I need to just let them be and continue doing their adult thing their way.  They’ve totally got this.

Kyle has learned that he is most grounded and most at peace surrounded by nature.  He is finding his way, and I’m so glad Kaylene and I got to enjoy a bit of his happiness with him. Sedona is already proving to be a good move for him and his pooch Piper (if his dog nurturing skills are any indication of the kind of father he will one day be, I envy my future grand children).  I also envy Kaylene and Aaron’s future babies.  Ohhhh and I so want to write about them now too, but I’ll do that privately so you can get your chance to enjoy some pics of Sedona (and two of my amazing offspring).  Long story short the three of us had a fantastic time together.

For those of you who’ve never been to Sedona it’s a must-see if you ever go to Arizona.  It’s kind of the reverse of the Grand Canyon.  When you see the Grand Canyon you look down (unless you’re one of the lucky ones who also get to hike to its bottom), when you go to Sedona you look up.  Artists, psychics, naturalists thrive there.  It’s a spiritual place thanks to its beauty, its connection to ancient times (use your imagination and you’ll see faces embedded in its walls), and its vortexes — although I honestly don’t know much about the vortexes.  For me hiking through its woods and trails is magic enough; maybe its the vortex energy, maybe it’s not — who cares because it’s all good.  So, please do make sure you hike as much as shop if you ever get a chance to visit.  And hey if you’re into the psychic thing get a reading or buy a crystal while you’re at it.

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Fun times with two of my kiddos

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A boy and his dog…

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So, this creek is right near where Kyle lives.  THIS is where his dog gets to play every day while Kyle sometimes strums his guitar (sorry no guitar pics this time around).  Lucky dog!

Aaron, my youngest, had to work so he couldn’t make this trip with us, but we’ve had plenty of mother/son lunches.  Sadly since he still lives at the house we don’t think to take pics doing our thing together, but he’s as awesome to spend time with as his brother — and  I’m gonna sneak some shots of him and post before I leave!

Next up?  A weekend in Yuma visiting friends, and then Joe and I will have a few days up north by ourselves, and then I’ll cry my eyes out leaving the fam until we gather together again.

 

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