this summer was full of firsts for gracie: first tooth, first solid foods, first stamp in her passport, and perhaps best of all, her first time meeting grandma rosie and grandpa greg, and her aunts katie and kelsey.
we only had a chance for a very short visit to rhinelander, wisconsin (home of the hodag) this summer, which was unfortunate, but we did make the best of our time there. we had i think three nights and two and a half days, which wasn't much time, but we did get to see almost everyone that i wanted to see, so that was good.
we stayed with my sister, katie, and her fiance, joe, in their beautiful cabin in the woods. the house was placed on this very peaceful, very lovely little pond surrounded by tamaracs and birch trees. every morning we'd wake up, drink our tea out on their balcony, and admire the view. it was really breathtaking, and it made me grateful that scenes such as this make up a lot of my memories of my youth. the northwoods is a good place to have grown up in.
we spent some time with my very best friend from high school, jami. jami and i were on the same cheerleading squad all through high school (except for freshman year when she was awesome enough to make varsity, while i was stuck on the lowly JV team), and her mom was my first cheerleading coach, and we used to meet on the bridge by the papermill because neither of us had a car back then, so we'd meet on the bridge and then walk around downtown together all night long. cuz we couldn't cruise main street cuz we didn't have cars, so we walked which was better for the environment and better for our bodies anyway, but wasn't nearly as cool. i guess that's why we always dated boys with cars. if he didn't have a car, then we weren't interested. sad but true. anyway, i hadn't seen jami in a year, and also haven't talked with her in just about as long due to the time difference and the fact that she's a 6th-grade teacher, so it's not like she can just step out of her office for a phone call during her lunch break. so it was GOOD to see her again, to get caught up, and for her to meet my daughter! i sure missed her!
we also obviously spent time with my family, and since we were staying with katie we saw her the most. we enjoyed a nice morning in minocqua, a cool touristy town just north of where she was living, and in the afternoon we hung out at my parents' house in rhinelander. unfortunately i was REALLY sick that day, and spent most of the time sleeping on the couch, which i felt guilty about but i really couldn't help it. and later that day, katie ended up bringing me to the emergency room because i had such a high fever and felt so awful. it turns out i had mastitis, an infection in my breast from nursing gracie, and after an IV and a prescription for some antibiotics, they sent me home again (and i was already starting to feel better). thank goodness it wasn't anything serious! but for the next several days i felt under the weather with a fever. what terrible timing, too! i only had a few short days to spend with my family, and i spent most of my time there sick as a dog! how awful!
anyway, if you have to be sick, you may as well be sick at home with your parents so they can take care of you.
gracie really liked playing with her grandpa's goatee -- every time he held her, she'd reach out and tug on it, to see if it came off his face. she LOVED her grandpa greg, and she would laugh a lot at her auntie katie. grandma rosie she wasn't so sure about, though. rosie has a seizure disorder and unfortunately that means she also falls down a lot, and when we came to see her over the summer she had just fallen into katie's fiance and came out of it with two black eyes. and i think it must have scared gracie a bit because whenever rosie held her she would cry. strange, since gracie seemed to have no problem at all about kelsey's pierced-up boyfriend who had more holes in his face than harry whittington.
our last day in rhinelander, my other best friend from high school, matthew (we share the same birthday!), came over to katie's house to meet gracie. we had a beautiful and simple and very moving blessing ceremony for gracie, since matthew is one of gracie's godparents (more about that in a future blog -- i can't wait to tell you all about it!). we sat out by the pond and chanted an incantation for kwan yin, and the sun was shining and gracie was smiling and it was all so very lovely and enchanting. i am honored to have such a beautiful friend like matthew.
then we took a bunch of pictures with the family and pretty much had to take off again. so sad! but hopefully soon we'll be moving back to america, and we should be able to spend more time with my family on a more-regular basis. but i'm grateful for the time that we did have with them, and i'm so glad that they got to meet mary grace!