Another glance back at the trip that was our European vacation. No, stay, please, these aren't vacation photos, per se.
This is my family. Those three kids, shaded or squinted, are my offspring. Although I had no idea they would be in my life just 13 years ago -- when I was still never going to have children -- here they are. It is through them that I have experienced a depth of emotions I would have lacked without them: complete terror, sheer paranoid, utter frustration. Oh, and an unlimited and unconditional outpouring of love.
They are with two other family members: Pete's Uncle Ken and Aunt Margaret. Words will fail me here. I'll not be able to communicate what those two mean to me, let alone what they mean to Pete and, by extension of both of us, our kids. I cannot imagine a world without them, just as I can't imagine a world without my mom or my sister. More than any one thing Ken and Margaret do, the most valuable to me is that they put up with me and mine. Anyone who can do that deserves saint status.
The above photo was taken outside Ken and Margaret's house, as the kids and I were leaving to traverse a wide swath of England to get from Manchester to London to catch a flight. The kids and I made it unscathed, arriving at a cheap-o hotel near Heathrow in time to play a bit. [By the by, when I say "cheap-o," in this context -- money spent in Europe this summer -- that is not to say that I still didn't have to donate a part of a liver to raise money to pay for it.]
Youngest always begs the other two to play with him. Daughter typically crumbles. Eldest works hard to rarely have to play with Youngest when there are other amusements -- any other kind of amusement -- around. So, while this shot below doesn't represent a typical event among my kids, it does show them at their best, piling on. I'm just grateful I wasn't at the bottom of the heap this time.