home is wherever I'm with you.

We've just been to the pool -- my damp, unruly hair and smudged makeup testify to the fact. Swimming in the dark is one of my favorite things. The underwater lights cast warped shadows on the walls and the water, full of waves from splashing, gently slapped against the sides of the pool. A summer can't go by without a dip or two in the water while the stars twinkle overhead and crickets chirp.

self portrait.
(don't you just love hair mussed by traveling? sigh.)
After a total of thirteen hours spend driving in the car, I'm home. There's nothing sweeter than pulling into the driveway amid happy squeals after spending nearly two weeks away.
With the six of us being cramped in either a tent or hotel room nearly the whole time, the house seemed so wonderfully large and spacious. But with that wonderfully large and spacious feeling was also a tinge of melancholy.
While yes, everyone has their own private space again, there would be no more giggling under a tent made of bed sheets while MeMe and Lilly are supposed to be sleeping. No more crowding around the lamp in the tent, arranged in a way so one could obtain a sliver of light to read by. No more complaining about having to sleep on the hard ground, but secretly loving it. Because home is wherever I'm with my family.


In our time away, the backyard had grown unruly. Weeds defiantly poked up amid the grass and the bushes grew shoots. But past the yard desperately in need of taming grew wildflowers. Vibrant blossoms in hues of lavender and saffron stood among the vegetable garden; their presence forgave the rest of the surroundings.

doughnut cake

Today was my father's birthday. I confess spending my special day cooped up in a car wouldn't be my ideal choice, but I admire him for his ability to be happy simply because he was with family. Of course we couldn't let his day go by without something -- hence the powdered sugar doughnut cake with ice cream. We worked with what we had, okay? ;)

I'm so blessed to have him in my life -- no matter what I've been going though, he's always been there and supported me.

happy birthday, dad!

Happy birthday, Dad. I love you!

So our trip is over. It was perfect in every way and the small sacrifices -- ahem, bugs, dirt, bugs, dirt, dirt -- I had to make were more than worth it. As I unpack the jumble that is my suitcase, I unpack memories as well. Like Lilly losing her first tooth (see last scene in video below). Or fleeing from wildfires. Or moments at the lake, the wind rushing all around us.

(to learn more about "the shadow of the cross", go here)

It's good to be home.