far away friends {life}

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One of the many things I love about blogging is that there can be great immediacy to it, but that it also gives you an opportunity to look back and reflect on past fun times we've had. I gave you a glimpse into our drive to Pennsylvania that we took over a month ago now. It's well past time I told you about the visit itself. And right up front I'm going to ask for forgiveness, because apparently what I do when I'm fighting a fever and Callum and Neel are watching The Longest Day is make collages in Lightroom. It won't happen often, but today, it happens a lot. I still don't completely have it, and everything I did on Saturday I had to re-do, but I'm getting there. Anyhoo...

For nearly 15 years we've lived in military towns, first in San Diego and now here, and one of the hardest things to get used to is the ebb and flow of friendships as families get transfered into and out of communities. When we first moved to our block, all we heard about was the fabulousness of a certain family who owned the house across the street from us. They can't be that awesome, we thought. But when their orders brought them back to the hood for two years, it turns out that everyone was right. It's a special thing, one I've only learned to appreciate since Callum's birth, when the parents like each other, and the kids like each other too. Callum is bookended by the two older boys in the family, and Michael, the eldest really took care of him during his early years in lacrosse. He and Collin, the next brother down, are perhaps closer by a little bit, but Callum truly loves them all.

What the Navy giveth, the Navy taketh away, and two years ago our friends moved to Pennsylvania. I haven't seen a sadder picture than Callum and Collin sitting glumly, side-by-side on the front porch, chin in hand as they waited for the cars to depart. I'm just as glad I didn't have my camera that day. Six hours isn't so far away, and recognizing that it's harder for them to get down to us, we've tried to make it up to them when we can. This past January just seemed like time. (This was the first weekend I had my new camera, and I shot in .jpeg instead of RAW all weekend. You can tell I was still working the kinks out, but how nice it was to have Big Daddy along for this fun ride.)

We care about the same kinds of things (kids: sports and video games; adults: food and wine), so it's a pretty easy trip. David fed us very, very well.

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From breakfast until dinner, they fed us very well. Hello, homemade sticky buns? Anyone?

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We ate a lot.

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The kids did this a lot.

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The joined us a mealtimes though. That was my favorite, all of us eating together and talking. Just being together again.

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We spent a lot of time around the table.

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On a blustery Saturday, the grownups went in (sans children - oh the joys of an 8th grade babysitter!) to Doylestown to tool around a bit. David and Diana showed us some of their favorite haunts (you know Neel loves a town that proudly proclaims its hoagies!) on the main drag before we scuttled inside to warmer climes.

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A whole store devoted to vinegars and olive oils? Be still my heart.

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After gorging on enjoying little bits of bread and olive oil, David and Diana took us to the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works. I'd been there years and years ago with a friend from college, but it was fun to go back and explore these gorgeous buildings again.

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I'm not Annie, so I'm (and I've been sick) not going to give you the deets on this amazing place. I trust that you can look them up on your own. Go forth and Google.

Afterwards, we split up, and David and Diana took the kids to basketball while Neel and I took ourselves to (squeee) IKEA. We ate another meal together (sausage the first night, lasagna the second) and had another breakfast. We watched some football (leadup to the Superbowl), ate some amazing dessert and all dozed off on the sofa. We talked again and again at how easy it is to be together.

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Callum got some snuggles from not-so-baby Julia.

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The boys let me get some photos in before we left. 

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And here's the whole clan. Good friends, no matter the distance.

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Collin, here he is next to Callum, kept asking if we could stay another day. You can see why, can't you?