Sunday, August 11, 2013

Back to the 'Hood

Aidan's first words when we got to my parents' house was "can we go to Target?".  That was quickly followed by "when can we go to Attleboro?"  I've learned over the last few years that it doesn't make sense to wait to go to our neighborhood in Attleboro or else I will be constantly peppered with that question until we get there.  So while we had a few things to do before during that morning, one of the first things we did on our first day back was to go to the 'hood.

We didn't get to see many people that first day which was fine - kind of easing back into things.  But the reunions we had (and still have yet to have) have been wonderful.  Just when I start to have my doubts about where I belong in the picture, I find that I'm welcomed with open arms and that like I've said, some things (and people) have changed, most has stayed the same and that includes how much we all miss each other.

Liam has become quite the monkey this last year...

Liam and Ashley

Aidan and Lindsey having an intense foosball game

Chillin out

If we thought the last game was intense ;)

Papa Ginos!!  

And while there were moments of doubt surrounding some plans that went afoul, in the end, those plans took on a new life of their own and they ended up even better than expected.  With more quality moments than I could have asked for.

For Aidan, the reunions put a smile on his face like none that I see the rest of the year.  I'm not saying he doesn't smile during the year, because he does.  But there is something about being home that is so beyond special to him.  He has learned to love Barcelona and wants to stay there for the next 2, if not more, years ... but home has a place in his heart that understandably cannot be replicated or replaced anywhere else.  And to see his friends that he hasn't seen or spoken to in 14 months is a moment that melts your heart.

Enjoying the pool at the Anastasias

I think Liam's favorite part of vacation is the pool... yeah he loves being with the kids, but he LOVES the pool (and the hot tub!)!

All the kids having a great time!

It was boys vs. girls... the boys were armed and ready!

According to Rich, Liam talked his ear off and suggested that Aidan has a thing for his best girl-friend, Lindsey, something I've always suspected.  Last year they were both incredibly shy with each other and it felt good to see that this wasn't the case this year.  They clicked immediately and had such a great time together.  He spent time with his friends Andrew and Benjamin as well and they ran around the neighborhood, free as birds, something he wasn't at liberty to do in past years (a little last year but not as much as this year).

Aidan and Lindsey

Aidan and Nate

Crazy hair

I really miss having a swingset... so do the boys!

Finally, the hot tub!!  Liam has now had the BEST day ;)

How many kids can you fit in a hot tub?  Answer:  a lot!

Andrew, Aidan, Nate and Ben

Liam, not surprisingly, still doesn't remember home.  But yet he loves to go on vacation in "Bosty".  He loves that he gets to play with kids his age, some of which he remembers, others he does not.  His memory gets clearer and clearer each time we go back but it's of new memories, not of the time before we moved to Barcelona.  He still didn't remember our house (again) but I think now he understands that we still have one which is more than he understood before.

It is interesting watching Liam and how he blends in.  He doesn't really know any of the adults and has a vague recollection of them.  At one point, when he was being punished for a tantrum, our friend Rich suggested that he apologize (I was not around for this part).  Liam comes outside and says, "Richard said I should apologize".  Rich has never ever been Richard to any of us so it took me a few times of asking who before I made the connection.  Had we stayed in the 'hood, Liam never would have even thought of calling him Richard.  It was just one more moment that exemplifies that Liam sees things differently than the rest of us when it comes to being home.  He also was fascinated by the bonfire that Rich lit at night - in complete awe of "fire tv".  It's truly the simple things in life.

We did a couple of playdates and for the most part, kept them pretty small with Aidan focusing most on his best friend, Nate, whom he misses all the time.  I usually announce that we are back so that everyone can get together, but feeling already overwhelmed this year, I let the kids take the lead on who they wanted to see and when.

Aidan and his bff Nate... Nate has grilled me on when we plan to arrive back home for good and plans to make us stick to it!!

As has become our annual tradition, we also went to a bbq hosted, in our honor, by our great friends, the Anastasias.  Swimming, playing on the swingset and just running around and having a good time, you could not ask for more for the kids.  Great friends, great food, great times.  I always feel so good at the end of the night when we all turn in knowing that regardless of where we are, we always have a place here with such wonderful people that we are lucky to call our friends.

Aidan and Lindsey

Love this picture of them!

Max, Aidan, Nate and Aaron

Tatum - all smiles!

Pool time!

Who can throw the beanbags the hardest?  Aidan actually had bruises after playing.  These kids don't mess around with the bag toss!

Bonfire - great way to end a great day!

After the bbq, the kids and I stayed over with Aidan staying at his best friend, Nate's house next door.  And to continue our annual tradition, we all went to Hearth n Kettle for breakfast.  Now, going out to breakfast is unheard of in Spain.  There are one or two places but really, it's not the way things are done.  So going out to breakfast is often a special treat for us when we come home and doing it with our friends make it more special.  Unfortunately this year we found the food to be a bit subpar to what it normally is and Aidan vomited in the bathroom.  I suppose we need a few bumps along the road right?  The good news is that normally our Hearth n Kettle time is our goodbyes for the year and this year we are hoping to stop by at least one more time before we head back to Barcelona.

Our annual Hearth n Kettle breakfast - the kids actually went right to the bench and posed for the picture, apparently they are getting the hang of this ;) 
Aaron, Aidan, Nate, Liam, Lindsey and Ashley

Regardless of the chaos of our trip and the few bumps we had in the beginning, it felt so good to be back in our neighborhood with those we love, feeling like old times.  We already are counting the days til next year!


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