LRBs to LTs

My 14-year-old nephew stayed with us for a week.

Eli had been in Montana visiting my mom—his Grandma—for the past month-ish.  He stopped in for a week with us before flying back to his home in the Seattle area.  It was wonderful.  He’s grown up so much.  
It was windy at the top of the pass.
We had lots of conversation over dinner and while gardening.  We taught him some darts and played lots of cards.  We went stargazing—something I gather he especially enjoys about Montana—and even took a drive to the top of the Bearttooth Pass.  
There is still snow up there.
(Sidebar:  We looked up the elevation where he lives and it was about 65 feet above sea level.  The Beartooth Pass is almost 11,000 feet above sea level.  We all thought this was very interesting and he swears it was harder to breathe at the top of the world.)  
Looking back down the mountain as we go up, up, up!
It was a really smooth and enjoyable visit and we don’t get to spend enough time together, living so far apart.  I have tremendously fond memories of visiting my aunts and uncles for a week or two as a youth and it was interesting to see it from the other side.  
I have a "spare" bicycle which came in handy so we could all ride together.
I’m quite glad Eli came…and I was also equally glad when the stay was over.  
Snowball fight!
I think that it’s really too bad that I have but one life to lead.  There are so many paths to take and each bears its pros and cons, its richness in experience, drawbacks and delights.  I’ve ruminated a lot around this idea.  I wish I could try several lives on for style.  Having kids vs childfree, vegan vs omnivorous, vagabond vs homeowner, librarian vs park ranger, etc., etc..  Alas, that’s not possible and I have no regrets about the path I’m on.  I love it.  It is a vibrant, satisfying life.
Monkeying around on the rocks in Zimmerman Park.
Matt and I are very, very happily childfree.  We’ve crafted a life over here that wouldn’t be possible, as is, with kids around.
Summer blossoms and my boys.
Actually, having Eli here for a week beautifully reminded us of that.  We had a swell time, like I said.  It went great.  None the less, I breathed a sigh of relief when I returned from dropping Eli at the airport  to my quiet house with just my cats.  I like the quiet.  I like the autonomy and flexibility.  I like the tidiness.  I like the simplicity.  I like the quiet.  Did I mention that?
Harvesting the garlic crop.
To celebrate the return of our household to adults-and-cats-only status, we put on the new Wes Urbaniak album and sat on the patio watching the clouds go by in near-total conversational silence.  Just listening to the music together.  Cloud gazing. Sipping a beer. Just being. Just us.
Monkeying around on rocks on the Beartooth Pass.  :)
It was relaxing as hell.  I saw a cloud that totally looked like a dragon.


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