Summer…South Dakota, Mexico, tour, repeat...

I wrote a little bit about my summer a few weeks ago, but weird things happen in the summer. Time moves slowly and quickly - and I don't really understand how both of those things can be true. Earlier this summer I got to spend a week on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota to check in with my Simply Smiles folks out there. It was wonderful. I got to spend time with amazing kids, and I got to see my brother truly living in his element, oh yeah, and I got to see my sweetie pie, Bryan. All three things made me VERY happy.

From the reservation, I traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico. It flipped out my brain a little bit, but for the most part I was just happy to be back! I got to spend time with some of my favorite people in the entire world by visiting Casa Hogar and the city's garbage dump. Add to that - the fact that I got to include a two-day trip down to the jungle, and I was one happy camper.

Visiting Casa Hogar is always a beautiful time. The kids are so sweet, and it's been a privilege to get to watch a lot of them grow up over the past twelve years. Of course, there are always new little cuties, and this year was no exception.

My new little buddy this year is Fernando. He's got a smile that will melt all of your bones, a little pipsqueak voice that I cannot seem to get enough of, and I proudly wear every 'hair ornament' that he made for me during my visits.

As for my friends living in the dump - we got to spend a lot of time together! Both with passing out food and clothing that they desperately needed and playing multiple epic soccer games in the park! We take weekly trips to the park to spend some time on neutral ground with arts and crafts, sports, and sunshine.

On top of all the friend time, there was a lot of construction time too. I mixed more cement in these three weeks than I think I have in my entire life. And I am still reaping the benefits. I can run farther than ever now, and do more push-ups than I have been able to in a long time!

So after a quick trip home to Connecticut to pick up the Corolla, I am now typing to you from my parents' house on the Green Bay. It's a perfect welcome-back day. The sun is shining, the waves are soothing, and it's times like these, when I actually have a moment to reflect and give thanks.

Thank you.