Summer is officially over...

We haven't celebrated Labor Day in years, at least not in September. International Labor Day is in May. But we've learned in our time in Africa...the best way to fit in is to "do as the Romans do," so we celebrated this Labor Day in style! As in, a 5 bedroom mansion in the wooded resort town of Sun River, Oregon, beside the river, complete with hot tub, bike paths, and access to a water park. We ourselves did not splurge on such a holiday; my parents treated us and my two brothers' families, called it our early inheritance. It was a lovely way to spend some inheritance...together! New additions Geneva, 6 months, (affectionately called 'my Neva' by Omara) and Bennett, 4 months, were a joy to be around, and our 4 rascals were incredibly well-behaved. Of course, it helped to have 8 adults around riding bikes, playing games, and generally making each of them feel like the most important person ever! The older kids all went on an 8-mile ride, we saw deer a-plenty in the forest around, and we spent hours at the pool splashing and soaking in some of the last of summers' rays. As if that wasn't good enough, we also managed a painless, tearless 14-member family photo-shoot!!! How is that for miracles??? (I suppose I should wait to actually see the photos before I do the victory dance!)

My brother is a game-fanatic, so there were rousing battles of Monsters over Tokyo, many-a Camelot Quest, and I was surrounded by marauding dwarfs and berserk halflings, though you'll be glad to know I was merely a spectator to such bizarre behavior. Nothing like listening to all the adults in your family discuss the merits of bivouacking Amazons to make you wonder if you could have been adopted!

In the midst of the fun, Dad is tired. He is living in a vicious cycle of pain and nausea and narcotics, with lots of naps but little rest. Cancer really is horribly evil, and I hate it. Hate what it does to people. Hate what it does to the people who are helpless to do a single thing about it. There were tears for Dad, and tears for Mom as she cares for him and avoids too many thoughts about the future. But we also celebrated the 14-strong family that has come out of their commitment to stick through the good times and the bad with each other. What an example to us all!

So this year, we celebrated Labor Day--the Labor of Love that has brought us all this far and has made us who we are. 

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