We got home late last night and spent the day recovering, though we're both still tired. But we have a long day tomorrow--returning the rental car, paying bills, going to a routine parent/teacher conference, and trying to get back into the swing of things. We need a vacation to recover from the vacation, I think.
Jeremiah seems to have missed us, though he'll never say it. My mother tells me she checked on him a couple of times (read: surprise visits) and she says he seemed a little lost as to what to do with himself. He had a couple of friends over and they played music together and hung out a little. Other than that, he knocked around the empty house quite a lot. During one call home, I asked him why he wasn't at a football game or something and he replied, "I thought about it, but I want to be sure I've got enough money for food and gas." I think the responsibility of living independently, taking care of the house, car, and animals, was a little more intimidating than he expected it to be.
As Gary and I have reviewed our visit with my Dad, we've agreed that he shouldn't be allowed unrestricted access to our younger boys. The older two are sturdy enough to take him with a grain of salt and make up their own minds about how much time they want to spend with him. He doesn't think before he speaks--often saying truly hurtful, mean things. On the way home we learned that he made a special target out of Joseph when we were out of earshot (this would be typical), calling him mentally "slow" and running down his physical prowess. I suspect Dad thinks he's helping the boy "toughen up", but all it did was rattle his self-confidence a little and annoy him. Fortunately, the kid is pretty self-possessed.
More pictures: These are from my dad's weekend cabin in the woods:
Wild apples (bears apparently love these)
Joseph with an armload.
Sam with the same.
Dad's weekend cabin (this place is just as beautiful on the inside as it is on the out).
The view from Dad's balcony at the cabin:
Daniel trying his hand at splitting wood:
This is Dad. He dresses like this all the time, which I think is kind of cute
The next installment will be of our journey through multiple national parks, including Yellowstone.