10,000 Feet And Climbing

Hello halos!

Do you BELIEVE that picture? Seriously? NO filter, NO photoshop. It was actually that color.

(Upon closer inspection, I notice that there is a winsome bikini clad woman in the middle, smoothing her hair back. Sadly, that is not me. I was behind the camera in a muumuu with thick sunblock all over my freckles. O, youth!)

That was Hawaii. I went to Hawaii with my brother, my lovely sister in law, the twins, Babycakes, Jman, Tbear, and our two expert babysitters. Honestly, with that many kids & a rented house with a pool with no fence…we needed all the eyes we could get. Jeff had to stay at home and work, which is really the only time that owning your own company sucks. As for us, we grilled hamburgers. We swam. We ate Hawaiian shaved ice. We had water gun fights. We played Uno and legos because I packed an entire duffle bag with legos. We drove to different state parks every day and it was just…..awesome.

Which was good, I needed it.

You probably know what I’m going to say here but we lost Baby Cinco. The way it happened was so traumatic and traumatizing that it’s taken me months to be able to come back here. Jeff archived the blog and was ready to shut it down for me. The thought of having to write this shit down was unbearable — every day — for many, many days. It’s better now but it was a long, sad few months. That’s all we will say about it, except to say that I miss him & I’m sad he couldn’t come and be with us. He was very wanted.

Lots has happened this summer while I’ve been away. Miss M worked her first job, as a camp counselor up at the summer camp on Orcas Island. She is amazingly beautiful, brilliant, hilarious, and thinking about college. College!

Mr D had his second to last year as a camper, a senior level year with a long sea kayak trip and loads of good times with his many camp friends from all over the world. This is the seventh summer has has spent a month at camp. He is now taller than I am (I’m 5’7”) and has a devilish smile that knocks your socks off. The ladies have noticed, just in time for him to start high school in the fall.

Both big kids were home for a few days to enjoy drinking deeply in the fountain of the modern internet and cellular world and than BAM! Off again. Miss M is on Fiji, on a student marine biology trip where she gets certified in scuba. Mr D is in Australia on a surf and service trip — half ecology projects like cleaning beaches, half surfing and touring around Australia. He has seen kangaroos!

Our beloved Jman went to summer day camp at school, in addition to our trip to Hawaii. He has been working with a reading tutor (nothing critical, just working on confidence with reading), doing lots of art, and playing with Porkchop. His big beautiful blue eyes are the first thing I see every morning because he is our family’s early riser & he comes and crawls into bed for a snuggle about 5:30 am. Not a bad way to wake up at all.

Little Teddy started preschool at the beginning of July. He loves it.  He has a dinosaur backpack and a lunchbox. He has made friends who hug him when he arrives. His hair is still red, his smile radiant, his hugs priceless.

Jeff has been busy. Undead Labs has FINALLY announced our second game, a game that is almost complete. It’s a complete departure from zombies and so gentle that I can let Teddy play it.

(Why is that good? Well, State of Decay — the little game that could — is on Xbox, which is a console that you hook up to your tv, and on personal computers, right? Mobile games are played on phones and tablets like iPads so by developing a mobile game we are gaining expertise on every gaming platform that exists now. That’s insurance for us and for our employees and our employee families. DIVERSIFICATION, PEOPLE! The small business gift that keeps on giving!)

Speaking of the Lab, want to see the current lab picture? From such humble beginnings…

Fabulously located under the watchful gaze of my 19th birthday gift from the Mom: the Longhorn skull. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Sad but true!

But such wonderful group of people, seriously. We are lucky.

And then, other things.

We totally adore Porkchop and everyone has settled into a nice routine with him. He’s not, well, as interested in pleasing us as Ez was and so he has to stay contained in a little pen at night on his bed, that kind of thing. Mostly, it’s great though.

Really the reason I’m writing is because of where I am at this exact moment: 30,000 feet over the Atlantic.

Jeff is kindly taking me off on an adventure. When I started packing, I found that my camera actually had dust on it. Truly a sign of the end times in our house.

Of course we have the little boys with us too.  Teddy is watching his iPad next to me as we speak. The big kids will fly and join us in two days. Jeff’s mother meets us at the Paris airport and continues on with us. I’ve been wanting to do this trip my entire life!

Where will we stop after our 25.5 hours of flight time from Seattle, hmmm? Stay tuned. Interesting times ahead!

Your correspondent from the other side of the world,

Annie

PS Thanks so much to the halos who must have known that something happened and have sent the nicest emails. I have read each one. Just saying hello meant so much this summer. Believe it or not, you have been sources of strength to me to get back to life. Thank you.

PPS Special bit of love to my blog friend Kathy. We have never met but Kathy was one of my very first halos and after all this time we have been through so much together, health scares and all kinds of things. Kathy is going through her own awful grieving right now. Sending you oceans of love, dear one.

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