So much for that post a day, huh/eh?
I know. I know. You don't want to hear my excuses.
Very well. Moving on. Our last stop before Tyler Place was a night with Steve's birth (half) brothers which included a surprise-to-us visit with his birth father as well. It was terrific. They are great company and went to a lot of trouble to make sure the kids had a fantastic time - including lake time and pond time and being flung around by fun uncles time.
(I love Patrick's reflexively protective hand in this picture. He might claim he would love nothing more than the sight of Caroline pitching head first into a muddy pond but when it came right down to it he was protective.)
The uncles generously donated to Patrick's burgeoning license plate collection (oh and I promised to ask: if any of you have any old license plates with which you would be willing to part, Patrick would love them and will himself pay for shipping. Last season's mushroom profits allowed room for some diversification apparently.)
They took us to Shelburne Farm for brunch and the lake and more swinging of children. Oh plus chickens. And goats and some baby cows. Shelburne is a working farm and education center (plus a really pretty inn) and it was a perfect stop with the kids.
I continue to be amazed and touched by how generously both sides of Steve's birth family have embraced him. I think it is shameful that adoption culture a generation ago makes forging connections like these such a rarity. I've probably told you this before but it was only a chance mention by one of the agency employees (where Steve's birth mother had gone to college; a fact remembered two decades later and passed along by Steve's Dad) that enabled us to find her and later the father as well. Even then it took a couple of years and we had to hire a private investigator to confirm some things.
So. Very very glad that Steve was able to develop these relationships, recognize that not everyone wants to do so but feel sad for those who do and cannot.
This last picture is just so very very Caroline I had to share it. She is no longer allowed to say (or even mutter) things like "You idiots" or "You fools." Now she just says "you." Like "I know it's a rose, you."
Such a sweet child.