Saturday, June 29th

Stretching myself into downward dog, I heard my sister-in-law speak quietly behind me. “I have a surprise for you,” she said to my nephew.

I changed to a seated position while nephew eyed me shyly from the doorway. “It’s been a long time since I saw you,” I said. “Do you know who I am?” He shook his head and I said, “I’m your dad’s sister.”

His face brightened and he ran to give me a hug. “Auntie Amanda!”

Shortly, Nephew was pulling every toy out of his room one-by-one to show me. While he was doing this, my sister-in-law told my niece I was in the living room. She ran out and hugged me, even though we’ve never met.

“Surprise!” I said. We hadn’t told the kids we were coming to visit.

“Are you sleeping here tonight?”

“Yes, for a few days, and I have another surprise,” I said. Good Man was showering and appeared a few minutes later.

“Uncle!” Nephew shouted. Niece, however, hightailed it back into her room.

“You’re scaring small children,” I said. The dog growled. “And the dog, too.”

Good Man shrugged.

It took nephew a few minutes to warm up to Good Man, but soon he was showing us his toys again.

From the bedroom, a small voice shouted, “Is the strange man gone yet?”


We spent that afternoon at Interstate State Park, exploring glacial potholes. Niece wanted to hold my hand, and Nephew wanted to be with Good Man the whole time.

Conquering the Big Rock

Fifty-Cent Trinkets

Glacial Pothole

A Lesson on Leave No Trace

Butterfly Toy

At one point, Good Man took the (slippery, uneven) rock stairs two at a time. “Don’t do that,” I yelled, “Your nephew is going to co—”

Too late. He was also bounding down the stairs two at a time.

Satisfied Grin

Trying for One Last Shot

Try Again…