Paul and I went to Portland Monday night. The plan was to pick up Elida from the airport, and on Tuesday do some photo shoots for our websites and work out a schedule with Elida at her art studio. Paul and I are beginning to talk about moving that way. But the best laid plans …

Elida’s plane was delayed in Frankfurt. So, we got the photos done and Paul decided to work a day with John.

Elida arrived from Italy bursting with news about everything. From Marikesh sp?, Morocco and belly dancers to Florence and the duomo, Rome and well, it’s Rome, Sorrento and the shopping, Capri and the grottos, Pompeii and its casts locked in ash, Positano and its steep streets, and Almalfi and its beaches. Elida told about the people she led on the trip, about the woman with four amazing kids and her best friend who was cheery about everything and the couple who said it was the best vacation they ever had and the young artist who was burnt out on relationships but decided to meet up with Seamus the sheepherder who had never left Cork, Ireland but now he was coming to meet her in Rome and they hadn’t seen each other in eight years but somehow they had kept up with each other all these years.

We didn’t get any scheduling done. But, as the Italianos say — no worries!

She sent us gifts. Limoncello for us. Scarves from Florence for the big girls. T-shirts that say I love Italia for the little ones and two balls that splat on the floor and then re-form to make a ball again. I pulled one out of its wrapper and tried to demonstrate. I sort of forgot that I used to be a shortstop in softball. That ball went splat for sure. It just never re-formed again — well, actually it did reform but the liquid was squirting out in all directions. Dang it!

We picked up the girls from Anne, Paul’s sister, who gives the girls riding lessons on her Mustang pony named Annie. While we were in Portland, they jumped on the trampoline and watched movies and hung out with their baby cousin, Bo and their big cousins, Kylee and Katie.

On the way home, Dagne started to poke fun at the girls that they had to go to “stupid fat school” (we’re working on using “fat” as a putdown — it just hasn’t stuck yet). She so abused them that Ingrid and Greta told on her. Elsa, seeing right through Dagne, said, “Dagne, are you lonely?”

Silence.

Paul looked back and saw her bottom lip out.

Ahhhh! Poor Dagne. I bet it has been rather lonely as I’ve tried to rearrange my work schedule to be able to homeschool. It’s been two weeks of being shuffled about and generally ignored.

And to be the baby, who has probably been without at least one of the sisters maybe a few minutes of her life.

That’s one of the difficulties of homeschooling.

But my schedule’s reearranged and I’m ready to get into the groove of things. Because Dagne’s passion is and always has been horses, I think we’ll dive into them full-force — read horse encyclopedias, horse stories, write about horses, visit them, and begin saving money so she can own one someday.

Passions are precious and should be fostered. I wonder what will happen with it?

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