charlotte | "love you auntie."

my last visit to charlotte felt short, like it wasn't enough. a day and a half never really ever feels like quite enough, but i know it's what i have so i don't usually choose to dwell on what it is or isn't. but this past trip, i felt the weight of it. like i was losing balance.

maybe because life has felt extra hard these past few months. maybe i have chosen wrong this whole time, in sacrificing quality for quantity, and it was only a matter of time before it caught up with me. or maybe there was just a collision of multiple life events, and the length of my stay simply couldn't contain it all.

whatever it was, it felt extra sweet to have an extended stay this month, thanks to my new unemployed lifestyle.

one of the things that felt the heaviest about last month's trip was the feeling that luca was growing so much and i couldn't soak it in enough, like i couldn't keep up. thankfully, having a few extra days helped.

it also helped that he held my hand a lot, said "auntie" for the first time (and it actually sounded like auntie - maybe without the distinctive nt sound, but still!), and sat on my lap, looked up at me, and then wrapped his arms around me and gave me a hug, just randomly, in the middle of playing with his toys one morning.

and then, as we were saying goodbye before i left, T said, "can you say, 'love you'? say, 'love you auntie'." and he did. all three words. it sounded more like wuv-ooo aun-ee, but it was all three words, one after another.

it was the perfect way to end my trip, and the sweetest reminder that i'm doing pretty okay.

on sunday, we had a girls morning with starbucks, pedicures, and shopping. in the afternoon, we brought luca in on our adventures. we stopped at a few more stores, got lunch, and had a spontaneous dance party on the sidewalk.

in celebration of fall, we made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. i have no photos of the actual cookies, and i'll be honest and say i did very little in the actual baking process, but you can always count on me to document the experience. (and keep luca entertained. it's a tough job, but someone has to do it.)

we facetimed with H while we (they) baked, and it sort of turned into me running around with the computer so she could play hide and seek with luca.

on monday, my dad and i went on a little adventure to see about getting my oil changed. it's a long and boring story, but the important thing is that we got to hang out, he participated in my waiting room photo shoot, and my oil change was FREE.

after the oil change and reviewing the list of "recommendations" made by the mechanic at the dealership, my dad took me to autozone, bought some stuff, and did the work himself. i'm SO thankful to have a dad who loves me enough to step in and help, without me having to ask, just because he wants to.