This year Coolidge, Brody and I spent 5 weeks in Washington. I extended our stay because the thought of spending any time in the hot august heat here in NY was unbearable. Ben joined us for the last couple of weeks just in time to celebrate my 36th birthday. Christie celebrated with us and we tasted some wine at a couple of wineries. The wine was great and we ended it with lunch over at the brewery. It sounds like we are a bunch of lushes but in reality we just wanted to be where no kids were allowed and enjoy a great buzz.
However before Ben got there we spent about 5 days in Seattle hanging out with my mom and most of my time with Aj and her girls. It was great to hang with them and Coolidge and Brody just loved playing with Lil, Maya, Harley and swimming in the pool. Coolidge is my little nature boy who thinks Maxine's home is all a person could need. He loved that he could pick some vegetables out of her garden, eat some plums from her tree, ride Harley, swim in her pool and end the day with some relaxation in her hot tub. Brody fell in love with Harley and still talks about him every time he sees a horse. And as you can see he makes an adorable cowboy. It was very hard to schedule our vacations with the Cochran's but I couldn't imagine our families not getting together every year.
We also spent a week in a place called Sun Lakes. We have been going almost every year since Coolidge was one. It is something that him and his cousins look forward to every year. I have to say it was a rough year for me. The weather was amazing, I was well organized, I just wasn't prepared for 9 year old vs 5 year old politics. I know that a lot of you parents understand how your adult brain gets in the way and instead of letting them deal with their battles you handle it for them. Well I felt like I spent most of my vacation stopping a fight or comforting my son who felt left out. Sometimes that can be more work than it is worth. I told my family that I wasn't going next year but I am already changing my mind so who knows. I went on these type of vacations my whole life and now I am getting a chance to see it through my parents eyes. I appreciate them more an more as my kids get older.
It is amazing how our families have changed over the year on these vacations. I remember when Christie was the only one with a kid and now all four of us girls have kids ranging from 11years to 8 months old. We each had our issues and we all tried to support and help the other when we could. Even though there was some rough moments there were quite a lot of funny times. Watching the kids and the big boys do the slip and slide was quite hilarious. We each got moments of rest and we also had one night where we had to feed the whole group dinner. We spend a lot of time planning the trip and it always seems to all work out. We used to take up 2 cabins and now we rent out at least 5. Next year I think it will be six. It is amazing to see how our families have changed. This year was different because Christie and I didn't have our husbands there. Brandi's husband Jeremy, who has been in Iraq for six months, was able to join us and had some great stories of what he has been through and witnessed. Lindsy was without her guy and so it was our first year of girls needing to come together because we didn't have the extra help. Jeremy did a great job in getting the kids together for a baseball game which was quite the highlight for all of them. Growing up I couldn't wait to take my kids on vacations just like this and now my kids are making memories with my siblings kids. It is amazing to watch the mini versions of us play and interact with family.
When we got back from Sunlakes my cousin Kiera came to visit with her little cutie patootie Ari. She spent 5 days with us and Coolidge and Brody just loved to have another rug rat to mess up Grandma's house. Coolidge prides himself on taking care of Ari and making him smile. He even helped my mom dislodge a band aid out of his throat. Everybody made a big fuss about it and Coolidge loved all of the attention. He would ask to baby sit him and it was interesting to see what he considered watching him. My cousin Kiera never seems to amaze me. She flew all the way from Nevada with Ari and then proceeded to take a bus from Seatac to my mom's house in Kenmore. All those Washington folks are reading this saying, oh my she's crazy. However, I know that's Kiera. Even though my mom and I said we would pay for her shuttle back to the airport she insisted on taking the bus back. Ari will be more worldly than most adults before he even turns 18. Nothing stops her and I can't wait to see where she takes her life once she gets her feet moving.
We also got to spend a lot of time with Cindy, Eric, Keelan and Skylar. I usually only get to see them twice maybe three times, but this time we got some good quality time together. I think this was the first year that Keelan and Coolidge really played together and enjoyed each others company. I am shocked it took this long but great to see them really get one another. I was also so excited to see what Cindy had been working on. I can't really write about it now because she is still under the process of getting all the kinks worked out. I have no doubt that she will blow up and I can't wait to see how it all plays out. It is so great to see your family and friends doing well and feeling good about there life. I have known Cindy for a long time. It never seems to amaze me that I played with Cindy when I was 10 years old and now I am watching her kids play with mine.
I was also lucky that Erin planned her trip during the same time we were there. It was the first time I got to meet Nicholas and I don't think I have seen Zachary for at least 2 years. Zachary has gotten so big and had a great time paddle boating with Coolidge, Henry and Kendal. Nicholas is just a little sweety. As much as the little guy has been through you would never know from his big smile and laughs. Even though they live on the East coast we never seem to see each other until we both fly 3,ooo miles to our home town. This vacation was well spent seeing family and I still wish I had a chance to see more.
The focus of this summer was definitely spending time with family and friends. We made many trips out to Christie's house and stayed for 2 - 3 days here and there. Coolidge just adores Kendal and Henry and having slumber parties in sleeping bags had to have been one of the biggest thrills. He stayed up until after 11:00pm many nights acting like a big kid. I worried he wouldn't get enough sleep and have major meltdowns the next day but every day he handle it and seeing his smile laying between his two cousins made it all worth it. It was great hanging at Christie's house. Henry worked hard and put up a beautiful deck with a hot tub. The kids would run to the pool jump into the freezing water and then run back to warm up in the hot tub. Brody kept calling the hot tub his bath. Luckily Christie would keep it cool enough so Brody could do circles around it until he pruned up.
It has been a great summer and I am looking forward to some fall weather and the holidays. I hope you all had a great one also.