I’m a bit behind with my updates about our last month or so of the summer, so this is the first of what will hopefully be a few posts coming soon 🙂 This will be the longest, but I just can’t narrow it down!
After Matt’s summer session of teaching finished up, we took off for our annual roadtrip out to NY to visit Matt’s side of the family. Conveniently, my brother David lives almost halfway there, in Cincinnati, so we were able to spend 2 nights with him on the way out and 1 night on the way back.
We all enjoyed our time with him. And see that toy he and CaiQun are playing with? It’s a swing-set he made for them to use as a toy, complete with Matt’s contribution of a small Miranda and small CaiQun to swing on the swings.
Then it was on to New York! The drive was long, and the parenting small children while driving was challenging, but we made it through without too many hiccups and even arrived at Matt’s sister’s house in time for dinner the first night!
The girls settled right in to playing with their cousins, Cassi and Elisabeth, who are the sweetest, most awesome teenage girls an aunt could ask for as cousins for her little girls.
They also got in some great play-time with their cousin Averie – who is super adorable and their only cousin close to their age.
Both girls adore Aunt Denya, Matt’s older sister with whom we stayed.
One morning Matt’s sister, Stacey (mom to Averie), and I took the little girls to Fort Rickey, a small zoo with many petting zoo areas. It was, shall we say, an interesting experience. One of my girls was having some behavior issues, and the other tripped and fell down in the middle of a mud puddle – there were moments I felt like I was in the middle of a sitcom. But we made it through and even managed to have some fun 🙂
CaiQun in particular thought it was such a treat to be allowed to sit up on the counter to help Denya cook.
And both girls loved running back and forth across the length of the deck outside.
One afternoon, Cassi and Elisabeth and their friend Chelsea attempted to care for and save a little bird that had been injured, and Miranda and CaiQun were fascinated.
Denya invited some more of the family over one day to hang out. Here’s Matt reading with his brother, Walt.
The girls and I opted for a swim in the pool 🙂 I was really bummed that the weather wasn’t hotter for us to enjoy the pool more, but everyone had fun when we were able to get in!
Denya also took them outside to gather a bouquet of flowers one day, which they greatly enjoyed!
Here Elisabeth and her boyfriend Michael had taken the girls on a walk down to the end of the driveway. They were very patient as the girls requested innumerable seating arrangement changes in the wagon!
Here’s my girl Miranda here, walking up the driveway by herself. She looks so big and grown up to me.
And of course there was time for fun visits with Grandma!
The girls thought it was a blast to get their hair done.
They even managed a little braid for CaiQun 🙂
Sweet Cassi took all the little girls down to the swing one evening.
We attempted to get a sweet photo of the 3 little girls together but encountered a few difficulties 🙂 This is the best we got.
And here is Matt with his two sisters. I love the perfect positioning that makes it look like he is wearing some sort of weird hat 🙂
There were several days on which the girls and I would hang out at Denya’s while Matt would go out and visit friends, so on our last day in town, he kept the girls, and we had an “adult girls” day – Stacey unfortunately had to work, but the rest of us went into Syracuse for Olive Garden and a visit to the campus where Cassi is starting school this week!
Cassi and Elisabeth were kind enough to paint the girls’ toenails (and keep them entertained while the nail polish dried).
And on our last night in town, we went out for ice cream with the family and stayed and played until it got dark 🙂
It was such a sweet time. It’s hard not living closer to all of Matt’s family, and with it being a 2-day drive or $1500+ airline ticket trip, we’re usually only able to see everyone once a year. I’m so thankful, though, that when we are there, all of us are able to jump back into relationships. We got to commiserate with Stacey about the joys and challenges of parenting small children (and get some parenting advice from Denya!), look at old photos, get the updates on everyone’s lives, hear about work and school and church and relationships, and generally soak up our time together. Even the girls were so comfortable being with their cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents, which was a joy.
We look forward to the next time we get to see everyone!