Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Indiana Days: Let the Traveling Begin!

At the end of May, we embarked on the road trip that was pretty much the beginning of the end of our Indiana Days. We were headed South, and I was very excited about that! All of my mom's family (her mom's side) lives in the South (minus a few that have scattered northward). I grew up visiting my grandparents in Florida twice a year (a drive that I should know like the back of my hand.. but being me, I pretty much only know landmarks.. but I still think I could get there :), and the summer visit typically included attending the family reunion at my great aunt's house in southern Alabama. This was my first opportunity to attend a family reunion in years. I actually don't remember the last time I was able to go.. It's been a while.

So, we loaded up the van, making sure there was room for Ian, who we would be picking up during our travels (yay!), and set off.

An early morning, so a breakfast on the go!


We drove and drove and drove and drove. It took us 15 hours to make that trip! Small children really change the time commitment of a road trip :). But they were troopers and happily got out of the car when we arrived at our hotel. The next morning, we took a short drive to make our reunion debut! It was great! Everything looked the same, it smelled the same, the food was good, and the catching-up was even better.

This isn't a great picture, but the two beauties behind the couch are my two great aunts.

I love the hand-holding.. there is always hand-holding going on with this bunch..
Also, please give some love to that shag carpet. It is even more amazing in person!

They started as eight, four boys, four girls. Though there are only two walking with us now, their family has left an incredible legacy of human beings on this earth. The family has grown and grown and grown, and is full of wonderful, caring, kind people.

The living room is always full (though fortunately, there are many other places around to gather.. I don't think we'd all fit in this little room!), but there is also quite a treasure in the pond down the lane. I have memories of go-cart rides, baby alligators, blueberry picking, games in the pond-house, all the kid-cousins making a whirlpool in the pool. Not to mention endless card games and nibbles of goodies not-so-well-hidden in the dining room. However awkward I may be, or may have been, the memories are sweet. The heart is thankful. 

I have many memories of listening to stories on this porch, and making various mud 'treats' just outside :).

And the kitchen, always busy, busy. It takes a lot of work to feed so many, and while the helping hands have changed over the years, the food is always amazing. 

We did lunch at a bigger home nearby (belonging to a cousin of my mom's), to accommodate the growing, growing, growing family, and the spread was impressive to say the least.

This was only the beginnings of what was laid out. I didn't even get a picture of the dessert selection, but you can imagine :)

Aed discovered a trampoline, and it turns out bouncing is one of his favorite things. It took a lot of coaxing to get him off of there.

Finally the time came.. for more driving! Yay! No. Not really. No one was excited. But, we were grateful to have had a chance to see so many people we'd not seen for years. And there is something special about introducing your children to people that have been important in your life (even when your children are dazed and confused :). Maybe someday they'll get to meet my husband, too! :)

So into the car we climbed. Tired and ready to rest.


We were on our way! First stop was the airport to pick up Daddy (a million yays!), and then to our cabin in the woods for a super-duper fun-filled week!

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