Travel—Or, a vacation that made my heart sing

Our blended family vacation was just—amazing. My heart is so full right now.

We spent the first week with my mom and my family, traveling back and forth between her retirement condo and my brother’s farm.  My sister-in-law runs a 100 acre farm (cattle), and to the girls’ delight, there were four baby cows meandering around the “front” of their “front yard” which is really bigger than a football field, running from the inner fence to the gate at the end of the gravel lane that is their driveway to the road.  She has two horses to help manage the cattle—which the girls adore.  DD1 is a brownie and had recently gone on a horseback riding field trip; and funnily enough, DD2 even remembered our visit in 2012—both girls have been since praying nightly for our ‘whole family’ that includes these two horses since they met them two years ago.  Talk about tenacious!  Anyway, my sister-in-law took them on horseback all around the farm land, walking, trotting and cantering.  The look of glee on my daughters’ faces is something I will never forget.

In the mean time, as the girls were taking turns riding, I decided to be the “cool” aunty with my 8 year old nephew and accompanied him mountain biking around said farm.  And not to be coy, but this farm is not on ‘flat” land, it’s all rolling hills and pasture, includes various forests to walk through (various branches from which to duck, and plenty of roots for which to pop wheelies, lol), a running creek filled with fossils, a “P” tree which I thought meant going number 1, but turned out to be a sideways leaning tree that was actually shaped in a P, an algae filled pond, and various landmarks such as “dusky ridge.”  As in, “c’mon aunty, we’ll only go as far as dusky ridge!” in the sweetest, 8 year old southern drawl I’d ever heard.  Needless to say I returned to the barn scraggled, full of scratches from passing wild rose bushes, a bruise here and there from the sudden stops and goes relating to various larger tree roots that blocked our path.  I think I earned my cred with nephew #2.  :)  We had walks which included cutting through barbed wire fences between pastures, down paths cut down by the cattle through said forest, dodging cows and one very interested bull.  At the creek we collected fossils and along the forest path, we looked for buck-eyes, with no luck, although my sister-in-law had a few handy for the girls.  When the bull started following us in one pasture, my twelve year old nephew, who was a quarter if it’s size, just told it to get going! And it listened and went going! 

My sister-in-law’s garden is ginormous, and the girls loved picking cucumbers, squash, and green beans, which turned up at lunch and/or dinner and to my surprise, DD1 kept asking for more cucumbers!  Each day was filled with horse rides and silliness amongst the cousins, and my brother actually took time off work (GASP) to spend time with us.

Along with our country excitement, back in the “city,” my mom had planned a birthday party for DD1, which was a sweet and kind accomplishment for someone who is not doing so well physically.  In fact, physically, it was the worst I’ve seen my mom in years, but mentally, everything is so much better.  (Diseases that come with age, SUCK.)  Still, my girls, especially DD1 had an amazing time playing cards with my mom and hanging out in her condo, we even played bingo one night, and DD1 WON!  It was so very cute.  They just both adore their grandma, and seeing them laugh and giggle and do little things for her (i.e. searching and handing her a water bottle so she could take her medication), just made my heart sing.  Family from out of town also drove in to spend time with the girls—I hadn’t seen my Uncle in two years, and my younger cousin in nearly 8, and DD1 was enamored by this gorgeous, 24 year old young woman.  DD2 perched on my Uncle’s shoulders as if she belonged there.  Seriously, I couldn’t have been happier!  My “hanai” family—which means family that isn’t your family but feels like family—also came down, and the girls spent a lot of time climbing over them and swimming in the pool.  It was so wonderful catching up with them and they joined my mom and us for dinner and also lunch with my uncle, aunty, and cousin.  <3

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