These are our cousins. We drove 12 hours to see these cousins. Well, actually, I made it from Seattle to Redding in 11 hours. We woke up at 4 am to see our family. We started driving at 5 am. I had to turn around to get my phone. Luckily I was only 1 mile down the freeway. We had a beautiful sunrise to enjoy that lit up Mt. Rainer as we headed for the Oregon border. I really enjoyed driving during the day and not into the night. This might become my new routine. We made it to Redding around 4 pm and were able to visit with my brother, Bryan and his wife, Robin. They drove up for the day to see us. I love them!
So we went to dinner at my cousins house and saw my cousins from Georgia. We haven't seen them since November 2005! Their two kids are the same ages as my middle two. It was a blast. I'm still trying to remember how we squeezed so much into 3 days. Really, 2 days.
My oldest, Miss M, stayed home with Dad to stay in school. She had a few school events that week. Mr C was very happy to get out of school for a few days and visit his family. We drove all day Wednesday and then had dinner with my Dad and cousins. There was myself, my brother and 3 of my cousins there. And then our kids, 8 in total. I love that these second or third cousins (or is it 2nd cousins - once removed), can play together and know each other so well. Little C will be 3 this July and he woke up in the morning saying "all my cousins are coming over to play? They will all play in my room again?" It's wonderful to hear.
On Thursday, we met up for Starbucks for breakfast and took the kids to the park. Redding has a great wood structured park with a spray zone attached for those hot days (and there are hot days!) Luckily, this visit, there were none. We went to lunch and decided to drive up to Burney Falls. Beautiful drive and even more beautiful waterfalls. Unfortunately it was raining when we got there, but I live in Seattle and always have umbrellas in my car. We hiked down to the bottom and took some pictures before hiking back up. I so need to work out. The hike up was very lung breathing unfriendly! We drove the hour back to Redding to attend my cousins 8th grade graduation. I said we did a lot! We all headed home after that to get some sleep.
On Friday, it rained! We met up at Starbucks after my kids got haircuts. We went to the Mt. Shasta Mall to play in the soft playground in the mall. It was dry inside. We had Round Table for lunch. Apparently there are none on the East Coast. It was delicious. We can fill up a room when we all get together. There were 6 adults and 7 kids (plus 2 teenagers), I should remember to not get outnumbered by the little ones. We decided to take the kids to see "Up!" and had an hour to kill. We went to the Sundial Bridge and walked across. The kids enjoy hanging from the cables like little sloths. We went to the movies and enjoyed 2 hours of kid quiet time. Afterwards we agreed to meet up at my Aunts house and think about dinner and just talk. My Dad didn't hear this part and ended up at my cousins in Anderson. He said he had a nice visit there too. We ended up meeting him in town for dinner. By the time we were done visiting (we weren't really, but it was late), I had to haul off my tired kids for baths and bed. It was 11 pm and we had a 12 hour drive ahead of us on Saturday.
Saturday ended up being a late start. I was in no hurry to get back home. We took our time. We left Redding at 10am and made lots of stops along the way. Going to the bathroom, running around and stopping for food. I paid for it at the end of the night when 13 hours later, I finally pulled into our driveway...exhausted.
Will I do it again? Of course! I love my cousins and had the best time. I hope that after this tour in Iraq (for James, my cousin) that we can go visit them. They will be moving for 3 years and then finding a new home. We are going to persuade them to pick Washington so that they are closer to us. Hint...Hint!