Jul 9, 2014

Family Vacation #2: Visiting the Colliers

Aaron and I had been trying to get down south to visit his cousin, Jay, and his family for the longest time.  Last year we knew we wanted to take the kids to the beach for our first family vacation.  We thought about stopping by on the way down to South Carolina, but the more we thought about it, we just knew we wouldn't make good time.  Nobody just stops by while they are on vacation.  Just like we planned to leave their house early this past Saturday to go home so we could make good time, but that didn't work out either.  We ended up leaving in the evening because we were having too much fun, which was WAY later than we had planned.  So, the moral is you can't just pick up and leave or stop by for a few minutes.  It never works out that way.  People talk and get distracted (in a good way).

Last year we told Jay we would make plans some other time.  Well, as fate would have it, it was time.  It just worked out this year and I was stoked.  I sent Jay a message and made arrangements with him for our next vacation.  Aaron and I knew we wanted some family time for just us, so that is why we started off in Memphis and traveled another six hours, across the state, to visit with his family.  We had the best time!  We didn't leave the house except to go to the park for their 4th of July party.  It was relaxing.  Landon spent most of his time playing basketball with Zach and his dad and playing Wii.  Liam had fun exploring their home and playing outside.  Little Angel, their dog, and Liam became instant friends.  Angel followed Liam around everywhere.

Aaron and I loved chatting and catching up while the kids played together.  We made ourselves at home.  We roamed in our jammies, drank coffee, and read the newspaper on the deck early in the morning.  We were very comfortable, and that's what mattered the most.  We enjoyed their company.  We're already making plans to go back so we can all tube together and ride the 4-wheelers/gator on the trails.  This visit we were too busy prepping for the party.  I'm so glad we were there to help them out!  We can't wait to go back!

Preparing the fireworks.

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The more I looked at Zach, the more he reminded me of my nephew, Austin.  They act the same, too.  Creepy.

Kaylee loved little Liam.  They played a lot during our stay.

I was in the middle of snapping to make sure I caught the guys doing their wheelies and Jay slipped.  I about had a heart attack.  We all laughed afterward, but man, what a scare he gave us!

He was laughing here.  I'm so happy he was alright and his sense of humor was still in tact!

I hadn't been on a 4-wheeler in a loooong time.  It was nice to get back on and ride.

Liam was trying to sit next to Angel for a quick picture and she moved at the last second, causing Liam to fall over.  It was pretty funny.  She is such a sweet dog.  These are cell phone pictures.

Family Vacation #2: Fourth Of July Party

Man, what an event!  My husband's cousin, Jay, and his family definitely go all out for the holiday.  It's all about friends and family and making everyone feel right at home.  Well, we did.  There were probably 200+ people at the park.  Normally they host this event at their house, but due to not-so-pleasant neighbors they had to move to a new location for the first time this year.  We were all very impressed with how smoothly the day flowed.  It started off with preparations such as making food and drinks, packing fireworks, tables, coolers, and boxes of necessities to name a few.  We helped load the trailer and trucks and grabbed all the small things needed to complete the event.  For me, that made the day even more exciting.  When we arrived at the park, we unloaded everything and put items where they needed to go before people started to arrive. 

The park had a lot of space and a nice play area for the kids that was close by.  We had volleyball, crochet, softball/baseball, frisbee, corn hole, football and soccer.  I threw a football around with the guys for a little while and then hit the shade.  Landon played football and soccer with the teens for most of the day.  They approached me to tell me that he is one heckuva soccer player, and Landon really enjoyed the sport.  They couldn't believe that he had never played before and told us that played well above his age group.  I was so proud of him.  I guess we'll have to look into yet another sport for him to play.  They were such a GREAT group of kids.  They were positive, encouraging, and supportive.  You don't meet too many teens who are like that.  Their ages ranged from 14 to 23, not including Landon.  I was so happy he was able to spend quality time with those kind of kids.  He needs that.

Everyone brought a dish to their event.  I'm just going to say that those people really know how to cook.  I'm guessing that it's because they are southern folk.  Wow, absolutely delicious!!  All I wanted to do is bottle up their southern charm and bring it home.  Everyone was super nice. 

After we ate, we hung around and waited for it to get dark enough to start the show.  This gave the kids a little more daylight to finish up their games and the littles to get some last-minute play time in at the play park.  Before the fireworks began, Jay approached me and asked if I would video tape his finale.  I ventured to the other side of the park to get a good view.  He was so happy with the results.  Probably because he has never video taped it in the five years he has been having parties!  I was so happy I could get the job done for him.  The fireworks were awesome.  I'm so glad we made plans to spend time with the C family for the holiday.  So so fun!  After it was over, we packed it up and headed back to their house.  What a wonderful experience for all!

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These Chinese ladies are school teachers in China.  They were very intrigued by our culture (especially 4th of July).  They love kids, so they played with a lot of them during their time there.  They also LOVED getting their picture taken. 

See?  Oh, and they LOVE playing sports, too.

Chest bumps and "dude" hand shakes?  Eh, why not.

This one is OOF, but I still love it.

Yep, that's excitement.  His team scored...cue victory jump.

Yep, more excitement...okay, maybe cockiness.

Ahhhh, young love. *sigh*

Thanks, guys, for putting up with us AND for the incredible hospitality!