I was completely taken aback when I realized the other day was the first day of fall. I couldn’t believe that autumn was already here. It’s not that the two major signs weren’t there; September and school. But I still felt like it came fast.
Our summer was filled with swim lessons, beach days, ice cream, late night runs around the yard, all the things summer is supposed to be made up of. This was also the summer of travel for our family. The boys are already pretty seasoned travelers given their few years on this planet, but this year we were packing in three big trips over the course of the summer.
Destination 1 – Massachusetts
Our summer began with a Cape Cod vacation. We always try to head to Massachusetts every summer, and thankfully have made it to the Cape each year. To me, Cape Cod epitomizes the American summer vacation, when family and extended family, fill up their cars and head across the bridge to the island.
Our summer vacation began with the annual family 4th of July party where the boys ran endlessly with their cousins and watched their first fireworks. Some were magical and others, one might not exactly call magical, but still a big hit with the under 6 crowd. At the end of the night plans were made for the week ahead.
My parents rented a house and filled it with their grandkids. Every morning began with the cousins running around outside, imaginations flying. Each day was filled with an activity that you can only be done on the Cape (or at least in my mind). We went clamming, and crabbing, went for ice cream and they had their first gummy worm, checked See a Lighthouse off their bucket list, went to the beach, the marina and fairy hunted in the forest. And of course had our sunset picnic, juice for the kids and wine from a jug for the adults.
Living so far from family, these trips to the Cape mean more every time we go. The boys absolutely love being with their family, cousins who chase them, Uncles who let them eat as many chips as they want, Aunts who plan adventures and more cousins who play whatever they want giving me a break for the much-needed glass of wine. It is these vacations the nostalgia of my childhood gets to be re-lived through my children. I can’t wait to go back.
Destination 2 – Northern California
Our next trip was up North to Kris’s family reunion. What made this trip so special was the boys were meeting for the first time their great-grandmother. Grandma Bobby is their only great-grandparent and we were excited for them to finally meet. She is an extremely important member of our family and it felt emotional when they finally met.
This was a whirlwind week-end, full of less than ideal travel hiccups, but mostly a fun-filled three-day trip. We hadn’t been able to go to the last two reunions because of work and then infant twins, so we were surprised to see how much Kris’s family had grown. It’s hard to keep up when everyone lives far away and has busy lives, but I think the kid count tripled since the last reunion.
The boys had a blast running around the yard with the “bigger” kids, bouncing in the bounce house, making art with their big cousin. And it was so fun for the adults to catch up with each other in person. Plans are already in motion for the next reunion.
Destination 3 – Colorado
Our last trip came at the end of the summer to Estes Park, outside Denver, Colorado, for a wedding. This would be the boys first wedding and between the cake, the dancing, more cake and more dancing, they have determined, weddings are where it’s at. The days leading up to the wedding were filled with everything that childhood dreams are made of. The boys had their cousins and an endless supply of family and friends to play with. They played outside in the fresh mountain air, climbing rocks, looking for wild life, dipping their feet into clear mountain streams. At one point Kellan declared he wanted to live in Colorado. I couldn’t blame him, it is heaven for a child.
So here we are, at the start of fall and as I think back to our summer vacation, and everything we did, it is so clear that the best parts where when we were with family.