“Ambitious! Nutritious! Delicious!” or “Vibble and the Teetering Vases Tour the East Coast”

August 7th, 2010

We got back from our trip East Thursday evening, and we spent all day yesterday re-acclimating to our lives. I don’t think we’re done with that—may take all weekend. It will certainly take all weekend AT LEAST to unpack the alarming amount of stuff we brought with us.

Our story begins in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, where Vibble and I spent a wonderful week visiting old friends and spending great times with my family there. This includes: THE MOST AWESOME COUSINS ON EARTH! This trip was a long one for Violet, but I can tell you on her behalf that she would gladly go another nine rounds if it meant getting to be with Dani and Erica. She just adores being in their presence.

Highlights of this visit included an overnight in Pittsburgh with Cindy and Matt and Bridget and Dave; a day at Idlewild Park; a visit to Keystone Equestrian Center, where my nieces take horseback riding lessons; two cookouts at Cheri and Brian’s house—one of which was attended by Tracey and her husband and kids—and lots of trampoline time! I think Violet is likely dreaming about that trampoline as I type this.

From Latrobe, I borrowed my oldest niece, Erica, as a mother’s helper, and she and Violet and I headed to Penn State for a little reunion weekend. Despite the heat and some toddler moodiness to match, we had the very best time walking around campus and downtown and swimming in the hotel pool. My roommates and I, who have kids around the same age now, were there, and Jen & Pete and Kelly also joined us. It was a great little dynamic, and I so enjoyed being there and being together.

OK, here’s where it gets ambitious: From State College, we drove all the way to Bear Paw, NC, where my grandparents are summering. Yes, that’s a 14-hour drive. With a two-year-old. All I can say is, THANK GOODNESS FOR ERICA. There were so few moments of complaint from Violet on this trip, and in fact, she seemed to enjoy most of it immensely. I would say I gambled and won with this plan, wouldn’t you? The overnight in a hotel in Wytheville was especially memorable. Erica decided while I was in the shower to give Violet half of a chocolate bar. (Note: This is but one example of Erica’s DEVIOUS SIDE.) What followed looked a lot like that first time freshman year when your friend comes home completely drunk, and you and your other friends, being not drunk, enjoy just sort of messing with that person. Erica and I laughed until we cried at Vibble’s nutty high-jinks for an hour while she jumped on the beds singing, whipped off her diaper and danced all over the room, and talked to us in a high-pitched and speedy little voice. Needless to say, she slept like a rock that night. Also needless to say: No more chocolate for you, Little One, YOU ARE CUT OFF.

On to lovely Bear Paw. Lovely and REMOTE. Our cabin was fantastic, and the lake was gorgeous. The company couldn’t have been better: My grandparents, The Kinkers; my dad and Pauline; my mom’s brother, John, and his wife, Lynn, and their two kids, Olivia and Lillian, from Northport, MI, all week … we were also joined late Wednesday night by Stevel, and my mom and Mike and Dani came down for one day of overlap visit as we were heading out. Lots of great fun in the pool, a wonderful day on a rented pontoon boat on the lake with my dad and Pauline, and whitewater rafting with the Northport Kinkers.

FINALLY, we headed to Georgia for some relaxing time at my dad’s and for visits with my Nana and with my dad’s side of the family there. By this point, sadly, I was sort of burned out on taking photos, I guess, because I don’t seem to have a single one. Know, though, that we enjoyed the time together a great deal, and seeing everyone is always a treat. Plus, Vibble got to play with her great-uncle and great-aunt, and I’m not sure if she knows they aren’t some Georgia toddler playgroup.

The kid was good as gold on the flights, such a smooth little traveler! She arrives back here with a mastery of the iPad, a dozen or so mosquito bites, and a LOT of new words (thanks to her cousins). And yes, you can check out the photos—on Facebook and via this link.