Well, we're home and happy after our long vacation up north.
Idaho and Utah are some of my favorite places, and I enjoyed every second breathing in the beautiful country air with my family.
Like I said earlier, we arrived early-afternoon on Wednesday and the party began right away! Our days were filled with snow-cones, splash-pads, galavanting in the lush green grass (something rae had forgotten even existed since moving to az), eating delicious food, helping my parents pack up and sell all they own, reminiscing, and watching all the little cousins interact and play.
Seeing Tayler, Ryenn, Beck, Greyson, and Rae all playing together......it made my heart happy. I have so many fond memories playing with my own cousins throughout my life, and I want nothing less for Raegan. We were missing two of her favorites, Colston and Piper, but we talked about them enough that it almost felt like they were there too! Rae was the only one not walking, so she spent her time chasing after her cousins in her fastest speed-crawl, or holding back to watch their crazy-selves from a safe distance.
There was rarely a moment where Rae wasn't being doted on by one of her older cousins. Anytime Rae and I would arrive, Greyson would squeal and giggle and point at Rae with such enthusiasm. A couple times he marched right over to her, and in his excitement, hand her whatever toy he was playing with. Rae was always very receptive to his sharing and would quickly grab whatever he handed her, at which point Grey would burst into tears, the excitement clearly worn off and with full realization of his loss. A quick trade would rectify the situation, but it was always so funny and cute to watch. Also, the fact the fact that Rae is 5 months younger, yet 3 pounds heavier than Greyson kept us smiling all weekend too.
Beck was often found bent over to Rae's eye-level, patting her face and whispering sweet comments to her. Anytime she would cry, he was the first to notify me. Even if I was holding her, he would run over to me with such loving concern on his face and say, "Aunt Kaela! Aunt Kaela! She's sad, help, she's sad!" Once as I was trying to put Rae down for a nap, he quietly opened the door to our temporary room, looked at my while pointing at Rae and said, "um...Aunt Kaela....she's not asleep yet." He then walked over to her pack-n-play and gave her a kiss goodnight and a little pep-talk about all the fun they would have after nap-time. It melted my heart.
Ryenn was always asking to hold Rae on her lap. She was always aware of Rae, and quick to leave her own big-kid fun to give a few minutes of her time to Rae. As soon as we would arrive at their house, she would sprint into the toy-room and grab all her favorite baby toys! She would then take multiple trips, arms overflowing with toys, to Rae. Those two were often found sitting near each other with piles of toys surrounding them, just enjoying each others company.
Tayler was the best little helper when it came to Rae. Anytime she was sad, or a little stressed out from being in a new place, Tay would rush over and immediately start singing to her. Her songs of choice ranged from the ABC's to Silent Night. She was like my little babysitter....anytime I needed to run and get something done, I could count on Tay to entertain her and make sure she didn't eat anything off the floor or go near the stairs. I don't have many pics of them together since most of their interaction happened when I was busy doing something else and Tay was lovingly taking my place.
Going into the trip, I was so excited to see my family and spend time with them. But I think my main priority/excitement was to have Rae play with her cousins. I really want her to grow up with a close bond and relationship with them. And this was the first time that she was really old enough to play along (kind of). Cheesy as it sounds, it was everything I wanted it to be and more. She's a lucky little girl to have the cousins she has. And I'm a lucky Aunt to have the nieces and nephews I have. I may be biased....but I have no doubt that they are the cutest bunch in existence!
Lots more pictures and posts to come....