Tuesday, August 18, 2009

8. COUSINS!

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From Wed to Friday we visited Long Island (Mt. Sinai, to be exact) to visit my sister Jennie, her spouse Jeff and their two lovely daughters, Lina and Livi!  Hooray!  We spend a weekend in Long Island every summer and I couldn’t wait to see my nieces.  The kids were thrilled too – it’s such fun to have cousins…. I’m not saying they don’t have fun with their other friends – they do – but I guess blood really is thicker than water because they get more excited for cousins than for anything else.  We had a relatively peaceful drive from Philadelphia and made it just a bit after lunch.  Of course, I had to stop and get a real New York bagel on the way up.  Bread in France is amazingly awesome, of course, but they don’t do bagels and man, I LOVE bagels!

We did lots and lots of fun things together and, as per usual, I took way too many pictures!!!  But here goes….   When we first got there we played a bunch up in the chapel which has a giant trampoline and a fun bike trailer to play with – as you can see Lina is pushing her cousins around quite handily. It is amazing to watch my nieces bouncing around on this thing.  I mean, I know they OWN a tramp – so that has something to do with their proficiency, but still – you should see 2 year old Livi jump!  They have grown so much and are so intelligent and fun to be around.  No doubt they have inherited some of the natural athletic and scholastic  abilities of their parents.  Jennie and Jeff own their own fencing school (http://www.missionfencing.com/) and part of the fun coming up each time is seeing what new and amazing improvements they have made at the club.  This time it was 2 really obvious things (although I’m quite sure there were about 100 more -they never stop working!)– top of the line new machines and this awesome wrap for their fencing van. 

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We headmini_DSC00651ed over to the pier on Wednesday afternoon to take a look at the water. That’s Griffin and Uncle Jeff looking out over the sound.  Well, mini_DSC00654of course, within a few minutes of wading, everyone ended up completely in the water.  The kids had a great time finding a giant dead fish and lots of hermit crabs – Uncle Jeff is an expert at finding these little creatures and didn’t mind getting wet to play with the kids. Jennie was a bit frightened Livi might float away – as you can see her littlest kid was in up to her neck!  Afterwards, Zander pulled his cousins home almost the entire way in their wagon. We did stop at one neighbor’s place for a fun swing on his long rope – you can see Callie hanging on below.  Everyone worked together for the last push up that steep hill to make it back home!                  mini_DSC00659              mini_DSC00662                      mini_DSC00664

The next day we spent the morning hanging out together – particularly cute were Livi and Zander together playing with the elaborate train set Zander created.  See video and pictures below.

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That afternoon we went to the beach – that was great fun but no photos – I’ve had too many cameras ruined by sand to bring them to the beach (OK, the truth is I forgot – sand or no sand, I’m addicted to photos!!)  It is always great to swim at the beach there – it is a rocky beach which makes your feet hurt a bit, but the water is nice and calm and the shell hunting is excellent. 

mini_HPIM1878 That night for all of our birthdays (mine too, and I must say having a summer birthday for once was quite fun!) the Salmons took us out to a local carnival.  It was great fun – all the cousins rode on ridemini_HPIM1892s together in the beginning but then, later, Zander and I went on the more scary ones together – normally Callie would join us but she was majorly attached at the hip to Lina and Livi.  Jen and Jeff braved the Ferris Wheel but wouldn’t take Zander on any of the ‘big’ rides – wimps!  I still remember, at the Ringwood Carnizaar one year, how Jen went on the Salt and Pepper shakers and got sick. I, young and impressionable, was scared off for all eternity on that ride!  They claim they’ve enlisted my sister Melodie to take the girls on scary rides when they get older.  Have fun Aunt Melodie!  While Zander and I were experiencing the top of the world, Uncle Jeff was focused on tossing balls into fish bowls.  30 balls later, he had won 2 carnie goldfish, one for Callie and one for Lina.  They were christened Violet and Rose (at least, that’s what Callie says and Zander insists their last name was Survivors).  I wonder if they live on????

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While the tossing and fishing game was going on, Livi got a bit of special Mom time.  I love how my sister can make her daughter happier with a word and a look than any carnival ever ever could (and it goes both ways as you can see!)

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Then we all got Mr. Softee – of course I got the chocolate dipped soft serve, Uncle Jeff got Cherry dipped, which was actually quite surprisingly delicious.  Below is Livi with vanilla sprinkles, Griffin with Sponge Bob and 3 wiped out girls who ended up sleeping all in the same bed later that evening.

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The kids really had a great time together – at one point Uncle Jeff watched all 5 of them for a couple hours while Jen and I hit Trader Joe’s and, when we returned, they were all still perfectly happy.  They had a great time shortly before we left all wrestling with him….

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Finally we tried for the always elusive – all 5 grandkids shot – they were in a good mood – so the smiles are genuine – but a bit random too!!! Thanks for all the fun guys – we love you tons and we sure are going to miss all of you when back in France….

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