Wednesday, November 28, 2012


In 2011 when we made our first trek back to Utah after moving to Texas, the kids were mostly excited to reconnect with old friends, see their old house, and visit their old hang outs.  We had a few opportunities to spend time with family, but on a couple of those occasions, my kids chose to stay in Mendon with friends instead of being in Salt Lake with the cousins.  When we originally planned to go back to Utah for Thanksgiving this year, the universal theme among all of the kids was that they really wanted to spend time with their cousins.  I think in the year and a half since we last visited, they realized that things are changing.  We have missionaries out now (and about to go out) and new babies that have been born and new in-law cousins.  Our family is growing and changing rapidly.  So we made FAMILY time, specifically COUSIN time, a HUGE priority for this trip.  

The Babies...
We've added these adorable TWINS to the family since the last time we visitied.  (Well, I didn't add AMAZING sister-in-law did that.  Just watching the orchestration involved in transporting two babies around made me completely marvel at her awesomeness.  AND she made two desserts and a salad for Thanksgiving.  AND she looks like a million bucks...always!  The woman can seriously run circles around the rest of us.)
My other, equally amazing sister-in-law has this little cutie...AND one serving a mission in Cuernavaca, Mexico...AND two in between!

The Boys...
These boys are such great friends.  Mack is the oldest which is a strange feeling for him, but a nice change.  They fall right back into playing together and running around as if it's only been days that they've been apart instead of years.  

The Girls...
And then there are the girl cousins...the tweens and now teens.  These girls have been having sleep overs together since they were little, when they liked Barbies and stuffed animals.  (Apparently they relived their youth and dragged out all the Barbies again this time...just to reminisce.)  

The Olders...
Flowering Buttercup has been following these cool older cousins around since long before she actually fit into this group.  It's so much fun to see how the years don't matter as much after you can drive and date.  :)

And the very BEST thing about the Olders is that they don't mind being completely adored by the Youngers.  The older boys played games with the little boys.  They took the girls on a crazy joy ride on all the dirt roads in the Valley.  And they are all more than happy to help all the younger ones.  I love watching these Olders slip into the role of responsible (almost) adults.  

I love these kids...all of them...and I LOVE watching them bond even though miles separate them most of the time.  I LOVE the way they can reconnect instantly.  I LOVE the way they grow and change while they're apart, but it still works when they come back together.  I'm so grateful that we made the effort to drive to Utah last week to solidify those relationships and create lasting memories.  And I can't wait to do it all over again in July.

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