Monday, June 1, 2015

First Big Family Vacation - Day 3

This second full day of our vacation will probably go down in Aidan's memory as 'the day we learned the hotel has free make-your-own Belgian waffles.' Oh my heavens, this kid was excited.

All joking aside, we did find out that our hotel had a really good free breakfast - not the mediocre-to-disappointing sort of thing we've found at most other places. I felt really good about that since the hotel was quite a bit more expensive than we usually go for. At least we were saving money on food?
Enough about breakfast!

After that was done, we hit the road south to Tacoma to visit my cousin and her family. She and I had not seen each other in something like 25 years! We used to write letters back and forth as kids, back when long distance phone calls actually cost something and we couldn't really call. Of all the dozens of cousins I have on that side of my family, she and I have somehow always had a special bond even though we've never seen each other regularly, having never lived in the same state. I was SO excited to be headed to her house.

Thankfully we only had one unplanned detour on the way from north Seattle to Tacoma thanks to some confusing road signs. (That's our story and we're sticking to it.) But it was no big deal, we ended up back on the interstate soon enough and saw some cool stuff in the interim that we wouldn't have seen otherwise. Eventually we made it to my cousin's house and had a lovely reunion.
I finally got to see her house, which was lovely, and has a great story to go along with it. My uncle, my cousin's dad, helped her get into a house before he passed away years ago. As luck would have it, she ended up falling in love with the guy selling the house. He moved back into it and they got married! Speaking of her husband, after only communicating with him on Facebook for the past few years, it was wonderful to finally get to meet him and spend some time with him. He's great and so perfect for her.

We headed out almost immediately to this awesome place! Neither hubby nor I had ever been there, and being a bunch of animal lovers, we were very excited. The adventure there was a bit rushed, but still marvelous. There were elephants and sharks and monkeys and my favorite animal on the planet (sea otters) and baby tigers, need I say more?!

After the zoo, we went back to my cousin's house. The boys (her two and my one) and the men (hers and mine) played with toys and video games while us lady folk got to spend some time in the kitchen together. She wouldn't let me help with dinner, so I stood there and pretended to be useful while we got to catch up on 25 years of life lived too far apart. We had a lovely dinner before heading an hour back north to our hotel. We had to use Netflix on the iPad to keep the kid awake that long, as he was completely worn out from the day's activities.

Actually - we did take one little detour on our way back to the hotel. Dave's sister, who is hard to reach via electronic means most of the time, works about halfway between my cousin's house and our hotel. We hopped off the interstate and after getting turned around a couple of times, found her work and waited outside, as she was due to leave work any minute. We got to surprise her, which was really fun. We made plans to spend time with her the following day, and then took off to the hotel.

Again we all collapsed into bed at the hotel, exhausted, but so happy.