Due to people's schedules and preferences, we all got down there different ways. I drove with my mom, Maddy (my niece), Derek, and Katie. My dad flew down on Friday with Drew (my nephew) and Alex. Steve was at a conference in Orlando that week, so he just arranged for his flight to go to DFW instead of back to KC, and I picked him up from the airport around 5:30 on Friday. My brother and sister-in-law left after work on Friday and got in Saturday morning, and my oldest brother and his family already live in the Dallas / Ft. Worth area.
Friday morning, I took the kids to see my friend, Nanette, and her family in northern Ft. Worth. Spencer was in school, but the rest of us went to McDonalds for lunch. Nanette and I had a lovely visit while the kids played. Here's Derek, Maddy, Katie, and Serena.
Next, we drove north of Dallas to see my friend, Jennifer, and her family. I got to hold her new baby, Olivia, who was just born last Tuesday, and Derek loved holding George, her Guinea pig. Katie was "resting," and was not particularly happy about the arrangement.
After picking up Steve at the airport, we drove to my uncle's house, which is north of Fort Worth, for a family dinner. It is always wonderful seeing family again each year. I finally got reunited with Alex who had been with one or both of my parents for the previous 26 hours, Derek got lots of snuggles, and Katie did very well meeting all these new people. She clung to Maddy quite a bit, but she also allowed others to hold her, too. With all the time Katie and Maddy spent together, they developed a beautiful bond. As much as Katie thinks I hung the moon, she started preferring Maddy on this trip. I told Maddy that if she ever needs a self-esteem boost to just hang out with Katie for awhile! The way Katie looks at Maddy with such sheer adoration is so heart-warming.
Saturday morning, we went to see my friend, Arian, and her family just north of Ft. Worth. Alex and Logan are 2 peas in a pod, and had a great time together. Katie played with Emme's toys, and Derek entertained himself with a roaring dinosaur. It was a lovely visit. Here's Derek, Katie, Alex, Logan, and Emme.
Now that the whole family had arrived, we all had lunch together before getting a new family photo taken - there's 14 of us now. We spent the evening at Uncle Cecil's BBQ, and we all had a great time. Katie was no longer shy around all the new family, and just made herself at home with everybody. I didn't get a lot of pictures, but I know my cousins did. During the BBQ different people get up and sing. Derek sang "Jesus Loves Me" and "Happy Birthday" to Nana, whose birthday is Thursday. Here's some video of "Happy Birthday." The picture isn't very good because it was dark, and the mike was going in and out a little bit, but you get the idea.
Alex played on a rock pile for hours with other little boys (surprise, surprise), and Katie made the rounds, dancing and playing with just about anybody.
Sunday morning we all met for brunch before driving home. All I can say is portable DVD players make traveling so much easier! We pulled in our garage at around 8:00, relieved it was a decent hour. It was a hectic trip with many late nights and very few naps, but the kids did great, and I was thrilled to be able to see 3 of my college friends.
On another note, we had Katie's pictures taken several days ago, and they're now available online. I thought you might like to see them. She was a little hesitant at first, but then she warmed up to the camera and had a good time. Just click on the link below, and enter KAREN TRISCHLER for the customer name. I hope you enjoy them.