Saturday, August 30, 2014

Summer Vacation 2014: CousinPalooza #1

Welcome to the now annual blog post over at The Lily Pad.  Funny how my last post was exactly one year ago today - what commitment!  This happy little blog has many weeds growing on it now and is pretty much only dusted off once a year to record some vacation happiness.  So here we go....

After our fantastic 2013 vacation (which you can read about just by clicking "Last Post"!)  we decided that we had to come up with a reason to get the Nip cousins together this year.  We had pretty much run out of weddings for the time being.  Looking back, we had a pretty good run with gatherings: Kevin & Idela kicked us off with their wedding in '04, then our wedding in '05, Fred & Julie's wedding in '06, Pau Pau's birthday in '08, Mabel & Von's wedding in '10, Leslie & Kevin's wedding in '12 and Justin & Meghan's wedding in '13.  Now with nothing on the horizon we decided to do an old fashioned family vacation.

Gordon, as the oldest cousin, teamed up with Leslie to take charge and found an AMAZING spot that was pretty much equidistant from all of us.  We had cousins coming from Boston, Brooklyn, NewJersey, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. So we converged in the Adirondacks at this spot:

You can only see half of the cottages in this photo, but most importantly you can see the big yard and the lake.  The location was so amazing and the weather so cooperative that we never left.  Some folks went out to go food shopping, but as a group we arrived on Saturday and didn't get back in our cars until the trip was over.

I would have loved to have written about each day, but I didn't have a laptop with me and was far too busy relaxing.  We had 7 first cousins, 5 spouses and 7 second cousins, ranging from 6 months to 10 years old.  There was something to do for everyone.  Our days pretty much went like this:

  • Wake up and find breakfast (usually in Fred & Julie's cottage, though I did get up in time make scones twice)

  • Spend the morning doing whatever makes you happy.  Favorite activities included:  reading in the sun, playing catch, flying kites, playing board games, building forts, playing ping pong, slipping & sliding,  and chatting with each other.

  • Convene for an awesome lunch

  • Spend the afternoon at our own private lake-font beach

  • Convene for an awesome dinner

  • Head back to the beach for a bonfire, star-gazing, conversation, S'Mores and some music (courtesy of Gabe) and maybe some beer can popcorn (also courtesy of Gabe)
  • Wander off to bed eventually and repeat the next day.
As you can see food was an important component of the week.  Leslie organized us into food teams so that each person cooked one dinner and one lunch - that's it!  The rest of the time amazing food just appeared and you ate it.  It was the world's yummiest chain letter.  To add to it I have apparently married into a family of really talented cooks.  The food was outstanding.  Look, G even put together the menu to make you jealous  record for posterity (you'll need to click in and zoom to actually read it):

So aside from eating, relaxing and thoroughly enjoying each other's company - that's about it!  A few other notables:

  • Emma took the opportunity to record her ice bucket challenge video and enlisted the help of the little cousins.  She brought the squirt guns and armed then.  I have no sympathy for her.

  • The little cousins are adorable - here's a pic of the girls.

  • Mabel and Von produce adorable babies.  Those of us who had not met Mason yet were so excited to finally have the chance.  Here's some photographic proof that he did occasionally let Mabel have a (short) break.

 (yes, those are my pajamas - I told you - I was VERY relaxed there)

  • Puzzles can be hard.  Next time I will start earlier.  And Kevin will be there the whole time to make sure THIS SHIT GETS DONE!  (He gets a pass this time since Leslie was 36 weeks pregnant and my hero for driving 4+ hours to be with us at all.  Can't wait to have Baby Siu/Vlack there next time!).  Check out what the finished puzzle would have looked like.  I'm a bit horrified to find out I can buy it on EBay!

And pretty much - that's a wrap.  Here are some group pics.  First from Saturday night with everyone there.

And then from Wednesday as we were heading out.  Unfortunately Emma, Kevin and Leslie left a little early so this group is a bit smaller.

We are so looking forward to the next CousinPalooza: Destination Canada.  Hopefully we can get even more Nip cousins to join.  We're looking at you Kevin Siu, Justin, Derek and Matt!