Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Spring Break 2019 Part II- COUSINS ARRIVE!!

It was surprise after surprise for Spring Break. But we left the BIGGEST SURPRISE hanging until Thursday.  The kids had NO idea that their cousins were coming to meet them.  We were in contact with them and knew exactly when they were arriving.  We planned to meet at Wild Things of Kentucky for more gem mining.  I took this picture of us walking in and said "meet us HERE!"

We really could not have planned it better.  We walked into the shop 5 minutes before they arrived.  Of course our kids were totally engrossed in all the souvenirs in the shop and as soon as Bill's kids walked in they were mesmerized as well...not paying attention to the people in the store AT ALL.

Then all of a sudden Luke and Mateo basically ran into each other.  It was PERFECT. They were so shocked that they didn't know what to do.
Take a look....


 After about a minute, it all sank in.  We could not have planned it any better!
We had come to this store two days before to mine for gems and the kids were BEGGING to go back. We knew it would be a fun activity for all the cousins...so we made up some reason why we couldn't go back for a couple days.  They were having so much fun!
Just look at my niece Eleanor's face!
They went through SIX buckets! 

Ernesto rented our cabin and since we were staying in the area, we drove by to check in out a couple days before check in.  
It was AWESOME!!  (Sky Pointe on vrbo) 
However, there was one "DOWN SIDE"
Literally.
You can't totally tell in this photo, but this was a HUGE scary drop off.  Our back "yard" was basically a death cliff. I was worried to tell Barbie and was feeling uneasy about it myself.

Here... look at it with the morning fog.....now do you see the potential danger?  




The cabin itself though, was soooo special and just perfect for the 10 of us!

I snapped this clean picture before all of us "moved in."
In true Britling style, these guys packed everything but the kitchen sink. It only took about two hours to unload.
We laughed our a$$es off when we put all of our bread together in a pile. LOL.  Like we were going to eat all of this?!?!?
The kids went nuts running around to each room of the house.
 The most popular room was the one with the balcony (overlooking said cliffs) We decided that one was for adults only.😐
The first morning we were there, Barbie and I took a walk along the side of the house.....
...over to the edge and determined the kids can't go outside alone.  LIKE....NOT EVEN FOR A MINUTE.

It was fine though, we stayed in front of the house, which had a nice patio with a fire pit. Many marshmallows were burnt and smores squished. 
One requirement when looking for the cabin was a warm swimming pool hot tub.  Woods, cabin, hot tub.  Right?!
As you can imagine, it was an extremely popular hangout spot for the kids. Ernesto and I got in a couple of times, but it was pretty much a constant splash-fest, so not super relaxing.
The kids played so well together.  On the deck there was a checkers table that got some play.

They got creative by coloring t-shirts
Since Easter was right around the corner, we had an egg hunt.  Here Uncle Bill sets the ground rules.  Since he was talking about candy, they were all ears. 
The thing that kept their attention longest though were these tiny little plastic blocks that they built into "beyblades."  Im talking HOURS of entertainment.
Most of the days though, we were outside exploring!
There are so many trails in the area, our first which we scoped out a few days before, was a mere 2 miles. 


 These little girls were like two peas in a pod.
They sometimes got shoulder rides to keep up with the group!

The boys wanted to show their cousins the cool balancing boulder they had found a few days earlier.
You had to climb up a wall of roots to get up there, but so worth it! 
The natural bridges are beautiful but very nerve racking when there are 6 EXCITED kids with you.  There are no fences on the edges. I think we look  "at ease" here, but they only stayed still for a few seconds.  
We defended and found so many other rocks to climb that were not potential death cliffs.  And they found ALL OF THEM! 
On one of the trails (Angel Windows Trail) we came across a cave with a ton of Cairns. 
The kids all got to work stacking one of their own. 

I made a few smaller Cairns and packed them in my car.  Now I have Kentucky rock Cairns in my garden in GA.  Such a perfect souvenir.  I can now think of this trip every time I see them.
I did go to the Kentucky Derby once when I was in college, but other than that Kentucky has always been a pass-through state.  No reason to stop.   I never thought of Kentucky as a place to go on vacation.  I stand corrected, this part of the state is AMAZING!  
There are many impressive rock formations, tunnels, over hangs, natural bridges fissures and gaps.....
Gaps to squeeze a bubble butt through....
You KNOW we made the kids freeze for many many many group photos.  

We threw in some couple shots too, for good measure.

Everyday we picked a new trail/activity. We wanted to see the area and be active of course....but we also HAD TO wear SIX kids out!! 
These two got worn out right along with them.
Nesters picture was taken at 2:30 pm and Bill's at 10pm. LOL
The one liner that will be famous for years to come (and there always is one when my family gets together) came from Bill one night after the kids were all in bed. We brought the game Pegs & Jokers, a game that my dad has gotten all of us hooked on....except Bill and Barbie.   I said "Let's play Pegs!"
Bill's reply....."I DON'T WANT TO LEARN ANYTHING NEW." 😂😂😂

Although most of our meals were very informal (grab and go sit wherever) and at abnormal times (Espinester hours!), Barbie had a delicious breakfast ready for us when we woke up the last morning and wanted us all to sit down together. I'm so glad she did! 
Yes, we are missing a few kids.  Eleanor is taking the picture, and you know my boys can't sit for long are fast eaters.🤷

Barbie and I had the idea that we should all have flannel shirts for the woodsy trip. I made it a thrifting mission and was very successful!
Cabin, woods, hot tub, flannel shirts!!
While thrifting I found a hat that SCREAMED Daniel Boone National Park.

THE ESPINESTERS
THE BRITTLING-ARNOLDS
We had such a wonderful week and decided that this will be a yearly tradition.  If we "meet half way" (-ish) we can discover a lot of new places together.
Man, I love my brother (and his family!)
This pose from him on a trail, with his foot up on a tree stump just says it all. 
I can't remember what he was saying here, but Im sure it was funny and was with a Kentucky accent.
PUCKWAAAAAAAAAAA!
We celebrated his birthday on the trip.....kind of.  
Well, there was a cake, there was singing and there was family.....but with no candles in the house, barbie had a great idea to light a tortilla chip on fire for him to blow out! haha. It worked!!
Lastly, I have share with you the one sad part to this trip.  Poor Eleanor, who loves her stuffed animals like children, lost her little bunny...SOMEWHERE in the cabin.  He was a little guy and we looked high and low, but never found him.  She was so upset, it was heartbreaking. 😢
She left a note in the cabin guest book in hopes he will be found and returned to his mother. 🤞
Here is hoping!

Im also hoping that this "mid-way meet-up" can continue to happen yearly! 
What a blast!






















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