And I'm back! *throws arm out wide*
Oh, my, it was a wonderful, amazing trip, full of lots of fun and laughter, and it ended with some tears.
Getting up super early, *like, 2:00 am!* we drove to the airport, hugged my parents goodbye, and headed through security.
It went well, even though Kirsten and Daminika both had their braided hair patted down. *laughs*
Then all of us gals had to have a picture taken of our feet on the famous carpet, of course, so we did that before heading in the direction of our gate, McDonald's for breakfast, and restrooms.
Soon it was boarding time!
Emily and I waiting to board
Our first flight went all right, although I was super nervous about take-off, and Kirsten and Emily managed to get seats behind us, so none of us were separated.
I sketched a bit while flying, drawing a face of a woman and one stewardess said it was amazing. *grins with pleasure*
The second flight was delayed, so we ended up wandering around Chicago Midway for hours, dragging our feet, complaining, laughing, and finally sitting in some chairs lined against the wall, reading, charging our phones, and doing word searches.
It was fairly late when we finally arrived, and there were Grandpa and Grandma when we stepped off, waving and grinning. Ah, at last.
On the drive to Grandma's, we chattered like magpies, laughed, and bounced around in the backseats, glad to have finally made it. It had been a long day.
Honestly, the next few days are fuzzy, and all meshed together, so I can't tell you word for word, step by step how each day went, like Daminika probably can. *winks*
My Grandma always has a bike-a-thon each year for St. Jude's Children's Hospital, and she asked if we could be 'counters'.
So we girls sat a table in the freezing cold, shouting out numbers as every bike went by, me looking and sounding like a crew chief in my Grandpa's eighties jacket, dancing to keep warm.
The kids did great, some as young as six years old, pedaling in the freezing cold, and doing as many as 100 laps around the course.
Sometimes large groups of them would come by, and shouting out the numbers taped to their bikes was fast-paced while the writers quickly marked them down.
It got so fast at times I felt like an auctioneer and ended up bouncing on my heels, slapping my hands to warm them while singing, "Well, all right, sir, open up the gate, lead em and walk em in, boy.."
It was a lot fun, and the kids were the cutest things.
I ended up catching a terrible cold, so for the first few days there, I was pretty sick and miserable. (My cousin Tyrel gave it to me, I think. Shameful man.)
Guess that's why I was so exhausted when we took a hike..... *blushes*
Honest, people, I've never had a problem with hiking before.
Here at home I can run up Bell's Mountain, and I have always enjoyed climbing mountains.
But it's different in New England!
The mountain was mainly straight up and down rock that is so smooth your sneakers slip and slide, and I had a fever the night before, so I was feeling..... *chest burning, throat on fire, face aflame, and knees trembling.*
We reached a little flat spot, and I sat down, dying.
"I can't do it!" I wailed, panting.
Daminika: "You need Tyrel to carry you?" *joking, of course.*
Tyrel hands Daminika his water bottle and steps up to me.
"What are you doing?"
"Daminika says I have to."
"No, no, no, no,...." I squeal while he literally slings me over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes and starts jumping from rock to rock with me on his back.
I am sure we got a lot of stares as this young man bounces around on the rocks with a hyperventilating girl slung across his shoulder.
He put me down after a while, because my panic wasn't helping my breathing at all. *laughs*
Well, I did manage to make it to the top, although by the time we reached the bottom, my legs were vibrating so badly I could hardly stand.
So that was an adventure. lol
We also took a trip to Boston, MA!
Kirsten, Felicty, Tyrel, Daminika, and I
Walking to the Wharf
I LOVED the wind and fresh air
And headed back to the rig.
(Thanks to Emily for pics, because my phone takes terrible ones)
Tyrel drove, while Kirsten, Felicity, Emily, Daminika and I rode along, gazing up at the sights and exclaiming over how many people there were.
When you take small-town girls from out West to Boston, you're bound to get some looks.
We pointed and gasped, squealed and hollered, acted like tourists and drooled over the historic buildings.
First we went to the Aquarium and that was fun, but the Freedom Trail!
That was amazing. <3
History geeks are the coolest. *flexes mucsles*
"Look at that! I'm standing where Lafayette stood. I'm breathing the same air!"
"Paul Revere touched this!"
The old buildings were awesome, and we went to Paul Revere's house, the Old North Church, and walked down Little Italy, where the streets are so cute and vintage.
Then we walked down to wharf to breathe in the fresh air and gaze at the boats sailing in the cold, misty weather.
We snapped pictures of the water and Daminika, Tyrel, and I did the Monkee Walk on the way back to the parking garage, much to our companions embarrassment, just because we're cool.
When we got back.....
we found that our mischievous uncles had TP our room
The skilled guys managed to get an air mattress in the bathroom
We went out to ice cream, sweated in the muggy Eastern weather, snuggled with my adorable little cousins *heart breaks because I left them* played games and enjoyed family time.
Cormick and Callen, the twins, are the sweetest little things you'll ever see, and when they run up you with arms stretched wide, your heart does a little flip-flop and you want to just die. <3
Once, Callen was sitting at the table eating his lunch when he randomly rambled, "BlaKaysha..."
I was like, "Oh, my, did you say my name?"
He just smiled and went back to eating, but my heart was officially his from that moment.
Those two ramble in adorable baby-talk, shout and run about, getting into everything.
Twins. Are. Double. Trouble.
They LOVE hearing elk bugles, so whenever they were being grouchy or ornery, one of us would get out our phones and put some going.
When someone asked Callen what an elk says, he'd grin adorably and wail, "A-eeeeeeeeeee..."
This is Cormick and I.
The expressions he makes....*hearts*
Aunt Mary is fun and sweet, and I enjoy being with her. *mentally sends her a hug*
Daminika beat me in Trivial Pursuit, so I was getting a little bit of an inferiority complex.
*counting fingers...let's see, she climbed a mountain with no problem, drove a stick like she was a truck driver, and beat me in Trivial Pursuit...What's wrong with me?!*
But I made supper alone, (I do it all the time) and she still doesn't do that often, so I've got the edge. *winks*
We even went to a 'youth' gathering, which is a big deal for me, and had a wonderful time listening to adults give wise advice and tell humorous stories.
I left with a warm feeling in my heart, and Kirsten agreed it was such a wonderful time of fellowship.
Another first time for me; I did Virtual Reality!
My aunt and uncle have a system, where you wear goggles, have these little remotes things, and you can fly around a city, do some sort of archery game, and walk the plank.
They had an real wooden plank set up and measured so that when you walk on it, it is exactly like what you are seeing in the VR goggles.
They even had a fan blowing on you, so it really does feel like your stories up, staring down at the city.
I didn't want to do it, and was enjoying laughing at everyone else do it, but Tyrel dragged me over and put the goggles over my eyes, muttering about how little my head is.
As soon as the 'doors' opened and I saw the plank hovering over the city, I screamed, flattened against the wall, and started gasping, "No, I can't do it! I can't!"
It was so real!
Tyrel tried to 'throw me off', and he and Kirsten started dragging me to the plank, but as I screamed and struggled, I managed to click the button with my little remote thing and shut the door.
Skill, I'd say.
I never did go out in the plank. lol
We girls also went with my Grandma and Aunt Mary to the famous Pickity Place for lunch once, and the Cathedral of the Pines.
Soon Kirsten and Emily flew back home, and we were feeling a little, 'now what?'
But Tyrel hung with Daminika and I the rest of the time, and we enjoyed getting close to him, like we once were as kids. *he's now my adopted brother, and we were 'The Three Musketeers', running around town together*
Cousins are the greatest. <3
He took us out to teach us how to drive a stick.... *face palm*
Guys, I'm terrible!
Daminika climbs in the driver's seat.
"Ok, press on the clutch and shift to first."
With a calm face, she does it perfectly. Like a boss....
I killed it so many times, and Tyrel would say, "Shift to third."
I'm like, "Ok....third....."
He'd have to tell me which direction, while Daminika just did it like she'd done it her whole life.
Hmmp.... whatever, man.
I also drove (automatic this time) to the store, even though the roads there are sooooo confusing, and made it just fine, parked straight as an arrow, and got home without a single mishap. Proud of me?
Afterward Tyrel took us to volleyball, but there was only Jeremy there....
Where is everyone?
Tyrel and Jeremy tossed the volleyball back and forth and tried to convince us to join in, but I laughed and refused.
Me, play volleyball? You jest, sir.
People showed up after a while, but Daminika and I just sat against the brick building, content and happy to simply watch.
It was actually quite fun.
And Tyrel took us bowling!
I was so nervous, because I had never been, and some cousins I didn't know very well were coming along, but, man, oh, man, was it fun!
We went Glow Bowling, starting at nine and stayed until midnight.
The music is super loud, the lights are bright, and you have to lean until your faces are almost touching before you can hear each other, but after a while, the noises fade into the back of your mind and you get used to it.
I even won one game!
Memorial Day was wet and cold, so there wasn't much of a celebration at the square.
My dad had wanted us to experience the great festivities that he grown up with, but the weather wouldn't permit it.
It was an ok day, though. :)
Tyrel and Ryan (cousin) also took us to the outlet stores because I wanted to buy a new sweatshirt, and as we are driving down the road, Tyrel says, "So we are going to an outlet mall, and it's supposed to rain?"
Ryan: "Thunder and lightning, actually."
Tyrel claps his hands and grins. "Brilliant."
It was actually pretty warm and muggy at first.
Being the rather silly small-town people we are, we wandered around in circles all over the mall, trying to find Aeropostle, and finally decided to actually look at a map.
"Oh....It's way over there."
Well, we did manage to find it, and I got my sweatshirt. *Snuggles it to my heart*
As we stepped out of the shop, I felt a raindrop.
Pretty soon is was pouring rain, unlike any rain I've seen out west, and we were running, ducking under every canopy we could find, getting soaked to the skin.
We ducked into a chocolate shop for cover and Tyrel ended up buying a bag of 100 chocolates.
*holds stomach* wayyyy too many.
The sky looked pretty cool after the storm passed over, but I didn't get any pictures of it. Sorry.
Our last day in NH, my Grandma had a 'Fun Day' for all of the kids who rode in the Bike-a-thon, and we helped set it up.
Tyrel and I blew and tied balloons while Daminika found a place to hang them.
Ryan showed up later, so Tyrel had him draw on the balloons, and soon we had a pretty good system going.
Then we sat for hours beneath a canopy, just talking and enjoying the sunshine.
Roger and Kaysha had flown out to surprise family, so they were there, too, and it was an enjoyable time.
My Grandma had rented a Fun House for the kids, and they informed the guys that it can hold up to 500 pounds...
So of course they had to race each other through it, nearly plowing down little kids as they went.
I even raced Tyrel through it, and lost miserably. *cough*
Tyrel and I were playing catch that evening, and I was doing pretty good, I gotta say.
One time Tyrel tossed it, I jumped to catch it, stepped into a hole, and fell, ker-flop.
I didn't really think much of it at first.
"Ow. There's a hole in the yard." I quipped and got to my feet to throw back the ball.
We tossed it around for a while, and I even raced Tyrel through the course, before we started back towards the house.
By then my foot was really starting to hurt.
"I think I really hurt myself."
It was aching pretty bad, and I had scraped in pretty good when I fell.
Tyrel scooped me up and carried me to the house, despite my embarrassed pleas to put me down.
I sprained it somewhat, I believe.
I had it up the rest of the evening, on ice, and hoped it would be better by the next morning.
Tyrel and Ryan wanted to take us out to breakfast before we left, so I got up and showered.
While showering, my foot started aching again.
By the time we left for the Diner, I was limping around again.
Of course, Tyrel carried me to the truck. *covers face*
After breakfast, we asked if they could take us to Market Basket to buy snacks for the flight home.
I had to hold onto Tyrel's arm and shuffle around the store, but he got tired of that and gave me a piggy-back ride.
In the store!
I was quite befuddled.
"People are going to see,"
Ryan: "They'll just think: 'Oh, what a happy group of people. They're so much fun, they even give each other piggy-back rides."
I convinced him to let me go back to shuffling around, holding onto his arm, but when we left the store he saw how far away we parked and said I was way to slow, and it would take way too long.
So, he scooped me up and carried me to the truck again, me trying to pretend that nobody was looking.
After we got back to the house, it was time to get ready to go.
All packed, and waiting, I felt like crying as I sat there and stared at the clock.
I didn't want to go home!
But it came time to head over to Mary's, so we hugged Tyrel goodbye, ordered him and Ryan to visit us soon, and piled into the car.
At Mary's, it got worse as Cormick greeted me with a grin, and my throat tightened.
I sat outside and watched him play for a while, and then it was time to go.
Just like that, my vacation was coming to an end.
I snuggled them both close and kissed them, hugged Mary goodbye, and started for the door.
Callen grinned and rushed to me with open arms, thinking I was taking him outside, and I thought I would break down then and there.
We finally left for the airport, and it was a quiet ride.
After checking in, we hugged Grandpa and Grandma goodbye, which caused me to get all choked up again, and we then we headed for security.
Tyrel had given me a brace for me foot, so I had to take it off and have it scanned.
My bag was searched, too, but there were no problems, so we headed for our gate, me holding into Felicity's arm and shuffling slowly through the airport.
The first flight was ok; not very long.
The second one, I had a migraine, my ears hurt, my ankle was swollen beyond recognition, and I was lonesome for everyone I was leaving behind.
So.... I cried that whole flight.
3 and a half hours of misery.
The last flight I put my foot up on top of Felicity and Daminika, so it didn't swell as much, and I managed to keep my tears in check.
When we stepped off the plane and saw the family waiting, I wanted to just drop into their arms and die.
I was tired, in pain, and so lonely.
But it was good to see them all.
Chancy was taller than I remembered, and Liberty looked so old!
We stayed up until 2:30. talking about our trip, and when we finally dropped into bed, we were thoroughly exhausted.
It was 5:30 to our bodies!
And that ends our trip to New Hampshire.
It was amazing.
Even spraining my ankle made it an adventure.
I made so many wonderful memories, and I am so thankful it was possible for us to go.
I'm going to hold those moments in my heart for the rest of my life.