Sunday, June 21, 2009

Family Vacation

These are some crazy times for Hillcrest Cottage. We seem to be flying past new mileposts every day at an alarmingly fast pace. Two weeks ago, on a single day I had one son jumping out of airplanes, another was driving the little black Volvo solo on a six hour road trip, and the last seems to grow an inch daily.

Airborne School
Last week we were road tripping toward Georgia to attend Clayton's Airborne School Graduation. Airborne was a three week opportunity for Clayton to experience military life with the regular enlisted 'Joes' outside the West Point bubble. We were able to add him to the Expedition and head north toward Atlanta. The Varsity was our initial destination... a Kinley family tradition which Clayton enjoyed immensely.

Uncle Danny's Farm
We were able to spend Clayton's 5 day leave on Uncle Danny's farm. There was a lot of good food cooked by Granny Kinley (Granny's deluxe family meal includes macaroni and cheese cooked in a crock pot, the saltiest green beans on the planet, creamed corn that melts in your mouth, sweet tea that keeps you up all night because you drink too much, and banana pudding which is the recipe straight off the Nilla Wafers box, but doesn't taste the same if it's made by anyone other than her. Once they took that recipe off the Nilla Wafer box. Granny promptly wrote them a letter of complaint. The recipe soon appeared back... and to this day she claims it was because of her!)

Good Times on the Veranda
There was also lots of cigar smokin' under the veranda... an awesome spot with a cool concrete floor, fans blowing, an outdoor fireplace for chilly nights (just not this trip), a huge dining table for family gatherings and a kitchen. Uncle Danny's farm is our boys' favorite destination. It was Mac the Labradoodle's first vacation, and she had a fun time running around with no restrictions.

A New Hat
Clayton was able to shoot his new rifle, which we had brought with us. He picked out an awesome new 'Clayton' hat at the Mast Country Store in Greenville.
We told stories, reflected on the past year, and laughed... a lot.
It was a great five day vacation for Clayton and an unexpected surprise for our family to have been able to take him to South Carolina. Last year when the family gave Clayton his farewell party, we didn't know when he would be able to be back...if ever.
We will never be able to predict where his military travels will take him.

Three Brothers Together
One of my favorite parts of this family time was seeing all three guys in Danny's attic bedroom on blow-up mattresses laughing, talking, and just being brothers

The Varsity is one of our favorite family road trip traditions, what's yours?


  1. This just sounds like SO much fun!! And now I REALLY want some banana pudding!

    When the kids were little, we would jam them into the mini-van and trek to Colorado to meet Pepper's little brother and his family for a ski trip. Lots of sledding and laughs.

    The last 3 years, we've done Paulson family reunions at Iron Mountain on Lake DeGray. This time the kids are all grown up and some have kids of their own. Last December we had 2 adjacent 3-BR condos, 11 grown-ups, and 6 under-10s. It was wild and crazy! And it rained and rained! Fortunately, we wound up in the condo where the little ones weren't so we could escape the chaos from time to time. We always do a Baggo tournament, and the competition is getting a little vicious!

    We should do a Basham/Clayton get-together!

  2. Your summer has been full! I love trips with the family.

    Love the story of your grandmother and the Nilla Wafers. And the menu at Uncle Danny's Farm sounds very southern and delicious!

  3. Oh wow - sounds like you all had so much fun! Loved all your pics too (except that you weren't in them)! I can so relate to all the fun of having the boys together!

    Meg :)