Sunday, August 16, 2015

Busch Gardens or Bust! And Other Cousin Adventures

One of the best parts about Cameron and Jessica's wedding, was it brought our Rankins to town for the occasion.  We don't get to see them too often, and we like to soak up every minute of cousin time that is feasibly possible while they are here.  Gigi and Poppy generously offered to treat us all to a Busch Gardens trip, and I momentarily thought about just sending Kaden.  Chad couldn't take more time off work, so I'd be flying solo, and I was really worried about how Everett would hold up in a theme park all day.  In the end, I decided to just go for it!  I'm so glad I did, because we had the absolute best time!

We drove up the night before the big day, so we could get an early start at the park the next morning.  Meredith and I left with the kids in the afternoon, so we could get them to Virginia and settled for the night at a decent hour.  Joy, Bruce, and Adam drove up together later that night, after Bruce's last appointment for the day.  

I seriously love my sister in law, and it was so fun having the car ride to chat with her, in between trying to appease the five crazies in the back.  

Once we made it to Virginia, we did a quick hotel check-in and potty break, then headed to the one and only Chick fil A for a kid-friendly meal and energy burn in the play place.  

We took the kids back to the hotel, bathed them, put them down for the night, and then Meredith and I sat in the hallway and laughed and talked until the rest of the crew arrived.

The next morning brought a lot of anxiety, when we realized there was a new forecast with a high chance of rain and below average temperatures.  It's the south. We hadn't brought warm clothing.

The first 30 minutes we were kind of freezing.  We shared some of the Rankin kids cuddle blankets and ducked under awnings to escape the drizzle.  Then, suddenly the tragedy shifted to being a total advantage and made our trip stellar.  It turns out very few people choose to go to Busch Gardens on a rainy day.  Very few indeed.  And once the rain slowed to an on and off light misting, the day was perfection.  No people meant no lines.  No lines meant the kids could ride whatever they wanted, at whatever time they wanted, for as many times as they wanted.  It also meant the adults could take turns riding the coasters.  Oh, and lest I forget, it also meant we weren't HOT!  I highly recommend trying to go when the weather is bad!  Who knew?!  

It was so fun watching these sweet cousins experience the day together.  They were so excited about everything!  I was so proud of Kaden.  He can be a very cautious child, but he braved every ride he was tall enough to try.  There were a few he definitely didn't want to ride again, but what a trooper!  

Everett was a little less sure about the rides.  He kind of hated all of them.  

Except the bumper cars.  He was really in his element there.  He had to be physically removed from the car, and couldn't even be consoled by Tozzle (usually works like a charm) until it was his turn to get back in the driver's seat.

My favorite ride of all time was by far Griffon.  I rode in the front row in between my brother in law and father in law, and it was the ride of a life time.  I love roller coasters, but I have a really hard time working up the nerve to ride them.  I get pretty psyched out in the line, and kind of want to throw up while sitting there waiting for the ride to start.  I'm getting butterflies just looking at this photo.  (Which I'm not in, by the way.  I snapped this one while we watched the next round of adults go.  Meredith, Adam, and Bruce are on the front row, though.)  Anyway, I am so glad my crazy family can talk me into doing things I'm nervous about, but would regret not doing.  We rode every coaster, thanks to the almost empty theme park.

The kids loved riding the train around when our feet started to get tired.  

Even though Everett wasn't too thrilled with the rides, he was such a good boy the entire day.  He took a short nap in the stroller around lunch time, and was so happy and easy going during most of the day.  I am so glad I chanced it!

It really was a special day.  I think I'm ready for Disney now.  I just need the budget to agree!

After Busch Gardens, we stayed in Kinston for a while longer to soak up more time with family.

The kids had several basketball games.

Gigi and Poppy have the perfect lot for backyard play.  We enjoyed lots of time out in the sunshine!  One of my favorite days was watching Chad and his dad coach the kids for a little Sunday baseball.

And of course, Poppy managed to take all the kids on a walk without a quintuplet stroller.  

Gigi always has a smorgasbord of cereal choices that make the kids uber happy at breakfast each morning.

The kiddos always managed to squeeze in a little group fitness time at some point during the day.  

We did lots of swimming at the pool, with lots of special snacks poolside.

While the boys and Caroline napped one day, Adam, Meredith, Mackenzie, and I snuck out for lunch at the local taqueria.  We stopped to grab Hawaiian shaved ice on the way home.

All too soon, the Rankins were heading back to Denver.  It was so sad to see them go.  We can't wait for them to come back and play again soon!

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