Here is part 2 of our travels....our time with the Hinkley's
My husband Brian grew up in Michigan. With the exception of one sister, Rose, his family is pretty much still in the Davison area. We debated whether Brian should go or Lauren. He decided that it would be better for Lauren to go, as his family hasn't seen her since she was 18 months, 3 years ago.
On August 18th, 2010, we arrived about 7pm. We visited my BBF Stephanie (part 3), arriving at Chris and Darcey Hinkley's around 10pm in Davison. They were so welcoming, a bonfire and fire flies greeted us. We didn't go to bed that night until midnight, the kids were too excited.
Lauren enjoyed sleeping on the portable bed in Chloe's room
Chris is Brian's younger brother, he's a 6th grade social studies teacher. He was also Brian's best man at our wedding. Darcey stays at home and is a domestic master, she even showed me how they make their own laundry soap for $6 a year. They have three kids, twins Chloe and Carter are age 6 and Isabella, age 3. They bought a house about a year ago just two blocks down the street from where Brian went to 6th grade.
Being concerned that Lauren prefers the company of older kids, I was glad to see that she played with Chloe and Bella equally. They're collection of toys is amazing. Still, Lauren and Chloe were like peas in a pod. All the kids played all day long. At night they took a bath together where you could hear 45 minutes of giggled delight in wet toy land.
Thursday, August 19th
That next morning the kids spent playing both inside and out. This was a great time to get reacquainted. In Bella's case, I haven't seen her since she was a newborn, so I finally got to experience her personality.
Bella is a firecracker. She's mischievous but quite grown up for 3. Her little smile is contagious and every morning I was woken up on the inflatable mattress stationed in their living room with her roly-poly playfulness.
Chloe is more sensitive and attuned to the needs of others. She is bright, cheerful and quite the hostest! She always made sure Lauren felt at home and it amazes me how much they look alike.
Though all the kids are creative (thanks to their parents lack of screen time and nurturing environment,) my nephew Carter is probably the most intensely creative kid I know, especially rare for a boy. He actually reminded me alot of myself as a young kid. He had a speech delay for years but you couldn't tell now. He was always creating, for hours at a time, with creations all over the house. Once he made a dinosaur mask and sharp claws out of paper and taped them to his fingers. He loves everything Africa, and falls to sleep listening to tribal music each night.
At 5pm this day, we had a Hinkley family reunion at Chris and Darcey's. Brian's parents: Larry and Janet were there, along with his older sister Tracey and younger sister Dena and her four kids: Audrianna, Travis, Alexis and Jamal. We ate a great BBQ outside but soon the weather turned. Before you know it a tornado warning sounded! It was a weird experiance. Finally when the sky became an eerie dark and the rain was blowing sideways that I conceded and went to the basement. Poor Chris and Darcey felt bad, their basement wasn't company ready. But in no time we cleaned off the pool table and the older kids were playing.
We still were able to chat so it worked. After the storm went by (missed us by a mile or so) we were able to return upstairs. That evening we played a game with Larry, Janet, Chris and Darcey. I don't remember the name but I think it was Balderdash, were you had to make up a meaning to a word and phrase and if people believed you, you got points. Note to future self, I was terrible at this!
Friday August 20th
This morning, Darcey and I went shopping at the Birch Run Outlets. I had no idea how big they were, such a big tourist attracting, they have their own tourist check-in building that was like a hotel lobby. She cleaned up for back to school. I was indecisive, not knowing what Lauren had or still fit, but got a few items. Still it was great to have girl time and be able to really talk. Afterwards we went to Applebee's for a late lunch and we each had the Oriental Chicken salad...yum!
Meanwhile Chris took the kids down the street to the park. Brian helped create this park and Lauren got to see where his name was engraved into the fence.
That night we went to the Community Center at La Pier. They have a mini-Great Wolf waterpark in there! The tiling had sea creature patterns in it. A mini slide an umbrella fountain, and a large water slide. The whirlpool tub was Lauren's favorite. Lauren took a while to warm up to the big slide and wanted Uncle Chris to go down with her the first time. It is however, still run like a community center. We only had 90 minutes and they shut off the water right at 8pm just when Lauren was about to go down the slide, actually making her get off, causing major tears. Besides that it was a total blast and worth the $4 admission price. I should of brought my water camera.
That night our adult time consisted of an introduction to Blink! What a fun card game!
Saturday August 21st
This morning we had to leave. I felt bad that our time had to come to an end but off we went to the Stutzman's house. They extended their hospitality again by loaning me some pillows, blankets and the air mattress that has been my life saver every night!
Tuesday August 24th
After leaving Steph's we went to spend a few more hours with the Hinkleys and return the borrowed items before flying back to SeaTac. Soon the kids wanted to play outside and rode bikes while us adults chatted.
At the end they chased Chris around and Lauren got some more fun time with Uncle Chris.
One main reason I was so excited for Lauren to go is that she needed some serious little girls time, away from her brothers. Every day in Michigan she was playing and interacting with girl cousins around her age and it had a positive impact on her! She now is more nurturing, communicative, creative and plays with her baby dolls!