First Visitors

What do you get when you combine this:

With this?The answer: a whole lot of crazy cousin fun!

This week we were graced by our first official visitors (I say first “official” because our visitors thus far — Nana, Boom, and Uncle Chris — have been more like slave labor): my Aunt Carolyn, cousin Liz, her husband Jeff, and their three girls, Ainsley, Maren, and Fallon. At ages 7, 5, and 3, Ainsley, Maren, and Fallon are just about the perfect playmates for the Gong girls. It’s been almost a year since we’ve seen them, but everyone picked up right where we left off.

As the alpha cousin, Ainsley doesn’t abuse her position; it’s fair to say that all the Gongs love Ainsley.

Fiona and Maren seem to have a special connection. Longtime followers of “The Pickle Patch” will remember them from a year ago:Here they are one year later:

One of the highlights of this visit for our family was that it gave us an excuse to celebrate Campbell’s 2nd birthday party. Although she won’t actually be 2 until July 25, since we just moved to Vermont and don’t yet have a large crew of same-age friends, we jumped on the chance to celebrate with 3 other little girls. Since Campbell is a huge fan of Dora the Explorer, we planned a Dora party for her complete with lots of Dora-style tasks, including “pin the petal on the flower…”…and “rescuing wiggly worms and leaping lizards from the mucky mud” (really chocolate pudding).

Of course, the end goal of all these tasks was to reach the birthday cake:And of course, because this is Campbell we’re talking about, she was more interested in touching the lit candles than in blowing them out!But it was a lovely day for her, and we were thrilled to be able to celebrate her two years of life with her beloved cousins!Because this week was the Middlebury Festival on the Green, we enjoyed a picnic and performance by the No Stings Marionettes. This also gave the girls a chance to model their new tie-dye shirts, made under the guidance of Aunt Carolyn the day before. Even Georgia had one!

The girls with their amazing Nanas (aka the Meader Sisters):

And as if that wasn’t enough fun, immediately after the festival we drove up to Shelburne for a tour of the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory.

We loved every minute of this visit, including many other special moments that we didn’t capture in photos, and we hope to see our cousins again soon and often! But for now, I’ll leave you with a question to ponder: which is more intimidating, this Wild Bunch… or THIS wild bunch?

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