One of our favorite moments was Cora sitting with a Mother Goose book and calling to her cousins, "Boys, boys! Come here so I can read you a story!" while they madly clashed their light sabers a few feet away.
(Cora in the spa with cousins and me)
I could write a long time about how much I love spending time with my family, and how we so rarely get to, about how much they all love Chris and how much they all dote on Cora, and the fabulous food we like to cook for each other...but maybe I will just list a few moments that were highlights for us.
(Cora and cousins all in one chair! Crazy times!)
Seeing my brothers and their families, and especially playing soccer with my brothers and their sons for a while at the park - and seeing that those little boys are all nice enough to let their Auntie think she can kick a ball halfway decently. Well, except for when she tries a drop kick. She really shouldn't do that.
For Cora one of the highlights was having breakfast with Snow White! My cousin Traci is an amazing singer and an all-around good soul and she also does princess parties. She came dressed as Snow White and brought muffins, sang songs, told stories, did a craft, and taught Cora a dance and generally gave her a fabulous morning.
Traci had told me ahead of time that she really preferred to stay in character, so Cora and I talked about that and we thought of questions we could ask Snow White - and she remembered the questions, and had no problem pretending along with Traci.
(Can you tell how much she enjoyed this? And that dress - she dances with joy every time she puts it on. Totally worth the extra investment in Oxi-Clean!)
Going to the beach, Chris and I and Cora and my mom. Cora, of course, fell asleep on the way, so I sat in the car with her for a while and watched the waves, the sunbathers and kids running back and forth. And nearly wept with nostalgia and love for it all. And this time around Cora LOVED the beach. She watched while two young women near us took turns burying each other in sand, and then turned to me and said very decisively, "I need a fishy tail, Momma, will you make me a fishy tail in the sand?" So I did. It's so easy to forget how much fun wet sand can be! I taught Cora how to make drip castles and we made an impressive drip castle fort.
Being in the spa ranks high in the list too - Cora learned how to push off and kick with a swim ring, and she had great fun doing that first with her Dad, and then showing me what she could do.
My youngest brother bought his family 3-day Disney passes, and only used 2 days, bequeathing us the third day. We had planned to skip Disneyland this time around, based on the expense and thinking Cora might be too young still. But. Wow. She loved it - loved the few rides we went on (all the boat-based ones). Watching her watch "It's a Small World" was like a primer on enchantment. We didn't see many princesses, but she met Mickey, and spotted Mary Poppins out in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle.
We made our pilgrimmage to In-n-Out Burger (mmmmm), played lots of Legos, watched some movies, my mom showed me all her current quilting projects (always an inspiration to me) and took me to her quilt shop (where Cora was charming until she left with a "goodbye green old lady!" to one of the women there), we ate great food, we went to their farmers' market with Mom and Dad - one of my favorite things is always grocery shopping with my parents, oddly, maybe because it was so much fun when I was little, though they might remember that differently.
Really, I just love hanging out with my parents. Isn't that crazy? Don't I hope Cora one day says the same thing!
(Oh, and, on the airplane? Cora was fabulously well-behaved. On the way out she got to visit the pilot and co-pilot in the cockpit as we were boarding. Both flights she stayed in her seat, had some snacks, drank most of our shared orange juice, watched a ballet on her little player, and took a nap. She was quite the big girl.)
(More pictures in a few days.)