This past weekend the other Rardin cousins and I met at our house for the first Rardin Cousins Weekend. This was a big deal because this is the first time this many cousins have gotten together without our parents being around. We've never planned a family function. We only show up for events...we don't plan them.
So we meet at our house and are quickly on our way to the Indianapolis Children's Museum. To be honest, I wasn't sure if everyone would enjoy themselves. I wondered if the little kids would have fun and more importantly would the big kids have fun too. I was so happy when we walked in the door and everyone was ready to explore.
We started with the dinosaurs. I dare you to find me an adult who does not think dinosaur bones are cool. While the adults gawked at the T-Rexs, the kids explored the rest of the exhibit. They found little dinosaur caves, teeth, and eggs.
Next we found the train exhibit and realized that if we wanted to see the rest of the exhibits, we needed to get the boys out of there and move on. I think they would have stayed there all day if we would have let them.
The Egypt exhibit was not great. The kids liked to play in the kitchens and with the fake food, but the adults were definitely ready to move on to another exhibit.
I dare you to be around this kid and not pinch his chubby cheeks. Its impossible.
We hit up a few other exhibits and then it was on to the carousel. It was a big hit!!
After the museum we headed back to our house for the rest of the evening. Only one of the kids took a nap on the way home and everyone else was hungry for some hot dogs, venison steaks, and chili. This was also a great chance for everyone to get outside and play cornhole, football, and get a few rides on the scooter. Once the sun went down, the party went inside where we laughed, ate, laughed some more, and then played euchre.
During this time, one of the boys found my pink rain boots. I wore these boots on my wedding day and I still wear them today to walk the dog. Apparently, this guy does not want to be identified.
On Sunday morning it was time for brunch at my parents' house. The oldest cousin Jason is a professional chef and had offered to make brunch for us. My mom and sister acted as his sous chefs and it was the best brunch I have ever had. I should have worn stretchy pants to brunch because I am pretty sure I would have kept eating except my jeans were too restrictive.
The menu included strata (an egg dish), stuff shells with sausage, peppers, and cheese, and bread pudding with homemade caramel sauce and chocolate. There was also bloody marys, screwdrivers, and chocolate milk for the kids.
Words do not express how wonderful this weekend was. It was so much fun to hear new stories and remember the ones we already knew. For example, our grandparents once had a dog named Chainsaw because Grandpa wanted to buy a $400 chainsaw and Grandma said no. So, Grandpa got a dog instead and named it Chainsaw since that's what he really wanted. Or the time when Pumpkin, the pony, took off into the field with my sister on top and all the uncles and Grandpa running after it.
I never realized how similar our personalities are and how our childhood experiences, while at some times were different, are also remarkably the same. We are all strong, independent and outspoken individuals. That makes for a very loud and fun weekend. Its a great feeling to be around people exactly like you and who understand how you feel even though you grew up in different states.
I know this is the first of many Rardin Cousins Weekend pictures.