Cousins Night

I’ve been staring at a this title and blank page for over two weeks now trying to come up with some way to explain to you the awesomeness that is Cousins Night. I don’t know if I will be able to do it justice here, but I can sure try…

Blood is always thicker than water as they say, but growing up in the Wallace/Hardinge/Pottorff clan it always felt like more than that. Family gatherings that lasted well into the night were almost a weekly occurrence and the line between cousin and sibling became fuzzier with each passing summer; we were basically inseparable.

That is…until we were separated. High school happened. Significant others happened. College happened. Not that we ever completely lost touch (some stayed closer than others), but it was never quite the same again.

Now-a-days, we’re everywhere. Although my parents, aunts, uncles, and grandma have never strayed far from western Maryland, us cousins have spread our wings and put down roots across the country…and globe:

  • Aubrey & Hotan – Mt. Airy, Maryland
  • Michelle – Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Tommy & Missy – West Des Moines, Iowa
  • Hannah & Chris – Frederick, Maryland
  • Addie – Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Robert – Blacksburg, Virginia (Junior at VA Tech)
  • Brent – Air Force vet, currently living in South Carolina
  • Matthew – Globetrotter who recently spent 2+ years living and teaching Japan before travelling throughout southeast Asia
  • Justine & Jenna – Leitersburg, Maryland (youngest of the bunch, still living at home with their ‘rents)

So as you can imagine, it’s a pretty big event anytime most of us are in the same room together.  And when we’re all in the same room together, well…it’s cause for celebration. And that’s how Cousins Night was born. Usually held at Aubrey (the oldest of the cousins) and Hotan’s place, Cousins Night is basically an adult sleep over with games, stories, laughs, memories, and even a few adult beverages now that most all of us are “of age” 😉

This year, it started with a party. Not that we needed another excuse to gather during the holidays, but this time it was extra special: Aubrey’s daughter Lily was turning two. With friends and family town for the holidays, it was perfect time to celebrate. And with all the cousins in town (and I do mean all), it seemed like the perfect time for Cousins Night 2011.

Missy and I showed up early (three Pack-n-Play’s in tow) with the girls for some private play time with Lily and Collin (Lily’s big brother; Aubrey’s oldest) before the guests began to arrive…yet soon the party was in full swing. The spread was enormous…

(mmm…homemade eggrolls….om nom nom…)

…and the smiles were contagious 😀

Then of course there was the cake, presents…

…party tunes…

…and pictures.

Lots of pictures.

It’s not very often when the three generations are in one place at one time 😉

Now that’s one good looking crew!

As the evening wore on, the guests began to filter out. We put our girls down for bed {their first sleepover!} in one of her spare bedrooms before Missy and I finally let loose, and soon our Cousins Night after-party fun was in full swing.

After talking and hanging out for an hour or so, it was time for the main event. Hannah taught us “Bowl ‘O Nouns”; a Taboo/Charades combo game that (depending on your level of inappropriateness…ahem…Missy) resulted in many hours of hilarity.

The game did if fact last hours, and ended with most of us all on Aubrey’s massive couch laughing and chatting about anything and everything.

Missy and I turned in by 1:00AM, while a few others continued their banter well past 3:00 in the morning.

Of course, the girls were up at their usual time the next morning. While we were able to keep things isolated and quiet for an hour or two with Aubrey, Collin, and Lily, we finally let them loose to rouse the rest of the house (to their dismay) by 9:30.

As a consolation, Aubrey prepared a massive pancake and coffee buffet for everyone as they awoke…so all was soon forgiven!

Wanting to get on the road and back to Hagerstown before naps (a 45 minute drive), we pack up our gear and loaded the wagon. But of course, we had to snap a few last minute shots (using the Peekaboo technique)…

…with Lily and the girls, who definitely became fast friends (with matching PJ’s to boot)!

And they turned out to be some of the cutest of the whole trip.

But all too soon we soon strapped the girls into their car seats and hit the road…and all too soon another Cousins Night was over.

Matt left for India (!!!) a few days later, and Michelle was homeward bound to North Carolina by morning. It was definitely a sad drive home…I have a feeling our girls would be best pals with Lily, and would definitely hang out a lot more together if we lived closer 😦

It’s hard to say when the next Cousins Night will be when all of us are together again, so it’s a good thing we made enough new memories to last until then.

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13 thoughts on “Cousins Night

  1. Finally an explanation of the triplets’ static hair!!! Peekaboo! I’ve been trying to figure it out for weeks! My sibs also had fun with our cousins….you all are so fortunate to have grown up together..it was always so special when I visited my cousins(especially sleeping in Uncle Dick’s and Aunt Betty’s bomb shelter:-)or when they came to Hagerstown..we always played games or acted out something….what a life we are blessed to have,and are still having. Take good care of yourselves and each other…

  2. And the tears fall again! I thank God for that time together oh so often! Thank you for this wonderful post tom! We are the best cousins crew in the world! I am sure of it!!

  3. Great post, Tom! Love how you used that picture with all of us squinting into the sun, hahaha. This night was one of my best nights. Best family evaaaaarrrr!! Love you guys and miss you.

  4. laughing out loud at the intimation of Missy with an inappropriate response…was is she who started the dirty Christmas cookie tradition in her family ????? :O)

  5. Haha but you remembered it!! Besides its the game of NOUNs sorry for following direction!! If it was such a major part part of the game it should have been the first rule and then maybe I would have described tight fitting pants on the female gender but it’s too late now I don’t want to dwell. I enjoyed cotton candy clouds had it not been for gender flavored cupcakes I am sure it would be the talk of the town but I digress. Awesome week!! Fantastic night! Both went by much too fast. Good times and great oldies!

  6. Pingback: The Rest of the Story | living in pursuit

  7. Missy is the only one who truly did it right. Everyone else had some funny stuff but the game is funniest when you get crude, as was proven. I mean… you have to eventually act it out… so… it’s gonna get some laughs.

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