The Hardinge Hotel

Want to know the #1 way to make a household of six seem calm, quiet, and collected? Pack that same house with 12 people (plus three more daily visitors) for an entire week during one of the hottest summers on record, when going outside was unbearable after 10:00AM.

Not that we minded, however…especially since that group of people included:

  • Aubrey, Justine, and Jenna – My maternal cousins
  • Collin & Lily – Aubrey’s children (making them my first cousins once removed, don’cha know)
  • My Mom – Grandma Extraordinaire
  • Sienna, Rowan, Jovie, and baby Lola – AKA “the Herd
  • Missy and I – The gracious hosts

“The Cousins” contingent arrived by way of Honda Odyssey about two weeks into my Mom’s stay, ready for five days of fun out here in the Midwest. Believe it or not, they all had been out for our wedding back in 2006, but Collin, Lily, and our clan had not yet joined the ranks.

Even so, the focus of the wedding trip was (obviously) our wedding itself, and while Aubs had been back once (twice?) since then, this was the first time to actually enjoy some unscheduled I-A. And spend time with us and the girls as well 😉

Of course, wanting to make the most of our time together, Missy and I (well, mostly Missy) filled up all that “unscheduled” time with all sorts of fun things, starting with a trip to Blank Park Zoo…

Later in the week we paid a visit (our first of the year!) to the West Des Moines/Valley Junction Farmers Market, to enjoy the laid back atmosphere with all the music…

…dancing…

…and food it had to offer!

(Nice face, ‘tine!)

Since it was so overwhelmingly hot for most of the trip, we ended up manufacturing our own fun while trying to beat the heat at the same time. Naked hose-downs (just the toddlers!)…

…and ice-cold popsicles in the driveway usually did the trick!

Even the adults were able to escape for an evening to enjoy some more quality time together without worrying about the kiddos.

{Granite City…Missy’s fave!}

However, as you could probably imagine after reading my summer recaps that the goodbyes came all too suddenly and all too quickly. The crew left town at 4:30AM less than a week after arriving, wanting to make good time for the long drive home (all in one day, no less). While it was sad to see everyone go, it was especially hard saying goodbye to Grandma Mona, who was such a huge set of helping hands for those past three weeks.

I will spare you the details of how the girls were sad and confused to wake up to an empty house. As I’ve mentioned before, the hard truth of having half your family on the other side of the country is starting to become a reality for the girls. Yet thankfully, that family is an amazing group of people…a group of people willing to drive 1,000 miles just to spend a few days of their summer vacation visiting us out here in flyover country. If nothing else, I hope our girls are starting to feel just how much they are loved, no matter how far the distance seems.

And I just hope the fam knows that the Hardinge Hotel will always be open for business any time they feel like dropping in!

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This entry was posted in Just for Fun by Tom Hardinge. Bookmark the permalink.

About Tom Hardinge

Loving husband to my wife Missy, loving father to my four daughters Sienna, Rowan, Jovie, and Lola. I'm a chronic over-packer who loves good coffee, good music, running, waffle tee's, fleece pants, and Jesus Christ!

2 thoughts on “The Hardinge Hotel

  1. You take sneaky pics! We loved our trip and as I always say….if I ever win the lottery my number one thing I’d do with that money is make sure our visits are as frequent as possible….flying the fam out to you and flying you back here time and time again!!! We love you hardinges of Iowa and though we are way too far apart geographically speaking, we are and will always be the closest at heart! Thank you again for opening your home to us for a fabulous cousins trip! Love you all to pieces!!! Thanks for a great recap!

  2. Pingback: Monday Musings | living in pursuit

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