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May, 2013:

Day 9: More Family Fun

Always trying to win over the ladies with Auntie Catherine

To wrap up the last day of the reunion Rob hit the golf course to watch some of the guys play while Cooper and I hung back with the rest of the family.

After a day of relaxation we headed back to the lake cabin for some barbecue and great conversation on the porch.

Nana, Pop-pop, Mama, Cooper, Great Uncle Charlie, Great Aunt Zoe, Great Uncle Ed and Auntie Catherine

Cooper loved playing with Nana, especially when she sang the song about how the ladies, gentlemen and cowboys ride.

To wrap up the night and the reunion Cooper took his clothes off…for his first birthday cake experience made by Anna and Catherine.

Cooper’s first birthday cake

We ended up making it a late night back at the hotel so that Cooper could have additional time with the family.

Auntie Catherine are you drinking water without giving me a sip first?

After a bath my hair was fluffed and we were friends again 🙂

 

 

Day 8: Swimsuit to Dress Clothes

Poolside bottle

We started out the day at the pool again where Cooper was able to capture the ladies’ attention 🙂

Daddy, Cooper, Catherine, Anna, and Emily

We then headed back to the room for some relaxing family time.

Turning into a scarecrow for Great Uncle Ed

Then we got all gussied up and headed off to dinner at the club house.

Cooper showing off his standing skills at dinner

Boy how times have changed, hard to believe we spent a lot of the fancy dinner on the floor entertaining Cooper and the other kiddos 🙂

Anna (modeling), Emily, Mama and Cooper

Catherine, Emily, Cooper and Nana

Day 7: Swim Time

Cooper’s first time in a pool

Cooper loved his first time in a pool.  He quickly figured out that he could make even bigger splashes then in the bathtub.

Nana, Auntie Catherine, Cooper and Daddy hanging out at the pool

That evening we headed to the Ingalls’ lake house for a yummy barbecue.

Cooper loved playing with the Ingalls’ dogs

Cooper sharing his new rainmaker (thanks Auntie Nicole) with his 2nd cousins.

Anna, Catherine, Emily and Auntie Catherine

Cooper was then taught how to play Shut The Box.

Pop-pop, Cooper, Daddy, Uncle Charlie, Auntie Catherine and Great Aunt Zoe

Enjoying the delicious barbecue on the dock

Green beans on the dock with Daddy

Cooper, Mama, Uncle Charlie, Auntie Catherine, Great Aunt Zoe and Nana

Cooper was able to meet more of the Ingalls family he is named after (his middle name is Ingalls).

Cooper’s Nana, Jane with her brother, Charlie and sister, Zoe

 

Day 6: Little Rock to Montgomery – We made it!

Final smiles before leaving the Little Rock airport

Morale was very high, we had only a 2 hour flight and then we would be at our final destination.  We were all excited for some family time on Lake Martin in Alabama.

Let’s take the little one in the middle

Don’t worry there was still time for a mid-play snooze on the two hour flight

The flight was really nice, with beautiful scenery and just a few clouds to get through at the end.  Rob thinks this video I took is hysterical because it makes the clouds look so powerful, reality is my arm is weak when extended out straight through a bumpy cloud.  Enjoy the laugh.

Very happy family at the Montgomery Airport

Once we got the car loaded we wanted to start off our visit to the south in style, lunch at Chick-Fil-A followed by some shopping at Walmart.

Sadly we did not purchase this Walmart hat, we opted for baby food and produce instead

When we got to Lake Martin we were excited to introduce Cooper to Rob’s Uncle Charlie, Aunt Donna and their grandkids for the first time over dinner.

Cooper entertaining the family – Anna, Catherine, Emily and Great Aunt Donna

When we got to our room we were greeted by a custom sign made by the girls for Cooper and a snack basket full of goodies.

Cooper and his superhero welcome sign

 

Day 5: Time to Fly Again – Erie to Little Rock

The Boys – Cooper (11months), Wyatt (4) and Dylan (8)

We captured a picture of the boys before heading out for our next leg of the trip to Little Rock.

Rob packing everything up while Cooper supervises

We had beautiful weather and enjoyed the greenery from the farmlands on our way to West Woodward, Oklahoma.  The winds in Woodward were gusting to 30 knots, but fortunately it was right down the runway.

Just a little breezy in Oklahoma

We were greeted by some beautiful scenery between Oklahoma and Arkansas

The flight was so smooth that we gave Cooper some time out of his car seat and he loved being able to give Daddy some high-fives.

Daddy took the “fasten seat belt” sign off

All smiles when Cooper sees Daddy

Once we landed in Little Rock we were given a tour of downtown by the airport shuttle driver on our way to the hotel.  We were all desperate to stretch our legs and enjoyed a very nice walk along the riverfront, through the Clinton bird sanctuary and up to the Clinton Library.

Family time on the river front with the Clinton Library in the background

As it is probably apparent by now, I get determined to capture a picture once I get the idea in my head.  During our walk there were many super steep grassy peaks.  Cooper just had to get on top of one for a photo 🙂 It is so steep and pointed that I am holding him from behind and completely out of sight.

Grassy peak

We ended our evening of walking around with a pizza dinner at Irene’s.  We loved these pouch meals for Cooper on travel days, they are very simple and nearly mess free since he can drink from them like a straw.

Crazy to reflect back and think of all that we did this day in just over 12 hours!

Day 4: Hanging Out Baer Style

Kelly, Cooper and Wyatt

Nicole and Dylan woke up early to run the Boulder to Boulder 10k.  The rest of us hung out around the house.

In the afternoon we went to Boulder to check out the shops and ended with dinner at Oskar Blues.

Cooper giving Nicole a high-five to celebrate finishing the 10k

Daddy giving Cooper water from a straw, while the creepy genie watches from behind.

 

Day 3: Best Buds in Erie

Cooper and Wyatt – “Are you going to eat all of that?”

It was so much fun to catch up with the Baer family.

Cooper and Dylan

In the afternoon we headed out to the Boulder Memorial Day street fair.

Cooper and Daddy enjoying fair food

Dylan, Wyatt and Brian at the renaissance play area

Day 2: Erie or Bust

We were ready to tackle another full day of flying to get to Erie, CO.  We were looking forward to a few no-fly days and spending time with the Baer family.

The scenery is very brown once you enter Wyoming

Nearly a bust…  I must admit this was, by far, the worst day of flying the entire trip.  It was SO warm and bumpy, thank goodness Cooper and Rob appear to have much tougher stomachs than me.  I was of no help to anyone while I was sick for nearly all of the second 2 hour flight.  Rob was a superhero and not only flew the plane, but also sang songs and kept Cooper entertained too, what a saint!

The most welcome sight, the Erie airport.

The stranger anxiety appears to have passed, Cooper warmed up very quickly to Brian, Nicole, Dylan and Wyatt.

Wyatt, Nicole and Cooper

 

Day 1: It Fits!

 

First flight of the adventure

It fits! 4 duffle bags, 2 backpacks, 2 formula containers, 2 packs of diapers, 2 blankets, 2 jackets, 1 pack n’ play, 1 cooler, 1 stroller,  1 feeding seat and 3 passengers all fit in the airplane.

We were challenged by low cold clouds this first day so we had to fly down to Portland and follow the Columbia River instead of flying over Snoqualmie Pass.  Our plan was to stop every 2 hours or so and do two legs each fly day.  We had planned to push hard and due 6 hours of flying the first day.  We realize now this was crazy optimistic and not a tad bit realistic 🙂  Having to take the longer route, we ended up flying for 4 hours to cover the distance we typically cover in just 2 hours.

So many clouds

We made our first overnight of the trip in Boise, Idaho when the bumps became a little too much.  The airport concierge was exceptional, they found, booked and drove us to a local hotel.  We had not planned to stop so we didn’t have an overnight bag and had to unpack and bring all of our bags.

Cooper was very excited to get out of his car seat and get some fresh air as we checked out the area near the hotel.

Followed by the first of 15 nights of Cooper getting his bedtime routine in 7 different hotels.

Daddy and Cooper story time

 

Cross Country Adventure

We just wrapped up an amazing family cross country trip.  Our goal was to attend an Ingalls (Rob’s Mom’s family) family reunion in Alabama.  The most incredible part, beyond doing this adventure as a family with a 1 year old, is that we did it in the airplane that Rob and I built in our garage!

The stats:  15 days, 15 airports, 12 states, 5263 miles flown in 33 hours and 1 first birthday celebrated.

Cooper “Firsts”: Cross country trip, swimming in a pool, meeting the Ingalls extended family, eating birthday cake, attending a baseball game, and crawling on his knees.

You can find Rob’s more detailed airplane summary of our trip here.