Family Fun

Every summer we take a family (with friends who are family) week at Nemacolin in the Laurel Highlands. We’ve done this since Kayla and Logan were just little guys.

It’s fun, and it’s busy, it’s relaxing and noisy and loaded with young energy.

This year was no different.

Our pals have joined us on this week since their two boys’ tiny days. (In fact since before their youngest, Brendan, was born!) They are tiny no more! Altogether we’re six kids, ranging now from nearly seventeen (Kayla) to 8 months (Griffin) and seven adults. We still outnumber them!

From left: Logan, Griffin, Colt, Ryan, Brendan, Kayla

The kids really only see each other a couple times a year, including this stellar week, but every time, they slide right back in as if they’d hung out the day before.

We bring our old, original Wii and set it up in the living area of our suite for group fun in the evenings–or for a rainy day. There’s a big pool, tennis courts, loads of activities for those who want them. And, of course, spa treatments.

Also shops!

There are ropes courses, climbing walls, zip lines–and lovely walks.

This year, Jason and I took Griffin in his stroller for one of those lovely (long!) walks. Good thing Dad went with us because there are challenging hills, and while Nana could’ve managed, it would have taken some rest periods!

The second walk, I had Kayla–young, long-legged girl–who pushed the baby and stroller up the big-ass hill.

Kayla and I hit the shops–and Logan hooked up with us. Colt, Griffin and I hit the toy store.

When we had a couple of foundation meetings, kids juggled baby-sitting.

We had pool time, gym time, hang-out time, game time. And our now traditional family (minus Griffin for this) Paint Night where I learned I don’t (or didn’t) understand the concept of negative space.

Finished art

Griffin discovered the joys and rewards of crawling–he can motor pretty well now–and the sheer delight of having lots of kids to play with him, entertain him.

Look! Big kids.
Oldest and Youngest
Big and little
Exhausted by fun.

One night we hung out with a kind of virtual reality screen–throw a football or hit a golf ball at it. Our pals the Orrs are seriously athletic, and their oldest, Ryan, is quarterback on his high school football team.

The boy can throw a football!

I honestly thought Griffin would just explode. Nothing has ever been funnier in his eight months of life.

And it’s great to see kids so willing to entertain a baby, to haul him around, to take his hands so he can walk–a favorite activity.


I can imagine Griffin waking up at home this week and wondering: Hey, where’s my crew?

So another summer week’s in the book, with good times for all.

There’s nothing like kids–from teens on down to babies–to remind you what summer’s really about.


21 thoughts on “Family Fun”

  1. You have such fun on your vacations and it is so joyful to read about them. You are a great Nana, Nora!

  2. Your grandchildren are growing so fast. Griffin is so adorable. Love those chubby cheeks. It’s terrific to do a get together each year. My son (who will be 50 next year) for the past 8 years has been renting a house in No. Carolina with 4 of his high schools friends and their families. Each family has 2 boys, including my son and altho they get together during the year this is one whole week of fun & games on the beach. The boys refer to each other as “cousins” and we have watched these boys grow from babies into teenagers., with the older ones watching out for the younger ones. It’s so heart warming to see first my son & his friends still close friends for so long and now their sons as well.

  3. What a great sounding week of fun! Especially to have all your grands with you, and they get along so well with your friends kids. Griffin looks like he was the happiest baby on Earth! Nothing like unconditional love, playing, walking, and just having fun!
    I only have one child and one grandchild, but we take a family vacation every year along with my son-in-law. This year will be extra special; we’re taking a 2 week trip to Hawaii! We’re landing in Oahu, spending 2cdays, then taking 8-day cruise to 4 other islands, back to Oahu, 2 more days there then the long flight home to NYC (approximately 12 hours, not counting layovers where we change planes). We’ll be celebrating my daughter’s 55th birthday while on the trip. I wish I could have extended the trip to one of my granddaughter’s friends (she’s 11-1/2), as we’ve occassionally done on vacations closer to home, but the trip is rather expensive, none of her friends parents could afford to contribute towards it, plus being responsible for someone else’s kid for 2 weeks on the other side of the world is a bit much! I think my grand will have lots of fun. She likes vacation time because she gets both parents to herself, without calls from other people and their jobs interfering. She and her father have already planned on an ATV Excursion my daughter and I can’t do, as we’ve both had surgery on our spines. Daddy/Daughter time is always good!

    Keep posting about your Summer and pictures of your glorious garden.

  4. I just love seeing all of your family in action and looking to see who looks like who,it looks fab family time!?

  5. Nora you have the most beautiful family……Love your blogs and books!! Oh my but Master Griffin is the utmost beautiful baby I have ever seen!! Thank you for sharing parts of your family and life with us fans!! <3

  6. Indeed ❤️

    “There’s nothing like kids–from teens on down to babies–to remind you what summer’s really about.”

    I would just change summer for LIFE ?‍?‍?‍?

  7. Family time is the greatest. I live for the times we are all together and my 8 grandchildren have fun with each other. That’s pretty amazing since the age range is 4yrs to almost 23yrs.

  8. So much fun reading all about your vacation time with family and friends. It’s so nice to have a tradition that lasts years. Your grandkids are growing so lovely and that little Griffin is just a doll. I have two sons (56 and 61) and each year on St Pats day my youngest son cooks a traditional Irish dinner and invites all his friends and his brothers friends and neighbors and anyone who wants to come. He has done this almost every year for about 25 years. Since he has lived in four different cities in that time, we never know who will show up. It’s just fun.

  9. The pictures are priceless! Thank you for sharing a wonderful vacation and the fantastic bonding of cousins and friends. Griffin continues to be adorable, so who wouldn’t want to hold him, play with him or help him walk?!

  10. So glad y’all had a great time!! Treasured memories that last a lifetime….and beyond! I must say that Colt sure looks like he can be a “corker”!! Very expressive face…maybe just being that age has something to do with it! Thanks for sharing?.

  11. Kayla must be getting to the age where she can appreciate spa treatments. Hope the boys don’t feel that’s too girly for them, Lord knows nothing’s like having a professional spa treatment. I’d say, from the variety in the paintings, everyone’s got their own idea about negative space, love all the color. Griffin’s eyes are so alive and full of joy! He’s lucky to have such caring cousins. Glad you had such a good time.

  12. Nothing is better than hanging with the grandkids, especially with such a nice age variety. Thanks for sharing.

  13. I’m not sure I understand even what negative space means…and I didn’t figure it out looking at the pictures. But they are fun pictures anyway!

    The kids are great; so glad they’re having so much fun with each other & with Griffin. You’re right; he’s probably wondering where did they all go??? I’m back to wearing out just M & D! And I didn’t realize how much Logan had shot up! I’ve always thought as Kayla as the tall one, but looks like Logan has passed her in height. I can sympathize, as my nephew can rest his chin on the top of my head whenever he feels like it & doesn’t even have to stretch. Enjoy them all! Thank you!

  14. Such an amazing week and you are right…there aren’t too many teenagers who will hang around with parents/grandparents and tote a baby around…..

    Griffin is getting so big and I think he looks like Kat…..he’s precious and always looks happy….

    Look forward to your next adventure

  15. What a gorgeous family. Your family will cherish these moments forever. It sounded like a lovely time. I only have 2 more weeks until my family will be trekking through the Ozarks. Thank you for sharing your special trip with us.

  16. I used to come to the ADWOFF book signings in the early 2000s and can remember baby Kayla wearing her matching personalized t-shirt asleep in her stroller with her proud parents and grandparents with her, the next year or so at another signing, her t-shirt announced to everyone that she was the big sister, and there were two adorable kiddos, how the years have flown by, and the children are so grown up! What wonderful memories you make with them every year! You are blessed with such a close family.

  17. Nora, I am 84 years young, and I love love your books, of which I own over 100. Love every one. Making a quilt with your picture, and some of your book covers. Not nearly all of my favorites. I hope you keep writing the wonderful books for many years to come. I always wonder how all those fascinating stories come from the mind of one beautiful woman. I look forward to every book coming out. I am such a big fan. Thanks for sharing the pics and stories of your family. Wonderful.!!!

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