Family is my thang (if you haven't noticed). But it was kind of engrained in me, like I didn't really even have a choice. My parents were like, "See these three other weirdos we popped out? You have to be friends with them. No. Matter. What." For the most part we got along but we definitely fought too. My parents just never let us stay mad at each other. I appreciate that now but, man, I used to hate it. I mean my parents ACTUALLY said things like this:
"Lauren, I'm sorry that Brooke snuck into your closet and cut up all your dresses, you still have to be best sister friends with her."
"Brooke, I'm sorry that Lauren read your journal and then told everyone who you have a crush on. Just forgive her."
"Lauren, I'm sorry that Billy cut off all your American girl doll's hair, you still have to love him."
"Billy and Hannah, I'm sorry that Lauren and Brooke tried to convince you that you were adopted. You weren't. Now go back and play Oregon Trail with them."
"Hannah, I'm sorry that Lauren and Brooke convinced you that the other kids in your class live at the school. There is no such thing as a 'live at your school program,' just ignore most things the say."
and the one we heard over and over...
"Billy we are so sorry that none of your three bossy sisters are boys and that they are so obnoxiously Disney/Barbie/American Girl Doll/Spice Girl obsessed. But they love you and they are your family."
I mean I also had school/church friends... but really they all
were forced ended up becoming friends with my siblings too (because if anyone came over everyone would latch onto them) so then I was still basically hanging out with my siblings. When you're in middle school and your younger siblings are in elementary school (and annoying) it is really a bummer. But now that we are all older (and mostly normal) it's all good. We really do have a good time together and hopefully that never changes.
So what I'm trying to say is, I spent the whole summer really looking forward to our Hagee-family vacation. The first week of August needed to hurry up! After much deliberation (mostly through family group texts) we decided that the destination was Durango, Colorado. Durango wasn't exactly a meet-in-the-middle but it was pretty close so we planned to drive from Utah with Billy and Lauren and the parentals would drive from Texas. None of us had been before, and some of us weren't too excited (we had a rough Estes Park, Colorado vacation back in 2005) but it ended up being wonderful. I mean really, the best time. (Well, there wasn't any air conditioning in the house but for the most part we were okay with that). It was definitely one of our best trips - the only thing that would have made it better was Hannah.
Day 1 -
Once we arrived at the house we had to unpack and explore. To our pleasant surprise there was a huge backyard with a creek, a fire pit, and a spiderman scooter the garage. A couple hours later the car from Texas pulled in the driveway and we were finally reunited. We spent that evening at a local BBQ joint (where Jack complimented my big teeth), the Dairy Queen drive-thru, and then playing games.
Day 2 -
Since it was a Sunday we didn't really plan on doing anything too major. We spent the morning enjoying being together again and then found the local church service to attend. The afternoon was spent outside in the yard finding huge, hairy caterpillars, garden snakes, and an intense game of whiffle ball (because we are all so athletic). That night we were joined by one of Billy's mission friends for dinner, a walk around the neighborhood, sparklers, and Harlow's famous popcorn. "It's poppin' like hell now!"
Day 3 -
The town of Durango is very similar Park City, Utah; the main attraction is the skiing but in the off season the ski resorts are still open with a lot of things to do. We decided that we definitely wanted to spend a day up at Durango's ski resort, Purgatory. The scenery was beautiful, but the best part was easily the alpine slides. We all were really looking forward to this and I was so excited because Jack could also participate. The first down the slides were me and Garrett with Jack on his lap. Next was Lauren and Billy - and in true Lauren and Billy fashion, they had to turn it into a race. Also turns out if you don't use the break AT ALL you will crash and fall and get hurt (and it will be in front of the people riding up the ski lift). They eventually made it down the mountain but Lauren's injuries were a little too much for her and she had to spend a good 30 minutes in the car with the air conditioning to recover (don't worry she still managed to Instagram during this time #nevertoofainttoinstagram).
That afternoon the boys were able to go and play a round of golf and we met up later for dinner at a local brewery (props to Billy, the best restaurant researcher, for making sure we ate at the best places in Durango the entire vacation). Then we spent the rest of the night at the house playing games and listening to Lauren
complain talk about her injuries:
"I really need to shower in the morning but I don't know if I can because of my injuries."
and (my personal favorite) was her response after Billy scolded her for exaggerating about "literally everything hitting her elbow" was, "I'm not. Seriously, I want to kill myself."
Day 4 -
Well it wouldn't have been a real Hagee family vacation without something historical/educational (sorry Garrett) - so we spent a day in Mesa Verde National Park. Once we
suffered through went through the museum and movie we headed down to the ancient Pueblo dwellings. While we enjoyed the hike and looking at the dwellings, it was mostly entertaining to watch Lauren learn the hard way that you will be scolded for too much touching. ("It's really stupid that we're not allowed to touch something that was build by humans for humans to use.") And only because I love her so much, I have to mention that Lauren slipped and fell here too. Once we were back from the park we spent the evening together and made our first fire in the pit and Jack experienced his first s'more. What a wonderful thing.
Day 5 -
We spent the morning in downtown Durango for breakfast and then off to our white water rafting adventure (which Garrett sat out because someone had to stay home with Bradley). Since Jack was able to pass as a 4 year-old he was able to come along too! Plus they gave him a water gun so he was in complete heaven. The section of the river we rafted was pretty calm, but at the end there were a few good rapids. We had a great time laughing at Jack, getting in water gun fights with the other rafts, jumping into the freezing water (and then realizing it was impossible to pull yourself back into the raft), and chatting it up with our mountain-man rafting guide, Jebediah.
Later in the day we split up - Lauren and Billy went on a zip-lining adventure through the mountains, while the rest of us went fishing. My Dad is always down for everything that everyone else wants to do, so we made sure that he picked one activity too. In true Grandpa fashion he chose fishing with his grandsons. Although the lake was picturesque, the fishing sucked. Whatevs, we had fun regardless. That night we met back up for dinner and another round of s'mores, because delicious.
Day 6 -
Our last day in Durango was short and sweet. We started our morning by packing up and playing a quick kickball while Garrett packed the car. Then we went to a local diner for breakfast and our last stop was the Durango Train Museum. Much to everyone's surprise, the museum was kind of awesome - Jack especially loved it. After the museum we explored some of the local shops but it was soon time to head back to Utah.