I'm departing from my usual scintillating stories about cats, chickens and dogs in order to wax warm and fuzzy on something else important to me...my family. Not just my husband Jay and the teenagers who live with us, but people I grew up with, the people with whom I have more in common than I care to admit sometimes. My family is fairly ordinary; my parents have divorced and remarried, both sets settling in North Carolina. My siblings and I live all over the country with my brother Paul (a.k.a. "Howard" with his own blog who sometimes comments on mine) representing Arizona, sister Diana resides in Minnesota, step-brother Jeff in Georgia and me in Connecticut. Paul and I each have two children, Diana and Jeff have more freedom.
The middle generation:
Paul, Diana, me and Jeff
The younger and older generations:John, Mom, Weston, Tyler, Paris, Kelsey, Dad and June with a rainbow backdrop
Four years ago, my dad proposed the idea of renting a house at the beach for a week in the summer where we'd all gather without the pressure of holiday travel and getting back to work/school after just 2-3 days together. Thus, Camp Stegall was born. He found a house with its own swimming pool, a block from the beach in Garden City, South Carolina (about 30 minutes south of Myrtle Beach). It is fully furnished, very upscale, with 6 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms and 2 kitchens. Each bedroom has a full bathroom. Mom and John stay at a hotel or camp nearby, spending the day and dinners with the kids and grandkids. Dad and June foot most of the rental bill and bring most of the staples - food, soap, linens, etc. So although we have to cook for ourselves (each family has its designated night to prepare dinner for everyone), and may become tired of each other after awhile, it's our vacation. Hey, anytime I don't have to deal with pet hair, feed or clean up after cats is a vacation for me.
Dad and his famous nose immortalized on a travel mug for Camp Stegall III in 2008
This year, most of us visited Brook Green Gardens together, a beautiful area filled with statues and flowers. Definitely a nice place to visit, but the 90-plus temperatures and high humidity were draining. Go in the spring if you get the chance to visit.
Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, SC
Kelsey (14), Paris (11), Tyler (17) and Weston (14)