Three two one... Go!
Not truly a race, but these past two weeks have felt like an endless whirlwind of quintessential summer fun. I counted down the minutes on Thursday evening, trying to fall asleep, itching to get back to the east coast to see friends and family.
However, rewind six weeks. Some big news in our Chitown life, I was somehow swindled into owning a dog. Yes, you heard me loud and clear, a little ball of energy and endless love; her name quickly taking over Caroline's social media posts. Addison or Addie for short has been a blessing since the beginning. She's added new puppy life into our wonderful apartment and insists that we take her with us everywhere! So lucky her - fast forward - she helped me pack the car one dog toy and suitcase at a time to make the trek back east. First stop, Deep Creek, MD. Good morning 4:00am Chicago and a beautiful sunrise over that picturesque skyline.
Boating, beers, sunshine, Denny's wit da boys, and a whole lot of catching up with some of my very best friends. We missed a handful of people this year as life has quickly taken us all over the country, but those that were able to make the annual gathering, made it yet another memorable year. There are no real words to describe the anticipation I felt cruising through the back roads of Maryland to reach this first destination. Addie, hanging on for dear life at this point, made it through her first road trip in one piece... barely. I wish I could say the weekend lasted forever from this point forward, having the opportunity to breathe once again and put adult life behind for a second. But like every year, the fire pit chatting, boat cruising, beer drinking and yard gaming came to an end all too quickly. So long for now...
Addie and I were back on the road, headed towards the second leg of our journey - home sweet Heron Ct. We were both antsy, exhausted, and not ready to be in the car so soon. One of us had to be coaxed with peanut butter to enter the vehicle. Nevertheless, we carried on to Pennsylvania for the 4th of July celebrations.
Pulling into the driveway, I'm not sure who exited the car faster as the two of us had it being couped up in my tiny little speedster. She received a very warm welcome from everyone as she stepped into the back patio for her debut. She was ready to run the day away, chasing the boys playing basketball and skirting the edges of the pool, trying not to fall in. That worked for a little while at least, but she eventually found herself swimming to safety, soaking wet.
Towel dried, ball in mouth, and back in the car for the final pit stop of the night. We were finally on to see Caroline and reunite these two after a week apart. It didn't take long for these two to become reacquainted, and we spent the night amongst great family and friends. Dinner stories and a personal fireworks show to end yet another perfect day.
Go, go, go, it wasn't over quite yet. Yes, that's right - we had another week of travels planned with my family to the Outer Banks. Watermelon packed and ready for anything. We woke up, finalized packing, and got on the road an hour later than planned in true Koffke fashion.
Let the games begin.
Just a little family friendly competition was in store for the week, thanks to my brother Taylor. What had started as a simple, noncompetitive cook-off between the couples turned into a sneaky, sabotage-ridden, point deducting competition with all eyes on you for the day. We were scored on food preparation performance, culinary knowledge and food origin history, team cooperation and communication, dinner conversation, course selection, and of course the yum factor. It was a treacherous battle for three days, stress levels were at their highest around 4:00pm when the respective couple would promptly exit the beach ready to cook. All in all, after months of planning, taste testing and recipe trials, I think we know who took home the gold medal; even if the winning team was never fully disclosed.
This year's family trip was one for the books besides the friendly cook-off described above. With beautiful weather every day, we were able to capitalize on each day playing a little known game by the name of spike ball and keeping active 100% of the time. It was a blazing 94 degrees almost every day with at least 80% humidity so this kid could not sit still. I am fully able to admit, at 25 years old, that I am not a relaxer - never have been and probably never will be. I'm not sure there is a bone in my body that can shutdown and take advantage of this far-off concept known as relaxation. So we spiked, we dodged, ducked, dived, dipped, and dodged our way through the week. And for once, the baseball gloves that my father insists we bring along on every single family vacation, made their way out of the bag. We tossed the ball a couple of times throughout the week, but we were all put on the DL pretty quickly as these old arms aren't what they used to be.
We cruised the beaches in search of wild horses by day and chased crabs around the beach with flashlights by night. We were your typical Outer Banks tourists for the week and we loved it! For the first time, we were able to share these moments that we had known since we were little with the significant other chosen for the week. And for once, we could truly spend some time "relaxing" together. Some of us had to up and move halfway across the country to see some bean, so these moments are now even more cherished when we have the chance to come together.
One two three ..... take off. Where did these two weeks go? It feels as if I was just packing the dog treats, jar of peanut butter labeled "Addie", sun screen, cold brew coffee, and blasting summer tunes cruising across the country. Now, I find myself on an airplane headed back to Chicago, all of these new stories and moments becoming memories of yet another incredible summer gone by.
We'll be back soon enough. We are just getting started in this new chapter of adulthood.