Tuesday, December 18, 2012


I grew up in a tiny little Wyoming town named Cokeville. Population? About 600, I think. My graduating class had 16 students--10 girls, 6 boys, but one was a foreign exchange student who was only there for one year. So, when I say I'm a small-town girl, I mean it! Now that I live in the suburbs, I must admit I love being closer to modern conveniences, such as banks, stores, doctors, etc. It would be an adjustment to move back to Cokeville and have to drive at least 30 miles to the closest shopping or doctors. Having said that, I must admit--I still absolutely love visiting there! And thankfully, so do my kids. Their eyes light up like Christmas trees whenever we plan to go, and we try to do it as often as possible.

That may sound crazy to most people. I mean, what in the world could be so exciting about visiting a small town with only a little park and no other entertainment? Well, I'll tell you. Cousins! Lots of them! And there's nothing better than that. Seriously. My kids adore their cousins, and when we are in Cokeville for a few days, I hardly see the whites of my kids' eyes because they spend every waking minute playing with cousins.

Here are a few pictures from our last visit--in October.

A dance party. So fun! These girls are best of friends and they've got some great moves, I tell you.

Regyn, Mylee, Kaybree

Now they are getting into it a little more.

Regyn is definitely not camera shy--she loves to be the center of attention. The other girls--not so much.

A few more cousins join the scene. Kaden, Boston and Mireya. It's a party!

This is what Makyla thought of it all. Lol!

And Berkley wasn't sure what to think.
 The girls have the best imaginations. They spend hours playing store or school or dressing up. Berkley even got into a little bit last time. Don't you just love the way her hair matches her jammies? (hee, hee)

My sister Katie promised them all cotton candy. What a woman! The kids loved it!

 Until the machine stopped working and smelled like it was burning up. We soon found out why. . .

Oops! Apparently, you have to clean the sugar out of the rim every once in a while.

And then there was the impromptu football game in my parents' front yard. I love how Braxton, the 16-year-old cousin, totally includes all the other kids, no matter how young they are. At one point, I watched him hold the ball for one of the 4-year-olds to kick off. Just when the little guy was about to kick, Braxton swooped him up and kicked the ball for him, then they ran down the field. It was so cute! Even Berkley got involved.

Kamille and Nate are the same age and have been great friends since they were little. Don't you love how they are strategizing together? Nate is drawing a play on his hand. That's Kayden standing by Braxton.

I wish I could have caught the looks of delight on all their faces as they played.
Because most of my family still lives in Cokeville, I enjoy it as much as my kids. It's such a needed change of pace for me. Starting with the drive there, I begin to breathe a little deeper and smile a little broader. The mountains that surround this town are beautiful to me. I feel "home" as soon as I spot them. I love the wide open spaces, the fresh, clean air, and I especially love the time spent with my family. We sisters/sisters-in-law have a wonderful tradition--we sit in my mother's living room and chat for hours. Of course we have to get up every once in a while to wipe a nose or get a snack for a toddler, but other than that, we just plop ourselves down and enjoy talking about everything and nothing.

My Grandpa Perkins (my mom's dad) lives with my parents, which is a fabulous perk. We get to see him and soak him up while we are there, too. The kids just love him. Sometimes he will join us in the living room and simply listen to all of us women try to solve the world's problems. It's wonderful jut having him there!

Sometimes we go to high school football games or basketball games, especially since my dad coaches (high school football and high school girls' basketball) and Braxton plays, and sometimes we watch a roping competition in my brother's arena, and sometimes we go to school plays or events. But mostly, we just soak each other up. It's absolute heaven!

And so, Cokeville will always be a special place for me, a place where I can go to clear my head and enjoy my family. I laughed when I saw a man's t-shirt recently that said the name of a place and then this: "Mosquitoes 3 months of the year, Winter 9 months of the year." That describes Cokeville perfectly! And yet, we just can't stay away. There's so much more there than I could explain, but my kids feel it, too, and I'm so glad.

This year we are going to spend Christmas in Cokeville, which is something we haven't done for 10 years. It's a ton of work to travel somewhere for Christmas, let me tell you, but something has driven me to do it this year. My kids have been counting down the days until we pack up the Pilot and head to one of the happiest places on earth--Cousinville!

Now, if I could just get Dan to catch the vision!


Taffy and Tony said...

I sure love Cokeville too! And cousins really are great.