So, this idea may not be considered a favorite "thing" but it is definitely a favorite part of my life. We are lucky enough to live within easy walking distance of my sister and her husband, and my aunt and uncle (and whichever of my cousins might be at home). It is a bit longer walk to my brother and his family, but definitely walkable, and while it would be a stretch to walk to my parent's house or my in-laws, they are but a ten to fifteen minute drive down the road.
Aside from the convenient child care that this arrangement involves (thank you, thank you, thank you), here's a quick example of how much fun this can be. After an early dinner tonight, my son wanted to go to the playground. Well, my sister happens to live across the street from one of the four parks in walking distance from our house. But it looked like rain was on the way, so we cheated and drove. Honestly, we usually walk, I swear! Anyway, we head over to the park, give them a call, and lo and behold, while the kids are on the swings, aunt and uncle come walking around the corner.
Quite a nice way to end the day, if you ask me - pushing your kids on the swings, hanging out with friends that you just happen to be related to, and all on the spur of the moment. I hate to admit it, but sometimes too many weeks go by when we don't see our extended family members. We are so lucky to be this close to each other, but sometimes life gets too busy, things get in the way, and we don't make the effort to keep closer in touch. This weekend, we are looking forward to a big family get together to celebrate some birthdays and have a send-off for my youngest cousin as she heads off to play volleyball at Ole Miss this fall. And even though someone might get a cold from someone else, a new recipe one of us tried might be a flop, or one of the kids happens to knock over a glass of red wine (hopefully not on my mom's white dining room carpet!), we'll have a blast. Right up until the last kid is dragged kicking and screaming off to the car to go home to bed :)