Monday, August 8, 2011

Finding Family Ties Far From Home

As a kid, Heather always idolized her older cousin Kari.  Only three years older, Kari and Heather would spend summers together at their grandmother's house in Piggott, Arkansas, gobbling down Sonic burgers after a day at the Piggott Pool.  Kari was always so much fun and thankfully, never minded playing with her younger, geeky and completely envious cousin.

The girl can party!
Kari was sort of a nomad growing up...she's lived in Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Ohio and New York, just to name a few!  Over the years, Heather & Kari have managed to keep up, no matter what their zip code.

We've been to Sea World together....

Riding Shamu at Sea World in San Antonio, TX
....and Kari was Heather's "parental figure" during the Alpha Delta Pi parent weekend in college.

Just carrying on an old family Hank says.
All that traveling must have rub off on Kari because she had no trouble landing a job as a professional jet setter.  While she was working as a flight attendant for Continental Express Airlines, she met her husband, pilot Michael Panebianco...who is from Chittenango Falls, NY (more on that in a minute).

Those crazy Panebiancos!
Kari's since retired from flying the friendly skies and now resides in Ponce Inlet, Florida with Mikey and their two sons, Anthony and Jack.

Remember when we mentioned that Kari's husband is from Upstate New York?  Turns out, it's not that far from us in Albany!  
Swimming next to Lake George

Since summer in the South is such a scorcher (like the alliteration?) Kari spends most of her summer with her in-laws in New York.  We managed to rendezvous this year (last year, Heather had just flown home to Missouri when Kari arrived in Syracuse) on Lake George in Bolton Landing, NY at the beautiful Sagamore Resort.

It was a reunion a long time coming...actually, almost nine years coming!  With lives in different time zones, it's been hard to visit over the years.  But keeping up has never been an issue thanks to long phone calls, emails and Facebook.

It's just been a while since we've had a chance to pose for a photograph together!

Which is a real shame, especially for a family that's as photogenic as this...