We had a great week at the shore last week and then came home to a super busy week so I haven't made the time to share about our vacation.
To tell you the truth, my brain feels a bit fried and I don't think I'll do our week justice - because it really was a great time. Right now all I can think of was, we went to the beach, we played lots of Wii, we watched lots of Olympics, we ate good food, we went to the boardwalk, the kids had a blast playing together.
Wow - I took what could have been a long post and boiled it down to one sentence.
You know that I can't leave it at that, so I'll list a few highlights. (you know this will end up being long)
I think all of us would agree that having the four older cousins play so well together made the week so enjoyable. It's hard to know if it's because they're older, or if it's because we had more space, but Ella, Isaac, Catherine and Theo just had so much fun - for over six days straight!
This is one of my favorites of the four of them...I love their reflections.
We got to spend some quality time with the two newest additions to the family, Caleb and Nora. I loved being able to snuggle a little one without having to do any of the diaper changes! Nora is a little wonder baby - starting to crawl at 5 1/2 months in order to keep up with her brothers. She's a happy little one - never seemed to mind being ignored on the ONE occasion (Edited for Chrissie to better reflect the truth!) her mom and dad played Wii. Caleb is an eating machine (he bangs his hands on the table when you aren't quick enough with the goods) full of personality. He loves to make eye contact and then rewards you with a big toothie grin. I think Mike was secretly (or not so secretly!!) hoping Caleb would give me a hard time because Ella was pretty determined to be scared of her Uncle Mike for at least the first year of her life (I remember very clearly the first time we knew for sure her fears were behind her - Sharon, Mike - do you?). Fortunately for me Caleb loves everyone!!
We had wonderful beach weather. Spent at least four hours at the beach every day except one. Ella was a wild child in the water - going out deeper and deeper each time - practicing her swimming and body surfing the waves. Catherine proved to be a big more timid (as expected) and I think it was mostly because it was never too hot - I think she would have been more excited about going in the water if she was hot. The nice ocean breeze kept us comfortable all week - probably led me to stay out in the sun more than I should have. On the last day Catherine let me take her out pretty far and had fun for awhile. As the waves got bigger and bigger she kept yelling "TAKE. ME. BACK. IN!!" I did - eventually.
My surfer girls....
All in all this trip is about family. It's one of two times all year that I am with my parents, brothers and their families all at once. So no matter what we do, the time together is treasured. This year a good portion of our treasured time (aside from beaching it) was watching the Olympics and playing Wii. It was so much fun to watch the Olympics with my family because we are all sports fans and have tendencies towards obsession so we would really get into each event. We all watched together as Michael Phelps one his eighth and final gold, we watched in disbelief at the seemingly biased scoring during women's gymnastics, we learned the names of the US beach volleyball teams and stayed up way too late watching the men win the gold (I admit, I retired early and woke up enough when Matt came in to ask if they won) and we raised the roof when the US women's soccer team won the gold, breaking a 0-0 tie in the second overtime period. Oh wait - I think Mike missed that one - convinced he could get to beach and back before anything happened. Over 100 minutes of play and he misses the only goal!
After watching all those sports we were feeling competitive so we broke out the Wii. I could and probably will, do and entire post just on the Wii, but for now I'll just say that we had very few injuries - but we did have a few, and I think that everyone (except for the babies) in the house tried it out, including the kids. We learned that Isaac is an excellent Wii bowler and Catherine grunts when she tries to pitch a baseball. None of them were very good at tennis. Ella kept wondering where her hands were. Very good question.
I don't have a picture with our whole group (but I hope to soon, hint hint!) but I figure this is the next best thing. Two wonderful grandparents surrounded by all their adoring grandchildren.
I'm sure there are better pictures - but I just feel this one captures the craziness of six little kids and I love the happiness on my parent's faces - they love this inspite of the craziness! We are all blessed by their love and their generosity to enable us to have a week at the beach all together!