Sunday, June 22, 2014

family reunion: fun at the house

While we were at the family reunion last week, we had many hours with nothing planned; we could have gone out and done our separate things,
but we all chose to pretty much just stay at the house, be together, and make our own fun
(which wasn't hard with the house and the pool!)
I'm very glad we did. These unscheduled hanging-out-together hours were some of the best.

As I mentioned before, Ellie's favorite thing to do was climb in the waterfall.  We spent lots of time up there with her, listening to her little songs:

I like to climb. 
I'm a good climber.
First on this rock,
then on that rock.
I love rocks.  

And so on.
Photo by Shannon
Ellie has never been fond of big groups of people. Even people she knows and loves, 
so a house full of lots of slightly unfamiliar grown ups was not a comfortable place for her.  I spent most of my time with her whining and clinging to my hip.  We did our best to help her though,
even when that meant letting her take late naps and then eat cereal for dinner safe on Daddy's lap.

Photo by Shannon...we were wrangling our sad girl
We attempted to take a grandchildren picture.  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7...9, and 10 were awesome. 
Number 8? Screamed like we were abandoning her instead of simply trying to get her to stand with her cousins.   

Ellie does not like crowds.  Next reunion (in three years) we're hoping she'll have grown out of this, at least enough.

Her cousins, (or her "best friends," according to her) Carlee and Anna, both 8, were some of the only people she felt comfortable with. These darling sweet girls let Ellie tag along with them, and even came down to our room several times to play with Ellie in the quiet where she felt more at ease.  
Kent's siblings raise some seriously incredible kids
They're the kind of kids I want my kids to be like in a few more years.

Another big hit for our Ellie were the many "Papa Hats" that Kent's parents brought for the kids--hats from the Nut Company.  Ellie liked to see how many she could fit on her head at once.

I was excited for this trip because I love every chance I get to spend with my incredible sister-in-laws.  Late night chatting, deep thoughts, giggling, crafting, and getting to know them all even better.  I love these women, I feel inspired and encouraged and loved when I'm with them, and I always wish I could be with them more often.

Photo by Shannon
Nicholas was in little boy heaven this trip.  He had an awesome pool, rocks to climb, boys to play with, an endless supply of sno-cones (we had our own sno-cone maker and syrup station....this got some pretty heavy use,)
And every night included dessert,
Movies (he was introduced to the wonders of Star Wars IV, V, and VI,)
And second (third? seventh? ...we ate so.many.sweets) desserts: 
S'mores from the firepit.

Some nights even included some late-night swimming/hot tubbing. 
photo by Shannon
With glow sticks.  
Nicholas didn't want to get in the water, so he took his glow stick to the upper bridge (over the waterslide) and circled it around in the air over and over again.  
It was a precious moment for me to observe from my warm spot in the hot tub-I could tell he was utterly, completely happy, waving his glow stick, in awe of the lights and the night.  

Throughout the week, Nicholas giggled, ran around like a wild thing, laughed about silly things the cousins said, and generally fit right in with his older boy cousins (13, 11, and 6.)  

I think in this moment he's laughing about something Payton (11) said about a kabob.  So goofy. So happy.

The morning that everyone left, as we waved goodbye and finished up our packing, 
with the big house suddenly quiet and empty, 
Ellie burst out of her shell and was the real Ellie.  Singing, bouncing, talking up a storm, and finally, for the first time that week, willing to show her affection for Grammer and Papa.  
Better late than never, right?
We had a perfectly happy time there.  
Thank you, Grammer and Papa for the fantastic week in a beautiful place!  


Teresa said...

Adorable children....can't wait to see them again.

Creole Wisdom said...

What a fun time you all had!

Ellie's song is hilarious, and I'm sure she'll be warmed up next reunion! You are a wonderful mom.

Shannon Brown said...

It really was great to spend some scheduled and lots of scheduled time with everyone! I feel like I got to know your kids better too. Nicholas is at such a great age -- I love 4! And next time we see Ellie I'm sure she will love us all. ;)