Friday, August 08, 2008

Ollie and Si at Bear Lake

We're home! Our month away was full of travel (Bear Lake, Salt Lake, Jackson Hole, Ashton, ID) and literally hundreds of people (extended family members galore - 40 plus with Jared's parents, siblings and their kids, 32 with mine not to mention dozens of our cousins and aunts and uncles and all the long-lost friends at high school reunions for both me and Jared). We really had a great time being in different places and reconnecting with so many loved ones. It's great to get away from the regular routine long enough that you really welcome it when it's time to get back into it. And it's great to be with so many other people for so long that your own family of seven hardly seems like a crowd anymore! I tell you, my five kids seem so quiet and easy after being with anywhere from 12 - 20 kids for most of the summer.

School starts next Tuesday so we've been busily getting backpacks and finding a few things to augment in the kids' hammered summer wardrobes and getting a month of dust cleaned out of the house and getting food back in the house and going through mail and returning phone calls and all that.

Anyway, here's a quick rundown of the main events and highlights of the last month - and if you want more and better pictures, click on Shawni or Saydi's blogs on the right:
  • Ashton, ID for the 4th of July (the kids got to ride in the little parade and we all loved the great small-town celebration they do there - watermellon eating contest, gunny sack races, all sorts of fun stuff) and Jared's high school reunion (with a graduating class of 40 or so, it was a really nice little reunion and so fun to meet his friends). The kids loved riding on tractors and playing with cousins and it was great to be with a few of Jared's siblings and his parents for a few days.
Four-wheeler rides are always a big hit at the Farm (with cousin Mason)
Checking out Grandpa's cows with cousins
Feeding the horses with cousins
Tractor rides with Cousin Mark - always a favorite!
  • SLC for my high school reunion (a much bigger event and so fun to catch up with everone - I didn't initially really want to go but a friend talked me into it and it really was good - everyone seemed so much the same in good ways and so much more mature in great ways).
With good high school friends - Jill, Toni and Laurel
  • Bear Lake for a couple weeks with my sisters and their kids (while Jared braved the heat and a lot of hard work in St George). Between us we had 12 kids, most of them under 8 so it was quite a houseful! We had good friends and cousins coming in and out for overnighters here and there and loved catching up with them and having different kids added to the mix. On our "normal" days (without extra visitors) my sisters and I did reading and crafts with the kids in the mornings then had a wonderful time relaxing and talking down on the beach each afternoon while the kids played. I loved being with my dear sisters - cooking great meals together, getting reaquainted with each other's kids, talking about kids and worries and joys and so many things, enjoying the amazing colors of the lake and the spectacular sunsets... There's nothing like being with my sisters!

Favorite thing with Grandfather - riding in the tractor scoop up and down, up and down
Other favorite thing with Grandfather - horse rides
  • Isaac's Birthday (july 19th) - Celebrated with almost all his Eyre cousins plus most of his Carver second cousins - cake, ice cream, lots of cute homemade cards from lots of cousins, good times riding around on the Carver's nice boat and just hanging out. Isaac's pretty easy to please!
  • My family reunion at Bear Lake - Jared and I were in charge of organizing meals and doing the agenda and the annual CD of everyone's favorite songs - quite an ordeal - glad it won't be our turn again for a long, long time! Great to be together.
  • My annual mom and sisters' get-away -we went to Jackson Hole with no kids and had a wonderful time talking and eating great food and hiking in Teton National Park! Click here for great photos and details - Shawni's entry on MFME. I need to get those photos from you, Shas!
  • My birthday - Jared and I rode our bikes around Bear Lake - something I've always wanted to do - 52 miles of gorgeous scenery and rolling hills - really a great ride. We had a yummy lunch at the 1/2 way mark in Garden City, good talks, raspberry shakes, good times. Finished off the day with a tasty birthday dinner and a "cookie cake." Great day. Good kick-off for my resolve to really get in good shape this year!
  • Jared's mom's family reunion in Ashton, Idaho - great to see or meet lots of Jared's cousins and aunts and uncles - good people, good times at the Loosli cabin, more jeep rides with Grandpa and great times with different cousins.
Ollie and Si having a great time at the Loosli Cabin in Ashton

We drove home all day on the 3rd of August and wow, no bed has ever felt as good as mine did that night! I was starting to feel a little crazy from sleep-deprivation by the end there thanks to all the late nights and early mornings and lots of middle-of-the-night interruptions from bugs and heat and kicking kids for bed partners and babies crying. I'm SO grateful my kids don't wake me up at night anymore and I have so much extra empathy now for my sister whose sweet little girl has serious problems with waking up and crying in the night and early in the morning. I'm also SO grateful to have kids at such great ages right now. They were all so happy at Bear Lake - just exploring and playing with cousins with very little supervision or direction or care-giving required from me. The kids would all play in the sand and wonderfully warm, clear, shallow waters for hours on end each day. There's nothing like sand and water for little kids.
I actually had a chance to read a book and a half while at Bear Lake as well as have lots of great conversations with lots of great people. This is a whole new era for me and so far, I'm liking it fine!

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