The kids are in heaven playing with their cousins on the beach, building forts in the basement, playing pool, working on their numbers for the family talent show and working together. The adults are laughing and talking and cooking and playing games until late at night. We're eating lots of amazing food (Japanese curry, fish tacos, Cafe Rio-style salads, Thai food, Jonah's famous burgers...a different family is in charge of each meal - good thing I've been going running and doing long swims every day or I'd be seriously bulking up...). We're all a little short on sleep (so hard to go to bed when there's so much fun to be had - and so hard to sleep with thin walls and babies crying in the night and little kids getting up and having noisy fun at the crack of dawn). And there are huge piles of dishes and big fat messes to clean up all the time (but we've got a good system going now - each age group of grandkids is in charge of a different after-dinner clean-up job and there's a list of other housecleaning jobs they can choose in order to earn extra points - there's a big prize for each group that gets at least 100 points by the end of the reunion. I think the kids are having as much or more fun together as they work together as they have playing together...).
It's so fun to see all the interactions - big kids delighting in their baby cousins and feeding them and caring for them every chance they get, grown-ups discussing ideas and asking and giving advice, groups of mixed adults and kids laughing their heads off as they fly along on the tube behind the boat, everyone cheering for every good shot in the family tennis tournament and the ad-hoc beach volley ball games, parents jumping in to take care of each other's kids as needs arise.
There's nothing like being with these people in this place.
Here are some snapshots. I'll get some nicer shots from my siblings who have the fancy cameras and the photography talents when I get a chance. But for now, here's a bit of what we're experiencing via un-retouched phone pictures.
Tal and Anita are in charge of the reunion this year (every year, it's a different couple). Here they are announcing the details of the tennis tournament and the overall reunion agenda.
And here's everyone listening to Tal and Anita
(the first day of the reunion was Eli's birthday - thus the banner)
My sisters and I took all the little girls for a walk one lovely morning.
And we found some lovely flowers and butterflies
After lots of fun tube rides in the lake, the hot tub sure feels good
The kids are doing pretty well keeping up on their reading time while they're here - and some groups of cousins are reading the same book together so they can have a book club discussion.
Liza and Hazel and Claire have been inseparable - they've made up the cutest dances and have worked SO hard on their points, doing every possible household job.
The twins and the three little boys close to their age have built countless waterways and structures using sand and water. It never gets old.
Isaac's become a fast favorite with all the babies. Here he is with Poem and Annina.
Here we are enjoying the famous Jonah Burgers - he mixes the ground beef with lots of magical spices, makes the patties, cooks them just right, then serves them topped with sliced beets and mangoes.
Storms roll in most afternoons - beautiful stuff.
This evening, we went bird watching at the bird refuge down the road. We had a contest to see which group could get the most photos of different species of birds. It was beautiful.