Wednesday, August 8, 2012

South Haven

It was an amazing week.  And, as always, it went by way too fast.  I am proud to say that I accomplished just about everything I wanted to, even if it wasn't in the exact way I had planned, and equally proud to be counted among the 8 lucky people out of 15 total to not catch the bug that made everyone violently ill the last 3 days of the vacation.

Watching Niall interact with his cousins was so much fun.  He jumped right in, not like his usual cautious and hesitant temperament. Does it get more American than this?  Grab a flag and wave it over a good ol' game of baggo.  Good ice breaker, Niall!


The first night (and the rest of the week) involved a lot of me getting my butt kicked in baggo, a lot of eating and a lot of dancing...

I think "kids' table" may be the only thing that kept Niall mildly sustained with nutrition (although I'm not sure you would call mass quantities of red meat nutritious).  If only I could get 10 kids to come sit around our table every night, Niall might actually eat something.  Hmmm, on second thought, I think I'll stick with 2. 

Girls just wanna have fun... and so do babies, but they can't dance yet ;)

And boys want to have fun, too.  So shaking your butt on the baggo board would be one way to do it.

I've noticed at family gatherings that the oldest kid tends to be the hero, and for Niall, this was definitely the case.  Everywhere that Gus went, Niall was sure to follow.  It was like a real life version of Where's Waldo. 

And for the little girls, it was the opposite.  The smallest baby gets all of the attention.  And I mean ALL of it, ALL the time.  It was like free babysitting, except for the occasional check-in to make sure Brendan didn't get dropped on his head ;)

And when the little girls got burnt out, there was always Aunt Kate.

Little Tessie (4 years old) could not keep her hands off of him.  As soon as I walked into a room, she would run up and ask "Where's my baby?"

Among my other favorite quotes from her over the course of the week:

"I can watch him for you while you're at work, you know."
"You can just leave him in this chair with me while you go to the bathroom."
"I think he's hungry, we better get him a bottle.  Nope, he's not hungry, he just wants me."
"I'm talented at pretty much everything."

I didn't get to watch the sunrise, but the sunset was even better because it means I got to sleep in.

The beach was amazing-- so much more than I expected out of a lake.  It was just like the ocean!

Brendan loved him some time with the ladies.

...Dad... not as much.  "Don't bore me, people."

There was a night where the kids camped out in the tent, which I always wanted to do as a kid.  So now, go figure, it was my own kids who kept me from doing it as an adult.  But Brendan got to partake from a distance.

Garden party.  Jambalaya.  Chinese lanterns.  Long family table.  Perfection.

We even got a picture with almost every single kid looking at/ toward the camera.  My only regret is that if I had held out for 2 more seconds, I could have gotten Tessie in a mid-air sweet dance move.

 Cook-offs.  Personalized aprons.  Amazing food.  Way too much meat, but so worth it.

And the icing on the cake... 

I have captured on camera and seared into my mind what it looks like to be a kid in a candy store.  I don't think I've ever seen Niall quite so mesmerized... or myself.  They had all kinds of fudge, ice cream, chocolate covered ANYTHING (including twinkies-- but I opted to keep a small shred of my dignity and go with the oreos).  Everything I could have hoped for and more-- except for the sugar high and crash that followed (for both Niall and myself).

South Haven, we will miss you, but we'll be back.

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