Shopping before the store opens…the benefits of being related to the owner. We brought home 18 packs of brats!!
Nick and Gracie making Christmas M&Ms (the rest went into Lisa’s monster cookies).
Just a few brats to cook…
All the kids like to fish but they say Aubrey is the one who loves it the most and is the best at it. She apparently gives lessons to other kids at their house!
Katie caught a fish!
Someone took an unplanned jump into the river (learning you can’t walk on lily pads):
I think this picture is a tradition.
And the mandatory annual family Christmas photo! Every year they give us grief about taking it… And this year with the craziness of the move I didn’t post it immediately and they were all asking about it!! So there.
And the annual kid comparison—Katie is getting closer to Aubrey but Aubrey is still ahead (which should be the case, as she’s almost 9). And as usual, Owen is definitely taller than Gracie…
But I think he beats Nick this year!!
After a campfire and s’mores it was time for bed. The kids decided to all sleep in the living room… Poor Timmy.
Lisa and Lori are huge baseball fans and Tom has wanted to take Owen to a professional baseball game since we’ve been here, so it seemed fitting that they all go together while Katie and I stayed home. I wouldn’t have minded going, but I know Katie would have gotten bored (she’s used to being able to run around and play with her friends during Owen’s SHORT games, so I couldn’t imagine her sitting for a three-hour game) so I kept her home and took her to the Friday Night Swim instead.
Owen even had the right cap to wear as one of his previous baseball teams was the Nationals! (He thought her had a shirt, too, except we determined that was the season they only got plain red shirts with logo caps.)
They got home about 11:30 (there was an hour metro ride home after the game) and Owen was STILL excited when he walked in the door. I’m so glad they got to go and he got to see everything!
This year our celebration was at Rose & Jim’s cottage on Houghton Lake. The weather started out a bit sketchy—chilly and windy—but within an hour it was absolutely gorgeous! It was a perfect day with lots of delicious food, fun watching the kids, a fun gift exchange, and conversation!
I’m only posting this picture because it’s the first “in the wild” picture of me that’s been taken and…I had ZERO idea who it was when I first saw it!
Hitting a box of $5 garage sale golf balls into the canal—well, trying to get them across the canal onto the island but not many made it there.
This happened quite a bit!
Katie wanted to fish…but only for about 32 seconds at a time and then she was off doing something else.
Alex caught the first fish!
Feeding the ducks off the back of the pontoon!
Going out to hunt for turtles for turtle races!
Apparently the tradition is to kiss the first fish you catch… What a sport!
At first, Katie wanted nothing to do with the boat—she didn’t even want someone to set her on the boat! But after the second trip she was jumping onto the boat herself and loving every minute of it! Owen loved it, too!
They caught a previously-caught-and-tagged turtle—no one here is C.B.
Owen said fishing was boring—we told him yes, it was. He’s used to fishing at the Fish Hatchery where the fish pretty much jump in your bucket.
Aubrey tagged her turtle!
I lined the kids up for their annual shot and didn’t even realize until afterward—when Aubrey pointed it out—that I did it wrong! She told me “I’m older than Owen!” And I agreed with her and then realized they had been in the wrong order!
Nick is 12, Owen is 7. Nick had the slight edge on Owen last summer and it looks very similar again this year…though I think Owen gained a very tiny bit on him. We didn’t set them on flat ground so we can’t be 100% sure.
In the right order! Katie (4), Owen (7), Aubrey (8), Gracie (10), and Nick (12).
All of the cousins: Jessica (an upcoming senior), Alex (an upcoming freshman), then Nick, Gracie, Aubrey, Owen, and Katie.
Maggie was FASCINATED with the turtles!
Marge gifted all us girls with one of her ostrich eggs!
Trying to scoop up the golf balls that rolled in the canal!
It was exciting for everyone when Greg caught this huge dogfish! (Katie is still talking about it days later!)
We celebrated Katie’s birthday a day early!
And Aubrey’s two days early!
Uncle Timmy diving for turtles!!
The second run of turtle races (after they went out on the boat to get more turtles)!
Owen’s turtle winning the second race!
And a Then & Now throwback picture:
This year the party was at my mom’s house! Katie “helped” with the party prep!
Katie loved her Anna dress from Grauntie Rose!
The cousins being silly!
If there’s water, the kids will come.
Bubble wands at the ready!
The annual by-age lineup: Katie (3), Owen (6), Aubrey (7), Gracie (9), and Nick (11). You’ll see a direct Owen/Nick comparison tomorrow.
Everyone always complains but I think they secretly enjoy the family photo!
Our little Santas.
Owen was GIDDY with the bazooka Grauntie Rose got him! It’s almost like she knows him exactly like I do.
Katie LOVES her Frozen magic music wand from Grauntie Marilyn.
No snow? Grass angels!
Ice cream face!
Overall it was a great day—the kids all had a blast together, the food was abundant and delicious, and everyone had fun relaxing and playing games. I think it was the right decision to move our Christmas to the middle of summer!
We left Grayling a day early so we could visit and stay the night at my cousin’s house—and so the kids could play more. And we had fun… We pulled in and they said “Want to go on a boat ride?” Sure!
The kids sword fighting while we loaded the boat.
Ready to go!
On the boat!
The cabin where the kids spent most of the time playing and watching movies!
In the driver’s seat!
Proof we were actually in the water! Yes, I’m a geek.
When we finally got to the swimming area, Owen didn’t want to go in because he was scared. It didn’t matter that Tom was in the water, the other kids were in the water, and he could see that it was plenty shallow enough.
So Tom took Katie in first! And she loved it, of course!
Grilling. Off the side of a boat. Who knew that was a thing? Of course we had Timmy’s delicious brats!
Katie was having a blast in the cabin bed—she could see out the window which was right where we were sitting!
We finally convinced Owen to go out and he clung to Tom like a second skin. The guys were pulling the boat to a new location (trying to get in shallower water).
Friends of theirs came and moored with us and they had brought their dogs so Katie wanted to go over to see them.
Owen getting more comfortable in the water…
And when he saw they had a football water toy? It was GAME ON.
And suddenly he was having a blast!
He told Tom he was floating just like a balloon!
On the way home…
It was really fun and really relaxing…and the time really flies when you’re out on a boat—we left about 1:30 and were pulling back in about 6:30! Tom and I were exhausted after all that fresh air! The cousins introduced Owen to a new video game…and Katie had to sit there, too!
Then Owen was building with Nick’s Legos, and I heard one of the girls say that Owen builds such cool things!
Then it was time for Frozen! All the kids were enjoying it!
The family decided to have Christmas in July this year and the Besons hosted. It was a GORGEOUS Michigan summer day on the river spent with our AMAZING family! Timmy supplied about 32 different types of brats (okay, maybe only about 12) and we stuffed ourselves silly on them plus all the other good food everyone brought. A good time was had by all and I think we may officially be moving our holiday celebration to the summer from now on!
Owen was a bit shy at first, so he and Katie were both in Nick’s room playing by themselves.
Katie loved the boat. LOVED. LOVED!! She would have sat out there all day if we let her and kept wanting to go back.
Finally Owen wanted to play!
Owen is six months younger than Aubrey. I know, right?
Cousins Katie 2, Owen 5, Aubrey 6, Gracie 8, Nick 10, Alex 12, and Jess 15. We never actually got Owen back-to-back with Nick, but I think they were within a fraction of an inch of each other (with a five-year age difference). And Katie seems to be pretty close to Aubrey, who is four years older. I guess we really DO grow them big.
Lisa B. made these AWESOME ladybug cupcakes for Katie’s birthday.
And these for Greg’s birthday. (I missed a pic of the ones for Aubrey’s birthday, but they were Frozen-themed.)
We did pretty good keeping track of Katie all day (when there’s so many people around, there’s always someone half watching) and then we failed right at the end. People were running around cleaning up and putting things away…and before I know it, Tom is carrying Katie back from the front yard. Apparently Katie was wandering down the driveway and Greg caught her and brought her back. Phew.
And before we knew it, it was time to head out. Katie didn’t make it to the end of the road before she fell asleep, and Owen lasted about 15 minutes.
Getting ready for s’mores at our house on Valley Ridge Lane (during Tom’s first deployment in 2005) with Ursula Mitchell.
One of my favorite pictures from our wedding day—Jessica was our flower girl and she DID NOT want to take a picture with me no matter what.
In Traverse City at my apartment before heading out camping and to Mackinac Island in September 1997.
Circa 1991 at Tim Hough (now Nolan)’s graduation party. Who would have guessed we’d someday become cousins?
Trip to Baltimore in 2005 with our good friends Tom and Karen Trimble.
A somewhat recent Throwback Thursday (11/25/10)—with Kelly King.
Just a few years ago (2007—seems like yesterday)…one of my all-time favorite pictures with good friends Nancy and Kelly.
Camping with cousins Lisa and Lori in high school—I’m guessing ’89 or ’90?
I had completely forgotten about the trip to Toronto we took with Sue McLaughlin and Pam Williams—maybe 1988? 89?
Since we typically miss the Christmas get-together, we got everyone together for dinner in Bay City!
Owen did okay getting back in the car again but Katie was. not. thrilled. and let us know. However, during one moment in which Katie was momentarily quiet, we heard Owen pope up: “Good job, Katie. You’re being patient.”
Everyone adored Katie and most of them said she was a mini Jenny (we still don’t see it).
A birthday balloon for Katie from Grauntie Rose:
On the move…
Rocks taste good:
Owen LOVED playing with Jessica and Alex…but obviously liked Jess just a little more!
With cousin Aubrey, who is six months older—can you believe it?
The gaggle of young cousins:
And the same group two years ago (April 2011). Nick (almost 7), Gracie (almost 5), Aubrey (almost 3), and Owen (just turned 2). Owen outweighs Aubrey by at least 12# and is about 5# less than the 5yo.
An attempt at a family photo:
Timmy did the grilling!
With Aunt Lori:
And Gramma Jean:
The whole family (minus Greg, Aunt Sue, and Uncle Marv…plus friends Chris and Pete):
Katie in a fancy dress… Lisa brought a few bins of 3T clothes for me to sort through for Katie—a bunch of which were winter clothes and fancy dresses (which we don’t need) but this dress was SO cute I had to put her in it just for a few pictures. She loved it!
Owen had SOOO much fun he didn’t want to leave, but we had to drive back to Grayling… The big test was to see how the kids did sleeping in the car and being taken directly into bed…which they both passed with flying colors!
Saturday night we met with Stef & Al (my third cousins, I think—I’m bad at figuring out those type of family relations) and their kids for dinner and then swimming back at our hotel pool. It was nice visiting with them—I can’t even remember the last time we saw them!
Sunday it was off to Water Country to meet up with Lisa & Timmy and their kids for a day of fun in the water! They were visiting Williamsburg for a week’s vacation so we were more than happy to come up and see them!
I didn’t take my phone and didn’t have a waterproof camera, so we didn’t get a ton of pictures…but we did get a few. Owen took a little bit to get comfortable playing in the water, but once he did, he had a blast! It was enjoyable for me as well since I didn’t have to worry about running around to all the rides…sometimes being eight months pregnant has its advantages!
Also, major thanks to Timmy for splurging on a cabana…that really IS the way to go for a whole day at the park!
Taking a break for ice cream!
COUSINS! Of course, Owen is the beast of the group…he’s almost 3.5 while the others (from left to right) are almost 6, almost 8, and almost 4. :eek:
We wanted to get all four little ones together for a photo…my mom and I were both snapping away at the same time. I put all mine (I think it was 129 or so!) into a slideshow because it’s funny to watch the whole thing in one shot. I think there are maybe two decent ones overall where everyone is looking at the camera!
We finally made it back to Lisa and Timmy’s for a visit… It took quite awhile before Owen would actually play with the kids, but he had fun the whole day! I forgot my real camera, so I just have these few from my phone.
This is Owen and Aubrey. She is six months older, but he outweighs her by about 5-7# and has probably 3″ on her.
We decided it was time to go visit Lisa and Timmy and the kids, since we’ve been here a year, only live 1.5 hours away, and haven’t been there yet. We timed it for Owen’s nap times, and it worked perfectly.
We got there around noon, and they prepared a great lunch for us. Owen ate his normal baby food, but since we had a bunch of kid-friendly foods available, we gave him banana pieces (which we know he likes), then tried strawberry (which wasn’t too bad), bread (which he’s had before), and cheese (which he liked). He didn’t want a lot of any of the new foods, but at least he tried them and didn’t spit them out!
Owen was the youngest of the four—I think they’re five, two, and 17 months. The funny thing is that Owen is bigger than the 17-month old! Lisa says she’s 22#, but she felt A LOT lighter to me! :)) Here is the proof of the size difference (and you wonder why people think we have a toddler!):
And boy did Owen have fun with the cousins. (Technically I think they’re second cousins? My cousins’ kids?) Anyway, they were all banging on a plastic bin and talking and since he can’t talk, he was just screeching and having a blast making noise with them. And then Nick leaned over and gave him a kiss. Soooo cute!
And then Nick gave Owen a little rough-and-tumble-yet-gentle take-down from behind, and it was sooooo adorable, and Owen loved it. This was the best pic from the bunch:
We had a really good time, and we loved having Owen be able to play with (and just be around) kids of different ages. We hope to get together more often in the future so they kids will know each other…
To start from the beginning, though… It took a team effort to get my Aunt Marge down here for her long-awaited new-baby visit: my mom drove her to Bay City and then my cousins Lisa and Lori and my Aunt Marilyn drove her here from there. They didn’t mind, as they then also got to see the baby!
So I had just finished feeding Owen when they arrived. Everyone was taking turns holding Owen and he was lying on Lisa’s lap when OUT OF NOWHERE he spit up, projectile-style, VERTICALLY, right onto her shirt!!
What a stinker! Before that moment, he had never spit up AT ALL!
Unfortunately, I think it has started a trend…
A client came in today that I had to help with something—and at one point, she wrote her cell number down and I saw it was 989 so I said “Are you from Michigan?” Yes, she said, so I proceeded to tell her I was from Grayling, parents are in Grayling, Traverse City, and Kalkaska, etc., and she’s nodding her head yes, she knows these places. So then I ask where she’s from and she says Bay City. Can you believe that? So we go through the “who do you know” routine and we didn’t hit on anything until I said “Do you know Besons Market?” Of course she did. I said my cousins owned that—and asked if she knew Timmy. She said she knows OF him—her best friend worked there for quite some time. She also recognized Frost Drive when I said it was across the street from Handy. (She went to Western, so she didn’t know Uncle John—although she might actually be too young to have been there during his time anyway.)
It’s such a small world and it’s always neat when something like this happens.