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!