Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Better Late than Never!

I'm a little behind on a few posts because I swear everything came at once in August -- our vacation, Emma's birthday letter, her party, etc. Lots of good material if you're a daily blogger, but as you all know, I'm not quite that organized.

So I guess I'll tell you about our vacation to Michigan now...over a month later. After all, it was our first official family vacation!

For many, many years, it has been Jeff's family tradition to go to Holland, Michigan every summer for about a week. I'm not sure when it started, but in the 10 years I've been a part of the family, we've gone every year. We used to all squeeze into a condo Jeff's parents rented, until we expanded and added another condo. Finally, we decided we needed a house to fit all of us, but even that got too small. So instead of renting an entire hotel, we opted to divide up this summer. Sad, yes, but we did get a weekend where all 11 of us were together. Jeff's parents and sister stayed for one week and then we took the next week, with Brian, Alicia & their 3 kids. That way all the kids could be together.

And Emma totally loved it. Seeing her cousins every morning was so much fun for her. They truly love her so much. Even with a baby brother of their own, Livi and Jax gave Emma tons of attention. Evan was also very tolerant of Emma's constant "loving," which sometimes involved kisses and other times meant a bop on the head!

She napped surprisingly well all week and went to bed on time almost every night. My biggest accomplishment was letting her stay up until 9pm one night when we met some cousins for ice cream and a bonfire. It took major effort for me not to go into freak out mode about Emma not getting her rest, but I survived. And so did she. It was a good lesson in "letting go," so I can officially check that off the list and quickly go back to my old over-protective, first-time mom ways.

Emma loved splashing around in the extremely cold lake water and really enjoyed playing (a.k.a. eating) the sand. That was probably the hardest part about this trip. She was old enough to want to experience everything, but not old enough to know when to just chill. Where do you put a baby when she wants to walk around and you're surrounded by miles and miles of sand that she thinks belongs in her mouth, eyes, and hair? On a blanket? Um, sure, if you can get her to sit still...NOT happening. So, the beach was not so fun for mommy. And the house wasn't exactly baby-proofed, which also made my usual bodyguard job that much more intensive. Still, it was nice for Emma to enjoy new surroundings and explore every nook and cranny. She also got some major lovin' from her Auntie Sha and Uncle Bri, who are happy to give her whatever she wants!

In fact, our families got along so well that I could have stayed another week. We always have gotten along with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law -- Jeff and his bro are truly each other's best friends -- but I expected some friction living in such close quarters with four kids. But there was none. It was true, Beaver Cleaver bliss in our little Michigan house. Too bad real life called and made us come back to stuff like work, laundry, and well, laundry.

Of course, my post wouldn't be complete without a boatload of photos, so here ya go. I'll keep 'em small since there are more than a few. Are you sick of all these photos yet? Man, someone take the camera away from this woman!

Flower Power
Emma checks out the flowers and other "pretties" in our new backyard.

Do these fit, Mom?
Emma gets her first pair of wooden shoes! And, yes, we got her ones that actually fit.

The kids!
Adorable... I know! (L to R: Evan, Jax, Livi and Emma)

Sand... yummy!!

Best photo of the trip... hands down!
I just wish it wasn't so dark!

Family Photos

Them...Aren't they gorgeous. Makes you want to puke, huh?! :-)


Amanda said...

NEVER sick of pictures!!!! :) Looks like a great vacation!

kkoois said...

sounds like you guys had big fun! that's great that you were all able to get along so well under one roof for a whole week.

great pictures! great looking families. are you and emma wearing matching gauchos? too cute!

The Mom said...

The photo of Emma in the shoes is just hysterical. That one's totally a framer!

Jen said...

Great pics! I see Brian is still as hot as he was in high school :-) His oldest son looks jsut like him!

The beach is awesome~look at it this way, sand is fiber. Great for digestion.

Glass Half Full said...

Love the photos!! We live 30 minutes from Lake Michigan -- love the Great Lakes!!!

Mama C-ta said...

OK, you guys take the BEST family photos, seriously. I looooove that picture of Emma w/the big shoes on, her expression and hand gesture is perfect!

Do you ever read Sweet Juniper? They just went to Holland too and I thought of you guys b/c I know you always go.

Carol said...

I love looking at the photos. Don't ever take away the camera from one who has an eye for GREAT pics! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the first one with Emma and the flowers in the backyard! What a great shot! Both great families. I also love the ones with all four kids! Beautiful! Glad you had such a great vacation. (Photo shop or Walgreens or Target or Wolf camera can lighten up that picture)

Tammy said...

I'm visiting from Glass Half Full...
Such beautiful pictures! You all are so photogenic!
Looks like everyone had such a great time...(LOVE those wooden shoes!)
I'm a sort of "older" mom to two girls, 7 and 4. So many blogging moments come from them!
Nice to "meet" you...stop by anytime!