This trip was made particularly exciting by the fact that we were all going to meet our new niece/cousin for the first time! Two-month-old Skyla Mary is our kids' first cousin and they were VERY excited.
Also, they just really love babies.
Particularly Landon. Claire loved holding Sky and kept asking to do so, but Landon truly LOVES babies. He wanted to hold her and pat her and talk about her all the time. He would be genuinely thrilled to be the oldest of a very long line of siblings. I have at least a dozen pictures of him doing something like this:
After a brief introductory period of being unsure of this living, breathing, moving version of a baby doll, Cora declared, "I hold this baby." And so she did.
I ALSO loved holding Sky. So tiny and squishy and happy. Sleepy, eaty, occasionally smiley. No tantrums or timeouts or yes/not you can/cannot have/do that. Just hold me. Occasionally feed me.
I love having big kids, but there's nothing like being out of the baby phase to make you appreciate being in it all the more. I think that's why #3 was so easy- you know how quickly it's going to go and how much more complicated their world is about to get.
So it was fun to have a tiny baby to borrow. Plus, having been the only one with kids for the last 9 years, it was lovely to be a position to just do the borrowing.
Also, besides little Skyla, there was Tia and Billy and Eric and Papa and Gigi and the LAKE! And a new swim mat that was VERY awesome.
Cora was all about all the lake house toys this time around. She rode on the "little boat" and liked that very much.
She also jumped off the rather high dock about 100 million times. After each jump she'd bob up to the surface and then put her face flat in the water and kick kick to the ladder for her "swimming" and then climb up the ladder and do it all over again (and again and again).
We had the rope swing too, of course, and each summer the kids just get stronger and can hold on longer and do more fun things on the way down.
And on Saturday there was even more family- a few of my awesome cousins and aunts and uncles, and even more food and fun.
The kids had such a blast- nonstop swimming and jumping and EATING and playing.
At around 5:30 James decided it would be a good idea to jump from the swim mat directly onto the metal ladder. It was not.
So we took a trip to the Livingston emergency room. They were great and fast and in less than an hour we were on our way back to the lake house with five staples, a tetanus shot, round of antibiotics, and a $125 credit card charge. James was mostly concerned that the trip was happening in the middle of the Olympic Trials telecast. Also, he's a swim coach who can't get his foot wet for 7 days. Oops.
The party continued on with a pretty spectacular fireworks show set off on my brother's boat (aka "international waters"). Cora covered her eyes the whole time, which I felt like was missing the point entirely, but otherwise wasn't too concerned about the explosions going off a few yards from shore.
On Sunday the kids woke up too early and we all went tubing on the BIG boat. Claire is a huge fan of boat rides and requested to go super fast. As the speed ticked up I looked at Cora to see how she felt about things and she caught my eye and exclaimed, "I LIKE this boat!"
The kids all tubed. Since James is on the injured list, I had to accompany Claire on her first round, though she did acquiescence to going alone with Landon afterward. I love his face here. Claire thinks they're killing it and he's like, omg can we please go faster.
Cora decided to go tubing too! And she LOVED it. Landon wondered if we could seriously just go a LITTLE FASTER. He got a solo spin after this and we upped the speed substantially.
We ate a late lunch and packed up to head home. The kids were exhausted and the adults even more so. Thanks to James's poor choices regarding his right foot, I had to drive the Suburban home even though I never drive the Suburban and I've never driven a single mile on a family road trip. Then he fell asleep 2 miles into the outing and Claire and Cora were quickly out too, so I stopped for caffeine a few miles down I-45. We got home safely and unpacked, did laundry, and attempted some grocery shopping. James was hurting and I was so tired, but we were hosting a pool party the next day and needed something to offer people. We got in bed around 10:30 and fell asleep instantly- something more rare than a unicorn sighting for me- and woke up at 8:45 the next morning. 8:45!!! James was supposed to lead a lifeguard in-service at 9 at a pool 15 minutes away and Claire needed to be at a friend's house by 9:30 to be in our neighborhood 4th of July parade and I needed Starbucks before that could happen. It was madness. Who would have thought we'd need an alarm for an 8 a.m. wake up time when we have 3 children and an insomniac mother?
Luckily we got our shit together pretty quickly. James hobbled out to the pool. The kids were in red, white, and blue and had granola bars tossed at their heads. I secured my Starbucks and Claire was deposited at her friend's. I roared up the driveway, grabbed our wagon, threw in some chairs and a bag for candy and took off down the street with Landon and Cora to watch the parade.
It was adorable.
Claire loved being in the parade (of course) and Landon loved all the candy. Cora enjoyed sitting calmly in her chairs eating the candy Landon handed to her. Everyone was winning.
We got back home, cleaned up the back yard which had been trashed through HUGE storms that apparently went on for HOURS the night before but we were so unconscious I didn't hear a thing even though my bedroom is made entirely of glass and storms usually keep me up for hours. Lakehousing is exhausting. I made a big pitcher of pomegranate margaritas (make them! add a can of something fizzy at the end; I used diet sprite), baked a tres leches cake, and assembled some snacks and then friends came! With more food and beverages! We had about 30 people and it was so relaxed and fun.
After that the kids ended up on a friend's golf cart and then stopped at another friend's house for smoke bombs and water fights. I stopped by and found myself with a glass of champagne in hand before heading to another friend's house because we'd heard they had a bounce house in play. I left the kids there to go home and sit on the couch for an hour and then collected them with James, Cora, and a bag of clothing (they were still in swim suits) so we could go eat food. We did that, watched some America Ninja Warrior, and had everyone in bed at 7:45 a.m. It was such a great 4th. It took a little while to find a community here but I think we have and I couldn't be happier. I'm so in love with our family, our neighborhood, and America. I hope you all had a great one too!