We all arrived Friday evening, ate pizza and stayed up ridiculously late visiting and laughing.
It wasn't my idea, but we woke up pretty early on Saturday morning. My mom woke up even earlier and was already making our traditional and favorite breakfast of apple fritters. I ate more than I should. They're just too delicious.
My mom always has some projects for us to complete and we always work before we play. So, Neal and I joined my mom, grandma and aunt picking apricots. The ripest fruit was in the top of the trees so we devised several creative methods to reach it, including standing on the truck and making Neal climb up into the branches. Neal was a great help and within a few hours we had baskets and baskets and boxes of fruit.
While we were getting sticky and hot climbing trees, my dad and the men were bailing hay in the fields. Utah Dad and my brother-in-law were excited and anxious to have a turn on the tractor. It broke down while Utah Dad was driving it. I'm really hoping it wasn't his fault.
My sister took the kids with her to the pond to catch frogs. They caught over 10 tiny little frogs and Amberly got her shoes very muddy. It's a good thing we haven't bought her new school shoes yet.
My sister has two little girls that are the same ages as Lilly and Molly. They had so much fun playing together. The older two girls were trying to "ditch" the younger two girls who followed them from place to place.
When all the work was done, we drove up "the mountain" to East Park. My youngest sister and her husband came too. My second brother had to work but his wife and three boys also joined us. The reservoir there was uncrowded and welcoming. As soon as we parked the car, Neal, Amberly and Thomas bolted from the car and ran to the water. I think they were a bit surprised at how cold the water is.
The adults insisted the water was too cold to swim. Then Utah Dad went in. Since my family is notoriously competitive, the others just had to join him. Before long my dad and brother were out in the water too. One of my sisters and my sister-in-law got in too. I went in to my waist. It really was numbing cold. (By the way, I have a cold so my voice sounds especially obnoxious on the videos. Hopefully it doesn't always sound like that.)
My sister and brother-in-law brought their kayaks so we all took turns kayaking around the lake.
I love how my brother-in-law carries around his little daughters. They are tiny and they cling to his arm like little monkeys.
Both Neal and Amberly begged to try kayaking by themselves. They've never done it before and I was a little nervous but they both did really well.
My brother and brother-in-law decided to try some "dare devil" moves and stand on the kayaks. They were knocking each other off and it was pretty dang funny.
Neal just had to try standing up in the kayak too. He has some pretty impressive balance.
Molly and her "matching cousin" had a great time getting wet and muddy.
Lilly and her cousins (she called them "my best friend and that boy") were inseperable. They layed out on a rock and had all kinds of princess make believe.
Amberly enjoyed trying to kayak by herself. I was pretty impressed by her ability to navigate. She thought it was funny to go out in the reeds.
Not to be out done by his sons and grandson, my dad had to try standing on the kayak as well.
Anyone who thinks my little Amberly is just a sweet girl might be surprised to see her mischevious streak. She did her best to try to knock her grandfather off the kayak and into the water.
Thomas and his "matching cousin" had a great time climbing on the rocks, swimming and throwing rocks out into the water.
Amberly tries to bump into her grandpa again.
The mountain lake was breathtakingly beautiful. There were very few people there and we only had to share the lake with a pair of fishing ospreys. They are the coolest birds.
After we spent several hours at the lake, we returned to my parents' house and had a BBQ. Then my sister had a special surprise. She brought ten floating lanterns. The children were absolutely mesmerized as the lanterns floated into the sky (imagine a much smaller version of Tangled). It was so beautiful. Thomas shouted with great enthusiasm "They're becoming stars!"
We put the kids to bed. My brother-in-law taught us a great way of making ice cream shakes in the Kitchen Aid. And then he and my sister taught us a new fun card game.
The days are just longer and much more fun at my parents' house. I'm convinced.
**Thanks to my sister for sharing many of the pictures included in this post. You're awesome.**