It's hard to believe that August is here; which means...summer's almost over?! As a kid, the three months of summer freedom felt endless. As an adult with no school-age children, July feels like December and March may very well be September (I guess the California weather is mostly to blame for that). I never know what time of year it is. But one thing that does make it feel like August is family vacationing. We were lucky this summer to have two family get-togethers. And this past weekend we spent it with the entire Willard family. We hung out in the great outdoors and had a totally great time. Nicole, my sister-in-law, did a fabulous job planning it all (HUGE thanks Nicole). We ended up here:
Lake Gregory, near Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear. The weather was perfect, the company was great, and we stayed in this fabulous house:
It was HUGE with 5 bedrooms, 2 balconies/decks, a stocked kitchen, billiard room, dining room (game room), and BIG screen tv (perfect for hours of Mario Kart on the wii). My kids were happy just to roll around on the carpet (something we don't have in our 1950s apartment):
We don't get to see all the Willard family very often since Jeff/Nicole are in Utah and Brady's in Tucson. So it was really fun to just hang out in the same house together and catch up. Here's little Jillian. What a cutie . Those gorgeous blue eyes and curly hair:When we arrived the boys went straight to work with a project. The balcony had a huge cap near the floor, perfect for a little child to fall through. So Parry and the boys went to the hardware store and came back with this fabulous solution:
Well done and thank you:
Since there are 4 brothers in the Willard fam, Grandma Linda is in love with her 3 granddaughters. She's never been able to buy little girl dresses till now. Here's the latest ensemble. Such cute girls! A little redundant with 3 pictures but they were all too cute. Lucy, Jillian, and Jacqueline:
Me and Casey hanging out on the deck:
Nicole and Jeff (Casey's younger brother):
The boys having a grand old time in the Billiard Room:
Jeff and Brady (Casey's youngest brother):
Things we did while lounging at the house....
Intricate puzzles:Coloring and crafts:
Bubbles with Grandpa:
And HOURS and hours of this fun:The last night there we had a Ticket to Ride tournament. Casey won the gold. Here we are with our best game faces:
Of course playing games late at night with Casey's silly brothers made everything funnier than it probably was and as idiotic as possible. We even discovered this magic water. As Jeff poured his water onto ice it froze immediately:
Chad and Lauren's two dogs, Mia and Otis, joined the party. And the girls couldn't get enough of them. Lucy called Mia, "Mina". And spent most of the weekend walking around saying, "Otis! Otis!" Or "I did it Otis!" (to whatever thing she was doing)
She never knew quite where to hug him:
Owen was a happy camper. He played, was held by aunt/uncles and grandparents, and took all his naps. Life was grand:
We spent most of our first full-day at Lake Gregory. It's the perfect small lake for families. There are paddle boats and other toys to rent, a "beach" area for lounging (with dirt not sand. Bummer but still fun), and some super fun old-school water slides.
Looks like they're trudging through the Sahara. It was only a 5 min walk from the car:
Jacqueline's ball immediately rolled down to the water's edge. Lucy quickly recovered it:
Lucy calls all her aunts/uncles by their first names but for some reason she insists on calling Brady, "Uncle Brady". It's real cute. He was their favorite bubble man:
Aunt Nicole is adorably pregnant. She looks so cute. Only 2 more months till another little guy joins Owen in the grandson tally:
The tent was a big hit again. Although this time around Owen rarely stayed in it. It was a clubhouse for the 3 girls:
I kept warning them that pushing on the sides would tip the thing over. Yep, it did. I guess it's kinda fun though when the world is upside down:
The highlight of the lake was the waterslide. Cool and old-school, there were two side-by-side twisty slides. We sat on mats going down and caught some pretty good height on a few of the turns. We all went down numerous times. Here I am:
The brothers, rushing back up to race each other down:
While we were sliding, the girls found an obsession playing with dirt. They were so focused on it for a 1/2 hour straight:
When I came back, Lucy looked like this:
She seemed to enjoy it but then again, I caught her looking like this:
We eventually jumped back in the lake and doused her off. But with no spare clothes left, Owen's swimming suit had to do:
Good thing she's a skinny kid and can fit 12 month size shorts:
The next day we mostly hung out at the cabin/house. It was really nice and relaxing. The kids got all their naps in, Grandma did crafts with the girls, and the boys played in the Billiard Room. Honestly, it was really fun. By 4pm though, we decided to get out and went to a different part of the lake; more mellow and perfect for everyone.
The kids fed the ducks:
Grandma and Grandpa watched their little grandkids:
We flew kites:It was much windier here than at the beach with the Sumans which made for great kite turbulence. At one point we looked over and the kite had flown out of Brady's hands and right into the lake. Jeff saved the day.
Otis was in heaven playing fetch in the water with large sticks. Cute girls watching:
The last morning there we ate breakfast, packed up, and gathered for a family picture.
Here's the whole group. (Left to right, Top Row): Jeff, Nicole, Brady, Lauren, Chad, Lucy, Casey, Dana (Bottom Row): Jillian, Parry and Jacqueline, Linda and Owen. What a fun bunch!
Daddy's truck was packed. Lucy was ready to ride.
We had a wonderful weekend with everyone. The house was so comfy and easy with kids that I may have to mention this to the Suman family also for future vacations. Can't wait to see the Willards next year at an undisclosed location. Crazy to imagine all these kids being a year older. Here's to a great summer of family fun!