Sunday, August 12, 2018

No Dogs on the Beach

Strange things were happening when we arrived at Jeff's this morning.

I arrived early to help Ben get ready for church, who spent two fun-filled nights with the cousins.  While looking for him, I found Julia and Casper.

To my surprise, I ended up accompanying Jeff, Ella and Kate, who sang in church today.  Jeff said he'd asked me several weeks ago.  Maybe.  Maybe I'm getting old.   Anyway, they sounded wonderful, especially the third verse where I didn't play a note.

Lunch was set for 2:45.  It was 12:30.  Melanie and I finished her puzzle.

Then we played Blink!  To my surprise, and also Melanie's, I won the first round.  Melanie won the next three.

Matt joined us.  He lost, too

However, he beat us both at Go Fish!  

I have played countless games and put together many puzzles with these two over the years.  I love that we can still have fun.

Papa Ben learned a new joke in PH this morning, and he chose to share it with us.  "Why did the Mormon rooster cross the street?  None of us could guess.  "To help those on the other side."
Everyone groaned but me.

Still waiting for lunch, Melanie and I decided to go on a walk.  Lots of people wanted to come with us, but in the end, only Papa and Hank followed through.

We've had such a fun weekend.  Jeff and Jill are not only wonderful hosts, but Jill's family is tremendous.  All these cousins get along so well.  And we knew that by the time we got home from our walk, the Brown's would be there.

Kids lined up pretty quickly for this lunch.  Jeff made six or seven dozen homemade biscuits.

I didn't take a picture of the pot of sausage gravy, but I wondered if Jeff thought we were all starving monsters.
Maybe that's exactly what he thought.
Dave sat across from me with his plate full of food.

The kids scarfed it all up.

Matt went back for thirds, or maybe it was fourths, and he used a rubber spatula to get the last of the gravy from the pot.

And then it was time to say good-bye.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Twenty-two Kids, a Ballerina Puzzle, and Many Heroes!

I arrived at Jeff's early, intending to help kids get ready.  I loved seeing Bradley playing with Ben.  

Richie is certainly a favorite.  I watched him be passed around all day long.

Even Papa got in on the fun.

In no time, all the kids were ready.  Ben knew these were his church shoes.

Dave's family was the first to arrive at the chapel.

The younger kids are wonderful and love being with each other.

Kate played prelude and postlude.  Before the baptism was over, the bishop asked her to play for sacrament meeting.

Marcia had almost as many of her grandchildren there as I did.  We've become good friends and I love the long arms of love her family brings to ours.

Ah, the stories I could tell about this girl.  Ask me later.

Richie didn't spend much time with Mom today, so this was a rare moment.

Julia has a special relationship with Jill.

The baptism was lovely, and I wasn't the only one who had tears.  Of course, refreshments are the favorite part for many.

These kids -- they see my camera and know exactly what to do!

This group of cousins politely smiled at me until I said on the count of three they could do anything they wanted.

Bradley, Nate and Luke have a special relationship, and a picture of the three of them together would have been nice.  However, people and events moved pretty fast today.

I'll tell you something cool -- Matt was not only a witness today, but he stood in the circle.  Another reason for a few tears.

Melissa and Sammie came for the baptism.  Bradley came to play with his cousins.

Jeff is practicing up on his baby skills.  That's watermelon going into Richie's mouth.

Back at the ranch, Jeff had smoked pork shoulders waiting to be pulled.  This is a picture of experts at work.

This is a picture of experts getting out of work.

In Jeff's home, older kids can't eat unless they have helped a younger person.  Ben didn't want to be a younger cousin until he realized it got him close to the front of the line.

These families have now been blending together for a couple of years and everyone gets along.

This is Caroline.

Jill's feelings were just a little hurt when Richie preferred Jeff to her.

Melanie finally got to the front of the line.  AJ is in the back, one of today's heroes.

This was my plate.  The food was delicious.  Honestly, scrumptious, every single bite.

All of a sudden, I heard kids in the pool.  Wait, wasn't it raining?

In fact, it had rained all day, but that didn't stop most of the kids.  However, a minor electrical problem kept the hot tub from working.

You're thinking Julia looks cold.  That's because she is.

Most of the kids didn't care.

Nate cared, but he got over it pretty quickly.

Caroline had no interest in going in the water. She sat next to me.

The Brown kids -- they have no fear!

Neither does this child.  He lives to play with other kids, and he has never been happier than he was today.

These two Bens are building a nice a friendship.

This went on for about two hours.  Or maybe it just seemed that long to me.  Papa brought me some dry clothes, not that I got in the pool.  No, I did not.

Imagine the appeal of lots of kids screaming in a cold pool in the rain.

Julia decided she wanted to imagine something warm.

Caroline, on the other hand, wanted the loud, wet, cold and crowded experience.

Meaning, this one.  Yes, yes, now I'm seeing the appeal...

Don't worry, there were plenty of lifeguards.

There were also plenty of noodles.

Creative Jane decided painting nails outside next to the moms might be a good idea.

Julia joined her.

About this time, AJ fixed the electrical problem before two engineers and a doctor were forced to cry uncle.  How often does one see steam coming from a pool in Dallas?

We  moved back into the house where the loud and crazy fun continued.  Julia needed some quiet time, and I knew just the thing -- a dancing ballerina puzzle.

Ainsley joined them.

In fact, Ainsley wanted to put the puzzle together again, but she needed some help.  I had actually spent much of the afternoon across the table helping Melanie with a 500-piece puzzle.  Who volunteered to help Ainsley?  Yes, another hero, Matt.

Ben and Nate imagined they were heroes.  I can't describe the action going on in this room.  Gosh, these kids sure know how to have fun.  Kids laughing is literally music to my ears.

Having said that, the dancing ballerina puzzle was drawing a crowd.  Luke and Ben took a turn.

Melanie worked on this puzzle, the one with the tiny pieces.

After most of the guests left, twelve of us went around the lake.  Apparently I need to mention that the rain had stopped by this time.  Papa and Uncle Dave were not with us.  They had spent several hours at Corinne's replacing her faucet.

Many home repair jobs can wait, but hot water in the kitchen was something I could no longer live without.

Dave, another hero of the day!