My sister and her family were with us for three weeks, including the week at Lake Ontario. During our time at home, we were able to enjoy two (two!) double dates. Thank you, Mom!
For our first evening out, and much-needed break from the kids (I love them like crazy, but they can also make me crazy), we went to our favorite local restaurant. We enjoyed probably the best meal I've had all year. My mouth waters just thinking of it. And my sister had probably the best drink I've ever tried. It was so good, she waited 45 minutes for them to make the second batch (it requires infusing vodka with cilantro!) and then proceeded to lick the glass when she was done. Makes me smile just thinking of it.
For our second night out, we went to a brewery for dinner and followed it up with a movie. We avoided the giant multiplex in favor of a tiny movie house that we had never been to before. It was quiet and small and perfect. The movie we chose was The Way Way Back, and I loved it. Highly recommend.
Now it's time for me to plan our next date-night. It's always nice to have one to look forward to.
Yes we took pictures at the bar. We're cool like that.
It is the start of another year. I am feeling grateful for all the wonderful experiences we had and memories we made this summer, and yet I'm also ready to get back to our school-year routines. My boys had a blast this summer, but they also seem ready and excited to start school. Aaron started first grade today, and Nathan has another week and a half before he starts his last year of preschool. We celebrated Aaron's first day with after-school milkshakes, and I'm grateful he's happy to be back at school with his friends.
My babies! Growing up. Each milestone is so much fun; and I am truly not weepy for the babies they no longer are, but rather I am proud and excited about the boys they have become.
I know- really I do - how uninteresting it is to look at other people's vacation pictures. Sometimes I do stop and think about what I should write/post, wondering if I should try to make my words or pictures more interesting to my small group of readers. Then I remind myself that this blog is for me. It is sometimes my journal, and I do love being able to look back at old posts and visit some memories. So as boring as it may be for you at times, I'm going to continue doing what I do. Forgive me.
The weekend of our trip to the lake was a family reunion of sorts. We had about 50 people there, and I love being with these people. They are an incredibly cool, kind, smart, and fun group. On Saturday, we played yard games (horseshoe, frisbee games, etc.) and caught up with each other over a few beers. (What does it say that my kids became obsessed with collecting beer caps?) We had a huge cookout, and we capped off the evening with a bonfire. We sang songs, and we watched as several cousins stepped up to perform various talents. I didn't get to bed until 3:30AM; and when I got there, my belly was sore from laughing. On Sunday, it was more of the same, but we also spent some time doing yoga. Another one of my talented cousins is a yoga instructor, and she led us in doing various yoga "tricks". It was very fun, and then a few of us joined her in a more traditional practice. Doing yoga in the sunshine on the grass is a beautiful thing, especially when you're with people you love.
We had gorgeous weather at the lake. Cool evenings, but warm and sunny days. The boys were able to enjoy the water quite a bit, and we had one especially calm day when we spent the entire day playing with the boat. It enabled me to get my annual waterski fix, and it even allowed the boys to get their first taste of skiing. My uncle has an inflatable "easy-ski", and both boys hopped on and thoroughly enjoyed themselves, even remembering to wave to everyone watching from the dock.
I'm back! We have had a wonderful August. Really, the entire summer was full of fun, continuing family traditions as well as taking new adventures. I will be posting some highlights over the next week or so. Let's start with this one:
We were excited to go to our family's cottages on Lake Ontario for many reasons. It's such a wonderful, magical place. The kids can roam outside, and it feels so far removed from the routines of home. Everyone is relaxed. It is also full of family - aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers and sisters... And speaking of siblings, I knew that several of mine would be there. We expected to get five out of seven, which is pretty amazing. Well, when my sister arrived at the lake, she had two extra brothers with her! It was a total surprise to see them! She had convinced them to come, including flying in my brother from Houston. It was a very happy shock. The seven of us hadn't been together since my wedding in 2002. It was really, really cool for all of us to be together. I hope we don't have to wait another 11 years to do it again.
My sister and her family are still here, and summer vacation isn't quite over just yet. I had to stop by the blog for a few minutes, though. I really wanted to share this.
My sister-in-law, then 37, was diagnosed with colon cancer last year. She had a tough year, but she made it through the other side and is now cancer-free. (Woohoo!) Just as she was learning she was done, I found out that my cousin, age 38, was diagnosed with colon cancer as well. I started getting pissed off at all the bad health news hitting young people I know.
My cousin, Tiffany, has undergone colon surgery and the first round of chemo treatments at this point. She's in the middle of a long road. Her friends and family threw a benefit for her, and as a surprise, they created a video tribute, containing clips of her dancing. Her husband (and my first cousin), Rick, took all the videos, and a friend created the compilation to a song by one of their favorite bands, Great Big Sea. It was posted online and has taken on a life of its own. The band tweeted about it, it's on the Ellen Facebook page, and thousands have liked it on YouTube. She was even interviewed on the local news this morning.
You should watch. I promise it will make you smile. And it will remind you that living life positively and as goofy as possible is the best way to live.
I will be taking a little break from the blog for the next few weeks. My sister is coming to visit with her family, and we'll be spending a week on Lake Ontario with lots of extended family. I plan to watch seven of these gorgeous sunsets, get lots of hugs, sing songs around a campfire, skip rocks on the water, play catch, and just generally lounge around and get good quality time with my loved ones. This place is a magical one for our family, and I never leave there feeling anything less than refreshed and completely loved. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to it.
When we return, we'll have more time at home, but not too much, before the school year begins. I'm not prepared to think about that just yet. So here's to August and family vacations...