Yes, there was debate about whether or not to bring the computer on vacation. After spending just under a week with thirteen kids and 5 adults under one roof, I feel confirmed that midnight blogging is more of a vacation than any of our daytime activities. As usual we have played many hands of Euchre. The Risk board has been set up on the coffee table for days. In the corner of the room is a puzzle that never seems to be finished--or if it does reach completion, is immediately disassembled for a redo (often with someone trying to keep large portions of the puzzle still together for a headstart). The floor is a carpet of children and legos. Mom and Emily are scurrying around the kitchen cooking and cleaning, and I wander around in there also trying to give the appearance that I'm doing something important (but am more often stuffing my face with honey and toast in the corner). Dad and Joe sit in the center of the chaos, often with a book on their laps, obliviously trying to plan a bikeride around the lake, or a fishing trip. The four year-olds keep sneaking off upstairs to play "Mommy and Daddy." Naturally Emily and I felt a need to survey this game, and were relieved to find that while Jane had named herself Mommy, John preferred to be the baby, and Julia could not be persuaded to be anyone in the family other than the dog. A happy family indeed. The six year olds are joined at the hip--well, Annie and Sarah are. First thing in the morning they get dressed in each other's swimsuits, then run around all day with wedgies. Daniel usually plays around them peripherally, grateful when they decide to join his pretend to be an animal games. The 7-11 year olds have graduated into board games, tennis, and harrassing any adult who dares to swim out to the raft in the green water on the lake where they hold court waving noodles over their heads as warning. Every once in awhile, Joe swims out there and throws them all off the raft. If I swim out, I put on my "I'm pregnant and can't be teased" face and though they might spit water on me once or twice, they lose interest when I don't fight back. At this point, Emily is usually swimming laps up and down the lake in black goggles, and water shoes. And Mom and Dad have generously volunteered to remain at the house with the sleeping babies.
The Crystal Highland association members have been uncharacteristically friendly to us on the beach--though we attack it each day with gusto. The 90 year old leather lady in the bikini usually packs up her smokes and goes home after her noon tanning session, but the rest have said hello, or commented on the number of children, and have even on occasion smiled at us. To be charitable to the ice cream dippers at the Cool Spot, Ben wrote all of our ice cream orders down in advance and we kept the children outside. The dippers still managed to appear pissed off that we were there buying 50 bucks worth of ice cream from them.
After the kids are in bed, the adults take pot shots at each other while they pretend to read. Our first night was spent deciding what animal each of us would be if we were animals. After throwing around the idea of a marsupial (I think Emily just liked the sound of herself saying this word), we unanimously decided that mom would be a cat, which she took as a personal offence because she hates cats. Emily cheerfully agreed that she was a squirrel or some other type of rodent that nibbles things. Dad, whether it's projection of his beloved pets or not, is a Lab. Emily seemed to think that I'm a bear who likes to be left alone to forage, but attacks easily when provoked. I don't disagree, though I recognize that bears are also large and hairy. And Joe....hmmmmmm....it would help if he ever said more than two words around the family. But he also has the benefit of being an outlaw here, and therefore is somewhat safe from the sharper jabs. I, of course, have never called him by any animal names.
The cherry fritters have been disappointing this year. Too crispy. I'll leave it to Emily to fill you in on the state of the local produce up here. The Beaulah book sale was this morning, and Mom, Emily and I all scored some stinky used library books to feel smug about. Joe and I watched the boats come in at Mike Bradly's tonight, and they were unloading cooler after cooler of gigantic king salmon. Apparently it's a good year for fishing on Lake Michigan. The weather has been beautiful and I sort of wish you guys were all here (though that would mean more competition for the good bedrooms).