As you know, we love our annual work-cation at the Lake House. It is one of our favorite events of the summer. We look forward to it with great anticipation, and this year was no different. We couldn't wait for our wonderful week at the end of the summer. Then we got a letter from the US government letting us know that our re-fingerprinting appointment (something we have to do for the adoption to keep our paperwork current) was Friday morning of the week we were supposed to be at the Lake House. So our week was getting cut considerably short. But we figured that was no problem. We would just make the most of the 3.5 days we had there and love every minute.
You can probably see where this is going...so we're going to start with the bad first. Just get it out of the way so that we can then focus on the good. The first night there, I noticed there seemed to be a nest of bees (or some stinging creature) in the stairs going down to the beach. I made a mental note to be careful on the stairs. Noting was not enough. We had been there just over 24 hours when Allie got stung. By the end of the day, she got stung 2 more times (every time she went outside, poor girl), and she had an allergic reaction (much thanks to our friend who is an ER doctor and treated her over the phone...as well as technology that lets me send pictures to the doctor 4 hours away to help in a diagnosis). Did I mention I got stung too? I can attest that it really, really hurts! So we stopped going outside. Then I noticed that we all (the kids and I, at least) had bites all over our feet and ankles...and there were these little, black, jumping bugs in the beds and on the furniture. Fleas. As I was mentally gearing myself to just deal with them for one more day, I discovered a gigantic spider bite on Allie's arm. I was done. Thankfully, Lucas was too and we packed up and spent our last night at a hotel - swimming in the pool and blissfully bug free!
I made sure I gave her the needed medical attention before taking the picture to document this moment. I am a good parent. I promise!
Now for the good parts. Because there were many wonderful moments in that short time that I don't want to get lost in the bad, buggy ones... For example, we had 2 wonderful times at the beach before the stinging started. In those 2 trips we spent hours splashing in the water, playing in the sand, soaking up the sun, and practicing swimming. Pure summer bliss.
Wading in with their noodles.
A favorite tradition - calling the whales.
Papa taught them to blow bubbles through their noodles. Ryan loves it and is a pro.
Allie always has trouble keeping her noodle in the water...
Riding her noodle.
Resting in the chairs (that were an AWESOME) new addition to the beach this year!
Of course, we had to continue our annual tradition of the hike. This year, we made it a brand new adventure by hiking all the way around the lake!
Through the woods!
I wish I could remember what he was telling us, but regardless I love that face!
Allie spent the time collecting pretty leaves.
At one point, Allie found this balloon. I tried to convince her it was trash and should be left alone. She informed me it was a TREASURE and it bopped along behind her the rest of the way.
My two favorite guys.
I should note that while I was taking this picture, a butterfly landed on Allie's hand and stayed there for several seconds. It was, hands down, the most monumental moment of the whole trip for her - maybe of the summer.
Nana and Poppy stopped by for a visit. Sadly, I took almost no pictures of their visit (I was too busy having fun).
Playing card games.
Another favorite tradition is a trip to the park...or two. We LOVE this park, and as the kids get older (and we get less nervous about their safety) we spend more and more time there! This year, they tried out some new things that they were previously too small to enjoy.
Spinning on this strange wheel things. Daddy would lift them up, they would grab on, and then he would spin them around...
...and catch them!
It looks painful to me, but it quickly became their favorite thing. We had to make them take breaks!
Of course, we had to get a few pictures that have become a tradition. Every year, as I take the picture, I think that it can't possibly be that much different from the year before. They haven't grown THAT much, right?
A collage of the last 3 summers.
And then I look back and am amazed at how much they have changed and grown! This is certainly the most bittersweet part of this trip every year. We love spending time at the park and getting these pictures every year, but once I'm home and looking through them, it pains me a little to see so clearly how quickly time is passing!
They have grown into such hams!
As I took the pictures this year, I also started to wonder how many years they will willingly pose for these pictures? Will I be able to coax jr. highers onto the bus or double slide for posterity's sake? Will I want to?
The past 3 summers.
For now, I'm going to hold onto the feeling at the park - simply enjoying the moment. Relishing every second. Delighting in this age and stage. It really is so much fun!
Work was completed (for Lucas), several books were read (by Kim), many wonderful memories were made (by us all). Overall, the work-cation was a success. At the very least, we are looking forward to next year being better!