Brace yourself, this was a long day.
a.Eliza got a few hours of sleep before the kids found her. Pancakes happened some time after that.
We made it down to the beach shortly after that, and a.Eliza was quickly trained in the crocodile game.
A time later, the rest of the clan showed up, and the sisters took a time out to lounge and catch up.
I took a candid, which was deemed unflattering, so here is a posed picture of the sisters.
And Annaliese, with more important things to take care of.
Me and my wife. Coming up on 7 years. I'm very happy with that decision.
The clan slowly assembled for lunch at High Falls, a roughly 20 ft waterfall with a deep pool below, and several nice swimming holes downstream. The cooking and eating happened above one of the downstream pools. That rock has close to a dozen ladies of all ages lounging on it.
u.Mike, the grillmaster. He didn't ask for the honor, but somehow folks kept starting things on the grill and wandering off.
The kids piled into the trunk for a long series of games, mostly variations on, "there's a monster outside, close the trunk so we're safe inside!" It made many of us nervous, but somehow no fingers were smooshed, and the trunk only latched once. Phoebe hopped over to the driver's side door, pushed the trunk popping button, and play continued before anyone could get worked up.
The clan trekked through the woods to the swimming hole right below the falls.
Where almost everyone hopped in.
You can't quite make it out in this picture, but a.Jenny is sitting on the rock shelf above the pool, surrounded by almost all the kids, with Celeste and Annaliese scrambling to catch up. The wonder of the beautiful-child-density didn't fade the entire visit.
Uncle and niece.
We took the road back from the waterfall for a more relaxed walk with the kids. (The path through the woods had been a series of drop-offs, not the easiest hike with a horde of kids.)
Annaliese and Celeste took a break to put flowers in each other's hair.
We took some wind-down time back at the cabin before prepping for the evening's festivities. Alexe and Annaliese played chinese checkers; I think Annaliese won.
Caspian took his down time seriously. I stripped and re-dressed him in his evening attire right where he passed out.
Tailgating, BG style. Two parallel lines of vehicles, each with a fun and delicious spread, with tables at one end, and a skeet shoot at the other. The game plan was to grab a plate and make the rounds, eating anything you saw. Smoked trout, local grilled veggies, crabs, pies, cupcakes, venison cured meats, tenderloin, gumbo, the place was loaded with great food, and we sampled almost all of it.
Annaliese in her ponytails and clean dress, I think this is the last picture I have of her before she and Celeste found a dirt pit somewhere, and came back looking like coal miners.
The skeet shoot. A few folks participated, and someone won the course, but the event seemed far more focused on the gourmet, social, and family aspect of the gathering.
Caspian woke up in a funk.
He didn't really come out of it until he had a plate of food in him, and then declared he had to poop. In the middle of a field, surrounded by food and nicely dressed people, and no bathroom facilities. I took the little guy into the tall grass, and after a very long and talkative event, he came skipping out and was happy as a clam the rest of the evening.
Someone brilliant brought a pinata. (Imagine the appropriate accent over the n, I still haven't learned the shortcut keys on this mac.) The kids went at it with an aluminum bat, and it held its own until Caspian came up to to the plate. After a few swings, and maybe some help from the man holding the pinata, the thing rained candy everywhere.
The mob converged.
It has to be the most stuffed pinata I've ever seen. Every kid, and there were many, walked away with more candy than they could carry in cups, dresses, and shirts repurposed as baskets.
Notice the dusty nose, and the candy-bulging dress.
c.Teddy's score wasn't quite as impressive.
Two girls, dresses full of candy, everything else covered in dirt.
The sisters, all dolled up, and socializing in a field. These farm girls really shine in their element.
The kids at a game of bubble gum. Annaliese has been learning this game for six months now When she first started playing it sounded something like "bubble gum bubble gum don day dish," and ended.
Then it picked up "how many pieces do you wish?", and then adjusted the first part to "in a dish" and now she's counting hands and everything. After the lines are recited I still don't know what's suposed to happen, but I'm already nostalgic for the confused, barely english early games she made me play with her.
The sunset was amazing. My girl was happy and beautiful. c.Teddy put a bow-tie on me, and Alexe thought I was cute. It was a great time.
a.Mary and u.Mike.
This is the first of a series, Alexe went through the whole Y.M.C.A lineup.
The sunset. With a cousin swinging in the foreground.
The evening ended with a large group of us lounging in the living room, telling stories about grandmother Phoebe's dogs.