Earlier this month (I'm a little behind and not necessarily going in chronological order on my posts), we spent the weekend with Thomas's sisters, their families and our MaSha. We had discussed with Tara and Ashley months ago that we wanted to do a weekend all together and location was up in the air. We thought about going to Tazewell, to Knoxville, to Charleston, to Greenville or somewhere all together different. We had about 4 or 5 different weekends in the discussion but narrowed it down to the first weekend in August when everyone was available. That just happens to be MaSha's birthday weekend, so we thought it fitting that we all come to our area so that we could spend time with her on her special day. I reached out to Carole (aka Mimi) to see if her lake house was available that weekend and luckily for us, it was open and she was willing to let us use it. WOO HOO! Best news ever! This house is a great place to make lots of awesome memories! I was so excited!
We did the minimal amount of planning that we could get away with leading up to the weekend, but decided on our food arrangements ahead of time and figured out sleeping arrangements once we arrived. Thomas and I both ended up taking PTO on that Friday so that we could get up there early and extend our weekend. I had to fly out to Las Vegas for a conference super early on Sunday morning, so I really wanted to add Friday to our lake time!
We had the BEST time! It was such a great weekend! When Thomas and I win the lottery, we're getting a lake house. ;)
Friday afternoon - just the 5 of us and MaSha went up to the lake right after lunch. We unpacked the car and got in the water just as quickly as we could! It was a gorgeous afternoon.
On Friday, we were just lounging around the dock and Stokes and William were having so much fun jumping off the dock into the lake. They would yell, "One, two, three, CANNONBALL!"
|The jump progression...|
Late afternoon we had to take a pause from the water for a snack...
|MaSha and Ryan snoozing|
Later that evening we took the boat out for a little sunset cruise.
|loving the boat life|
|Not a worry in the world...|
|MaSha with Stokes and William|
|Dada driving the boat|
|What a handsome driver! #stud|
|Helping Stokes steer|
|Ryan got to drive, too!|
After we got done in the boat, we got the boys ready for bed, had dinner and waited for all the cousins to arrive.
|Helping Ryan stand!!!|
Aunt Ashley, Taylor and Anna arrived first. They didn't have Uncle Zack with them as he was still working when they left and they weren't sure if he was going to come to the lake or not. More on that later...
|Anna, Taylor and Ryan|
Not too long after that, Aunt Tara, Uncle Matt, Leece and Madison got there!
|MaSha with Leece, Ryan and Madison on her lap!|
On Saturday morning, we had breakfast on the deck. Ahhh....
Once again, we got out to the water as soon as we could after getting 7 kids ready with swimsuits, sunscreen, towels, floats, life jackets, etc. Whew! All the kids had a blast! Ashley got a couple of videos of all of the cousins jumping in together.
|They all held hands and jumped in together|
Videos... (she did them in slo-mo and we all got such a kick out of it!)
A boat ride followed shortly after!
|How cute is he?!?!|
|Floating with Ryan|
When we came in for lunch, we had a little birthday celebration for MaSha and had some birthday cake!
|MaSha's and her yummy birthday cake!|
After that we attempted to put all the littles down for nap. Umm...it was not successful. Everyone was in a new place and were so pumped up from playing all morning, which we thought would make them tired, but it seemed to have the opposite effect. We kept getting on the monitors and telling all the kids to quit playing/talking/fighting and get back in bed.
|Thomas and Matt went down to the boat and were fishing|
It didn't take long until I gave up on the idea of a nap and let mine come up to hang out with us. Tara had a bit more willpower and stuck to it for a while longer!
|Aunt Ashley proving the entertainment|
|Time to get bread crumbs and feed the fish!|
Remember how I said that Uncle Zack was a "maybe" on whether he was coming to the lake or not? We had all pretty much assumed that when we didn't hear a confirmation on Friday night or early Saturday morning, it meant he wasn't coming, but he surprised us! He called mid-morning on Saturday and was well on his way. He got there just a little after lunchtime and we were all really, really glad that he decided to come!
Once everyone was up from nap time, we got back in the water and went on another boat ride. This stuff never gets old! Especially seeing how much fun all the kids were having, it just made my day! The boat ride pretty much did the trick as far as napping goes. Since none of the kids actually napped during their scheduled nap time, their energy waned, the sun caught up to them, and that boat ride put most of them right to sleep.
|Dada with Ryan|
|Aunt Tara and Madison|
|Two sleeping boys on my lap|
We eventually found a little cove and turned the boat off and swam, jumped, tread water and just played in general.
|Taylor giving Stokes a "piggyback ride"!|
|Uncle Zack and Uncle Matt got in and played, too!|
Lake Keowee is just so beautiful and on some parts of the lake, there are gorgeous views with mountains in the background. On the way back to Carole's on Saturday evening, I insisted that we stop and do pictures of each family with the mountains behind us. Of course, you can't actually see the mountains in the pictures like you could in real life (a slight underestimation on my part for our setting), but the pictures are nice regardless!
|The Lewis Family|
|The Halverstadt Family|
|MaSha with all her grands|
|The Peery Family|
|Two of a kind!|
Dada and William (and Coors Light)
|Loving the lake!|
|Cute cousins! Not sure where Stokes was.|
|We love Anna!|
|Dinner is served!|
|Dada and me with Ryan|
|My little cuties|
Before long it was time to put all the kids to bed. All the adults stayed up for a while, but we were playing just as hard as the kids were all day and although I can't speak for everyone else, I was pooped! I had a 4 AM wake-up call to get to the airport for my early flight to Vegas, so I called it a night pretty early. From what I understand, Sunday morning was pretty much just packing, changing sheets and getting on the road. I don't think I missed much, but it was still sad to be away from everyone for the last little part of the weekend.
I've said it a million times on this blog, but we really value time with our family. This weekend could not have gone much better. It was low-key, easy and just tons of genuine old-fashioned fun. We had amazing weather, all the kids loved the water and being in the lake and everyone was just chill and ready to have a good time. I think MaSha enjoyed being with her family on her birthday and her little celebration. I really loved our lake weekend this summer. And like I said, when we win the lottery and get a lake house, we'll be doing it much more often!
Shout out to Carole for letting us use her fantastic lake house! The boys kept called it Mimi's Lake, instead of Lake Keowee, and it's safe to say that they are big fans!