This should probably be favorite thing #1. The sheer number of cool people at Bear Lake is astounding. My kids love it, I love it. We all feel so enriched afterwards. So many good people to talk to and play with and learn from. So many chances to lead, to follow, to learn, to teach. I especially love watching these important relationships develop for my kids…..their relationships with their cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents are going to be so valuable to them throughout their lives. It’s just so cool to have so long to nurture those bonds.
My dad has placed all the cousins into different “groups.” Hazel is in group #3 with Clare and Camden and Eliza. It was there special year this year to build “treasure chests” with Grandfather and go on a little sleep over Grammie camp with Grammie. They felt so special and big and bonded. I love it that Hazel is the youngest in this group….it kind of tempers her bossiness….and she learns so much from her good sweet cousins. Charlie is a member of group #4. Four rough and tumble boys. And boy, did they tumble it up this summer. They’re still more into parallel play…..and working on big projects along side each other….but they had moments of great connection.
Halfway through the end of our formal family reunion Charity came home from her mission. It was so good to have her HOME. She served her mission with all her heart, so it was a little tough for her to adjust to life as just a normal human being. The kids loved seeing “their favorite aunt” again. (Char gave us strict instructions to make sure they knew who their “favorite” was before she came home.
Even Emmeline took to her (although she doesn’t look as if she’s sure about it in this picture). In addition to those crazy boys, Charlie also really loved playing with Lucy. He was so cute and sweet with her. (They’re drinking their daily “green” smoothie here…..Charlie likes nothing more than having some sort of food mustache). I’m not sure why, but I really like this picture. It shows the motion that typifies cousin life at Bear Lake. Exciting, and vibrant, but kind of a blur of chaos.
Emmeline and Lyla really hit it off too (if you can call stealing each other’s food and smearing each other with sand hitting it off). These two sat in these little chairs for large portions of each day eating whatever people placed in front of them and watching the chaos around them.
I wonder if their personalities will hold true to these two pictures as they grow up. Lyla Joy is certainly delighted by the thrill of being thrown in the air. Emmeline seems to think it’s not such a prudent idea to be thrown into the sky. I love Charlie’s expression in these. He (and all the other older cousins) were constantly going up to these two babies and making loud sounds and strange faces. What an odd experience that would be.
There’s nothing like having so many aunts and uncles to carry you around, read to you, teach you new things…..I love the influence I could feel my siblings and siblings in law have on my kids. We had a ton of different celebrations, birthdays, homecomings…..so fun to have an instant party all the time. And so chaotic too. That room ECHOES.
Emmeline got so much great attention from her older cousins. It was so nice to have so many eager mother’s helpers. I can KIND OF see what my parents are saying about how it gets easier the more kids you have….the older ones really can be HUGE helps. There was a week during our stay there where Saren was gone and had left us with her five, and Kristi left for a a few days, leaving her two in our care….and I was a little worried about watching 17 kids with just Shawni and my cousin Ashley…..but those big cousins put a HUGE dent in the work we were expecting to do. I mean HUGE dent.
And, of course, there are siblings. Even with all these cousins and aunts and uncles around, Hazel and Charlie would sneak off into their room or to the beach and do their own little Shumway thing.