My lack of posting the past couple of weeks has been because we were out of town enjoying precious time with family. This summer as well as the past 11 years, my Grandma on my dad's side rented out a house on the beach for a week for our entire family. This tradition became a treasured part of my childhood, and continues to be something I look forward to every year. It really is an amazing blessing to have a large, godly extended family that can actually get together for a whole week and enjoy every moment!
Last summer, Katie was too little to really enjoy playing at the beach, so this year, Katie was able to play at the beach for the first time. She had such a blast. At first, she enjoyed the sand a lot more than the water, but by week's end she was pretty enthralled with both. We took her out most days in the mornings and evenings when it wasn't too sunny out. She is about as fair skinned as they come, so I wanted to be extra careful not to get her burned.
It was also a lot of fun seeing Katie play with my cousins' children. So far between the four of us who are married, we have 6 kiddos. The oldest of the children is 6 and the youngest is 6 months. They had a lot of fun together, and playing with other little kids and sharing toys was a new experience for Katie. Before the end of the week, she had learned to be possessive of her toys if she didn't want them carried to another part of the house. Ha! Here is a picture of all of the kids together. My aunt got the little girls all matching dresses. Aren't they cute?! Next year, this picture will have three more sweet babies in it, since two of my cousins are expecting, in addition to our little one on the way.
Another highlight of the trip for me was getting to go play golf with my dad for an afternoon. My dad is a golf enthusiast, and started playing when he was just a little boy. I never got as "into" golf as he was, but I do think it's pretty fun to play. I didn't play particularly well (for those of you who know golf, I shot 143 on 18 holes. ha!), but I didn't really expect to since it had been a few years. Getting to spend a few hours hanging out with my dad was a treat, and it was a prime opportunity since Katie doesn't nurse at all during the day (just early in the morning). Next year, I'll have a little nursling with me again (!) and won't be able to leave without children for an afternoon.
As with all our past family gatherings, there was much fun, a lot of sweet fellowship, and way too much food. And of course, the it was the fastest week of the year.
As a somewhat last minute deal, we decided Katie and I would ride back to Florida with my parents and spend a little extra time with them. Except for the stomach virus Katie got on Tuesday night, we had a really nice time. It was good to spend Father's Day with my dad and there was a picnic after the church service, so I was able to catch up with several good friends as well. I also got to meet my good friends' precious baby boy who was born the day after I left Florida from my last visit. Mom and I did a lot of cooking and a LOT of talking and catching up. It's so fun for me to see my parents and Katie enjoying each other. She absolutely love them, and actually started calling my mom "Ahmah" while we were down.
It was a lot of fun to spend some time away getting to enjoy family and good friends, but now that we're back, it sure is nice to be home.