Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day 2008

This weekend we packed up the SUV and headed to Smith Lake where Steve's parents have a place. It is a great getaway, and only an hour away. The whole family (Spencer included) got to go, so we loaded up with all of our food, Spencer's food, our clothes and all of Bennett's gear! For a two night jaunt, we were pretty loaded down. Once we arrived on Saturday morning, we got settled and headed to the pier. Bennett stayed pack with her Mimi and Papa for a little while so we could unwind and enjoy some adult conversation with Steve's cousins Cathy and Lisa, as well as Louis and Michelle. The kids entertained themselves in the water, and it wasn't too terribly hot for us. Being one of the first weekends where people swim, the water is still pretty darn cold. So it took some time in the heat before it was tolerable.

As the afternoon wore on, we decided to lather Bennett up with sunscreen and see if she still liked the water. We recently purchased a little float for her with a canopy to protect her delicate skin from the UV rays. So, we put her in her bikini and brought her down to the lake. Steve held her initially,and eased her into the water at the boat launch. She wasn't too fond at first, but once she was in I guess she got used to it. Next, we put her in the float which was a weird feeling for her (just floating while no one was holding her) because she was a little nervous. However, we stayed close and she began to relax and enjoy bobbing with the waves. After 20 minutes, Bennett had enough of the water. She was such a good sport, but we didn't want to push it, so we took her back inside.

That night the whole family (18 of us) had dinner and hung out. Some inside, some outside...or where ever you can find a seat. It is always a very laid back atmosphere up there. In fact, between the group, there are four big dogs to add to the fun. For the most part they all get along so that is good. Since Bennett just loves dogs, she enjoyed all of the activity among them. Here you can see Michelle, Bennett and Kojak (their dog) outside.

Bennett was a handful over the weekend, fighting sleep as always and making sure she wasn't missing any action. She was great about going to anyone who wanted to hold her, which was a huge help to us. But once she realized there were no baby gates to deter her from climbing the stairs, she did it every opportunity she had. Michelle tried to teach her how to go down, but my stubborn girl wanted no part of that (don't you know how much quicker it is to be carried back down?). We finally got her to sleep Saturday night, but she awoke several times. By the third time, I succumbed and brought her to bed with us (doesn't this sound like our last trip to the lake?). Though none of us slept much better, it at least allowed us to "rest our eyes" for a few more hours. However by 5am, Steve had had enough so he and Bennett got up for the day.

Bennett was great about waking up the whole house. I guess she figured if she was up, everyone else should be too. So by 7 am, everyone was stirring except the teenagers who can tune out anything! Once Uncle Dan awoke, he gave Bennett one of her birthday gifts which she enjoyed for the rest of the weekend (her first Alabama sippy cup).

We finally got ourselves organized late morning and all headed to the pier. Bennett joined us out there initially and enjoyed all of the excitement. The kids danced for us, while we just sat around and chatted. Thankfully there is a tent of sorts on half of the pier to offer shade to those of us who didn't want too much sun. However, even under it the humid air makes you want to brave the cool water. Once again we put Bennett into her float. She did real good and stayed out there for close to 30 minutes before she was ready to come out. Not wanting to push our luck, we took her back to her grandparents for a couple of hours.

Later that afternoon, our niece Maria played with her outside. All weekend Bennett kept teasing us by taking one or two steps, but then sitting down and crawling after that. She is soooo close to walking, and we kept thinking how nice it would be for her to walk on her birthday weekend (but it didn't happen). She does however like to hold your hands and walk now, something that we have been practicing for several weeks.

As you can see here, Spence loves going to the lake too. Since he is the only true house dog of the four, everyone teases him by calling him a "city dog." They are just jealous though because he is the only dog allowed in the house (thank you Myra and Big Lou!). Mimi spoils him, and though she swears that she doesn't feed him, this picture says it all...

All and all...the weather was great and we all had fun! It was nice getting away from the routine of our chores around the house, and hanging with the family for a couple of days. Thanks to Myra and Big Lou for hosting us and feeding us until we were stuffed each night! We all had fun, especially young Bennett who was doted on 24 hours a day by someone up there.

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