Sunday, October 21, 2012

Jacksons: Not to be Outdone

Before Pierce arrived, I was not of sufficient frame of mind (or body) to contemplate planning a post-birth, summer vacation.  In fact, I recall reading a blog post of a friend who lives in Australia about a family trip they took to New Zealand, with all five kids.  The post was exciting, upbeat, and adventurous, and yet the clear thought in my mind was, "that would be so terrible!"  When I am not pregnant (which doesn't seem to be very often, lately), I am generally adventurous and would most certainly drag my family all over New Zealand, given the chance, but pregnant-me wants Nick to use up all his days off just cleaning the house and packing Bethelle's lunches.

Fortunately for my innocent children, their grandparents all planned vacations for them.  You just finished reading (I presume) about our paternal staycation.  Now take a gander at the our maternal version.

The extended Jackson family headed out once again to Anderson Island, where my parents own a small cabin on a lake that my dad built when I was young.  There is a great sense of fulfillment in watching my children play on the beaches where I played and swim in the lake where I swam.
Anderson Island is accessible only by ferry, or some other sort of boat I suppose, so it remains calm, quiet, and somewhat untouched by the frenzied world.  Not much has changed there since I was a child.

I took the kids out earlier than most of the crew in order to spend an extra day with my baby brother, Blair, and his family.  They had flown in from Phoenix.  This was the first time that I met their sweet Daphne who was already eleven months old!  She takes after me, just so you know.

And I hadn't seen Charlotte for over a year either.  If you're a long-time reader, you may remember that they lived an hour from us when we were in San Francisco.  But little girls get a lot bigger in a year and a half.  And they get sisters!
We had grown, too.  Looking back, Curie was just a baby the last time we saw them.

And if we hadn't yet met Daphne, they certainly had not seen Pierce.  Speaking of seeing Pierce, can you make out where he is below?
Cousins, reliving their parents' lives.  I'm sure there are pictures of Blair and I swinging on this same toy, buried somewhere.
My clever boy found some reeds near the lake and surprised me looking like this.  He's into ninjas lately (Halloween spoiler alert).

When the rest of the family arrived, including Nick, we made our familiar trek down a little hike to the Puget Sound.  At first, Bethelle thought she would carry Pierce for us.  She didn't make it from the car to the trailhead.

Pierce found another, more stable ride.

Isn't this a gorgeous trail?  And look what it opens up to!
We were pleased this year to find that the trail had been opened up and improved a great deal.  A new path had been carved down to the water that was much easier on the kids and did not require wading to get to the beautiful beach.
Being here was such a nice opportunity to just sit and chat.  Or practice knife-throwing.  Sorry I didn't get a picture of that.  My brother, Troy, surprised us all by bringing his set of throwing knives down to the water to pass the time.  I should not have been surprised.  If you know him, you are probably not.
One fantastic feature of this summer's trip was that we rented a second house next door to my parents' cabin.  It was the quiet house.  On a trip with 15 kids ages eight and under, you may be able to begin to appreciate the wonder and gift that was the Quiet House.  We let the chaos/bonding run free in the cabin, and then just when the adults were on the verge of losing their minds and bursting their eardrums, we took the kids over to the Quiet House, one family at a time, for a calm, normal bedtime routine.  Ahhhhh.  Peace.

Curie turned three on our second morning at the island.  Here she is, feeling as big as her bedhead.
 Nick took the kids to a park in the morning, where Pierce got his first chance at a swing.
That evening, we had a little party back at the cabin.  She had wanted a zebra theme, so here's what I came up with: 
I did not get many pictures of the party, or of the inside of the cake which was zebra-striped itself, because I was watching from the couch/sickbed, afflicted with what seemed a lot like food poisoning, although I am still not sure.  Making and frosting that cake had been my entire day's accomplishment.  But it was worth it for my little Curie.
 She got some great presents, including a Rapunzel costume, a zebra pillowcase, and some books.
 Have you read The Giving Tree lately?  I didn't fully appreciate it when I was young.  It's about being a mom.  I'm sure of it.  And it makes me cry.
The next day, we spent more time at the lake.  You can see by the ring around his wrist that Pierce was wearing his fat-shirt to the beach.
Yes, I did swim out to that slide behind me in the picture and go down it.  After Bethelle did.

 Anderson Island happened to be hosting a little parade while we were there, so Mom passed out flags and we took the kids.

 We saw local politicians, clubs, firetrucks, and motorcylists.
 And of course the Junior Sailing bus.  Love this one.
 The kids may not have enjoyed it too much had the groups not thrown candy to them as they passed.  So we all had a great time.  And then we went home to teach a lesson in never running out into the road.  Even if a fireman throws treats at you.
Paddling around the lake in the canoe:
 And hanging on for dear life behind the boat:
 We had to push hard to get Rigby onto the tube, but when we finally pulled him back in after his ride, he told Curie that he thought she would really like it.  What a brave boy.
That's all for this year, Anderson Island.  Hope to see you again soon.

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