One big bonus of having amazing siblings is that their significant others become your siblings too, and the whole family extends to the in-laws' families. I am so lucky to have the two best sisters-in-law with the coolest families (Em brings us Grammy Liz, cousin Katie, sweet little Isla and Skyler, the list goes on...and Amy's huge rambling family feels like it envelops the Beattys too into one big-love-style hug.) and my amazing brother-in-law, Art's family the Echternacts treat my daughters like their own grandchildren. Did I just get really really lucky, or is this often the case? I love my siblings-in-law's families so much.
Over the weekend one of Amy's brothers got married so Matt and Amy and Jarom and Bella and Orion were in town for a whirlwind visit. We spent the afternoon at the river on Saturday with some of her family and some of ours. I love being around her family because it's big, like...really big. (there are 13 siblings, all grown, only one is unmarried now!) And thus there are tons of small children and it really normalizes any and every parenting experience you might have, no matter how trying. For example, if your two-and-a-half year old suddenly gets the urge to poo at the river and has her first ever horrific poo-poo accident, right in her bathing suit, right in front of everyone. And then your youngest baby is just clingy clingy clingy all day long like a fussy little koala bear so, besides an intense cleaning job, you can't really do anything at all that can't be done one-handed.
To all of Amy's family, this kind of thing is just a good-natured and easily surmountable blip in the sunlight of a wonderful laughter-filled day.
My brother Matt and I have always been best of friends. I cried later because despite having this day together I barely got to talk to him! Why does it feel like I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off 90% of the time?! Maybe having a 1-year-old and a 2-year-old has something to do with it ;)
cold water = March in the American River! But I seriously can't believe it is not colder and higher, well. I can believe it, I just don't want to believe it. We are swimming in the river in March nowadays?! Craziness.
Bella and her cousins are so brave! They all dunked their heads (with great excitement) multiple times and fearless Rowan (in the back) would just dive right in.
Addie teaching the kids how to gold pan.
I love Tootie's hand on her new-found friend's leg. (After changing into whatever we could find in the car) She is very social and once she finds a pack of kids to run around with, she happily does so the whole time.
My trusty sidekick Pops with sullen Polly (shy? teething?) at the snack table.
Sisters in law and friendship and love: Addie, Jenny, me and Amy. Amy had immediately put on her fresh new Gunne from Amber's flash sale, which came across the canyon with Addie.
Glory with her precious little brand new golden nugget.
A bunch of Amy's family: she's on the left talking to mama Claudia, matriarch of them all, who was so tired from her son's wedding the night before. She's unstoppable; I think this was the first time I've ever seen her tired!
We came back to our house for a family barbecue in the early evening. Joey and Emily and Scout met us here, and so all the little Beatty cousins were together and ready to rumble.
Eldest next generation Beatty: the inimitable Jarom.
Nana with her two youngest grandbabies.
Polly would barely let Amy or Bella carry her. So sad. She just doesn't get it that they are the ultimate baby lovers!
Here they are! All the little Beatty cousins.
Busy busy busy! After everyone left, my girls were so overtired it was ridiculous. Lucy was having a fit about which pajamas she'd wear, and Polly fell asleep with seconds of nursing on the bed. My dad was still there and he helped me clean up while I moped around wondering where the day went and how it all went so fast and thinking about all the things I wanted to talk about with everyone and how much I missed long conversations. But later I got out my journal and wrote down my favorite moments from the day: running around doing a scavenger egg-hunt with the big kids, watching my baby thoroughly enjoy her first deviled egg (or 3), reading I Can Fly to my nephews and nieces cuddled suddenly soft and interested around me, hearing about carnival rides from Jarom, sharing peach and strawberry and coconut popsicles. and later cleaning the kitchen with my dad who sweetly complimented me telling me how proud I should be of myself and how I give of myself all day long. So I remembered most of all that in actuality we all had tons of fun, and everyone ate well and laughed and told stories and the little cousins jumped on the trampoline together and made memories to be rehashed again and again and that my head was mostly spinning with joy and not exasperation. And that to me, is what family is all about.