Monday, May 27, 2013

Making Memories.

This weekend was one of those rare moments when the whole family got together.  Not because it was Christmas, not just one sister and her family, not the just a few of the kids...everyone.  

At Christmas when we got all the kiddos together to make a framed photo gift for my parents this is the photo we wanted.  An outside shot at the river.  Of course, December in Montana doesn't work like that so we had to settle for an indoor shot.  At one point this weekend I looked around and realized we had all nine of them so thought it a perfect time to get the shot.  Although this time it was taken with an IPhone instead of a real camera.  And, as great as the other shots this winter turned out, kids in coordinating outfits, girls with curls in their hair, the one above is better.  It's more real.  Happy kids with their feet in the sand, hair all out of place because of the boat ride earlier in the day, boys with baseball caps on because that is how teenage boys look and the river that brought us all here flowing in the background.  And like anytime we get this group together there was goofing around and laughter...

Don't worry, no child actually fell off the 20 foot wall...they're just really good actors.  

There was conversation this weekend about being connected online through Facebook and social media.  About snapping photos to update your status so everyone could see that you were out there having a good time even if you weren't.  About showing the world you were being a good parent, hanging out with your kids and can feel good because you get a lot of "likes" for it.  Joking about people who feel the need to post updates on an hourly basis.  Wondering what motivates people to put certain things out there.  Questioning if you are then actually enjoying the moment or simply setting up the moment to show "friends" that you were doing it.  It's a very strange world to be so connected and putting it all out there.  And, because it is all still relatively new...what is appropriate or not.  I try to be thoughtful about how I handle Facebook, Instagram, blogging, etc.  I try to keep the small amount of "friends" I have limited to people I genuinely want to know about and want to know about me.  I like to share photos of my girls and us and things we are doing, but not everything.  I really love seeing others photos and what's going on in their lives.  I love that I can be connected and stay in touch with those who I know I wouldn't be keeping in touch with if it wasn't for this technology.   I can feel like I am a little more a part of their lives even when they are far away.  I try to find the ever tricky balance of being connected online but being able to still disconnect so I can be a part of real life.  Some would say having a blog like this puts even more out there and there are times I question it also.  I go back and forth on it, but when it comes down to it I always go back to this quote...

"We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection." ~Anais Nin

I think things like Facebook and blogging are a chance to see things again after you've already done it.  You get to enjoy the moment while you are in it and then once again as you find that photo of your baby full of smiles from a moment at the park and you just have to post it because you want to share that happy moment.  Guaranteed it'll make someone else smile, because why else would they click the "like" button. It helps me to look back and even if there were moments that were sucky, the happy ones shine through.  It helps settle it into your brain as a happy memory.  One you can go back to and remember on maybe a not so happy day.  I love to reminisce.  When I'm falling asleep at night I'll go back to a family vacation or weekend away with Matt in my mind and replay it in my as I fall asleep.  I like to think if I do this it will somehow be a part of my dreams.  Then instead of the crazy ass dreams I usually have I can dream about laying on a beach, fruity drink with an umbrella in hand instead.  Writing is my chance to reminisce. And, if I put it out there and it makes someone smile, then that's cool.  

Some more of our Memorial Weekend in retrospection.

We made a giant Jenga game...
When we were in Florida for spring break we went to a restaurant that had a giant Jenga game and it was so fun.  Saturday as my Dad was getting ready to throw some of the wood from the construction in the fire, Matt remembered this.  Instead of burning the wood, out came the saw and voila...a new river game.  I love games.  We played a lot.  And I lost.  A lot.  And, I didn't even care.  Maybe I'm getting less competitive in my old age.

We ate lots of s'mores...
First night we got to have a fire and watch the full moon come up over the river.  Love that.  Next night a storm rolled in so we didn't get to have a fire.  Instead we had oven s'mores.  Like Ava said, "They're not as good as over the fire, but they're still good"  Well said my love.  

Cousins played...

We weren't positive if we were going to stay Sunday night also.  All day the girls would come up and ask if we'd decided yet and making sure to put in their opinion that they really, really, really thought we should.  Once we decided okay, Ava and Kim both said "yeeeeesss, cousin sleepover"  Totally took me back to the days when we would beg my  mom and aunt for sleepovers with cousins.  They almost always said yes, so Karma always leads me to answer yes to this question as well.  

And, Sadi played so much in the river and mud that she actually turned a different color...

She loves it.  

We ate a lot, enjoyed the sunshine, views and each others company.  We laughed a lot and teased a lot.  It was loud and crazy.  How can it not be when you have nine kids together?  Add in with that my sisters and I plus all our husbands and you get 6 adults with very large personalities.  And, then my parents who let us all come take over their new house and reek havoc.  Good times.  Like I said before, it is rare for all of us to be together like that...all 17 of us.  Just the 17 of us without anyone else.  I dig it.  Bonus of it all?  Beautiful weather.  It's like Montana decided for the first time in many, many Memorial Days to be nice instead of snow.  To let the sunshine through the clouds and let us wear flip flops and shorts instead of winter hats.  To let us spend the majority of the time outside and not cooped up inside.  And, when it did finally storm we were able to  enjoy being tucked inside watching the wild storm outside while we hung out and Jae taught the littles how to play Monopoloy.  

Good times, indeed.  Memorial Weekend is always the kick-off to summer for me and this one most certainly did not disappoint.  

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