And so, welcome to Vermont! We gathered here at the end of July for a week of fun and relaxation. Meet the crew: the Wheeler clan, my mother, my sister Callie, my grandpa John Wells, his wife Elaine DeGreck, plus our Lithuanian friends/family. (My Aunt Alison is taking the picture.)
The cabin belongs to my grandpa, who generously allows us to take over whenever we make it out to Vermont. Here he is with "Grannylaine" (Eli invented the title), giving our boy quite the swing.
And here's Kestutis, our Lithuanian exchange student who lived with our family for eighteen months. Much has changed in the decade since we last shared a roof, but in other ways it felt just like old times. As you can see from the photos, Kes is now married with two darling little girls. This cute four year-old is Egle.
Isn't she adorable? (I was talking about Egle, but Ashley the cat is pretty cute too.)
Egle and Eli were fun to watch together. Language barriers were no issue at all in becoming fast playmates.
The girls get their beauty from their mother Lina (I'm sure Kes would agree).
Here's Lina gearing up to go jet-skiing, a first for her.
Lina wonders, what have I gotten myself into?
"Wish me luck!"
And they're off!
Here's Kes on the jet ski with his six year-old daughter, Liepa.
Liepa and Talia, relaxing on the hammock.
Jason wasn't able to stay with us the entire time, but he did come up for a long weekend. Plenty of time to swim...
And jet ski.
And now on to the jet ski. Notice how Talia's all poised to grab onto the handlebars. She likes to be in control, and she rides fast. It's terrifying. Also, note how Jason's clipping the safety key onto his life jacket. That will be important later...
But now back to the storyline. Too soon, it was time to bid farewell to Jason once more. Even though we knew we would see him again in a couple of weeks, goodbyes just got harder. I'm so grateful to be reunited for good now.
Lake St. Catherine is lovely under any circumstances, but it's twice the fun with a jet ski (particularly one that runs.) Here's Aunt Al, living the jet ski dream:
Callie and I wanted to take my Mom out for a spin, but she tipped us over instead of climbing on. She claims that she knew we were going to dump her anyway so she wanted to beat us to it.
The very funniest moment of all, however, can be summarized with this picture.
Take a close look, and you'll see a jet ski with nobody riding on it. Callie decided that she was going to throw me. She succeeded, but I wasn't going down without a fight--I took her off with me. Being dumped was quite a shock in and of itself, but the real kicker was when we realized that the jet ski was still going--without us! The safety key had slipped off Callie's life jacket, so here we are frantically hollering for help and doing our best to swim after it. Fortunately, the jet ski turned 180 degrees back our direction. There was an adrenalin-pumping moment when this 650 pound piece of machinery was headed right for me. I knew I had only one chance to jump up, snatch the key, and kill the engine. Fortunately I made it, and had I not, well, Grandpa wasn't far behind with rescue.
The wee ones kept Grandpa quite busy with tubing as well.
What an adorable crew!
And here's Kes, getting the famous dry land tutorial from Grandpa on water skiing.
And docking the boat, after a long, full day of water fun.
Okay, I have way too many pictures, so here goes anyway.
|Eli with his favorite tube|
|Annie in her own private lake. Since she was the only one swimming in it, we figured that bathing suits were optional. (By the way, we kept having to replace the water because she kept messying it with spit up!)|
|NomiAnn on baby duty.|
|Aw, so cute.|
|Liepa and Egle|
|Talia cleans the slippery stairs before snorkeling.|
On Dry Land:
|Brooklyn's growing taller!|
|No matter how much I ask them to stop, they keep changing every day.|
|Grandpa always has a smile with family around.|
|Annika and Aunt Doris|
|Aunt Alison seizes the moment to relax.|
|The kitties know who the house really belongs to, right Ashley?|
|A sneak peek inside the garage/dance studio/cat-free-zone that Callie and I occupy.|
|Callie and Talia share a moment of confidence.|
|Hmm, now where should this chair go?|
|Eli and Egle playing trains.|
|Everybody dogpile on NomiAnn! (I love this picture, by the way.)|
|Talia, looking far too grown-up as she swings.|
|Here's Elaine, helping her pal Eli with his life jacket.|
|Ready to take on the lake.|
|Talia's turned into quite the successful little fisherwoman.|
|Kes and Lina swing their baby.|
|And here's Annika riding Murphy, her favorite east coast canine friend. (The west coast is all Zoe, of course.)|
|Callie enjoys some Annika cuddles.|
|Love the hat, Annie Mae!|
|Doesn't matter what country you visit, you'll always finds parents helping kids with their food.|
|Nothing like a yummy hand to chew on.|
|Open wide, baby girl!|
Longview cabin, home of the Wells family in Wells, Vermont--we will miss you. Thanks for the many years of summer fun.