Friday, September 13, 2013

A Tribute to Vermont

Some days you have so much to do that you don't quite know where to start. What better moment to catch up on a blog? At least that way when the day's over you'll have proof that you actually accomplished something--even if "something" is simply recollecting happy moments when life seemed a bit simpler.

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.

Secrets.  :)

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.
And Liepa enjoying a hot dog.  The girls got an authentic introduction to American cuisine.

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.
 Okay, pause for a couple of explanations.  The fishing was insane!  As soon as you put your  hook in the water, you had a sunny on the line--literally.  Within the first three minutes, we had five kids holding five poles with five squiggling fish hooked to the ends.  You should have seen Callie scramble trying to keep up with baiting hooks and releasing fish.  Uncle Jay would have been proud.

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.

 Needless to say, it was funny.

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!

 Here are Brooklyn and Egle in the tube.  The real kudos, however, go to Lina, who didn't realize there was a bottom to the tube.  As a mother, it took a lot of courage to let her baby girl tube anyway.  (Egle, by the way, was strongly instructed to hold on tightly!)

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.
Water Fun:

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.
Time for more Fishing!

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.

Baby Love:

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!

 Sad as it is to admit, there's a pretty good chance that this was our last summer in Vermont since the house has recently been placed for sale.

Longview cabin, home of the Wells family in Wells, Vermont--we will miss you.  Thanks for the many years of summer fun.


Anonymous said...

Nice photos -- nicer families and memories!

Brittney Richards said...

You guys had an awesome summer!! And I thought that we had a lot of fun and saw a lot of different places. I'm glad you had a good summer, and even more happy that Jason is back with your family. We loved having the opportunity to hang out with you guys - wish we could do it more often.

Still, Eliza will walk around the house saying, "Annika, Annika, Annika." It's comes out of the blue and we don't know if she is really referring to your little bundle or if she just likes the way it sounds. Either way... we miss you guys

Julie L said...

Ohhhhhh, what a sweet photo journal! I want to buy the place. That is just too cool. Annika in the hat! Dog piles. All that would definitely have to come with it!

You are fortunate, indeed, to be stockpiling so many wonderful memories into the lives of your children!

Susie said...

Thank you for the summer update. I'm sure it's all too overwhelming to try to remember everything at once, so once you sit down to blog and review picture all these wonderful memories come back! I think Talia is related to me. Way to go on the jet ski, Talia!! Looks like you had a marvelous time at the cabin. Brought back memories for me of the time we were able to spend there, too. Thanks!