The month of July was pretty much spent up at the lake. Not a bad way to spend July!
The first week centered on Independence Day celebrations and a birthday. This means that we played in the sun, ate Papa Jim's famous homemade ice cream, and watched lots of fireworks late into the night (while sitting around a roaring campfire at the edge of the lake...ahhhh...a perfect evening).
Tara and Amy pulled together - with the help of the kids of course - a gift for Jim...65 gifts! And then as a special surprise Tara presented a key lime cake to her dad with sparklers in it. Old sparklers. Dirty sulfur infused sparklers that left nasty ash all over the delicious creamy smooth rich yummy icing. It was a nice thought, but....
The kids are still a little leery about fireworks, so for comfort they cuddle during the loud booms. All around the lake different people set off fireworks - even Papa Jim had some to share! Some of the displays were quite amazing - plenty of oooooohs and aaaaahhhhs coming from our little party!
The second week included a couple of days in Grand Rapids for Tara and I while the kids stayed back at the lake. We stayed in a beautiful JW Marriott - Tara scrapbooked and I attended a preaching conference. We were both very happy with our "getaway"! The week ended back up at the lake...we needed more time to dig in the sand and float on the pontoon.
While home getting stuff packed for the lake again, the kids went upstairs and put on their dress up stuff. Which, sadly, includes dresses. Unfortunately Levi looks cute in the pink princess dress.... Since Eli requested help with an outfit, I talked him out of the Disney dress and insisted on a little indian outfit along with a Dr. Seuss tophat. And then the dancing began!
Once at the lake it was time to play. Which included throwing big bouncy balls up into tall trees. And then getting more balls stuck up there in an attempt to get the other ones unstuck.
As we sat around our campfire eating s'mores, we decided that it was time for Emma to get serious about riding her bike. Papa Ger had an extra one at the lake with NO training wheels on it. We began to give a very nervous Emma help in riding her bike - but it was to no avail. She just couldn't (or wouldn't) do it. After receiving help from three former gym teachers, her two parents, and even her brothers, she gave up. After brainstorming, we adults decided to bribe her with candy. We told Emma that if she could ride her bike from the firepit to the driveway (maybe about forty yards or so...) she could have a whole Hershey Chocolate candy bar. Wouldn't you know that little girl hopped off her chair onto the bike and worked and worked till she got it!
The third week included lots of time with friends up at the lake. Brett and Annie Sauder were up at the lake, Pat Minch was up at the lake, and my friends Jeremy and Amy Kratz were up from Arizona and visited us up at the lake.
Tara had fun taking the kids on a canoe ride. I think there's some extra kids in this one...Emma and Salma being pals!
It was great to have my brother Jerm drive us around on the boat!
Here's our smiling face: that's Charlie sitting on Kratz's lap - he's a cutie! Charlie, that is...
It was also nice to have Jeremy's mom join him and Amy for our visit.
We had a good time hanging out...with all the kids...eating a picnic outside...!
Me and Eli on our first WetJet ride together! He liked it really fast the first time, but then all the other rides he wanted slow. Wait till next year!
The fourth week was the best - our very own week in one of the cottages up at the lake. As much as we love staying with Dad and Mum in their house for the summer, nothing beats being in one of the cottages. Emma and Eli shared a bedroom, Levi and Isaac shared one. Tara had her scrapbooking corner, and we had plenty of space to play and relax.
The kids got some craft stuff from Faye one day to play with. Bendaroos. The kids decided to make all sorts of designs, and then sell them to people in the other cottages. Ingenious!
Levi and Isaac are manning the table, waiting for customers to show up!
Faye was a very generous customer. At one point my Mum was dumping her change purse upside down to get it empty! Dorothy and Phyllis ponied up some coins, as did Connie and Katie. The kids made a lot of money. And got Faye's Bendaroos back at the end of the week too!
Tom's Donuts is a tradition! One morning during the week we make a donut run...mmmmm!
The kids woke up kind of early for the donut run...
they are ready and waiting!
We did some fishing during our week at the lake - and Eli caught his first fish of the year!
Levi's pretty proud of his fish!
Playing in the sand and getting very dirty is a very important part of the week!
Hanging out with Phyllis and Dorothy - major investors in the Bendaroo sales event!
The fifth week was great too - Tara's mom Karen rented a different cottage for that week. We moved back into my folks home, but the kids took turns sleeping with Grandma Karen. Amy and the girls were up for most of the week to, which means all the cousins had a grand time playing together.
We always have lots of desserts during Grandma Karen's week. Amy brought a boys cake and a girls cake. Personally, I thought the girls pink cake was more delicious!
What's a week at the lake without Tug of War?
Tara and Emma inspired their teammates to let go of the rope...very sneaky! I fell for the trick!
Oh yeah Hannah! You look great!
Ha ha Eli, you look funny!
Remember that money the kids made with the Bendaroo sale? They were saving it up for the ice cream truck. Which came just a few minutes before Alia and Hannah had to leave. Oh the joy of eating ice cream purchased with your own hard earned money!
Alia loved her ice cream treat so much she spread it all over herself!