Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Family Weekend With Pictures

My dad's side of the family had a reunion over Memorial Day weekend.  My Nana has been diagnosed with lung cancer, and is currently undergoing treatments, so it was especially important for us all to be able to spend some time together.  Zuzu got to meet a lot of family we don't see often--including Nana's sisters, my great-aunt Jo who lives in Georgia and my great-aunt Sue who lives in Arizona.  Zuzu took a little while to warm up to so many new faces, but I think she still won everyone over.

checking out the playground with Daddy
swinging with Mommy
We were able to rent out an entire camp for the weekend, which was really nice.  There were probably close to forty of us and we had access to a pontoon boat and a paddle boat and a swimming pool and there was a carousel and playground and a little chapel where we had a Sunday service.

the carousel was fun although the horses had really pointy backs

swinging with cousin Paige
She looks uncertain here, but she loved the slide!
The main lodge had a big kitchen and dining room, as well as a sitting room and several bedrooms.  We ate our meals there, and lots of the family stayed there.  My parents and brother and David and Zuzu and I were in another lodge (we thought that would help Zuzu sleep better to be away from the action--haha, not so much.  She did a lot of stroller napping.).  We weren't exactly roughing it (especially considering my dad's sisters did the meal preparation for everyone), but we had to pack our own sheets and towels, so that makes it camping as far as I'm concerned.

campfire = camping
My Crafty Cousin Amanda had planned to come visit me a couple of weekends ago, but then her work got really crazy and she couldn't make it.  No worries--I just insisted that she pack her sewing machine and get ready to get crafty during Family Weekend!

Zuzu and Crafty "Auntie" Amanda
So that's how we spent the weekend--crafting and sewing, walking to the lake (and getting ticks!), playing board games, swinging and sliding on the playground, eating, roasting s'mores, and taking it easy.  After a stressful end of the semester, it was really nice to get away for the weekend and slow down.

David and the "perfect" s'more
Swimming with Grammy!  Zuzu loved the pool even though the water was FREEZING (too cold for me!)
The funny thing about family is that no matter how many issues (political, religious, social) on which our opinions may differ, it's comforting to be surrounded by people who love you just because you're a branch on their family tree.  Being in St. Louis puts us four and half hours away from the majority of my family, and I do wish Zuzu got to see them more often.

It was bittersweet for me to spend time with my cousin's little girl, Lexi, who is just a couple months younger than Eliza would have been.  And look how big she is:
Zuzu and Lexi
It takes my breath away to think that I should have a little girl like her running around.  There was one point when Lexi and her big sister were arguing.  I playfully scooped up Lexi and said, "Oh, is everybody picking on you?"  She nodded and I cuddled her on my lap.  I was laughing and being silly, but suddenly I was holding her and she leaned her head back against me while her little legs dangled down off my lap and I felt a huge lump in my throat.  All I could think was, This is what it would feel like to hold Eliza now.  This is how big she would be.

Like a sneak-peek at a different life
Lexi didn't stay on my lap long (too busy!), and the moment passed, but that wasn't the only time that weekend that my heart ached for the little girl who wasn't there.  A family reunion can't help but highlight for me the baby who isn't with us, the baby who would have been so loved by her family.

As I said on IG, the pointy end of the marshmallow stick is not as close to Zuzu's eye as it appears in this photo.  And the fire is not burning her butt.
Of course, every moment missing Eliza is matched by a moment of being so grateful for and delighted by Zuzu.  I just said to David today, "How did we get so lucky?" and those are words I still can't believe come out of my mouth.

Zuzu was a crazy woman at the campfire, entertaining Uncle Bubs, herself, and everyone else.
Applauding for herself
Clapping for oneself is hilarious!
We ate a lot of sweets over the weekend (my aunts made fresh-baked cookies every single day, seriously) and we made some sweet memories.  I declare Family Weekend a success.


  1. You are way pretty in your wilderness ways and I hope we can still be friends when we meet next week. ha! :)

    The Eliza/Lexi/Caro thing is so impossible to comprehend, and yet it's a precious little glimpse even in all it's heartbreak. I still find it tricky with two year old-ish boys and how alert and into things they are... And how BUSY, but good-busy, you know? :/

    I think I used that exact same phrase this weekend to Scott- we are so lucky. SO SO lucky... And yet...

  2. What a fun, relaxing weekend. The picture of Caroline sitting next to Lexi took my breath away. I am so sorry for all you've lost. So glad Caroline makes you feel lucky in spite of it all. You guys are a beautiful family!

  3. OMG her FACE in the pool picture! Priceless!!!!

  4. Shed a little tear for you, for Eliza and everyone. You put it all so very well and are such a beautiful mother to your girls. Its just always so hard to meet and be around kids that would be the same age as our angels. What a beautiful moment you shared. Zuzu is most definitely adorable and full of amazing energy and humor and personality!! Its a joy seeing her pictures.

  5. Your aunts sound like my kind of people. And I seriously have wanted a s'more since looking at your IG picture.

    Glad you had a nice weekend, full of missing your girl and loving what you have in the present.

  6. I love to camp... And the version of camping you have experienced I think is my kinda camping these days! Even though we used to rough it camping as kids with my dad...I think those days are behind me.

    Lexi is so big, and my I'd to think...

    I do that all the time. Particularly with one of Daniels nephews who was born 3 months after Alexander. My boy would be just a touch ahead of him... I do better just not thinking about it.

    I too could really go for a s'more now :)

  7. Chocolate chip cookies every single night. Yeeeees.

    Lexi is huge. And Andrew would be bigger than that? I wish I could imagine that. We are so lucky and like Laura set... and yet...

    What a nice weekend (besides baby not sleeping because that can really ruin a show), but at least it didn't stop her from smiling and clapping.

  8. Your family is awesome, thanks for sharing your weekend with us!

  9. So fun! We are going on a similar vacation (except with meals included and servers) in a few weeks.

    It is all so bittersweet, isn't it?

  10. Also, Zuzu is stinking adorable!

  11. That kind of camping I could do. ; ) I was stunned by the photo of Zuzu with Lexi -- really?? Eliza would be THAT big?? I can only imagine how you felt.

    One of dh's cousins had a boy exactly six months before I was due, and another had another boy exactly six months afterwards. So every time I see the two of them at family gatherings, I try to imagine Katie right in the middle. Being boys, though, it's harder to envision/make comparisons (& not quite so painful).

    Zuzu is adorable, of course. That pink!! That hat!!

  12. Sounds like a lovely weekend. Now I want smores.

    Life is just filled with those bittersweet moments, isn't it? Brings tears to my eyes...

  13. Can I say that the fact that your mother got into freezing cold spring pool water demonstrates just how over the moon in love with that child she is?

    It has to be 110 outside and 80 degree pool water for me to even consider sticking a toe in, cute baby aside. But Caroline is obviously completely happy about being in there, so she is.

    That's love.

  14. I couldn't help but wipe my eyes when looking at those pictures and thinking what could have been. Zuzu is beautiful and you and David are wonderful parents.


  15. Zuzu is adorable and the camping looks pretty awesome. Out of curiosity, what camp were you at? Our family has sometimes talked about doing something like that. It looks really nice.