This is the caption I shared with the above picture on Instagram:
That one time during The Great Depression, when I had no husband or oldest son anymore and I travelled across the country, living out of my car, with my eight remaining kids. (Oh all right, it was actually only two hours of travel. To Bear Lake. But, Mike and Abe were at High Adventure camp, and we did have to stop at Wal Mart. So . . . kind of.)
And of course I was just being silly. It really wasn’t bad. The older kids were incredibly helpful and we had a lovely time even before Mike and Abe finished up their own camping adventure and came to join us, but it did feel a bit daunting. The last time I packed up and drove off to Bear Lake without Mike – although it was just two summers ago -- I had one more of the “older kids” with me (Abe) and TWO LESS of the baby kind of kids! So packing up everything, and shopping for groceries, and filling coolers, and cleaning the house (so much mess and chaos comes home from vacations that I can’t bear to have mess and chaos already here), and not forgetting blankets that kids won’t sleep without or contact lenses or cabin keys (!!! – I almost left the cabin keys along with my entire purse behind!) felt, at times, like it would never all come together. And, even when we arrived, there was still much to be done. The basement doors were all removed and new carpet was installed (the February flood!). New carpet is lovely but it takes a tremendous amount of time to vacuum it up properly (loose carpet bits and pieces everywhere), and while I was doing that, the girls were having to watch babies and unpack groceries from coolers. Still, it really did go fine, and there is even a feeling of satisfaction and completion that accompanies taking care of so much and . . . well . . . actually doing it. And now, already, I can’t recall if there was anything negative about this get-away at all. In retrospect, it seems it was nothing but happy. (Though I’m certain it probably wasn’t?? Well, thank heavens for filtered memories!)
We ventured to LaBeau’s and to the beach without Mike and Abe.
And we celebrated Goldie’s 13th birthday with a little hike and pink-lemonade pie and presents. (Oh . . . the hike . . . I remember now . . . there were some bad parts to this trip. Haha. No, mostly it was lovely, but about halfway through the hike, several children gave up the will to live and there was a lot of crying. But! It was kind of cute for awhile when Summer utterly refused to keep her shoes on and hiked for some time like a little Tarzan or Mowgli all bare-footed and oblivious.)
And we hung out about the cabin.
And went to the beach with Mike and Abe. (We’ve taken to going in the evening. The crowds leave, we get kids’ naps out of the way, and we don’t have to apply sunblock [that last one is almost motivation enough with our huge lot of fair-skinned children].) This time we rented a wave runner. We’ve typically only done that at our big family reunion, but it was so fun having it with just our crew. I loved being out there with little squealing kids holding tight to me and shouting “faster” and “too fast”.
And then we drove back towards our cabin with the sun beginning to set (it was already nearly 9:00) and realized we still had to feed our exhausted, cold, and tired little troop of people, but also realized it was our last night and we hadn’t yet stopped at Zipz for shakes like we try to do during our summer visits, so we killed two birds with one stone (sort-of) by giving them all shakes for dinner (shivering and chattering though they were).
(And, just like how one shouldn’t start out a speech by apologizing, I shouldn’t draw attention to any faults, but our computer with my editing software crashed and I haven’t yet learned how to do anything else, so these photos were all pulled from my camera straight to my phone to share . . . which greatly diminished the quality.)
But never mind that! I will end with one more caption from posting one of these pictures on Instagram.
There's practically zero beach this year. And the water has always felt like . . . one degree colder and you'd be swimming in a solid block of ice. But it's all wrapped up with memories of my grandma making Ovaltine every morning for breakfast, and the sound of the back trailer step when my dad went out early to swim laps (and him always telling us to wait 20 minutes after eating before going swimming -- as if he assumed we really planned to swim vigorous laps like he did rather than splash around on my grandma's blue ziffy boards), and walks up Hodge's Road to throw sticks off the bridge and watch them come out the other side, and my mom reading us stories on the fold-out orange couch where my sisters and I squished together to sleep, and pistachio pudding in brown bowls (and ice cream cones from The General Store when we were lucky), and climbing over the rocks at the back of the trailer to turn on the gas for the stove (all the while trying not to hit our heads on the window that opened outwards), and a little cow bell we got to ring when my grandma's peas and potatoes were ready for dinner, and collecting a million tiny seashells with my sisters; until there is no way to objectively tell anyone if Bear Lake is truly any good at all -- being all blindly enamored with the place as I am.