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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Robinson Reunion in Lexington

Gran and Poppa have retired to a lovely piece of property in Lexington, Virginia. We love going there, our kids feel right at home and the summer weather is much more tolerable than we get here in Texas - so naturally we wanted to share it with lots of our friends. From high school. With their families. It was a large group of chaos and fun.

 Poppa was a big hit with the "big" kids, tractor rides for all! 
I went to Robinson High School for 2 months of 8th grade and all of my 9th grade year (thank you ExxonMobil relocations....) but Jon was there for all of his middle school and high school years - and the friendships he started in those awkward high school days have become some of the closest, long term friends that we have. I am lucky enough to have had a year together with the same people, and even more fortunate that I could fall back in step with this crew so many years later. We are also lucky enough to have added spouses and quite a few children to the mix, each addition making the clan bigger and better. This, however, was the first time since Jon and I had children that we were able to all convene in one place. The only local-to-Virginia family missing was about to have their own baby... so naturally we'll have to do it again! 
There is a great hike down to the river straight from the back yard. We were an ambitious crew to take all of the kids, it's a pretty intense hill on the way back. Most did great, there were a couple of falls, we only did it once...

Matt and his mini-me hiking along

Gretchen and Anna are less than a year apart and you would have thought them kindred souls. Granted, they are at this fantastic age where you can become someone's bestest friend in the whole world on your first meeting, but I believe that they will start up again the same way whenever we get to see each other next. They're both silly, energetic, loving and willing to get dirty. Also, totally comfortable with their own style.
Due to the rarity of our get-togethers, every adult was attempting to take approximately 1,000 pictures. Maybe some kids are into that. Most are not. Natalie is DEFINITELY in the don't-take-my-picture-you-can't-make-me-smile category. This was my most proud parenting win of the weekend. Through pure trickery, we went from leaning away from the big kids....

To kind of enjoying participating in the game....

To a true blue smiling photo. Here are all of our "big kids", at this stage big is anyone over 3 years old.

Adam was rocking on the tambourine
And then there are the "little kids". These sweet boys, so calm, so easy, so little! I think Alex is the oldest at 1 year 10 months in this picture.

Then the grand finale of photographs, trying to get the entire children brigade. This was not easy. So much so that there are no pictures after we took this one, everyone was burnt out. I love their little personalities showing through. Gretchen and Anna in front, Gretchen being a little silly. Natalie reading. William and Hudson in charge of babies, Luke is completely chill and Hatcher is ready to crawl away. Alex just wants his toy back, he's also eating something out of his right hand. Adam is giving the, "I'm in the picture, but I'm not gonna sit on this chair" mischievous face. I love it. What a joy to have so many friends under one roof. How amazing to have a second generation of little people to carry on the friendships. Huge shout out to Gran and Poppa for comfortably hosting this massive crew! No matter how hard it was to capture, I'm so thankful that we have documentation of this incredible weekend together. Let's do it again as soon as possible!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Stateside Fourth of July Turkey Fry

We capital-L Love visits from Uncle Ted and Aunt Kyra and we were so excited to hear that they wanted to come and visit us in (gasp!) July, we wanted to be sure and show them a good time. To start with, we wanted to continue the tradition of frying a turkey on the Fourth of July. Admittedly, this tradition made more sense when July was in the middle of winter in Argentina, but it's too fun not to continue. Even though it's triple-digit hot in July. Lucky for us, the Newhooks were just as willing to keep the tradition going. They loaded up their car with 2 kids, a full turkey fryer and accompanying items, band instruments for a late-night jam session and drove the hour up to our house for the night. Have I mentioned how much we enjoy the company of these friends??

There are a couple of things you can count on in Houston, in July. 1) It will be hot. 2) It will be humid. The thing that you cannot depend on is the weather, it is completely erratic. 

So a day that starts out like this:

Can turn into this - in the blink of an eye. 

But don't worry, it returns to a bright, sunny, hot day before you can say "Fourth of July Turkey Fry"

Seriously, we were in the pool enjoying a lovely day, the traditional July turkey was nicely frying in the corner when the weather turned and a complete downpour with accompanying lightening and thunder stopped everything for 45 minutes. Thankfully, Ted was willing to risk life and limb by holding the largest umbrella ever known over the fryer to keep the turkey going and avoid a fire-filled disaster. We thank him for saving our home, and our turkey.
We were all smiles throughout the day. It was great to have members of our family, our long-time friends and our new neighbors all in one place. The day was made even better with take out food from Corkscrew, hands down the best brisket and pulled pork that I have ever had. 

Alex enjoyed some personal attention from Aunt Kyra

The littles kept themselves busy with bubbles
There were enough adults to go around, but Aunt Kyra was the preferred choice for bedtime stories
The night ended with a jam session, which is always a highlight for us. Jon was rockin' it out on the box drum, a great addition to the band.

The rest of the weekend was a real treat for us and the kids. Aunts and uncles make the best kind of visitors! Uncle Ted spent time being hilarious with Alex, I mean, who wouldn't crack up at Mr. Potato Head's glasses on little Nemo?!

And the monotony of the same game over and over again didn't seem to touch our visitors. The bean bag pick up game was Alex's favorite for the weekend. I love how little he looks in this picture. The bean bag totally envelopes him, such a little peanut.

The patience of someone who lays to let ALL of the matching game cards be placed on them, only to then hilarious stand up and let them all fall to the ground, that is something that only an uncle has. I hope I'm not blowing his cover, but Uncle Ted is patient, fun, hilarious and a favorite among this nice and nephew. Thank you, Ted and Kyra for visiting, and we are now counting the days until your next trip to Houston.