Friday, August 31, 2018

I'll See You At Court

When I married Jeff, I didn't foresee the future of planning to meet his family at court. I didn't suspect I'd have to lay my life on the judge's stand as I awaited the outcome of my future. I didn't expect to shriek over the phone at beloved family members, "I'll see you at court!" But that's what life with his family has come to. Fortunately. 

Hear ye, hear ye, the life laid on the judge's stand was voluntarily and eagerly put there as my children anxiously awaited the arrival of their cousins at the courthouse Jeff's family rented out for our first annual Excell family reunion. 
The place was huge and the kids got happily lost in each unique nook and cranny. 
And when they weren't exploring inside, serenity and adventure could both be found outside. 
Pounding gavels were exchanged for pounding forks eager to scarf down each delicious meal to be had in the monster kitchen.
Juvenile delinquents quickly formed gangs. 

The wardens kept a close eye on the surroundings.
Sometimes restraining the unruly visitors of the court. 
Okay I'm done with the analogy as it's becoming too difficult to compare our delightful family reunion to a gloomy court/jail. Because we had a hoot-hollerin' time. 

I mean, with a house full of boys, the hootin', hollerin', and fun is all inevitable. 
As are the mass amounts of pancake stacks required to feed the rowdy bunch each morning. 
We ventured away from the house for a hike one morning. 

David showed the swarming crowd the secrets to widdling. David informed his grandsons that they weren't real men unless they carried a pocket knife.

Eli went to scout camp the week after this incident and dutifully bought himself a pocket knife to prove to his grandpa and the world once and for all that he is finally a man.

Perhaps the best part of our stay was the bicycle-built-for-two we unknowingly rented with the courthouse. 

Twas trickier to ride than my face is suggesting. Especially for the taller folk stuck pedaling froggy style in the back. 
Ben and Tana made a giant bubble recipe that provided a whole afternoon's worth of entertainment for more than just the kids. 

Then Mary and Laura gathered a few eager spectators for a slime making party. 
Babies banished to their high chairs. :) Not really. Though they do look slightly dazed and forgotten about here.
Games in the great room. 

More bubbles that could swallow a person whole. Especially a tiny person. 

After check out we went to a baseball field to indulge in the family's favorite sport. 

There's no one else I'd rather go to court with. I rule that this get together was guilty of first-degree fun. 

Time to Celebr-Eight Eli

Our summer started with our first swing at baseball. I signed Jeff up to be a coach somewhat against his will, but this old rookie turned out to be the MVP. All the boys loved him and he did a great job as coach! 
Evidence of Eli's good coach is this little guy's skills. He was a natural out on the field. He was a consistent hitter and quickly learned the ins and outs of the...ins and outs. 
The start of summer brings on immediate preparations for Eli's birthday which is always the first or second day after school gets out. Baby wearing preparations proved to be less efficient than I had envisioned they would be. This is what happens when a baby foot gets stuck in a bag of powdered sugar. 
Nevertheless, the cake was made. 
For those of you who do not wake up humming the Mario theme song like we do, this is a fire flower that can be found in any video game involving America's favorite mustached plumber. 
Mary was in town, so she stopped by to whip Eli in a quick game of air hockey and then to take Eli to the store for a gift and out to lunch. Totally made his whole morning!
After naps we met up with the Guam folk who were in town for Eli's birthday again! My boys at one point were calling these cousins the birthday cousins because when they came into town two years ago they also spent Eli's birthday with us. We've dubbed this a bi-annual tradition. 

It's hard to believe Eli is eight! That's like a real kid! Like, have I finally made it to established motherhood? And now that I'm here, do I really want that? I kind of liked the young mom phase of being blissfully naive and easily forgiven for my parenting faux pas. We're getting to the age where things are really starting to matter and I've better make sure my rubber duckies are in a row.

Luckily, for everything I don't yet have figured out, Eli does. He just gets it. He's wise beyond his years while simultaneously exactly his age. When he's not hopped up on sugar or infinite levels into a video game or making inappropriate jokes at dinner, he's so sweet and caring and kind and loving and mature and spiritual and just downright good. He's just a good kid. He wants good. He wants to do the right thing. He's a great example to his younger brothers and a great example to me.

Eli's birthday celebrations continued through the weekend as we were invited to go to Lagoon with Jeff's work!

There are endless benefits to coordinating jobs with your family friends. 
Our summer had a sens-eight-tional start. But we've only just begun...