Wednesday, June 13

Cousin Camp

Back in February, I decided my life was so boring that I invited all my nieces and nephews to come stay with me for a few days during the summer break. That is 7 kids, ages 17 to 6, not including Emilee, Charlie or Justine.

It might cause others to be suicidal, but I was SO EXCITED. We had so much fun!

All the kids, plus someone else's kid who
thought the dog pile on Nicole was pretty
fun, too.
I picked them up last week and brought them to the house. The first day was just a relaxed day - no big plans. We went to the park by our house and I allowed the kids some time to get settled.

Austin and Nicole, fighting it out at the park

Ryan, Trent, Megan, Austin, Nicole, Kelly and Emilee
The second day was the biggest adventure day we had. First, we went to Liberty Park for a picnic.

I love these kids!

Charlie loved being adored by all his cousins.
After lunch, we went to the water feature at the park and the kids played while Grandma and I rested.

Kelly, Megan and Emilee cooling off their tootsies in the water

Dustin, Ryan and Trent put leaves in the water at the top and
followed them down to the bottom.
The park was lots of fun. But we still had lots to do. Next, we went to the Planetarium (or the Planet-a-tarium, as Trent called it). Because I'm not delusional enough to think I can actually keep track of 9 kids all at once, we set up a buddy system. Each of the older kids paired with a younger one and they split up to explore. Oddly enough, they seemed most interested in the gift shop. Who cares about planets and space?? There are cool toys in here!

Waiting to cross the road - We love space!

Kelly and Emilee holding their breath on the moon

Checking each other out, 'scope style

Ha ha ha.
Once we were done at the Planet-a-tarium, we headed off to our hike. I've done this hike a few times before, but I always forget how to get there. Thankfully, we didn't get too off course and before we knew it, we were trekking up the mountain.

The best part of hiking is the payoff when you reach the halfway point:

We made it back down without any casualties, so we headed home to get dinner started.

The next day, I wanted to take the kids to one of the places their mom's and I used to go when we were kids - Antelope Island. For those not familiar with the Utah Valley, this is a public "beach" off of the Great Salt Lake. It stinks, there are dead shrimps everywhere and the water is of course super salty. But hey, it's still nostalgic. And if you live in Utah, you should know about the local attractions!

Grandma was smart - she stayed in the A/C

We had a late start that day, so it was back home after the lake. The kids had put together a skit for us during the day. After dinner, Kevin, my mom and I sat down and watched the cinematic magic the kids had created. It was so cute! They did a great job.

After the skit, we set up to watch a movie in the backyard. We have an extra projector, so I had Kevin set it up against the fence. We also set up a couple of tents because some of the kids wanted to sleep outside after the movie. It was so windy, sometimes we couldn't even hear the movie because of the wind beating against the tents.

Poor Ryan woke up having a nightmare when he went to his tent, so I took the two little boys and had them sleep in the basement - much safer than a windy tent.

Saturday morning, I drove Austin to take his ACT. Once I got back home, we got things ready for lunch. Instead of having a picnic, we ate at the house and waited for Austin to finish his test. We played an intense game of Apples to Apples (which I totally would have won if I didn't have to leave early) then it was time to head up the mountains again.

This time, we went to Solitude to do some geocaching. If you've never done this, you should totally do it! Although it was freezing, half the kids didn't have jackets and it was extremely windy, it was lots of fun. The kids enjoyed finding the hidden treasure and I enjoyed the walk. And guess what else! We saw a moose right off the trail, lying in the grass!

Kevin and Scoob

Shorts and sweaters. A great combo for such a cold day

Awe, lovies

Dustin and Megan were inseparable

Ryan didn't have a jacket, so we improvised

Kelly had a fantastic photo bomb!

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We were freezing from the walk around the lake, but we had already filled a cooler-full of water balloons, so weren't about to waste them. We made our way back to the park to have a water fight and take some pictures in the t-shirts I had made for them.

Ryan lost his shirt, so that's why there's a touch of Spiderman
in the family photo

I took probably 90 shots of the kids jumping, and this was the
best I could get. Ha.
Sunday was the last day. While we waited for my sister to get there, I worked on a slideshow with all the pictures and the video I recorded of the skit. I wasn't able to burn the disc so it was a little shaky when we tried to watch it, but it was cool to share with my sister and her husband all the adventures we had.

I'm so glad I did this, I had such a great time with all of them and made some beautiful memories. Hooray for family!

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