Our not-so-little gang of hooligans descended upon the northwoods last week for the annual family vacay. It was a week of just-barely-controlled, joyful chaos. We are 19 now, isn’t that insane? The shoe pile is like a mountain. Carloads of groceries are consumed in minutes. The children revert to their wild, baser selves, taking up arms in the form of punching balloons and pool noodles.

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With so many mouths to feed, we had to bring the paella pan. I just love everyone’s faces in this.

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There were pleasure cruises and wild rides. Junip went tubing with Drew and, having just seen her big kid cousins wiping out, told him she wanted to fall off. So he did. I was so proud of my tough kiddo and also, wanted to kill her dad. I mean, the boat was slowing down and they kinda just slid off the back of the tube together, but still.

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These two, oh my gosh, they were just thick as thieves. It was adorable. Whoever woke up first each morning staggered into the living room sleepily asking for the other. June was so thrilled to have a buddy happily obeying all of her spontaneous play scripts, and Zeke had the running, jumping, tireless playmate of his dreams.

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It wouldn’t be a trip up North without a day at the zoo. I’ve been at least five or six times now, but the bird house always blows my mind. All these joyful, chattering little fluff balls, buzzing around and landing on you like you’re a familiar part of their world.

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And those giraffes! They’ll just kiss anyone!

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Had to end the day with a little brain freeze to balance the summer heat.

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Quinn, of course, would not be excluded.

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And, perhaps not surprisingly, this was the closest we were able to get to a Gigi/Papa/grandkid smiling group shot. I would describe it not so much as herding chickens, but wrangling all the chickens into a tight pose and trying to get them to smile at the camera. Ollie’s escape attempts are my favorite.

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Kids: 1, adults: 0. Heh heh heh.

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We just had one rainy day, but with all the sun and swimming, there were plenty of times throughout the week when tired out little bodies went seeking a snuggle and a book.

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And this little one, my sweet little buddy, turned one year old. I can’t believe it. Quinn, I have so much more to say about that, I will save it for a post just about you. In the meanwhile, let it be noted how highly suspicious she was of the flaming foreign object we placed on her tray, but once she got it up to her mouth, it wasn’t going anywhere. She burrowed her face in and ate it from the middle out, tunneling through until the outer ring fell apart in her little fingers.

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It was hard to come home.