Tuesday, August 12, 2014

St. George Island: Soaking It In

I know-- my brother on the right is disturbing.  
A gazillion photos follow.....

July saw year eleven for our clan on St. George Island.  It was just the 17 of us— no less, no more and we are soaking in every year we can get like that.  I feel like jumping up and down and squealing when I realize that everyone can be there.  I know how life goes and I know what it’s like to miss someone, so EVERY year we get EVERYbody, it’s a gift… in the truest sense of the word.  I am learning also, that another part of this gift is that we all really enjoy being in one house that week.  We’ve gone through babies, toddlers, different parenting styles etc.  We have different schedules, interesting diets, bipolar internal thermostats, sun lovers, shade lovers, sand lovers, A/C lovers and somehow, it all works out.

This year there were some unusual things that happened.  Well, some unusual and some just random “what’s going on?” type things.  First, we borrowed a bike rack so Jeff could ride with Bill.  They have always brought bikes.  This was our first time.

Bill took these going onto the island and going across the Apalachicola bridge
About 45 minutes before we got to St. George, I broke out into a sweat and felt waves of nausea when I realized……….you ready for this?  There’s a couple of you who may need to sit down.

I forgot my camera.

Right then I knew, this would be a strange week.  I couldn’t even imagine my week without my awesome hand me down camera.  I can’t even begin to understand how it happened.  Once the nausea subsided and I could look down at my phone, I texted my friend, Sarah, who would give me the most empathy— that I needed terribly.  I loved her FIRST response.  “No!!!!!  Have Emily overnight it.  It’s worth it!!”  My husband indulges me in much but this was not one of them.  He knew of two nice cameras that would be there and he knew I could borrow them.  I got it, but I felt like I was missing an appendage all week.  So………….  I became even more attached to my phone and completely stretched its limits as a camera.  It’s really an insane device.

Here are some more random things:
Aunt Patsy came straight from Colorado and did not bring goodies.  We had no oatmeal peanut butter no bake cookies this year in the tall plastic canister.
First night I made coffee, there was no whipped cream because no one had gone to the local grocery yet.
Charles Martin’s new book does not come out until September 2nd— 21 more days to be exact and so this was the first summer in MANY that I did not read him on the beach.  I suffered through a couple of others.  Not really, but I missed his storytelling.

So on to more interesting things that had never happened….
The guys didn't waste any time fishing so first night, something pulled one of the poles and ALL of them took turns trying to pull it in.  Finally, they all just walked it out to the sandbar because whatever it was, it had basically refused to come any closer.  It was a sea turtle!!  It broke the line once they all got a look-- and of course, no cameras.  I give Hunter a gold star for trying-- clothes and all.

 We continued to see the turtles throughout the week.  In eleven years, it was our first time to see them in the water.  Then one day, Patty and I were standing up watching the kids and she looked over and thought she was seeing a piece of a starfish and when she looked closer, this is what she picked up.

Cool, I know, right?  He was very prickly but easy to hold.  It would wrap its little tail around your finger and squirm.  We put him in a big cup of salt water and hurried him up to the house so the grandparents could see.

Starfish were abundant this year as well as the sand dollars, but not really many shells which was very strange.  Also, there were a couple of days the water was as clear as could be.  This is not always the case on St. George.

One of my favorites bunches of kids

Off shore fishing was unusually good this summer.  Some different fishies were pulled in.

A baby hammerhead

Bill doesn’t flex ALL of the time just when he feels like it whether it’s with a Spanish Mackerel or just in conversation around the table.

A Speckled Trout pulled in by B

No comment. Seriously.

To the guys, this is what sun chairs are good for.

Monday was like a fishing-palooza.  I watched Blake pull in fish after fish after fish.  They all did-- for a grand total of 55.  

They got to do some kayak fishing on the bay side and had an adventure to remember pulling in a drum fish --- just for the fun of it.

RJ on one of the kayaks-- Great picture, Bill!

I could never do the story justice-- just imagine pulling that thing into your kayak with no place to put it.

I’m not sure how this happened but on the day we thought we would get rained out, one by one, we insanely agreed to run with RJ who was on a workout schedule of some kind for his college baseball team.  Somehow, 2 miles turned to 3 miles.  We all loaded up into Blake’s truck and he drove us 3 miles away from the house and put us out.  I know-- I think some of us had just had too much sun.  It was raining, hot and thick with humidity.  I think it was Jeff who said, “It’s St. George Health Camp.”  Blake said he wasn’t coming back.  You notice Blake drove the truck so he drove up and down the island giving us our distance every mile or so.  As I brought up the rear, he even found orange tape for me to run through.

More things that might hint at the idea of “health camp” but really it just made the week more memorable:

Relays on the beach-- since I was in the relays, I didn’t get many pictures but this was exhausting.  I told Bill the start and finish was TOO far apart!  When’s the last time you hopped on one leg or two, backstroked or skipped what seemed like 30 yards?

And then there was Beach Sharks and Minnows-- Bill drew the “board” on the sand, explained the rules and the fun began.

The soccer game might have been the most fun, except for our one injured player who was giving it her best shot!

There was a lot of this-- Hunter laughing and people on the sand

Patty challenging B’s goal and she...
Made it and squealed like a middle schooler. 
Winning team
The injured player on the winning team : (  When you go toe to toe with your big cousin, you’re almost guaranteed an ouchie.
And burpees on the beach?!?!?  This had NEVER been done!!
On to the mundane.... but oh so fun.

Bill and Patty come with the fireworks and these parachute guys.  It’s hard work lighting a fire on the beach. And I do wonder when the last year will be that these will send these kids running.

The chips before and after picture 

The cards-- wouldn’t ever want to run out of cards

These two have become adults in the eleven years we’ve been coming.   Have I ever told you how much I love these two?And RJ’s tank top was worth documenting.

Aunt Ebby’s finally sold and HAPPY people bought it.  Woohooo!!

And the pictures from a borrowed camera.....

I will ALWAYS choose this kind of shot -- the natural expression that I see so often totally trumps the “smile for the picture”!

Hunter-- great job on this picture!  Love it.
The mischief begins when too many of us wait until the last night to take pictures!  Brighton seems most perturbed.

Just one more-- Adele got left out of this one somehow.  I think it may have had something to do with that thing on the right.

The Littles still did “club” upstairs, watched a movie and shared two bags of popcorn every night, still ate Freezer Pops in the hot tub, spent less time in the pool and played plenty of hand held games.  We entertained a cousin of a friend Monday night who brought us a delicious homemade Key Lime Pie that we managed to slice into 17 pieces.  He also loaned us all the kayaks and gave great fishing tips.  Bill flexed for him, Patty and I embarrassed ourselves by laughing like 12 year olds, and my brother threw out an, “I cannot believe he said that, “ comment for him.  Adele and Hunter get the award for most improved beach time.  We loved sharing the sun with you!  We heard some Wood  Duck {their fishing guide} stories we’ve never heard before and I’ll be sure not to share them here.  The fireworks show put on by RJ and Bill did not disappoint-- however, with all the Littles wanting to light them and the drama that ensued,  Bill might not bring them again!

My good bye ritual before we hop in the car for the long ride home--- love these early morning pictures that last me till next year.

So sweet family-- it was a blast.  Thanks AGAIN, Mom and Dad.  I can’t wait until next year.  

As a post script I am adding some pictures of Bill and Patty’s family.  We keep losing quality in the transfer and we can’t figure it out, so I am going to post them small here at the end and hope we can add them in large later.  I just CANNOT leave them out.


Emily said...

HOW IN THE WORLD is this the first that I am hearing about the forgotten camera!!! For future reference, I totally would have split the bill with you, because I understand it is THAT important! Glad you still got some great shots. I enjoy this post every year.

Alyssa said...

I'm with Emily; I'd have chipped in too! You have a camera fan club. :-) Julia's dress is gorgeous; she's getting soooo tall! I know it takes forever to upload pictures on blogger, so thank you for giving of your time and sharing these with us.