The cabin we were renting had an indoor pool and an outdoor spa. All the kids were super pumped. I was semi-pumped, because my kids do not know how to swim. I know this is bad and I have all kinds of explanations, but let's not get into them. Anyway, this meant that I couldn't just send my kids off with the other kids to swim. And the other kids were swimming quite a lot, so my kids were either feeling left out or I was in the pool. I was in the pool a lot that week :) I did work with the boys on getting comfortable with putting their heads and faces into the water and jumping from me to the edge, so that was a start at least. Anyway, we played in the pool lots and lots and lots! The kids loved it. I had a lot of fun, too. We also all enjoyed the hot tub. One night Ryan and I went in after we'd put the kids down and it was so relaxing! My knee bothered me a fair amount while we were in Tahoe, and the spa helped loosen it back up.
2. Beach Day
We ended up being in Tahoe during a very cold week for June, even for them. The highs were mostly in the low to mid sixties. Honestly, I was totally fine with that--the weather was a blessed reprieve from scorching summer we'd come from in Vegas. The only problem was that the cold kept us out of the lake! We were hoping to rent paddle boast one day, but unfortunately there was too much wind for them to allow us to go out on the water. Instead, we settled in at the beach. We were pretty cold but the kids thouroughly enjoyed themselves! Lila spent her time talking people into digging in the dirt with her. Asher and Reed explored a "tide pool" of sorts they found on the beach. The big kids, Ryan, and Steve played a game involving a ball and letters and throwing the ball at people--Dogs, maybe? It looked like a lot of fun! The kids played far longer than I thought they would and had so much fun despite the cold.
3. Duck Race + Bike Fest
There was a sign we passed daily advertising a Duck Race. Our kids asked if we could go to the Duck Race every single time we passed the sign. So when the day of the race came, we headed over to the neighboring town for the race! The town was adorable. And the festival set up with the Duck Race was perfect for us. The kids played carnival games, got their faces painted, won prizes, played on a fun playground, and got to choose their favorite ducks. Then we got to watch the actual races! The ducks being raced were plastic ducks that various members of the community had decorated. A course of PVC pipe (?) was laid out in part of the river, and the winning ducks won prizes. Asher was the most enthralled with the races and would have watched every single heat if the other kids weren't getting so antsy! The only thing that would have made the morning better was if some cousins had joined us!
While we were driving back to Tahoe, we noticed a sign advertising a Bike Festival that was going on right then and was on our route home! We stopped, of course. The kids were a little bummed they didn't have their bikes, because if they did have their bikes they could have decorated them, then ridden through an obstacle course. But, we did get to try a few more carnival games and got hooked up with gear--we all came away with backpacks, water bottles, bike bells and lights, chapstick, and snacks. I even got a free Lake Tahoe shirt, which I was pretty pumped about!
4. Date Night
One night, the oldest cousins were left in charge of the youngest cousins. My kids make up three of the four youngest cousins, so I benefited greatly from this arrangement. While the kids partied, all the adults went out to dinner! We had a very enjoyable evening talking and relaxing without the kids all running around. And our food was delicious, so that wasn't bad, either.
5. Tahoe Rim Trail
We had a large group, and large groups tend to be slow going in the mornings. Our kids are always up early and are easy to get ready for the day, so we weren't really slow going in the mornings. One morning, while we were waiting around for everyone else to be up for the day, we decided to explore. Ryan had heard about the Tahoe Rim Trail--a trail that goes ALL the way around Lake Tahoe--and found out that one of the trail heads (there are many, and they all hook up eventually) was not far from us at all. We hiked the first little bit of the trail while the kids complained the whole way. I'm not exactly sure why they were so opposed to hiking that particular morning--usually they love hiking--but they did not hide their disapproval of our morning activity well. We hiked for 20 minutes or so before turning around so we could make it back to the car and back to the group for the days' activities.
A few days later, part of the group was planning on going to a movie in the morning. Nothing was playing that we were interested in, so we decided to go back to the trail, this time with Steve and Peyton in tow. Unfortunately, my knee was not cooperating, so I got about 5 minutes into the hike before I realized I was not capable of hiking that day. Lila and I turned around and headed home, while the others stayed to hike. I have heard that there was much less grumbling and that the hike was really cool.
6. Waterfall Hike (Cascade Falls?)
On our first full day in Tahoe, we wanted to go back to the waterfall hike we'd done last year. Parking took some doing--apparently that is a very popular hike in Tahoe--but once we were all finally situated we took off! The hike leads to a bridge that crosses the waterfall and is really beautiful. Once we got past the waterfall, we largely ignored the sign warning that to hike farther you needed a permit and went for it! Eventually, we got to a plateau and settled in to take a break. From the plateau, we had a beautiful view of the lake in the distance. The plateau also boasted several large boulders that were not near any cliffs (that second part was important to me) that the kids had fun climbing and exploring. They also attempted to make rock cairns and were at least mildly successful.
7. Commanding View
The area around our cabin was great for exploring. The cabin was on a street with other cabins, but the street backed up to a fairly sharp drop-off. Only the top one floor was above ground on the street side, but all five floors were exposed on the back side due to this crazy drop off. Anyway, there were no houses behind the cabin and not really any close neighbors--so we had a lot of land to wander. There was one particular rock outcropping the kids all liked. Quinn described it to me as offering a "commanding view"--and she was right, it did! The kids also discovered a "clubhouse" in this outcropping. Quinn taught Lila and I (and also a few others, I'm sure) how to use the big rocks to smooth and polish smaller rocks. We loved being around good climbing places.
One of the activities from the last reunion we knew we absolutely needed to repeat was the bike ride! Last year, Ryan and I were too sick on bike day to ride. This year, my knee was too lame to let me bike ride. Ryan took Lila in a baby seat attached to his bike, which she was a HUGE fan of. I think she liked being up so high, as opposed to being right next to the ground in her bike trailer. The boys each hopped on a bike of their own. Asher's bike was a little on the tall side for him, and I heard that he wiped out pretty hard once, but he was a good sport and hopped right back on every time he fell! Grandpa, Payton, Mary, and Eric decided to go with a Surrey--a decision they would come to regret. Luckily, Steve chose the bike with the insanely wide tires and was able to ride and push them up some of the steeper hills! Ruth and I drove after the bike brigade. They had a gorgeous ride that everyone gushed over (I'm really sad I missed it if you can't tell) and we met them at the Camp Richardson ice cream parlor. This ice cream parlor had delicious ice cream that came in ridiculously large scoops. We ordered two child scoops and a single scoop for our five family and had more ice cream than we probably needed! After feasting, they headed back to the bike shop. When we met them there, we saw that sweet Lila had fallen asleep and missed most of the ride back. The Surrey was understandably a bit behind everyone and we cheered them on as they pulled in!
9. Kamdyn's Birthday Celebration
Kamdyn celebrated her 15th birthday while we were in Tahoe and we had the best day celebrating! One of my personal favorite parts of the day was when we had a family soccer match at a nearby park. Hamblys are known for being competitive and a family soccer match is no exception to this rule. Every single person in the family played and it was amazing! A few people commented on my awesome slide tackle. What they didn't know was that I totally slipped and was not trying to end up on the ground, haha!
I can't remember if we also went bowling or mini golfing on Kamdyn's birthday, so we'll just cover both here! The bowling game was great. I was Lila's official team mate and she is such a ham that I was laughing the whole time. The boys were in the all-kids lane and were loving it. They actually did pretty well! The mini golfing was another fun experience. We started out staggered, but we kind of got to watch everyone at various points along the golf course. I believe Grandma even got a hole-in-one twice!
That night, we celebrated with pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey and a pinata. Ryan and Kent rigged the pinata to hang from the third floor balcony to the fifth floor balcony, which I found to be pretty impressive. The kids, of course, very much enjoyed breaking the pinata open and diving after the prizes. I was in charge of tying on the blindfold, which wasn't a problem until we got to the older kids who are ALL taller than me. When did this happen?
10. Smart A + Karaoke
Grandma and Grandpa brought along a new game called "Smart A." The game was fantastic and I was awful at it! Basically, you're trying to be the first to answer a trivia question based on a series of clues. I'm not great at trivia but I enjoyed the game anyway! At one point we had a round of Smart A going with about 12 people involved. Grandma had also brought along UNO, and we ended up playing many rounds of UNO with the littler kids who couldn't play Smart A (the trivia was more geared toward adults).
And finally, karaoke. Karaoke was so great last time that we all wanted to do it again. Honestly, I missed a big chunk of karaoke because I was putting the kids down, then making sure Lila went to sleep. I wasn't feeling great myself so I went to bed early. But I heard that it was a lot of fun yet again, so I'll chalk it up to am is and make sure I get more karaoke time next reunion.
We had so much fun and can't wait for our next reunion!