June 29, 2010

Weekend at the Lake

Posted in Children, Family, Food, Friendships, Holidays, Home, Weather tagged , , , , at 6:39 am by Liliana

Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan

We spent a few days at our cottage near Lake Michigan.

Between our guests from Alaska and Chicago and our own extended family, there were fifteen occupants. Half of us were children.

Every room was put to good use. Branka and Joe took the back bedroom. Sasha and Sam claimed the tiny front room. Tom and Sharon slept on an air mattress in the little side porch. Next to them, in the middle walk-through room, slept the two boys, Nate and Julian.

In the upstairs loft, we had a crowd: Jeff and I on the bed, Nicky and Nena on the floor.

And then the tent. Laurie brought a big, sturdy tent, and she and the two little girls (Katie and Monica) slept outside. The huge rain storm did not scare these ladies away.

The children spent hours filling balloons with water and popping them on the side of the house. They climbed the play structures in the little park down the street. Sam and Nate played soccer and basketball, at the same time. They buried each other in the sand, and we had to make them come out of the lake. No one wanted to stop bobbing in the huge waves that came after the storm.

The adults walked on the beach, sat talking on the front porch, drank Turkish coffee out of dainty porcelain cups. Branka made soups, corn bread and puppy seed and walnut strudel. Sharon and Tom made a Mexican themed dinner one night. Jeff barbecued a feast on Saturday night.

Since it was also Nena’s birthday, Branka bought a huge Dairy Cream ice cream cake. It was not just the little kids who asked for seconds! As the storm raged outside and we cooled ourselves with melting vanilla, chocolate and cookie dough flavors, Laurie asked what the adults would do differently if they had another chance at being twenty two.

Most had a similar wish – slow down the time and spend it enjoying each others presence. And so we did.

April 29, 2010

Full House

Posted in Children, Family, Home, Pets tagged , at 7:08 am by Liliana

Busy House

Busy House

Sometime this week, my sister Branka, brother-in-law Joe, niece Nicole, nephew Sasha, and their Siberia Husky Kaya, will be moving into our house.

Joe lost his job in the book industry, and is going back to graduate school to become a high school teacher. They are renting their house out, and moving in with us for about a year. Last night we were laughing about it. I said something like – “Not too many families have done this and lived to tell the tale,” when my husband Jeff stopped me. Always logical, he pointed out that we haven’t lived through this experiment yet; in fact, we are only on the very cusp of starting it.

In any case, it will be interesting, the summer especially. Jeff and I have three children of our own, although Mike and Nena are about to embark on their own adventures. Mike will spend the summer at home, but will be starting law school on the East Coast in the fall. Nena is graduating from college this June and, freshly engaged to a young soul mate named Peter, is planning to move to New Orleans in the fall. They will come to visit, but will mostly spend this summer in our cottage on Lake Michigan. Sam, our youngest, is still in high school and will be home for the next year and a half.

My nephew Sasha is graduating from college together with Nena. He got an impressive community organizing job and will travel and work (who knows where) for the next three years. He will only spend a few weeks with us this summer, and then come for visits. Nicole is starting college this fall (although she still hasn’t made up her mind on where she’s going.) She is taking over Nena’s room for the summer.

Also, we will be having visitors. Mike’s girlfriend Karen will stay with us for a few weeks. Grandparents from Florida will join us to celebrate graduations, engagements, etc. Friends will be coming from Chicago and Alaska.

It is probably impossible for anyone not related to us to keep this family tree straight. To put it simply, summer will be chaos. I myself am not sure who is coming, who is going, and who is staying for how long. But in September, the house will seem awfully quiet. It will be one boy, one dog, and four adults.