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Arkansas Vacation Part 2: Family Reunion

After our (somewhat depressing) stop in Stuttgart, we continued on to Hot Springs, where my cousin’s husband’s family owns a couple of lake houses. They were gracious enough to host all of us there for the weekend. The blue house is the main one, and we stayed in the smaller brown house next door.
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Let me tell you: There’s a huge difference between Arkansas summer on the prairie, and Arkansas summer on the lake. SO much nicer. It was lovely there. It was warm, but the water made it tolerable. The water temperature was perfect - probably around 80 degrees - and there was fishing and swimming and boating and jet-skiing. The kids ran around with their cousins the entire time and there were plenty of adults around to keep an eye them. It was one of the most relaxing vacations I’ve ever had!
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(Daniel with Michele’s son Rexie. That makes them third cousins)

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(Emily with Michele’s daughter Megan. Which just happens to be my middle name, but I think that’s a coincidence...)

Fishing
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We all tried the jet ski. Michele’s son Thomas took the kids out. Emily was okay with one try, but Daniel went probably 7 times and wanted him to do all the tricks and jumps and stuff. That pretty much sums up my kids’ personalities. I also tried it. I went with Thomas, and then took Tim. Then Tim went with Thomas. For some reason he was really nervous with me and didn’t trust my jet-ski-driving abilities. Humph. It was rather comical watching us trying to get on the thing together, though. One of us could get on okay, but when the second one tried, the thing would tip over and we’d splash down into the water. It took us four tries to finally get going, and I have huge bruises on my legs to show for it. I have pictures of the kids with Thomas. There are none (thankfully) of my attempts. And if anyone DOES have any I hope they don’t choose to blackmail me with them.
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Swimmimg
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(Daniel was really into “cannonballs”)
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Emily and Megan enjoying bonding time with the DS.
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Michele and her mother Jean making ice cream on the dock.
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Hanging out on the dock. (notice Tim with his security blanket/toy, his iPad. He needs technology to feel whole. ;)
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Rex - Michele’s husband - and Uncle Ed.
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Eating time!! Our illustrious hostess Michele is the one grinning at the camera. She worked really hard!
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Me and Uncle Ed. I had a great chance to talk to him and hear all sorts of family stories. It’s thought that this might be his last reunion: I hope that’s not true. It was wonderful to see him again.
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Family pictures with Uncle Ed:
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All the great-grandkids...and then my kids the great great nephew and niece.

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The grandkids: left to right - Genie, Stephanie, Thomas, and Michele

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The whole group (except Tim, and Stephanie’s boyfriend Ryan, who were taking pictures)

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Norma’s family: left to right - Keira, Bruce, Norma, Kyle, Audrey, and Genie. Norma is Uncle Ed’s daughter. Genie is Norma’s daughter, and the rest are Genie’s husband and kids.

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Edward’s family. Edward is Uncle Ed’s son who wasn’t there - but these are his kids. Stephanie, Thomas, and Michele.

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My family. Emily, Tim, me, and Daniel.

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Stephanie’s family: Drew, Stephanie, Ryan, and Alex. Drew and Alex are twins.

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Michele’s family: Rexie, Thomas, Rex, Michele, and Megan. (In case you’re wondering, Thomas is in two picture groups because he’s also Michele’s half brother, but she’s raised him as a son.)

And...this is a picture of a restaurant we saw in Hot Springs. It made us laugh out loud. And if you’re from around here too, you’ll know why. I had to stop and take a picture.
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Next installment: the trip home through the Shenendoah Valley.
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