The Last Few Days

Thursday was technically our last day together as a party of fifteen.  The Reynolds family was set to depart early Friday morning for their flights back to Turkey.  That made us all sad.  We tried to avoid the goodbyes and conversations that come with for as long as humanly possible.  Unfortunately the day came anyway.  We were determined to make the most of the day though and that we did. 
With clouds in the sky, the kiddos, the whole lot of them, had jet skis on the brain.  So what else was there to do but head down to the marina at St. John's Pass and find out about rental.  The three Dads, myself and all the kiddos piled in and headed to Woody's rental shop.  It was there that four of the nine children took their safety test to be licensed jet ski drivers.  It was there that the four adults readied ourselves for the adventure ahead.  Thankfully I took Siobhan and Thing 3.  The two girlies that did not have speed on their mind.  A leisurely ride around the gulf looking for dolphins, that's what we were interested in.  The four children, pardon me, teenagers, passed their test and were set.  Seating arrangements were figured out and off we went.  Under the draw bridge and out in to the open water.  Husband Jared and Thing 4, Brien and JP, Steve on his own, Thing 1, Thing 2 and Eva, Will and Tom and then Thing 3, Siobhan and myself.  First stop, to drive by the other two mums for a photo op.  We started off slowly and then as the girls became more comfortable I went a bit faster.  Then they asked me to go even faster.  Then faster.  We were flying over waves and crashing down, all while squeals and screams were filling the ocean air.  They would hold on a bit tighter and then catch their breath.  Then they even said at the end they were so glad we did this, best part I think I even heard.  Made my day!  Towards the end of our time Thing 4 jumped on with the Reynolds boys and each of the three teenage girlies took turns driving, with Thing 2 getting up to the highest speed.  No big shock there!  What fun we had!
Thing 4, Tom and Will

Eva, Thing 1 and Thing 2
We returned from our outing to find our camp set up and waiting for us on the beach.  Chairs were found, feet planted in the sand and the children were off once again.  This time, shell  hunting, playing tag in the pool and sitting with their chairs in the water, at least the girls.  There were big plans to grill on the beach, roast marshmallows and have some fun with sparklers in the dark. 
 I could hardly wait! 
After what seemed like only a few minutes I saw Thing 4 washing his feet and waving for Husband Jared and I to come over.  When I asked the other boys if something happened no one was aware.  Then I heard the shout, "Mama".  And I knew.  You know when you just know?  That Mama instinct kicked in and I ran over to my boy.  Sure enough blood was gushing from Thing 4's ankle and upon inspection I knew stitches were in our future.  We carried him upstairs to clean the wound and attempt to close it with a butterfly bandage but no avail.  Husband Jared quickly found an urgent care facility nearby and he and Thing 1 raced over there with a very calm Thing 4.  I stayed behind with the other three Things and to help with dinner and such.  Never a dull moment.  I do believe that Thing 1 posted on FB, "What's a Hanson family vacation without a trip to the ER?".  Well I suppose that might just be an accurate statement.  Anyhow, my gang returned home after only an hour with two stitches and a sore foot.  Thinking our plans for the remainder of our beach time were scrapped we were all quite bummed for Thing 4.  Yet despite our protectiveness he ran upstairs, found a sock and was out in the sand playing footie with his mates within mere minutes of his return.  Way to rally Thing 4!
The football, just waiting

The boys

Thing 2 and Siobhan, sweet friends

The boys being buried by Thing 4
Our dinner, ribs, corn and grilled peppers
Dinner time, Afiyet Olsun, as they say in Turkey
Thing 4 and JP

Our Group and nighttime set up, only ones left on the beach

Sparkler fun

Thing 1

More sparkler art
Even with a minor speed bump in the afternoon we managed to stay on the beach until the late hours of the evening, or rather, early hours of the morning.  We taught our friends all about s'mores and just how to roast the perfect marshmallow so that upon placing it between the graham crackers the chocolate melts right over, spilling onto your fingers.  All nine of the kiddos ran around with sparklers in hand, the girls being a bit more deliberate about their burn time than the boys, but fun was had by all nonetheless.  Us parents sat in our chairs and watched happy kids.  There were some quiet moments, only because we all  knew what was coming at the end of the night.  Maybe that's why we stayed chatting and star gazing.  Oh my, I almost forgot the turtle nests that were on the beach.  It was/is egg hatching season, May through October and we were fortunate enough to see a few nests on the beach.  They were protected but every night the girls would walk up and down to see if any baby turtles were trying to find their way to the water by moonlight.  Another special memory of our week. 
Reluctantly we cleaned up and headed inside for goodbyes, or rather, see you laters and hugs and kisses on the cheek.  Children first.  Tearful hugs commenced between us Mums and then I raced to my room.  I'm not one for goodbyes to begin with and knowing it could be years until we see each other again I just couldn't handle it.  It is bittersweet, like I've always said.  So I prefer to replace "goodbye" with phrases such as, "until next time", "hasta luego", and so on.    Catch my drift?  And with all of that us six climbed in bed exhausted after such an eventful day and not necessarily looking forward to waking the next morning and missing five of our peeps.   

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