Alabama Part I: Family

We’ve been home from our trip to Alabama for a couple weeks now, and though I’ve been looking forward to posting pictures and updating my blog with all the fun details, the days since our return have been jam-packed as usual and time has continued to fly.  (Is anyone else still branding in July?)  And no, we haven’t finished unpacking yet.  (Today doesn’t look good, either.)

When I finally sorted through my iPhone photos of our vacation / trip to visit family in Alabama over the Fourth, I came up with almost sixty pictures I figured I just had to share with the world.  Nobody has time to read a sixty-photo blog written by yours truly, and honestly, I don’t have the time to write a sixty-photo blog.  The solution?  I’m going to divide the photos into categories and publish a series of blogs about our Alabama vacation.  Of course, at this stage of my life, with eight eager little hands pitching in to help and my own sleep at a premium, I am not awesome at finishing projects in a timely manner.  Still, I’m making it a goal to get these vacation blogs completely finished.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Ready for the first segment?  All of today’s photos are about family — specifically my husband’s family, around whom our vacation was planned.  Beau turned 40 the day before we left for Alabama this year, and I love that he got to kick off his fifth decade with a grand celebration with the family he knew first.  Beau’s extended family gathers annually for the Fourth of July at his grandmother’s lake house, and they all knew months ahead of time that we were coming for the first time in almost five (!) years (how did five years pass so quickly?), and so big plans were set in order early on.

Birthday cake time!

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Plans for our time there included a professional photographer hired to capture the entire Epperson/Blake crew in a family photo with Lake Martin in the background.  We were all instructed to wear khaki, cream, and/or brown for the photo, and you should’ve seen our little family of six at the Kohl’s in Billings, the night before we flew out, trying to find me an outfit!

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I generally believe that Southerners are much better dressed than we Westerners are.  Khakis, sundresses, polos and loafers are the norm there, not the exception.  When we flew back into the Bozeman airport coming home from our trip and were greeted by the granola contingency there, I actually felt a pang of embarrassment for my beloved home state.

Meanwhile, in Alabama, Beau’s grandmother outfitted our little girls in this adorable dress for the photo:

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We Blakes had a little trouble getting our jet-lagged selves to the family photo the morning after we flew in, so Aunt Mary Laurel (Beau’s sister) and Papa (Beau’s dad) came to help us get dressed in our browns and creams and get out the door of our rented lake house and down the shore to Beau’s grandmother’s place:

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Besides the extended family photo, the hired photographer took lots of photos of smaller segments of family.  This one will show our kids with their grandparents and great-grandparents:

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Marsielle and Muggins really hammed it up:

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This one shows me and Beau with Aunt Mary Laurel, Emily, and (Beau’s brother) Uncle Matt:

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I can’t wait to see the official photographer’s photos of that day.  I’m counting on some Christmas-card-worthy stuff.

 

More good things that happened down there:

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Asher made his first attempts at water-skiing with four generations in the boat!

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(That’s Beau’s grandfather at left, Beau’s dad driving the boat, and Beau in the nose.)

 

This is Emi hanging out with Mim, Beau’s mom, from whom (I am convinced) Emi gets her long blond hair!

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The kids had lots of time while we were in the South to cuddle with Papa — that’s Beau’s dad and their grandfather.  Papa was diagnosed with early pancreatic cancer just before we flew down.  Our trip had already been planned for months, so I figure it was kinda a God thing that we were all able to spend time with Papa right before he started his treatments.

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We’re praying for you, Papa!  #teammike

More pictures next time…

© Tam Blake

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