Monday, March 15, 2010

My Family, My Partners in Crime

{My Grams with my cousins and me. My brother, Craig, and I are in matching outfits. Our parents also matched. So 1990's.} *Click on images to enlarge*

My cousin Suzanne recently asked me to blog about my favorite childhood memory and favorite recent memory from our family vacations to Siesta Key, Florida. But first, let me start with some background on my family.

My dad is the second of four children, three boys and a girl. The four of them all married and had kids, giving my grandmother a total of 10 grandkids in 12 years (my grandfather died before 8 of us were born). There are three girls who are years apart, but have pretty close relationships. I am the baby, my cousin Suzanne is 6 years older than me, and Kelley is 11 years older than me. By the way, we were all born in May. We're a pretty awesome trio, I won't lie.

But because us girls were outnumbered by the boys, we weren't always sweet little girls.

1989 was the first summer my dad's entire family went to Siesta Key for the first time. I'm too lazy to do the math for back then, but today we are up to 35 (give or take a couple) people. We all stay in the same condo complex, all sit together on the beach, and all wreak havoc on the Gulf Coast for 10 days. It's such a wonderful time. Something I look forward to every year... even before the present trip ends. We have only skipped the reunion in FL three times. Twice to go to California instead. Once (this year) because of reasons I still don't quite understand. Not going this year is actually hard for me. Not because I'm a whiny baby who wants to go on vacay again; but because my grandmother (the only grandparent I have ever had) is going to be 89 in August. Who knows if she will be with us next June; and I know this annual trip means the world to her. And soon I will do a post dedicated to her. Because she truly is my hero and the most kicka** 88 year old woman one will ever know.

But I digress.

Back to my favorite memories.

As kids, we were little shits (although my parents would argue that not much has changed). And we didn't like outsiders invading our territory. And since the condo complex has two pools, we figured we had every right to claim the front pool--closest to the beach-- for just our family. Our parents shared this sentiment. So the 10 of us would gather up our Super Soaker water guns (purchased by my Grams, of course), spread out in the pool, and spray the bejezus out of any trespassers. The guests loved us, I'm sure. As did the manager of the complex, Rosie. She was such an evil old lady. But she got our money every summer, so what could she do? She'd ride by in her golf cart and you better believe we soaked that cart until our water pressure wore thin. Holy terrors, we were. We just laughed and laughed and loved life so much. She probably quit because of our family. I wish we could do this today and get away with it ;) We never got in trouble by our parents. I won't out anyone, but I know the adults partook in these activities. So did my then 32 year old cousin. And my grandma. We're crazy, what can I say?

{My brudder and me at Busch Gardens Tampa. He was not quite 5, I had just turned 3. We're so awkward. And 5 minutes after this picture I was attacked by a stupid goose. Also known as the beginning of my everlasting fear of all bird species.}

But as we got older, said shananigans came to a close. Until last year, when all 10 of us (plus girlfriends/husbands) were finally 21. I think we have all secretly been dreaming of this day since we knew what being 21 meant. So my favorite SK memory as of late would be from last year, when all of us, for the first time ever, went out to a bar and did shots and got drunk. It was lovely. And such a fun bonding experience as adults. Hey, we're Irish and German and my grandma's maiden name is Bierhaus (that's Beer-house), a fondness of drinking is in our genes. Anyhow, it was a blast. And reminded me of how awesome my family is. And how bad I feel for people who enter our family by marriage. And our kids... well, I think we are all fully prepared for payback to hit us in 10-fold. But I wouldn't change a single thing about us.

{June 2009. Sorry for the poor picture quality. The gang (plus a few new members), all grown up. Chyea, right ;) Brother bear is the dude in the front right, wearing orange; I am on the right in back wearing black. I just realized my youngest cousin isn't there... :(.}

And an extra picture, just because I think we look cute and my brother's entire body language and facial expression cracks me up! From Mother's Day 1989. I turned 2 six days later, Craig turned 4 two months later.

P.S. wiffle ball will also always be a favorite past time from Siesta Key, in case you were wondering, cuz! ;)


katie said...

Your family sounds like FUN! So glad you have a fun, normal extended family. We aren't all so lucky... hahaha You are such a good writer. I know it may not mean much (since you've seen my blog), but really, if you ever decide to write a book, I'd like to reserve one now. Have a great rest of your week!

Merri Ann said...

OMG .. I know you may not believe this, but yesterday I scanned and emailed an old photo to my family then my sister did the same and we all ended up emailed tons of photos that we all hadn't seen before ... it was sooo much fun. I had considered doing a post this morning and now you have me determined to get it done. I'll link back to you if I can figure out how.

Your post, in a nutshell, is the reason I want to badly for my kiddos to stay in Texas by their cousins. My family was large, I have 3 sisters and a brother, but we were not close to any other family.

Great post. I'm off to do my post.

Have a great day.

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

Your family sounds like a ton of fun! I married into a HUGE crazy family and I like it.

Beer-haus - I love it!

Melissa said...

It sounds like great memories!

I'm sorry you are having to miss the reunion this year... that's a major bummer.

jag said...

Great story! Love that you little shits had such a fabulous time in Siesta Key. It's beautiful, and not too far from us. If you make it back down - eh hem, WHEN you make it back down (sorry no dice this year), we may just have to plan a little visit that way!

Helene said...

Your family totally you think they'd adopt me? I could surely pass for someone's mom, right??

I love that your grandma's last name is Beerhaus!! My MIL is full-blooded German and she's a beer drinking fool. Seriously, that's all she ever drinks. She drinks beer and smokes cigarettes all day long. Ah, what a life.

Okay, here's something really wierd...I was attacked my a killer goose a long time ago too!! My mom and I were feeding these geese in the lake behind our house and one came out of the water and started chasing me, honking all kinds of what could've been translated as curse words geese-style. He was one mean Mth-f'er. I have feared geese ever since. I kid you not. My mom laughed hysterically at me as I ran away from him screaming, "Mommy!!!". Dude, I was 15 years old...screaming "Mommy" while a crazy goose chased me down all for a piece of white bread.

Your cousins won't let you go to San Jose with them? Total bummer!!!! I'd totally drive down there to see you...and I'd bring the spawn with me as an added bonus, of course. I wouldn't want you to miss out on any possible blog fodder...and you know there would be some with them around.

Oh and your profile pic looks great...did you manage to fix it? I can see your whole body now...and I mean that in a friendly way...not a stalkerish, freaky Keith Morrison way. I'm loving the boots!

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