Photoblogging our family weekend in Bell Buckle

J, C, Baby G and I traveled to Bell Buckle last weekend for the annual Webb School Arts & Crafts Festival, which is like a giant fair held all over town for 48 hours. I loved Craft Fair weekend as a kid growing up in Bell Buckle, and my kids and all their cousins love it just as much. It’s sort of like one of our family’s annual holidays. Jon and E couldn’t come this year, so it was just us girls, plus an extra girl in the form of J’s friend A.

Here’s what went down.

Cousins M and J show off the arrowhead they bought with their own money at one of the fair booths.

shot_1287258525881.jpg

The boys with more of their fair-acquired booty – bows and arrows

bowsandarrows

Uncle Robert found a bizarrely huge praying mantis. It was the size of a small rat. For realz.

shot_1287258073783.jpg

C and cousin NC were mesmerized by this creepy looking, giant bug on Uncle Robert’s arm.

shot_1287257976473.jpg

shot_1287257960304.jpg

Baby G visits with her great grandmother

photo

Cousin James rocks the house at a Saturday night show in Bell Buckle

<img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com

James rocks it

My little brother Robert and I, along with Baby G, inadvertently strike an awkward family photo.

awkward family photo

Aunt Betsy and cousin El strike their own awkward family photo

afp2

My mother with C and NC

nanny

My great Aunt Polly, with her sister, my grandmother.

polly

Kimi and cousin M

kimi

Girl cousins and Bell Buckle best friends

girls

It was very sad for me being there without Henry. He loved Bell Buckle all the time, but Craft Fair weekend was just his favorite thing as a kid – and even into his teenage years. He should have been there with us.

Things 2, 3 and 4 (and a cousin makes 5)

C, practicing to become a BIG sister very soon.

Unnamed.jpg

J on her church group mission trip this week. (She got home last night and BOY was I glad to see her.)

janenyc3

E, with cousin M at Edisto Island, which is where the kids received the news that Henry had left us, Their father and stepmother (compliments of a dear, dear friend who has a company plane and is generous beyond words) flew them down to tell the children (I am too pregnant to fly) and then they all stayed together in the house my family had rented for vacation before all of this happened, letting the kids play with cousins and be loved on by various aunts and uncles before flying back together the day before Henry’s memorial service. Edisto has always been a special place to me, my kids and my family. Now it will be even more special. I hope to scatter some of Henry’s ashes there later this year or next summer. He loved it there very much.

beachcousins

Here are E and cousin M playing in the fountains in downtown Knoxville yesterday. The fountain drenching was part of a guys’ day that Jon had with them which if I understood correctly included Laser Tag, hot wings, fountains, Chucky Cheese and going to see the new Karate Kid movie. Basically my idea of a day from hell.

E fell alseep as soon as he got home. He was tiiiired. Today he leaves for sleepaway camp – the same camp Henry attended and loved (as well as lots of other family members).

cousinfountains


Can you tell that their father and I, and stepparents (and aunts and uncles and dear friends) are trying to keep the kids busy, active and yet surrounded by a lot of support and love at the same time? It’s hard to know how we are doing in helping them through these early stages of their grief. Hell, it’s hard to know how I am getting through these early stages of my grief. (Is there sleepaway camp for hugely pregnant women who can’t stop weeping or writing?)