Beach babies

Well, we are back from our beach adventure and I think we have finally rinsed the last bit of sand off of our flip-flops.

I love this annual trip, which involves Grandpa and Grandma, aunts, uncles and lots and lots of cousins. And food. Really -- just piles of food.

My sister was a little frustrated because her recent Graduation Week mishap meant that she couldn't go into the water. On the up side, it also meant that she was excused from most chores that involved using both hands. She didn't milk this nearly as much as I would have.

The urchins were very excited when they were introduced to a board game that is all the rage at the cousins' house. Let me be very clear -- this game is a winner. When the forty-something uncles and aunts and the too-cool-for-school high school graduates and the teens and the 'tweens all l-o-v-e the same board game, something very special -- not to say freakish -- is going on.

This one loved the game so much that she woke me up at midnight to ask me if I would come join the game. Do you understand the significance of this, people? She woke me up at midnight.

tangent: Formerly referred to as "the oldest girl," this one has been declared "the one in charge." If you knew how organized, forward-thinking, and logical she is you would understand why my dad calls her "the girl with the clipboard." Apparently in the Army, if you come upon a scene and don't know exactly where you should report or what task you should be performing, you always check in with whoever has the clipboard -- because this is the person who will always know where you should go and what you should be doing. Well -- in our family, that's this girl. When (not if) she takes over the world, everything is going to be much better.

Check out the rogues' gallery of cousins:

My tall boy . . .

. . . my sister's tall boy . . .

. . . and a couple of boys who are not quite so tall yet.

Watch out for this one: he's tricky. (Quick! What movie is that from?!)

As the father of two daughters and no sons, my dad has always had a soft spot for girls. The only thing he loves as much as granddaughters is grandsons. Here he is with my sister's oldest girl.

The sunny girl was all about the boogie board . . .

. . . while the girl in charge and my youngest niece spent much of their beach time digging. Digging with no goal in mind -- just . . . digging. It's very zen, don't you think?

We were missing my sister's other tall boy, who spent the week at Boys' State. I am proud to report that he was elected Commonwealth Attorney; in other states he would be called a District Attorney, but whatever you call him his legal career looms brightly.

And Grandpa and his oldest grandchild talked Army stuff, since the grandson -- my sister's fabulous tall boy -- is soon to be a West Point cadet. Grandpa's not too proud.

Next up: Margaritaville medical practice. Sounds like a new series on the USA network, doesn't it?!