So, we just got back from a family reunion with my parents and siblings and nephews. We went down to Cedar City for the Shakespeare Festival. It was loads of fun and pretty crazy with six little boys (Adam and Karlie have three: Nick (5), Alex (2), and Dylan (3 months); Rachael and Lance have two: Owen (3), and Oliver (1) and then Ben of course). The four older boys are running all over the place. OK maybe Oliver doesn't run, but he gets around and is always heading for stairs. Unfortunately the stairs at the place we were staying at were really treacherous, so we had to keep a close eye out. The older boys wanted to play hide and seek constantly and we were usually limited to the upstairs because of babies taking naps. There were probably a total of ten hiding places up there and we must have played about 50 times. It didn't help that when Owen or Nick would get found first they woul tell the seeker where everyone else was.
Also, we played lots of Rock Band in between seeing the plays. Everyone got a big kick out of it. Nick especially liked the drums. Unfortunately, the drums were a little too loud to play when babies were sleeping, so that limited their usage.
As for the plays, they were fantastic. I saw four of them: Othello, Cyrano de Bergerac, Taming of the Shrew, and School for Wives. The production and acting and costumes and everything were great. My favorite was Taming of the Shrew. It was by far the best production I've ever seen of it. It was really funny. That play can really be interpreted as lighthearted or depressing, and they did the lighthearted interpretation really well. Cyrano is still probably my favorite play, but it wasn't my favorite rendition. I thought they made some interesting editorial decisions that I wasn't super pleased with. School for Wives was really clever and funny. Othello was really well-done. Iago, Othello, and Desdemona were particularly fantastic. Plus, we saw it in the outdoor theater and it was a great experience.
I'm so glad that Ben got to meet his cousins and Adam and Karlie. He's a very social little guy and I think he loved having so many people to play with him. Also, he loves to be outside. We went on a hike on July 4th with Ben in the sling to Cascade Falls. He loved it and was such a trooper. At one point I slipped and almost fell. It was probably the scariest moment of my whole life, almost falling down a mountain while carrying my baby. You'd better believe I was really careful with my steps the rest of the way. Plus, my dad and Courtney were great about finding the best paths and helping me keep my balance.
Since we got back, not much has happened. Ben can sort of kind of sit up. If you set him up just right he can keep his balance for a couple of seconds. Usually it's only a couple of seconds because he tries to kick his little legs and loses his balance. His tummy and neck are close to strong enough for him to sit up, he just has to learn to not flail. That may be a tall order, though, as his limbs are in constant motion.
So, that's the synopsis of the Merrill Family Reunion 2008. I'll be posting a bunch of pictures shortly.