Saturday, August 25, 2012

Family Reunion 2012

WARNING: this reunion summary comes in the form of 39 pictures.  I have a strict rule of no more than 12 pictures per blog post.  OK, it's not that strict.  But the kids pictured herein are adorable, so brace yourself.

We planned to take two days off of work (including the fourth of July) to head up to Fort Flagler State Park.  At the last minute, Nick could not get the extra day off, so I headed out with the kids myself.  That's four kids, seven and under, the youngest only one and a half months.  Crazy?  Yes.  But sometimes I do crazy things in order to prove (to myself) how sane I am.  Capeesh?

The morning of the first day of our venture, a pioneer walk was scheduled.  I did not want to miss it.  I did not want the kids to miss it.  "Big mistake.  Huge."  (name the movie).  Here we are, dressed in our patriotic-best, snacks packed, ready to walk; ready for adventure.  Just not too much adventure.
The walk was to be a loop.  We would head out through a wooded area, past old (1890) military bunkers, down to the beach.  From there, we would take a beach-side trail back around to the barracks that were the center of everything reunion.  Our walk down to the beach was nice.  I chatted with family that I had not seen in years.  The kids stopped to explore the bunkers as we passed.  Curie got to ride in a cousin's wagon.  So far, so good.  When we got to the beach, we stopped for a break.  I stayed away from the main group to nurse.  That's when the clouds set in.  And the rain started.  Most of the group decided to hurry, so off they went down the trail.  I had already doubted my double stroller's talent for the trail.  If that trail turned muddy, we would be even worse off.  A few of us headed back the way we came.  At first we tried to tough it out.  After all, this was a "pioneer walk."  What kind of pioneers would we be if we couldn't handle a little rain?  But the rain quickly turned to deluge.  Imagine pushing an overcrowded double stroller up a hill while someone dumps a cold swimming pool  on your head.  We were ill prepared and soaked, with rivers flowing off our eyebrows.  Pierce cried, but I was able to at least keep him dry in the stroller.  A rescue team was called in.

In the end, I decided that we still had a pioneer experience.  In Mormon pioneer history, there is a story of a group of people pushing handcarts across the county who got stuck in an early snow.  They too were ill prepared, except that their problems meant that they would most likely die.  They sent word to Brigham Young of their troubles.  That word arrived on a Sunday morning.  Brigham's sermon went like this: Get out of church.  Go get that handcart company.

We were fortunate to be rescued and brought home in a car.  The "pioneers" out on the beach trail had to swim through the rain to get back.  They were the real troopers.  We were warm and dry by the time they got to us.

Moving on!

The rest of that day was a blur.  I mostly held and fed Pierce while the kids ran around with their uncle and cousins.  Thanks, Kyle, for being their pseudo-Dad for a while.
 Curie couldn't handle it anymore, and I couldn't think where else to lay her, so she slept in Pierce's carseat.
 Nick did finally arrive that evening and he even brought his mom.  Reinforcements!
The next day, he took them out kite-flying.  There is some serious wind up their at the north end of the peninsula.
 The big kids both got really good at controlling their kites.
 Can you see it way up there?  That tiny spot in the sky is a pretty big kite.

 Nick demonstrated well.
 Let's all pause here to appreciate this picture of Rigby.  It's my favorite.  Seriously, as you are skimming through this post, slow down here.  Breathe.  Isn't he handsome?
This was my fav-o-rite playground attraction as a kid.  Have you tried it as an adult?  I can't take it at all.  I guess we all have to grow up sometime.

 The reunion held a lot of kids fun.  The kids could earn "money" to spend in the "store."  This was done by doing nice things for adults, like clearing up their plates after a meal.  They could then buy toys or candy or they could save their cash for a big auction at the end of the reunion.

One favorite activity was making and launching pneumatic rockets.  Here is Bethelle's, in true Husky style (Go Dawgs!).
 See the red air compressor?  It was hooked up to a line, valve, and pipe.  Slide your rocket over the pipe, flip the valve, and watch 'er fly!  Those things really went far, and the kids got some serious exercise chasing their rockets.  DAD: YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS LAUNCHER.  I TOOK MORE PICS FOR YOU.
 Pierce found a lot of people to love him at Fort Flager.  Here he is with his aunt Trisha.
 I had a chance to leave the baby behind for a while (not common for a nursing mother) and take the kids and their cousins to the beach just a quick walk from headquarters.
 LOVE the cousin-pairs.

 And check out the cool driftwood fort behind us.  Rigby spent a lot of time in there.

 Nautical Trisha.
 Grandma loves the sun.  I'm sure she's Arizona Dreamin' in this picture.
 What would a reunion be without a pinata?
 You should click on this picture to see how fierce Bethelle can be.  The crowd loved her.  She took the situation very seriously.

Evenings found us inside with the whole crew.  Here's a snapshot of nothing in particular, just to remember the event by.
 And here is the glue himself.  The man who keeps us connected to this reunion.  The quilter himself, Gramps.  He and his siblings are the origination of this whole group.  He has eight children.  He has 45 grandchildren, of which Nick is one.  He has ONE HUNDRED great-grandchildren, and three great-greats.  And he is awesome.
 Pierce found some entertainment inside.  Sort of.

 This is when the reunion really got good.  These cousins showed up.  They love, love, love my kids.  I practically did not see them after these cousins arrived.  My kids were overly entertained by their adorers for the rest of the reunion.
 Below is Gramps (in red) with all his surviving sons, except Harold.  We miss you, Hoag!  Nick's dad is second from the left.
 This is Pierce in his "happy place."
All in all: wet, festive, fun, and family.

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