Our last family reunion was in 2014. We all went out to Utah and went camping. There were 27 of us (with 2 on the way).
This year we all ended up in Virginia so we could go to a huge indoor waterpark. There were 31 of us (with 2 on the way).
Everyone arrived at different times, so we hung out a bit before the waterpark excursion.
We had D&D games, Magic the Gathering games, lots of pizza, and plenty of chaos.
We also had a double baby shower at the beach for Jenni and Summer.
And we had a picnic at the park where Jaymie took everyone’s family pictures (because she’s awesome like that!)
Then it was waterpark time. It’s a couple hours drive, so our kids watched movies in the car. Clara wasn’t a fan, but the other kids were rather well-behaved. It was HOT. Jenny rode with us and we stopped at Chick-fil-a.
Then we got checked in and then promptly got lost. Finally, we made our way to the part that the kids have been talking about forever.
We came to Great Wolf Lodge a few years ago, when Malcolm was just a little thing. Ellie has talked about it since then, and she and Malcolm think it’s just about the greatest place ever. However, last time we went people got sick and poor Whitney had kidney stones and felt like death.
I didn’t get pictures the first day, because phones and water don’t mix well.
Ellie and Malcolm did fantastic sharing a queen bed. I thought for sure they would fight and kick each other, but they did just fine. Clara didn’t do as well. We had her in a pack and play and for some reason that just didn’t work for her. So we ended up getting out the pull-out bed from the couch and Clara and I slept on that most of the night. Can I just say that I’m glad I don’t co-sleep normally? I got kicked and punched and slapped and head-bonked and body-slammed and poked in the eye all. night. long. Once I even woke up and she was staring right at me, less than an inch from my face. I almost threw her across the room. Some people can manage that way, and power to them because I would not be able to function after constant nights like that.
Then next morning, we had a sweet little ceremony for my nephew Colin, who passed away very soon after being born. He would have been 9 this year. We talked about him and how families are forever and then we released balloons.
Up until recently, Colin’s funeral had been the only one I’d every been to. As someone told me later, “that’s the wrong kind of funeral”. I never got to meet Colin, but he is a special part of our family and we know that families can be together forever.
I can’t remember how everything happened, but sometime that day we also went fishing on the Chesapeake. We got the whole boat to ourselves. I didn’t get any pictures of the fishing trip (unfortunately) because my phone died (lame). But it was a lot of fun. It was hot, and Clara was very tired and clingy, but I still managed to catch 9 fish, 3 of them while holding Clara. Ellie and Malcolm each caught some fish too. The little boys were all obsessed with looking at the fish in the coolers, except Peter who said we were murderers. We had the boat for several hours, but ended up being done early because of kids and general craziness.
We were all pretty tired (and sweaty) after that. We got some dinner and then Clara and I hung out in the hotel room (sleeping and showering) while Will, Ellie and Malcolm went and explored the hotel a bit more. They found an arcade and a creepy robotic concert, among other things.
That night fared about as well as the first one. We got Clara to sleep in the pack and play for a few hours while I did some school and Will read books. I still ended up sleeping on the pull-out bed with Clara, but at least I got some school done. And I knew what to expect.
The next day was check-out day, but we got to swim as long as we wanted.
Clara loved to go down the baby water slides and stick her head under the little waterfalls. Ellie loved the big water slides and pretty much everything. Malky liked the wave pool and some of the big water slides. Will liked the water slides and hanging out with the kids. I like the lazy river and the hot tub (you can tell who the fun parent is). I managed to not go on a water slide this time, although several people tried to get me to go against my will. The lazy river is much more my scene.
After a few hours, we were done. We grabbed some lunch and then made the long drive back home.
That might have been the longest she slept in one stretch the whole time.
The kids still haven’t stopped talking about how awesome it was.
We got to hang out with some family (not all) after that too.
Summer had her birthday and the girls all went to the Melting Pot. I’d never been before. Holy cow it was amazing.
We also cooked some of the fish we caught. Will spent 4 (four!) hours filleting the fish and then we cooked it up two different ways.
They were very small fillets, but it was pretty good. For croaker fish.
Then our house just smelled like fish for a week or two.
And that was the family reunion. We got to hang out a bit with Michael and Summer because they were here a long time. And of course plenty of us live around here, so we get to see them a lot. It was really fun to have the whole family together. We don’t get that very often.
Maybe the next family reunion will be summer of 2018, when my parents get back from their mission!