This weekend was my family reunion on my Mom’s side. Unfortunately it’s not an annual thing. It’s a pretty big group of people, and too many people live out-of-state and there’s always just too much going on within each family to make it happen. This year though, it all just happened to work out.
So let me think out loud here for a minute… I need to write this down so I don’t forget.
Uncle D, Aunt T and two of their four kids. My cousin S and her two kids. Aunt Z, Uncle D. My cousins L, her husband D and their daughter H. My cousin M, his wife T and their son J. Uncle T. Aunt B, Uncle D, and their three daughters. My Mom K and Step-Dad M and Step Brother Z. Me, husband and the three kids. My sister and two cousins couldn’t make it. SO that makes 29 of the 32. (IF I counted correctly…)
First problem was that I was still pregnant with the girls when we started planning so I wasn’t sure whether we’d be able to come. My Aunt in CO (god bless her… the busiest woman I know. She KILLS me in the busy dept.) ended up finding a place just a mile away from our place on accident. She was aiming to find something close so we could go from home and not have to worry about packing and overnights away from home. When she asked me if I liked it, I looked up and address and realized how close it actually was!! I had never even heard of it up to this point. It’s an old 1800’s barn remodeled into a bunk house used primarily for pheasant hunting, but you’d never guess it because the place is just beautiful!! “Beautiful” is in the eye of the beholder though. Not everyone likes this kind of thing. It’s decorated with animals and the walls are all wood and they kept a lot of the old beams that supported the barn… it’s VERY country-style. It also had a really nice open kitchen with dark granite counter tops and a game room loft with a pool table, fooseball table and darts. The living room was comfy with a big screen tv and a wii. Then there were three bedrooms with their own bathrooms. The only downside in my opinion was that the rooms were all bunk beds. Totally tolerable. (though who am I to voice my opinion, I got to sleep at home!) Personally it was my cup of tea because it had country flair and modern technology all nestled in to one giant old barn. Awesome.
Second problem was that I was excited but kind of reserved. I was hoping the short distance didn’t create an open invitation for people to just invite themselves over to our house at all times of the day and night. I also knew I’d very quickly lose track of one, if not all three of my kids soon after arriving there. I was nervous that Buddy would OD on snacks, or wipe out face first and get a bloody nose in front of everyone. I was scared that Peanut’s casts would slip and I’d have to leave and go to the ER to have them removed. Bear… well I wasn’t worried about her. She’s WAY too chill to worry about. Which will be my downfall later when she gets into everything behind my back. I was worried Buddy would break something. He always does. It’s unbelievable how he finds a way to break things. In short, I was apprehensive about not having the control over my kids that I needed at the family reunion. Come to find out I didn’t need to worry AT ALL! I mentioned something once about being careful about Peanut’s casts and everyone was on their best behavior. I mentioned healthy snacks only a couple of times, and I had a crew of supporters watching my back when I wasn’t there when candies were being given too freely. Each kid literally had someone with them at ALL times, and it was almost never me. I mean, even the younger kids were in love with Buddy, Peanut and Bear and offered to help with stuff. I even got off scott free from feedings and diaper changes a couple of times! WOW!!!
This reunion has reminded me what a family is all about. I spent so much time getting myself ready for defense mode I forgot how loving and understanding a family can be. They all know I’m on a VERY high stress mode, and responded exactly the way that I needed to help bring the stress levels down. Buddy would laugh and the whole house would “awwww” in unison. Buddy would climb on a chair to watch a card game, and even though they were keeping score to that point, they’d deal him in on the next round just to watch his reaction. They asked me before taking him outside to play or giving him a snack. When I said no they didn’t roll their eyes. They offered help when I needed it, and let me take care of what I needed to without getting in the way trying to be overly helpful. They fed and burped the girls and never EVER complained about getting slimed on, spit up on and full-blown thrown up on. I was absolutely in awe. Not to mention that no one stepped on our toes about coming over when we needed to run, or asking us to stay later when it was bedtime for the kids. It was always “We understand. You’ve got your hands full. Drive safe and we’ll have breakfast ready in the morning! Love you!” Wow wow wow. I will happily happily admit I. was. so. wrong.
We mostly just hung out and caught up with each other. We had a couple of bonfires, ate a ton and laughed even more. It was a wonderful way to catch up and spend a long weekend. The sun was shining and the weather was great. Buddy discovered his new favorite obsession too. The pool table. He heard the balls clanking around and climbed up the stairs to the loft to check it out. It was love at first sight. I put him on top of the table and let him drop the balls down the hole. After he dropped the first ball his eyes got HUGE as he listened to it clunking around inside on its way down. He stuck his whole face in the hole to try to figure out where they went. When I took him down, he searched high and low trying to find them, when he did (a slot on the side where they lined up) he squealed in delight, filled his arms with as many balls as he could and ran away with them laughing. So funny. Other stuff we did was the cousins went to the beach for an afternoon. (Only to find out the stupid rain created an e-coli outbreak… AGAIN! GRR!) There were a few surprise fireworks displays while we were all sitting out on the deck too! On the last day, husband and I took the couple of families who stuck around on a brewery tour. This particular brewery also makes soda so it’s a family friendly place. They loved it! After the tour we headed out to a local burger/custard chain. They’ve got the greasiest butteriest BIGGEST burgers we know of and they’re A-MA-ZING. The burgers are about as big around as a cantaloupe, no joke. Awesome. Now I’m remembering my comment in a previous blog about obesity… erm… we thought it’d be a good way to send off some out-of-towners WI style. You believe me, right?? 😉
Side note about Buddy and the pool table: That incident, among quite a few others is starting to make me realize just how independent Buddy really is. He DID NOT care where husband or I were this weekend. AT. ALL. I mean he was slightly shy at first, but within a few minutes he was busting through the crowds of people like a bowling ball smashing through pins. He “talked” with anyone, let everyone pick him up, played games with anyone, and explored every nook cranny and crevice possible with or without us present. He used to make sure that I was in the same room, but lately he just goes off on his own without a care in the world. This scares me into thinking he’ll just walk off with anyone (He DID walk off with the waiter at a restaurant a few weeks ago… though I’m thinking he realize this guy kept coming out with food and wanted to get to the source ASAP.), so I have to be on guard even more when we’re in public.
Now that the weekend is over Husband and I are completely and utterly ex-haus-ted. I mean over the top tired. Even with the whole getting-up-every-three-hours thing with newborn twins I haven’t been this tired in a LONG time. It’s the kind of tired where you pull an all nighter, then you hit about 10 AM. That’s the hardest point. You’re physically and emotionally drained and your brain has literally melted into the equivalent of oatmeal. We both felt like that Sunday afternoon and Monday. Our house was absolutely trashed Monday because I just didn’t have the energy to clean up after the Energizer Buddy.
Aside from being way too tired for my own good, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. There were a few hiccups, but overall it was a great time. I got to visit with cousins I haven’t talked to since they were babies, or worse yet since I was a baby. I was told numerous times how awesome Buddy is. My step-brother Z said, “No, seriously, I’ve seen a lot of babies, and he’s by far the coolest kid I’ve ever met.” Best yet, I got to shrug off my responsibilities as a Mom for a weekend on everyone else.
Family Reunion Weekend = MAJOR success.