Thursday was the most changeable day weatherwise, and since I didn't feel like going in the boat and watertubing or skiing or wakeboarding in the 58 degree drizzle, I stayed in bed all day and read my book, The Goose Girl. Others went out on the boat and had a nice time. The weather cleared at times and some kids even went on the tramp and went swimming. I think there was a lot of sitting around and chatting today and basically kind of a lull in the action, which is good during a week-long reunion. Thursday afternoon, Aaron, Amy and Grandma Joy went to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Later on, the second shift went-Mom, Pop, Evan, Jake, Eric and, I think, Phil and Alex. Someone else should write about Thursday because I really did sort of take the day off.
Anyway, Friday was, among other things, picture day. Since I spent most of the day worrying about that, this post is mostly from the point of view of Kellie the Photographer. The weather was pleasant and partly cloudy but the clouds were moving fast. Lots of people swam and boated in the in-and-out sunlight and warmth. After lunch, we gathered by the lake and gamely attempted to take photos. The sun was too high in the sky at that point, but it was our best bet, so as you see, there is some squinting going on. Just as I would get my camera set for the overcast light, the sun would come out full on and vice-versa, so the exposure is off in just about every shot. Everyone was good-natured though, and I think we got some decent shots that at least tell our family's story, even if they are not great from a technical standpoint. This is when I thank the Lord for Photoshop.
Here are my favorites. If you want to see more of the photo shoot, click here.
The whole gang. If you count, there are 33 of us. This one is really good except Randi has her eyes closed. This one is pretty good of most everyone except several little ones are looking away or holding their noses, etc.
This is three generations. Most of my siblings, my folks and my dad's mom.
Here are 7 of 8 of us. I like this picture a lot.
Friday night was our fun talent show and I thought it went great. We had a wonderful variety, from getting to see video of Sophie dancing to video of Dave Elliott on the news at the Star Wars premier. We heard singing in Spanish, singing of hymns and decidedly politically incorrect singing (we'll never forget Grandma's pre-civil-rights lullabies, will we?). We heard Owen sing his name, and got to see a slide show of the boys' walkabout in West Virgina earlier in the week. That was a highlight. The whole thing was a treat and I am so glad we took the trouble to do it. It was really fun to share in that setting, to cheer for each other, and to enjoy the simple joys of being together.
After the little kids went to bed, we convened around the fire with the plan that each family would report on the happenings of the last year or so, but it ended up being another serendipitous opportunity to hear our Papa share his memories. This time it was memories of each child and it was funny and touching all at the same time. Things were brought to mind that I hadn't thought of in years and I gained insights into the lives of my younger brothers and sisters who lived much of their coming of age without me in the house since I married when Mandi was 4 1/2 years old.
At 11 or so, the geekiest of us got up from the fire and went over to Wal-mart to pick up our Harry Potter books. We got in line around 11:30, got our wristbands and worried a little as the store people talked about the fact that they only had 300 books. We figured we were about 50 people from the front and what if lots of them got multiple books???? It all turned out okay and we got our books quite quickly. We were out of the store and on our way by about 12:20. When we got home, some were still up talking around the fire and getting ready for bed. We got the books distributed and some of us commenced to read. Some of us did not, but it was fun to share the memory of participating in the hysteria of the most anticipated book release in history. And the book was awesome, so it was worth it to not have to wait any longer than necessary.
Saturday morning was packing, saying goodbye, getting a few last shots and everyone pitching in to get the house in shape for leaving. It went pretty smoothly, though we still, as of this writing, we still don't have the hot tub issue resolved. I will keep calling though. I would like some sort of compensation, but I guess I'll have to be sane about just how far I push it. Anyway, I am still on cloud nine about how lovely it was to be together. Certainly there were moments of all sorts-bad, good, dramatic, tense, funny, etc., but the thing is, I feel like all the moments blended together into something nice, something memorable and something that brought our family closer together. It certainly reinforced for me that heaven being organized into families is a good idea. I definitely think we got a few glimpses this week.