i gotta be honest here... i was kind of skeptical about the whole weekend.
what was it gonna be like?
how were the accommodations gonna be?
would there be things for us to do?
was everything going to be too scheduled?
i have to admit that i definitely ate some humble pie.
i was blown away at how great of a weekend it was.
we had a fabulous time, chatting with cousins and family members we hadn't seen for a long time,
eating great food that was made for us 3 times a day, enjoying the sights and scenery of the local area,
and best of all... gathering our awesome family for over 3 days of fun!
my girls had the time of their life.
how could they not?
there were 26 great grandchildren to play with!
my oma and opa would have been thrilled at a weekend away with the 'ganze familie'.
they were german through and through and the most social people you would have ever met.
first, they loved the Lord...
and secondly, they loved and adored their family!
they obviously could not be there because my opa passed away in oct '96 and my oma passed in sept '04.
but the family remains strong in a blessed Christian heritage and a zeal and love for people and life!
some of the highlights of the weekend included:
here's the kids getting instructed on how it's all going to work.
notice how my baby is holding a random piece of toast?
she got quite angry when i tried to take it away. ha ha!
big K's team!
little K's team!
and babe'ster's team!
my cousin deb did a fantastic job of organizing the kids into separate teams that had all ages involved.
the kids had SO much fun playing games and 'getting to know' one another.
but of course! it was scorching hot that weekend!
yup, even the baby got to participate!
i LOVE this action shot!!
auntie (one of my cousins) was there to help her the entire time.
this was a common scene over the weekend.
everyone was lovin' on the 'baby' of the family!!
sliding down rapids.
we just brought our oldest girl along because it was too dangerous for the littles.
we're those awesome kind of parents who wear life jackets... and fail to put one one their child.
(just kidding, of course)
yup, we sat on the flat rock surface and slid down.
this was equally thrilling and painful.
as noted by my bruised and cut up leg!
(guess i didn't heed the guide's instructions well enough when he kept yelling, "keep to the right... keep to the right!!")
some of the "braver" ones (note, NOT me) did some crazy jumping in the more dangerous section of rapids.
yes, my husband was one of them.
here he is trying to get under the falls to see them from behind (in a little rock crevice).
there was a ton of fun had by all the kids (did i mention that already?) the entire weekend.
here's a few random snapshots of some of these times.
auntie pam thought it was a great idea to have wheelchair races.
so did the kids, apparently!
coloring and cousins?!
what could be better?
an older 'favorite' cousin was doing my girls' hair.
this is pretty neat and nostalgic for me because her mom (my cousin) used to do that to me when i was little!
little K became a bit obsessed with cousin g, calling her, "my teacher helper".
this was b/c she was little K's leader in the kid's olympics.
much of the weekend you could find little K sitting on her lap or latched onto her arm.
these 5 girls are all born within 21 months of each other.
they had a blast hanging out, playing and eating with one another.
it's a shame we are spread out all over the country and not living in the same town. :(
and these three of the five are born, in standing order, july '03, jan. '04 and nov. '03.
we also hit up the beach during the weekend.
we kinda overtook the sand from the other beach goers.
there was a floating dock which made for some fun times...
case in point.
(can you find me?! optical illusion... i'm not actually jumping off, just UP!!)
the kids caught minnows in styrofoam cups.
then proceeded to observe their captives.
one evening after dinner we were lucky enough to go river rafting/tubing.
if you can believe it... we piled all the kids under 10 into that raft with all the grandmas, a couple moms and a few strong men to guide it.
as we were piling the 'women and children' into the raft and trying to find space for each and every person, we couldn't help but remember the journey our oma and opa had to make almost 60 years ago.
interestingly enough, oma and opa had to flee east germany with their 5 children.
my uncle and my aunts and dad shared some of their memories with us one evening.
of course we all couldn't help but relate this to our rafting adventure.
"today... tomorrow is too late!" was my uncle's title to his 'essay' of sorts.
what do you think?
was it was fitting for our rafting trip as well?
even my sweet baby came along!
happy, for some of the time at least, to sit on omi's lap.
the rest of us were floating on the inner tubes, all tied together and attached to the raft.
the ride wasn't as rapidy or exciting as we had anticipated.
however, we still had many humorous moments.
including the time my friend went under in her tube and no one noticed because two of the 12-13 year old girl cousins got lodged on a rock.
ha! it was funny... and yes, you had to be there.
oh, and the time the rope snapped and half of our tubes went loose.
people were off floating on their own.
i guess had it been more wild, there would have been some freaked out children.
it was perfect the way it was. :)
we also managed to get a little canoe trip in.
i've forgotten how in our regular life, there are muscles in my arms that i don't use too often.
luckily (?) this canoe trip reminded me that i still do indeed have triceps.
two dads, one mom (me) and a bunch of kids ranging in age from 5-13.
we actually made it across the lake.
we docked on a little place and the kids explored.
instead of finding neat treasures, they found leaches.
and poked at them.
i guess, for them, it's just as fun!
even these two got along the entire weekend.
i guess they had enough other children to keep them from constantly fighting!
a weekend like this wouldn't be complete without family pictures.
if you can believe it... EVERYONE showed up for at least part of the weekend!
i'm still in shock.i love all these people!
But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children.