Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Family Reunion/Christmas Part I

Thanks for all of your kind comments on my last post, in which I told of the chaos that was my life the last week before Christmas week. I was really tired when it was all over, but it was all fun and all went well. The class party was great - we squashed into our house, but had a great time. Someone took a couple of pictures --

The cantata went so well - what a blessing to be able to sing such beautiful music with people we enjoy being with so much. The Lord touched my soul as I sang the story of Christ's birth.

I am so blessed to be part of two wonderful families - both DC and I grew up as the eldest child in a pastor's home. My family was, and is, larger. My side of the family consists of 52 people, his side numbers 35.

Mom/Grandma/Great Grandma turned 90 in October. Those of us who live here (15, I believe) celebrated with her at that time. The remainder, minus one family of 4 (16 in all), made the long trek by minivan caravan from Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina to celebrate Christmas and Grandma's birthday belatedly.

Each family who lives here hosted 4 people for the week. My SIL did a marvelous job of organizing the event. She shopped in bulk and delivered copious amounts of food to each host home, plus quite a few inflatable beds. She also bought all of the food and other necessities for the evening meals, and the cost of everything was divvied up among all of us.

Our four guests were really easy to have around. Their kids were fun and well behaved. The chaos was quite organized. Kristen ended up with 11 at her house. Kev and Sema split the time with another cousin and his wife.

We had really cold weather the entire time they were here - but they really enjoyed it. They went sledding, hiking, cross country skiing - most of the visitors plus DC and a few others from around here. I love the look of really frosty trees - but give me a nice warm house, thank you very much! As soon as they left, the cold went away - it was 60 today - crazy!

The travelers arrived around 10:00 Sunday night, the 20th. Monday was low key with everyone kind of catching up and resting. That evening was the big party. Each evening's meal was served and cleaned up by designated families. We were blessed to have the use of our church's gym every night. It was so great because there was room for everyone, there was basketball, ping pong, and lots of room for the kids to run around and play (keeping out of the way of the basketballs, hopefully! - unless you wanted to put one under your shirt!)

There is also a very fast commercial dishwasher, which was a real blessing. I have to say right now that we had WAY too much food! But all easy to get ready and good to eat.

Grandma's cake could have set off the fire alarm!

Care Bear didn't feel very well that night, so she took one of the afghans Great Aunt G brought along and set up a movie on the little travel DVD player - she was soon joined by several second cousins and her sister.

Aunt/Cousin K, who loves being with the little ones, was a huge help -- she even stayed at Kristen's house (I guess that means she had 12) to help corral all the kiddoes in the mornings and at bedtime.

I didn't get any pictures of this, but after the dinner and birthday cake was consumed, we gathered around the tree (which our church's youth group had decorated with popcorn, cranberries, and other vintage items, not knowing they were going to provide our family's tree for the week), sitting in a circle and telling stories about Mom/Grandma/Great Grandma and what she had meant to us. It was a special time.

When the brave, athletic ones went cross-country skiing on Wednesday, the rest of us ended up with a preschool amount of kids for the day! My idea was to take them all to library story time, which the girls and I do every week. We were the greatest percentage of the crowd that day -- Care Bear is the one on the stool with the Santa hat on - she always likes to sit right there, ready to do the craft, right by the story lady.

While we were at story time, Great Aunt G was fixing lunch for them --

When there are that many people together, it is hard to have really intense, meaningful conversations. But it was fun to watch and listen --

Before I write again it will be 2009, I am quite sure. By that time we'll have transported Kev and Sema to the airport for their big adventure to Mombassa, Kenya on the continent of Africa. Please pray for their trip, for health, and for blessed times with family far, far away!

Stay Tuned for Part II (I can't get rid of this underlining!)


Mary said...


Happy Birthday to Grandma. I wish her good health and the love of her family in the coming year.

It looks like everyone had a great time with lots of laughter and delicious food.

Happy New Year, my friend. I wish you and your family a blessed 2009.


Midlife Mom said...

Wow! What an amazing week! Sounds like you all had a wonderful time together and had great organization. Nice that you were able to use the church gym for your activites and have so much room! That was cute with Care Bear and the other little ones watching the movie, those portable dvd players are great. What a special birthday for Grandma!!

I guess I was kind of a downer on that movie but I really think they are advertising it as a children's film and it really isn't. It was really about the relationship of the couple that owned Marley. To have to watch the dog being put down was just too much for me and know it would be for a sensitive child. I so rarely go to the movies and thought this would be a fun, happy one but was disappointed.

Hootin' Anni said...

Hi Dawn!
I'm thinking that you had ONE SUPER time with the reunion. wow. So fun, and just plain wonderful to have such a family get together. I can't say much about just any ONE photo either, they're ALL so super.

Oh and yes....from your comment you left for me on Tuesday's blog....YES!! I did hear the news as I'm an avid Bronco fan you know. In fact earlier this morning, that was one of the first things I blogged about, Bowlen's decision.

Happy New Year to you.

Laurie in Ca. said...

Such a beautiful time with a beautiful family Dawn. Wow, everything looks so organized and fun. I love all the kids at the table and would have loved to hear their conversations.:) I can't wait to see the Part 2 of your holiday! And what a super blessing to have the church gym to gather in each evening!! Your pictures are great and thank you for sharing them with us. Have a wonderful New Years Eve. Our grandkids are both doing a sleepover and it will be so much fun here. See if I feel this way in the morning if they wake up in the middle of the night:) I can always nap tomorrow afternoon. Be blessed Dawn, you bless me.

Love and Hugs, Laurie

Maine Mom said...

That is so nice that you were able to use the gym in the evenings! What a memorable reunion/birthday party you had! Too much good food is a must during the holidays!

I'd say the ones who went to story time and managed lunch time were the brave ones! I bet the kids had a great time together.

Sammy said...

Hi Dawn,

What a fun reunion! You're so blessed to have such a large family. My family is so small and we rarely all get together. I've always wanted a big family!

I love the photo of Care Bear sitting right next to the story teller! She's so earnest and adorable!

Praying for Kevin and Sema!

Happy New Year!


Needled Mom said...

It looks and reads like it was a fabulous reunion. The organization of your SIL was nothing less than spectacular.

The wintery scenes looked beautiful, but like you, give me a warm house and I would be perfectly happy.

Our Christmas was really a blur with my mom being ill. I hope that the issue has been figured out and that treatment will be started soon. We have a MRI today and hope for surgery next week. They have diagnosed it as an abscess in the hip which has exposed the sciatic nerve. Thus the severve pain even though she is a paraplegic. Thank you for your kind thoughts regarding her.

May you continue to enjoy many blessings in 2009, Dawn.

Nancy said...

It sounds like lots of memories were made and that is blessing indeed!

I love the photo of the birthday cake... it took lots of folks to light all of the candles-too funny!

I will pray for safe travels to Kenya for DIL and son!

Happy New Year to you and all of your family!

Mimi said...

what wonderful Christmas you had with so much family to celebrate with!!!
you lucky lucky girl...
I wish for your and yours a very blessed new Years!!!

PEA said...

Now that's what I call a wonderful chaotic Christmas:-) I so enjoyed seeing all the photos, that was certainly a large group!! I think it's awesome that so many were able to make it there to celebrate grandma's birthday...one can't even imagine how she felt having so many loved ones around her:-) I look forward to reading part 2 of your Christmas adventures!!

Wishing you and yours all the very best that 2009 has to offer, dear Dawn. Happy New Year!! xoxo

julie said...

Sounds like you made good use of Christmas--squeezed every last drop out of it! Great pictures!

A Hint of Home said...

I'm so glad many of you could be together to celebrate such a wonderful occassion. Looks like a lot of fun and memories were made.
Happy New Year!

Tammy said...

Happy New Year dear Dawn!
I loved catching up with you and seeing all the pictures!
It sounds like such a wonderful 90th birthday party for her...what a special time for her and for everyone who loves her.

(And I thought my birthday last year was a cake fire...then it occurred to me that I was exactly half of 90!) ;)

My youngest and her friend would run around the gym at home school group last year with a ball in their shirts too! :)

I hope to finally write part 2 of our celebrations later today...looking forward to reading yours too!


groovyoldlady said...

That looks like such a fun time!

I'll be praying for Kev and Sema.

I'll also be waiting breathlessly for part 2!

Nadine said...

Wow 90...that's amazing. She looks marvelous.

What fun to be part of such a large family. Looks like you all had a wonderful holiday celebrations.

Be blessed in the upcoming year.

Christa said...

Sounds like quite an amazing time, and what wonderful memories for all the children to cherish when they grow.
God Bless

Kathleen Marie said...

Triple Wowziers! BUSY PLUS FUN! What a great time. I know on Larry's side of the family we are over 60 but his mom can't take large crowds anymore. I really missed all the extended family this year but we did have a great time in Denver! I should have looked you up! Shame on me!

Next time for sure. Hugs!

Looney Mom™ said...

Wow! You are brave. Looks like a LOT of fun though!

Happy New Year!

Sioux said...

Sounds like such a lovely time. We were with all our family at Christmas, but that's just the three girls and 7 grandchildren. But it was lovely.

I wish you a blessed and peaceful 2009.

Becky said...

Dawn! I got into your blog. Not sure how but I didn't even put anything in to get through. So here I am.

What a wonderful family reunion/celebration you had. Everyone looked like they had such a great time. Lighting that cake was a group love fest ... all those helpers. That made me smile.

And the basketball under the shirt. Oh, my! How precious.

You seem to have had a happy holiday, merry Christmas, and I pray a blessed New Year ahead.

Thanks for faithfully coming by my blog. See you again soon!

Sharon Lynne said...

That post was amazing! I have a small family. Its amazing that the whole family WANTED to get together.

Loved the interesting pictures.