Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Swanson Gang Minus 15

It was over a month ago already that we gathered in the southern part of Colorado, at our church's campground in the mountains above Colorado Springs. We've looked forward to and planned (well, my sister did most of the planning) for over a year. There are 55 of us now, but 15 were unable to make it. We gathered with 22 adults and 18 kiddoes from age 10 months to 10 years. We came from all over the world - some of us were privileged to just hop in our cars and drive three hours down Interstate 25 to the turn-off to camp. We had others from Idaho; Washington; London and Manchester, England; and Peru. We missed those from Oklahoma, some more from Idaho, from Maine, and those in the Army in Georgia and possibly South Carolina at that time (I can't keep up with their training schedule!)

We were privileged to have this beautiful chalet with 10 bedrooms and two kitchens. This campground is one of my favorite places in the world. When I arrive there, a feeling of peace washes over me, and the blue skies, fresh pine scent, and mountain vistas take me away from the cares of the world.

I am certain that all family gatherings are like ours in many ways, especially in the amount of eating that goes on. Our tradition has worked well - each family unit is in charge of its own breakfast and lunch. Each family group then is responsible for one evening meal. Since neither of my kids was there, we joined with Mom and Dad for our spaghetti dinner. One of the most fun things for me was in the morning, when we got up early, as is our habit, and the young parents would be still sleeping when their little ones would wander out of their rooms. They'd end up at our breakfast time, asking for food. The parents were mortified when they got up and around and realized their kids had already eaten our food - but it was so much fun.

There were s'mores each night under the gorgeous starry sky.

There was lots of laughter, especially after getting the kids to bed - the young parents laughed so hard at this game that I was afraid all their kids were going to wake up and come join the fun again.

There were times of trying to find a bit of solitude from the noise.

There were times of just enjoying each other's company.

There was a gaggle of girls --

And a bevy of boys!

There was a gymnastics show --

And the American Girl Doll fashion show --

There was lots of water fun --

I brought along this bubble machine, and it turned out to be a very good idea - can you see the huge bubbles?

One of the highlights of the week-end was when we gathered for Sunday morning worship --

The kids led us in a rousing chorus -- and then my brother (in the background) led us in "Great Is thy Faithfulness."

Chad and Amanda shared with us about their mission work in Puno, Peru. (There was a reason for the Superman shirts - long story!)

Dr. Dwight shared scripture --

Luke, the youth pastor, shared a devotional challenge --

We celebrated Mom and Dad's 65th anniversary during this time -- the ones who started it all!

The "originals" minus one, posed on the deck just before departing --

What a blessing it was to be together. We missed those who weren't with us. It is difficult to get that many people together who are so far flung in distance apart. But we savored every moment and look forward to the next time.


Linds said...

It looks like an amazing family time, Dawn - such fabulous memories for you all - especially your parents!

Karen said...

It was precious time. We savored every minute.

Rachel said...

Lovely memories. thanks for putting it all together so nicely. I'll remember it for a long time!

nancygrayce said...

What a wonderful family! And what a wonderful time. I especially loved the beauty pageant for "girls and dolls" :) That's sweet!

Also very touching that your family all gathered to have scripture, singing and sharing!

Wow, to get a place with 10 bedrooms? That's incredible!

Amy said...

Look like you and the girls all had a wonderful time. How blessed that y'all were all able to get together like that!

Midlife Mom said...

What a beautiful setting and glorious get together that you all had!!! Ten bedrooms! Wow! How cool is that?!! Glad you had such a good time with each other, the little ones looked like they were having a blast. Yes, it is hard when everyone is so spread out but you all did well to get so many together. So happy for you all!!

PEA said...

I can see why that campground is a favourite place of yours, I love the chalet and the scenery is absolutely gorgeous!! It sounds and looks like everyone had a wonderful time...even having S'mores over the fire, something I've never had believe it or not! lol Just being together would mean a lot, especially the older generation. I think it's very rare that everyone can make it at a family reunion, as you say, it's very hard for everyone to be available. Loved looking at all the pictures and the kids seemed to be having a fun time as well:-) Your sister did a terrific job of organizing most of it!! xoxo

Sammy said...

Wow. Wonderful post and great pictures! It looks like you have such a sweet, warm family. I always wished I had a big family that would all get together for reunions. Instead, I have a small family and enough people refuse to speak to each other that it's impossible to all get together. My sister and I made a vow years ago that our generation isn't going to have the issues that the previous one has.

Your family is a true blessing. So happy you had such a nice time in such a beautiful spot!

julie said...

Love this, Dawn. Makes me want to go back!

Gram said...

What a wonderful time you must of had!

Glenda said...

Oh, Dawn, what a wonderful time!! It's especially good to see so many children there making memories! You are blessed to have that many of your family in one place - and such a beautiful place it is!

Christa said...

How much fun is that! What a Blessing. What precious memories and wonderful pictures!!

grammy said...

That was amazing...
lots of kids (o:
Beautiful place.
So glad you were able to share with family and with us (o:
Ty says it is snowing up in Fairplay....yikes! Winter will be here....hope it waits it's turn.

Forty Pound Sack said...

It looks like you had a fabulous time. I bet you're already thinking about the next one ~

HOOTIN' ANNI said...

Dawn, Dawn, Dawn!! You didn't think I'd miss this post, now, did you? I loved it all. The portrait of "mom and dad" who started it all is just phenomenally wonderful!! And the nighttime photos with the campfire. Along with the Colorado scenery and all your family and those darling youngsters with vim and vinegar....for the lens and I'm sure for all time of course [they never seem to tire until you look again and they're sound asleep so fast...{{{sigh}}} to be young]

Fabulous share. Must get back sometime soon to Bud's stomping grounds...the Springs.

Desert Shadows and Week's Summary is my day's post link if you'd care to join me.

Have a glorious weekend.