Friday, June 27, 2008

Our Cousin Reunion in Nashville

Once a year we gather together from all ends of the country. Well, really it's as far as Texas, Pennsylvania and Maryland. The cousins 1st, 2nd, and removed travel to the designated spot and get a little goofy, silly and basically visit for a couple days while the kids play and get to know one another. This year we went to Nashville... Brentwood to be specific. Someone explained to me how it works... My Mom, her dad are first cousins. That makes Lissa and me second cousins once removed and our kids would then be third cousins twice removed?? I have no clue... but we're all related somehow. We had 19 kids under 13 and not quite as many adults. We played a little Wii Guitar Hero, swam, had water balloon fights, a clown to paint faces, and some break an egg on your head game. We even had a piniata that we never had time to get in to. Mom's cousin Jerry and his wife were there. Her brother Bob and daughter Kate. My cousin Kiersie's family. All my siblings and their kids. Lissa's family (the host!) It was a blast this year. A hard act to follow!

It's hard to organize this many pictures into the correct order as well as matching text. For some reason while I'm posting the pictures just show up as words and computer code, so I can't see which picture I'm writing about until I actually view the blog. Then I get tired of going back and forth from view to edit and I just post.
This picture of the curly slide is at the children's museum. Curtis is at the top and Lydia is popping out at the bottom.
Then it looks like a big huge disorganized mess.
On our way up we had an extra hour to spare so we stopped in a Children's Museum in Murfreesboro and let the kids play and then ate a picnic supper. It was fun simply because they had been riding for several hours and wanted to run around.
They had a clear plastic board to draw on and Curtis got the kids to pose for funny faces.

This is Lissa's house. Actually, it probably belongs to John just as much. :) They have Luke (8) and twin girls Avery & Lexie (4)

This is my mom visiting with eldest grandchild Emily.
Cousin Marci managed to get Ruth in the pool... albeit briefly. But IN the pool nonetheless! Ruth says she remembers the near drowning episode she had when she was 2... TWO I tell you! She was saved. My friend Nikki came to her rescue. Yet she still adamantly refuses to swim... unless your name is Marci Mo!
Aunt Lara is always very good about making "girlie" time with the neglected females of mine. I believe she was actually working on Esther while Ruth and Lydia waited patiently for their turn.
Lydia... in her new ruby red slippers from Avery and Lexie. She has continued to wear them EVERYWHERE! But hey, she's 3 and the general public tends to forgive fashion crazes like this.
Here's Uncle Sether... I do believe he's on his PHONE!
Here's our lovely host, Cousin Lissa! :) We love Cousin Lissa. And to left would be her other half... a very tolerant John.
Representing the Texas crew... Kierstan and Martin, my Army hero! And we are thankful he's done in Iraq and is now going to Cal-I-for-ni-A.
I believe Curtis and John were tossing tennis balls to Uncle Dan... with a string, as high as they could toss. Several went into the neighbor's yard, which the dogs weren't too thrilled about. I think Uncle Dan won the distance award.
Mom's brother, Bob has a serious discussion with Seth and Martin.

Marci Mo!
Katie... Uncle Bob's eldest.
Little Luke... taking a break from all his cousins. He was dining in the window seat alone... probably lamenting the fact that his house had been over run by kids!
Some of the cousins at meal time. Clockwise from banana boy... Titus, Maggie, Briella, Emily, AnnaGrace, Jared, Esther.
Kate, Jerry & Cindy (Lissa's Dad), John.

Ruth and what should be Avery. Lexie is in the background.
Ruth, with Lexie and Avery again. They changed suits 1000 times so I don't remember who was who.
Texas Cousin Kiersie with her 2 year old, Chloe.
Grandpa Nelson
Cutest Little Luke... I only say "little" because Uncle Bob has a Luke who is bigger. He wasn't there, but he still counts.
Marci practices her violin under the careful eyes of the little girls.
Uncle Dan... winner of the highest ball toss award.
Lydia cracks an egg on Aunt Lara's head. John's mother had made these special eggs as a treat for the kids. I can't remember what they're called... but they are real shells filled with confetti and decorated with paint, stickers, tissue, etc. They were a big hit! Literally! :)

Here are all the crazy cousins after the face painting and swimming. Some were a little more in to the photography session than others. ;) Do you want the list of names? We'll start at the top with the bigger girls... that's Marci making the silly face and holding Avery (I think) then that's Emily. The boys... starting in the orange is Cole from Texas/Californ-I-A, Adam, crazy cowboy Jared, mental Zack, tan Luke (not naked) and Micah. The next step down... Maggie and Bennett. The bottom step... Titus, Lydia, AnnaGrace, Lexie, Ruth, Briella, and Esther. Chloe was missing... but then she's 2 and it was approaching bedtime for normal kids.
This would be my family. My brothers were not sleeping or bored. There were several cameras going at this point and I think they both were blinking together. Aren't they just too cute. :) We actually got a hat on Daddy! Yee Haw!

Time with Rose Family

My sister's family came to visit after our trip to Nashville. We always enjoy our time with the Rose's because there is someone for everyone to play with. I especially enjoy the card games with the eldest two girls. Although, this trip we played a version of Catan and Em helped me win at the last minute so Dan couldn't. That's important! Fathers are not allowed to beat their 13 year old daughters, or the host home owners! :)

We took a couple of day trip activities but the camera didn't travel to each place.
One trip was to Unicoi State Park where we had the picnic and time at the beach. It's a small beach at the edge of the lake... but it's sand and water and when you're from Pennsylvania or less than 15 years old it's sufficient to make for a fun day.

We also took a trip to Helen for a round of expensive and not so tasty pizza. Then we had an exciting round of putt-putt golf where I kept up with the 7 youngest and their runaway balls while Dan and Lara took on Emily and Marci in a serious, score keeping game. I do not know the outcome but I'm sure Dan would not let any girl beat him.

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