Our life living off the land in our log cabin, breathing fresh mountain air, and getting back to basics.

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Great Weekend with Family

My family gathered this weekend for our biannual reunion, (we do this once at Thanksgiving and once in the spring ~ we call this one Springfest).  We met on Saturday at Oscar Scherer State Park, which is a perfect place for a family gathering, with wildlife trails, a swimming hole, playgrounds, canoe's/kayak's, and a beautiful winding creek wrapping around the picnic area.  Just beautiful. They have camping too, but we didn't take advantage of that; click on the link to learn more about the park.

I'm jumping ahead, but this is our 2013 Springfest family portrait (my daughters and I are in the last row on the left and Liam is in the bottom row on the right...that's right, he's the one who looks thrilled to be told to sit still, lol!).

Back to the picnic on Saturday.  I've selected just a few of my photos to share as I tell you about our day...

I'll start by saying that I can't believe that I'm not one of the kids swinging in this hammock...I remember being part of the wee gang, playing, running, laughing, and not doing any of the work, lol!  Where does the time go???  We actually have 4 generations of us gathering now...into the "great, great's"...you know, great great grandfather, etc. 

We all bring our own specialties to the picnic...mine is baked beans, and I use my mother's recipe.  I mix B&M baked beans, core and cut up a granny smith apple, skin included (1 apple per 2 cans of beans), equal parts of brown sugar and BBQ sauce (use your favorite flavor, 1/2 cup each per 2 cans of beans) in a crock pot.  Put the pot on high until the edges begin to boil then put it on warm overnight.  Turn it back onto high in the morning until the edges start to boil then put it on medium.  Stir periodically.  These are sweet; if you prefer tangy change up the brown sugar and BBQ sauce, but the apple adds a great texture and flavor!  I never thought of taking a picture of it!

This is my brother Roger, the grill king!  He gets the grill going with his charcoal starter (a great tool to get them nice and red without using lighter fluid, yuk, we don't like lighter fluid!).  This year, he grilled chicken tenders, veggie burgers and hot dogs. 

This is Jessi & Liam, who were very excited to have arrived because their car overheated on the way.  I drove to go pick Liam up so he could come to the picnic (fortunately they were only about 10 miles from the park) and by the time I got there the car had cooled off.  I still took Liam, but Jessi followed and they made it with no further troubles.  After she had relaxed a bit, she took the car to a shop known to the family, where they did a bunch of 'car shop' things and couldn't identify the problem...fortunately, it never happened again and they made it back home on Sunday without incident. Too bad for Jessi, because it makes for a stressful trip, having all this extra stuff to deal with, but she was a trooper!

This is my dad and 2 of his sisters, Luci (who lives in the same area as my dad) on the left and Gaby on the right (who is a snowbird from New England). His sister Pauline (my Godmother, visiting for a month from New England) was present this weekend but for some reason I don't have a picture of her...shame on me!

And this group (Aunt Luci, my sister in law Wendy, Aunt Gaby and brother Roger) is chilling (all except Roger), I don't mean chillin' like hangin' out, but chilling meaning cold...the sun came and went all day and there was a pretty good breeze...I have to admit I kept changing from my sandals to my sneakers and putting my sweatshirt on and off to keep myself warm throughout the day! 

This is another one of those pictures that makes me see how time is passing...this is my daughters and their cousins...the young adults of the family.  Hmmm, I remember being one of them too!

This is Liam having a barrel of laughs, LOL!

Johny is searching for riches with his metal detector...
...he found a total of 46 cents!!!

The canoeing and kayaking was awesome, so quite on the water.

Johny and I took Liam for a canoe ride...this is Liam listening to his Nono about how to paddle.  Once we got going, Liam asked if there were alligators, and said "alygators eat people, I don't like alygators"...we took this opportunity to explain that is why we keep our hands inside and stay in the canoe!
This is the bird we saw along the way, such a pretty bird.
Funny canoe ride story...Liam says he has to pee, so after some thought we paddle over to an overhanging branch so I can hang on, and I say "OK, slowly stand and go", and he does...this little guy sends a stream that makes a huge arc...we all laughed and Liam thought it was so cool! 

Later, Liam said he wanted Pépère to play with him (that is grandfather in french, he calls me Mémère; I know, it's confusing, because he calls Johny Nono, which is what Johny called his grandfather...I'm trying to keep our history alive), so my dad took him to the swings...their faces reflect the discussion they were having about Liam swinging high enough to touch the branches...cute. He actually did touch the branches, but only when my dad pulled them down a bit...I tell you that boy is determined to accomplish whatever he has in mind!

A little fishing to round out the day, never caught anything but it was fun. 

On Sunday, we gathered at my dad's church (we do this every year).  We honored my brother Bobby and his wife Wendy's 25th Wedding anniversary; it was a surprise for them.  Their son & daughter read the readings, it was quite lovely.

We then went to brunch together.  We went to a Chinese & Sushi buffet, which has something to satisfy everyone, especially Liam, who loves the Coy pond!  It was good food and good times.

We always have pictures of our mom and brother Marc displayed somewhere during the meal (they are on the left).  Bobby & Wendy are Trekkie's, so that's how the cake was decorated.  Notice the motorcycle trophy on the left, I'll explain that shortly.
This is a beautiful vintage dish with a silver flower overlay that was and engagement gift from my Great Great Aunt Bertha to my Aunt Luci & Uncle Roy for their engagement in 1952!  Aunt Luci is Bobby's Godmother, so she decided to give them this dish for their anniversary gift.  I wish I had gotten a closeup of it, it's a stunning piece!

The book below is The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: A Story of Life for All Ages (Anniversary Edition (Google Affiliate Ad) by Leo Buscaglia.  I was introduced to the book when my mom passed away 26 years ago, and our family has read and shared it whenever we experience a loss. Last year, everyone signed this specific book and it was given to Johny and I to take with us to the mountains for the year.  This year, it will be passed on to my brother Marc's oldest daughter Danielle, who wasn't able to join us, but my dad will give it to her next time he sees her.  She will be able to read it to her children over the next year, when it will be passed along to the next family member.

Remember the motorcycle trophy?  That is a memorial to my brother Marc.  Last year we gave it to his wife Janet to keep for a year.  This year it is being passed on to my brother Roger.  He, of all we siblings, had the closest relationship with Marc; you can see Roger in the center of this picture...I was brought to tears by how touched he was to receive it...I know his receiving it means more than words can say.    

PS...these 'decisions' are made by the "Springfest committee", which consists of my dad, and his sisters, my Aunt's Pauline and Lucy.

I really enjoy our family reunions.  As quickly as life passes us by, it is important to stay connected, and for families like ours who aren't geographically close, planning regular reunions keeps us connected.  And life passes quickly; I am fortunate that many of my family members are still alive, Johny was an only child and both of his parents have passed...makes staying in contact feel that much more important. 

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,


Dad/Pepere said...

What a great way to document the memories from Springfest 2013. Much love!

Lise said...

Thanks Dad, you and Ma Tante Pauline did a great job putting everything together! Hugs and much to you & Donald:)