Sunday, August 27, 2017

family reunion 2017

Want to know what's really annoying? When you compile photos from your whole family and they are all in order in your google album. And then you upload them to your blog and your blog puts them in a totally random, nonsensical order. Making your job of writing the post a million times harder. And longer. That's what's annoying.

I've said it before, but this time I really mean it. This post is huge! It might take some impressive dedication to get through it.

This year the Cardon reunion was planned by Crystal and Rich and we went to Lake Shelbyville, IL. For the last three years we have gone to Breckenridge so this was a bit of a change and I'm not sure any of us knew what to expect. It was a pretty short drive for those of us in Iowa, so I won't complain about that. ;)

We made one pit stop on our drive and Crystal and Rich took the kids on a little adventure. They are so much more fun than mom and dad.

A couple more hours and we were there. We stayed in three cabins at the Whitetail Crossing Cabins. It was a pretty remote cabin village that felt quiet and safe. I did the best I could to reorder the chaos that blogger created but eventually I just gave up.

The first evening was quite hot and humid but with a group of 30, eating outside becomes necessary.
The little kids loved these little tables just for them.

We had a quick family home evening Sunday night after dinner and then just hung out and got caught up before going to bed.

Monday morning had a slow, easy start. 

They had a little nature walk for kids to go on. They were supposed to find animal statues and fill out a sheet with facts about those animals and they got to turn it in at the main office for some candy. They spotted this impressive spider web on said nature walk.

Best buds, Tatum and Jade, on the nature walk.
Getting everyone's forms filled out after the hike so they could go get candy.
Spikeball fun.

See what I mean? Slow, easy start. Haha. I think these feet belong to Stacy. She wasted no time enjoying some peace and quiet in the hammock. ;)

Monday morning we had the cousin gift exchange. Nothing but the idea of getting a new toy can get this massive group to sit this calmly for more than 30 seconds.

It has become tradition that you have to hug your cousin when they give you your gift. These kids are all offspring of Cardons so it can be a bit uncomfortable for some of them, especially as they get older.

After the gift exchange a big group went to the pool and another group full of mostly 3 to 7 year olds or so, went to another cabin to build their new legos or play with other gifts full of small pieces.

The pool provided us all with lots of entertainment. We really lucked out with the weather. It was hot enough for me to at least think about getting in the water for a bit (I'm a wuss about cold water), but for most of the reunion it wasn't too sweltering or humid. Thank goodness!

Crystal brought this pretzel pool float that everyone loved.
Just some cute girl cousins hanging out in the pool.

The teenagers and Rich and grandma trying to get a jumping picture off the ledge in the pool. It might be worth your time to zoom in on some of those faces if you need a laugh.

Some little boys jumping in. 2 brave, 1 chicken. Hmm, I wonder which one is the chicken? Maybe the only one wearing a float and still too afraid to jump in alone? Who's kid is that anyway?

Declan's pool time started out looking a lot like this. Very sad and very nervous.
Luckily by the end it was looking a lot more like this. He finally decided he could mostly trust the float to keep him above water.
Emry loved the water. Unfortunately I don't have any time of infant float for her so having her in the pool just meant a lot of work haha.

I love this shot of Tyce and Finn. Pretty impressive how Tyce is shooting that gun while jumping in the pool.

Monday night after dinner Declan was outside without shoes on and stepped on a fish hook. He's not exactly the toughest kid you'll ever meet so this was quite traumatic for him. And apparently quite exhausting. He fell asleep on my lap around 6 or 6:30.
I transferred him to the couch hoping the chaos around him would wake him up because we were going to do the auction but he never budged. He ended up sleeping through until 7 or 8 the next morning!

After he fell asleep I played a couple holes of golf with Brennan. They had three par 3 holes at the cabin village. Perfect for me since I miss the ball at least 50% of the time. It was a beautiful night though and I started to get a little better!
Everyone was kind enough to move the auction to the next morning so Declan wouldn't miss it. The things people bring to the auction get more and more impressive I swear. That corn hole set? My dad made it! My mom made/stuff sequined pillows that no one could get enough of. There were homemade Harry Potter wants, homemade soap with lego men stuck inside, a wallet, homemade vanilla, wooden home decor, running shirts, hand lettering art and the list goes on.
This was my idea, but I procrastinated as is my nature, and Brennan came through for me and saved the day. We were hammering the nails in until late at night the night before we left. And he did most of the stringing in the car on the way to the reunion.
After the auction we packed up and headed to Lake Shelbyville. I'm not sure anything entertains a group of kids for as long as sand.

Jade, Tatum and Ella worked feverishly to make this little baby pool for Emry. And Lucy worked just as hard to destroy it before they could ever finish it.

So grateful for all the awesome in-laws my siblings have blessed me with. And for the opportunity the reunion gives us for good conversation and reconnecting.
The girls did finally manage to outrace Lucy's destruction and finish Emry's baby pool. And in case you were wondering, she loved it. :)

On the way back from the lake we stopped by a little ice cream place. The kids and I decided to try their advertised blueberry soft serve ice cream. So yummy and refreshing!

Wednesday morning Papa took the oldest grandkids on an excursion. Henry and Claire did a lot of water balloon filling for a water fight. And Grandma set up the longest obstacle course you've ever seen. ;)

Good team work!
Trying to do a water balloon toss. Mostly didn't work.

I really only got pictures of Declan doing the course as he needed constant supervision. His emotions were even more fragile than usual (and that's saying something) and his inability to perform the tasks was proving to be more than he could bear.

Water fight time! Poor Henry got sunscreen in his eyes and all his hard work had already exploded when he got outside. What a rip off!

Upside down (oops!) Lincoln, hanging out pool side.
Grandma put on several water shows with the kids on Wednesday afternoon.

All the adults watching from the big pool.
Emry often reminds me of my baby pictures except then when I go look at my baby pictures not so much. But Stacy said she thought this one looked like me so I'll include a couple of me to compare.

They stock their ponds and you could pretty much find at least one person from our group out on the dock at all times. The kids loved to fish.

Mallory. Her expression is priceless.

There were games played.

There were races held.

Lots of good quality hammock relaxing with cousins.

I love this picture of Mia and Emry.
Here's a view of the main cabin, where we did all our eating and gathering, fishing and playing.
So fun when there's a newborn to snuggle at the reunion.
Jaren caught a frog!

This year the older grandkids were in charge of the dinners on teams. They each had a couple adults to help them out and they did a great job stepping up to the plate.
Lots of this in the evenings.
On the last night there was a little Cardon pow-wow with just the originals. I don't think many of us were looking forward to that prospect but it would seem as though the in-laws were perfectly happy with that arrangement. Punks. ;)
We had to have a fire one night.

Lucy enjoying a s'more.

A badminton birdie got stuck on the roof. Finn was a brave soul and let Brennan put him on the roof to retrieve it.

The green space we had this reunion was priceless. It's hard to come by a place in Breckenridge with a usable backyard. It was so perfect for the kids to just be able to run around outside and the adults got plenty of outside fun too.

Corn hole. Nice form Stacy!


These girls barricaded themselves in for some undisturbed coloring.
Ella getting some relaxation as Crystal rubs her tummy? haha.
Emry had plenty of adoring fans. There is just something so special about watching people you love loving on your own little people. Am I right?

This ↓ is not a sight you see every day. Or ever. Literally not sure I have ever witnessed him hold one of my children. I still haven't witnessed it but I'll take a picture!
No tub in our cabin so Emry got to enjoy sink baths. She didn't seem to mind one bit.
It started raining on our last night and carried through to the next morning. Good timing I guess!
On Thursday we headed to St. Louis for one final adventure, The City Museum. It was big, it was hot, it was sometimes scary, but I think everyone had a really good time!

Taking a break for lunch.

Giant hamster wheel! Go, Henry go!

I love love love this picture of Tatum and Jaren.

Take picture of me down here Rachel!

 They were worn out by the time we left.

Ben got to join us for that last day in St. Louis so we took our big group shot then. It was quick and unorganized. Probably not a picture to replace the one on my parents' wall but at least we are all documented for the 2017 reunion.

I love our family reunions. I might be in the minority, I really don't know. But the people in that photo are my favorite people in the world. I look up to them and love the time I get to spend with them. It can be stressful, so many people together so much for a few days, usually low on sleep and patience, can definitely lead to some frustrations and disagreements. But I, for one, always leave so grateful to have been there and already looking forward to the next time we can all be together. Thanks for planning it Crystal and Rich. And thanks to the rest of you for making the long drive to be there!