Archive for May, 2014

Reminiscing

I knew May was going to be packed, but I just didn’t realize how great it would be or how challenging it would be.  Now that May of 2014 is drawing to a close, I want to make note of some of my special memories.  I am quite eager to get back into some regular blogging; Jessica has reminded me that I haven’t blogged at ALL since something like April 21, and I have so many memories swirling through my mind that they may all just erupt in a fairly disorganized manner.

Having issued that disclaimer, here goes.

I was so very, very, very thrilled to have all of our kids home at the same time.  Jessica came from Hong Kong on May 6, Josiah from Virginia on May 8, and Katie from Virginia on May 9.  We then had 48 glorious hours with just the six of us – all six of us – home alone together, and it was absolutely wonderful.  We played games (mainly Bridge and Dominion, with a little Wizard thrown in), ate what we wanted, and did what we wanted.  We laughed a lot, and I inhaled deeply of the pleasure of just looking at all those grown-up, smart, good-looking kids.  I love watching and hearing them interact with each other.  I relish the sharing of funny memories.  I really like walking through the house and seeing two or three or four of them at the same time!

Then there was the reunion, and after those couple of days with all of our own kids together, I think I can more fully understand Scott’s mom’s deep desire to have all her kids and grandkids in the same place at the same time.

Scott, my Idea Man, got it in his head late last summer that with Mom turning 80 this year in March, it would be special to her to have a week-long family reunion.  He contacted all his siblings, and they and the grandkids all worked together to pull it off.  Take one mom, her five adult kids plus their three spouses, and add in fifteen grandkids ranging in age from nine to 24.  Note that many of these have jobs, some are in school, some have disabilities, and some are in college.  Then take into account the fact that they live in Texas, Florida, California, Missouri, Hong Kong, and North Carolina, and I double-dog dare you to figure out a way to have them ALL attend a reunion.

But they did it for Mom!

There was much flying, with all the attendant challenges related to that mode of travel (and be it noted that for some reason the Missouri Roberts tend to have even more flight challenges than the average United victim).  There was much driving; two days one-way for many and parts of four days one-way for one family.  There was much planning – of sleeping arrangements, of food, of activities.  There was much anticipation, and on Monday evening, May 12, ALL 24 of us held hands, prayed, and ate TOGETHER in one house!

We stayed in two vacation rental homes in Branson Canyon.  They were only a block apart, but walking from either one to the other involved hiking to the top of a very steep hill and back down on the other side, so we all got plenty of exercise that way.

Here are some specific reunion memories:

Swimming at the pool the first day.

Isabel walking out to the pool (alone) to visit with everyone.

The talent show!  And Mom sporting her “Since 1934” Steak N Shake hat!

Basketball in the cul-de-sac. Yes, Scott had hauled over six kayaks, one canoe, and a basketball goal on Shane’s borrowed trailer.  = )

There was Kristy’s foot injury at the pool in Ozark and the subsequent 15 stitches.  = (

Followed by Becky’s knee injury playing basketball.  = (

Kevin’s daily massages.  He brought his massage table!

John’s sound effects with his transformers.

Great food.  My, did we eat well!  To wit, the teens polishing off three containers of ice cream and an untold number of bags of popcorn – before noon!

Relaxing in the hot tub.

Lots of Bridge.

Dominion.  (Do not use the Seaside cards when teaching the game.)

The fun game rotation Becky and Katie set up for one of the several rainy days.

Bowling at Millennium Bowl in Reeds Spring.  They were closed the evening we wanted to bowl, but opened up just for us, so we had the whole place to ourselves.  The first game, my 127 topped ALL the nineteen other scores!

Kids playing Wii.

Making S’mores over the campfire at the GAL.

Our family reunion photo shoot in the clubhouse (due to even more rain) with Maria Zobel.

Good conversations and special opportunities to re-connect one-on-one.

Silver Dollar City, where Mom did NOT use a wheelchair.

The great Bull Creek float.

Christian’s raps.

The reunion officially ran from Sunday, May 11 through Saturday, May 17, and most of us were there most of that time, but there was a span of about 45 hours when we were ALL there together.  Throughout the week, Mom kept saying things like, “I just can’t believe that everyone came!”  I know she was really blessed and felt special, and that was the goal.  It really didn’t matter how much effort it took; it was all worth it for her.

Mom came back with us to our house for a couple days after the reunion, and we did play Bridge, Bridge, Bridge, and we ate ice cream, ice cream, ice cream, both of which are high priorities for Mom.  = )

On Katie’s last day, in fact in her final few hours, we celebrated her 24th birthday.  After a great deal of indecision and change of plans over her birthday meal, I managed to go with the flow. . . more or less.  The main thing Katie wanted was, “a party with a meal and dessert and gifts and a very difficult treasure hunt.”  My personal gift to her was the treasure hunt, or actually, the clues for the treasure hunt.  Birthday treasure hunts are a time-honored tradition in our family, and the writing of the clues (in rhymed verse) is no small task.

I worked really hard on those clues, mostly late at night before and during the reunion.  When you are writing for a word-savvy adult whose vocabulary and logic skills both exceed your own, such a challenge makes your brain sweat!  I was proud of those clues, so I scanned them and saved them before hiding them.  I tried to figure out how to insert them into this post, but could not, as they are saved in pdf form.

I think I made the clues a bit too hard; it took the kids nearly two HOURS to complete the treasure hunt, which put Katie leaving the house at something like 10:30 PM to drive to Kansas City, but she likes to drive and functions well late at night, so I think it was worth the delay.

Now, we just completed Andrew’s 15th birthday party, which was a smashing success.  It did include a treasure hunt (I’m about all clued out!), which he and his friends completed in about 40 minutes, but they needed quite a few hints.

More news soon, I hope!