Saturday, July 11, 2009

Road Trip - Part 4 (or Family Reunion)

So a big reason for the trip was to attend a family reunion hosted by Mark's 83-year-old grandmother in Vernal, UT. Mark's side of the family hadn't all been together in over 10 years. And it's pretty neat that our kids get to visit their great grandmother. So, we've really wanted to attend this and have been trying really hard to be able to do it. Not easy, but worth it. And very fun.

Since the cost of flying our family out there and getting a rental car was about the same cost (if not cheaper) as gas and hotels on a cross-country road trip, we opted for less hassle and more flexibility. We drove. Flying has become such a hassle--it seems it's only worth it for international travel anymore. We thought we might be crazy doing this big road trip, but we saw lots of people (most in RVs, but some in cars, too) who continue to road trip. It was neat to see. And it really is a lot of fun.

The family reunion was great. It's interesting--it's a very different kind of get together from what it's like with my side of the family in just about every way. And I've noticed that pretty much all of my SILs and CILs have said the same thing. There seems to be something unique about the Popes. It was so great to see everyone and it went by way too fast.

I have a TON of awesome pictures and narrowing them down for this post is a feat. I still have loads I want to share. Very soon, I'm hitting my percentage limit on here for picture uploads. Ugh. But I want to share! So here goes.



We took some time the first day to all introduce ourselves and tell what we're up to. This was one of my favorite things we did and I was hoping we'd do it again the next day when more people joined us. It was nice to know who was who and get caught up. I've grown up in such a "Big, Fat, Portuguese" Family where everyone knows everyone that it was strange to me to see cousins who weren't sure who their cousins were, but the reunion was a good way to at least get down the family tree a bit.

Since the is the first family reunion I've been to ever, most of what I knew about these kinds of things comes from movies or reading other people's blogs. I thought there'd be some sort of contest or honorable mention for being the ones who traveled the farthest, but nope. It's actually a toss-up/tie between us and Scott and Lindsay (I think they might technically be farther mileage-wise, but they flew on frequent flier tickets and we drove and that's gotta count for something!! :P) . If I have my facts down right, most everyone else came from a less-than-one-day's-drive (UT or somewhere west of UT or at least a neighboring state).

This is Thing 1 and her cousin Patrick working on catching that poor frog. Our daughter is a tomboy. Don't let the dress fool you--she likes wearing them not because she's girly-girl (she's not), but because they're quick and easy to put on and go play! If it involves getting muddy, frogs, or sports, she's in! She played in every sport, rain or shine, joining games with adults (along with Thing 2) like nobody's business. And people thought they might be shy . . . pah!

Mark with another new niece--happy Maggie!

Look at that look of delight in holding a slimy frog!

Here's Jess and me again. Oh yeah, and my father-in-law jumped in, too. ;)

These two felt quite comfortable with each other quite quickly. Here they are wrestling!

More gangsta signs? Goofy kids . . .
Such cute cousins!On top of the big rock at the playground

After a full afternoon of playing and talking, we went back to the motel and swam in the pool for a bit.

Thing 2 and Andrew

Patrick and Thing 1

Tanner and Thing 2

The brothers (well, 5 of them anyway--Scott got there the next day) hanging out poolside


The next morning, the very first thing our kids and Patrick and Andrew did was get together to play in our hotel room. Once we all got ready, we went back to the park/playground and had breakfast.

It was very tricky getting Noah in a picture with our kids for some reason, so I'm glad he's in this one. How fun is this?

Me with my very tall sisters-in-law.
Check it out--I'm barely past their shoulders!

These three snuck off to play some Bakugon for a while!

I was really excited to spend some in-person time with the Oaks families!

Jill, April, me -- we all married into the family around the same time (Jill and April married brothers who are Mark's cousins)

All the sisters-in-law--aren't we cute?

All the brothers together catching up. I got a picture of them all out on the field playing catch, too, but it's pretty far away to see.

Grandma Pope reserved a horse and carriage for rides for the kids

Fun, eh?

I really enjoyed teaching and playing Scruble!

After a full day of playing and talking and catching up, we all went to the cemetery to visit Great Grandfather's grave. Amy the Great (as we call her) had all the children take flowers to the grave.

That evening, we went to Grandma Pope's (Amy the Great's) house for another of my favorite parts of the reunion--having Mark's side of the family together for family pictures! It was really neat to all be together taking such fun pictures. It was even a little emotional for me. I can hardly WAIT to see the pictures. Jill and April did such a good job of getting everyone together and posing us and taking charge and getting so much done before sunset and making us laugh. From what I can tell, the picture are going to be great.

Uncharacteristically, I didn't take my camera out. I took NO pictures during that time. During the photo shoot, I simply wanted to enjoy having it done without worrying about trying to get extra pictures. It was fun and kind of relaxing in a way, too, to not worry about the pictures. But I'm so glad that some of my SILs got some pics during the photo shoot, because it gives us a sneak peek into how GREAT the pictures look! I'll be sure to post them once we get them.

After the photo shoot, we took pictures with Grandma Great.

Mark's grandma, Mark, Me, Thing 1, Thing 2

With the great grands
With Mark and the kids

Back at the motel, the festivities continued into the night. Mark drove all his brothers to a local restaurant and they all got ice cream and appetizers and enjoyed having fun with one another. I'm guessing none of them took pictures of that. :P

The cousins who were still awake got together in our room for more fun and games (and when, at 11:15, it was time to break up the party, they were not excited to call it a night).

These 4 laughed and played and got along fabulously the ENTIRE time.

They played games like Bakugon and Apples to Apples Jr.

We had our own girls' party on the next bed during all of this. I love this picture! And I love late night talking! We tried to get a hold of all the other womenfolk but they were either with babies or asleep or we couldn't get a hold of them.

The next morning, we all went out to breakfast to get a little more time together (we were trying to get as much time as possible together). It was sad to all go our separate ways. We really enjoyed being with everyone--something we don't get to do very often at all, even in smaller family groups. We really do hope siblings will come visit us soon--we'd love to host them!

I have so many pictures of these 4 that I had to narrow them down and it's so hard to choose! We've got a lot of cute pictures with Maggie, Emmy, Isaac, and Noah on the other posts (Em, I had a time and a half trying to get one of Isaac, Noah, and our kids at the park that day--if you got one, can I please have a copy? Thanks!)

Cousins - nice, smiling picture

Cousins - goofy face picture


Dr. Mark said...

There are a lot of happy faces in those pictures! And no, we didn't take a picture while we were out. Um, you had our camera. ;) It was fun to see how we fill up a van these days. I remember putting all of us in one when we were younger, but somehow we fit a little less snugly. Thanks for posting everything.

the emily said...

SO FUN! I didn't take any pictures during the family pictures either, I just wanted to see what they would look like from the professional's POV! I wish I had come to your room to hang out while the guys were out. I was so bored laying in a dark room while my kids slept. I'll see if I got any pictures of mine and your kids. I doubt it. My kids are not great picture takers (if you haven't already noticed).

terahreu said...

Wow, that is a lot of cousin love. It looks like you had a great time. I am also so jealous that you have a living Great grandmother. Amazing!

Lindsay said...

So I love the last pictures of the sunburned kids! Looks painful! That really was a memorable trip...I don't think it could have gone any better!! I had so much fun having girl time at your hotel room...Miss you guys!

J Fo said...

That was a GREAT re-cap. We had such a great time. Sorry, I feel like we were sort of anti-social because of Emmy at times. I think it's funny that Emily was bored in her room, sitting in the dark with sleeping kids, and I was just next door playing Tetris in the dark on my phone with a sleeping baby in her crib! I think that the time at Amy the Great's house was the most special for me. It was so neat to see her with the kids and to really see the roots of where this family started. I can't wait to see the pictures!