The weekend after the Fourth of July, we hosted my annual family reunion at our house in Brainerd. The reunions started out as my mom’s side of the family but my dad’s only brother Noel and his wife Pat have attended several years too. The more, the merrier!
My mom and dad, brother Jeremy, sister-in-law Jen, and nephews Jensen and Jackson all came up on Wednesday night. Besides getting food and tables ready for the day of the reunion (Saturday), we went to the beach both Thursday and Friday, played with the kids outside, watched Frozen at least a half dozen times, and of course, ate lots of food.
Jen and Jackson
Friday night, Noel and Pat, my uncle Roger and aunt Sharyn, and my uncle Kim came over for pizza. We ate outside on our deck and patio. It was a beautiful evening and the best part – no mosquitoes! We had our lawn sprayed by the Mosquito Squad and it was very effective. Definitely worth $150 in my opinion! My brother Chris and sis-in-law Meg showed up after dinner.
Saturday was the official day of the reunion. We were slightly worried about rain, or about it being too hot (previous forecasts had called for 85 and sunny) but it ended up being low 80s and mostly overcast – perfect weather for a reunion!
This year’s theme was Disney. I had really wanted to find a Belle (Beauty & the Beast) costume for Annabelle but just couldn’t find one in her size. So she ended up being Snow White.
Emma was Minnie Mouse – I found her dress for $0.25 at a garage sale, and princess shoes and Minnie ears at Walmart (that she wore for about 1 minute).
I had really wanted to dress up as a princess with a fun dress and tiara, but since I’m nursing, a dress wasn’t very practical. I already had a skirt and tank that would work well for Ariel (The Little Mermaid) so I decided to do that. I bought a purple bikini top from Walmart and a red wig from Walmart.com.
I tried my hardest to convince Travis to dress up as Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid – I even bought him a white polo shirt, blue shorts and a red sash from Walmart. But he refused. He said the costume made him feel like a Walmart hobo. So what did he do instead?
If you guessed the hunter from Bambi, you were correct.
A few of us kept our costumes on for most of the day but most people put theirs on long enough for pictures, and then took most or at least part of them off. I wore my wig and bikini top until after dinner and then ditched them. The wig wasn’t itchy at all, and surprisingly not too hot, but that darn long hair was always in the way with holding and nursing Annabelle!
Other people that showed up for the day of the reunion were my aunt Jayme, cousin Jody, second cousin Lacey and her son Parker, uncle Don and aunt Marilyn, and cousin Tim and his daughter Charlotte. All in all, we had about 25 people. It was a troop!
We ate a giant brunch of food around noon, and then dinner was around 5:30 I think. Honestly, the day was one big blur – between keeping track of kiddos, nursing, people coming and going, helping in the kitchen a bit, and catching up with relatives I hadn’t seen in years, it was kind of chaotic. Fun, but crazy.
Sunday, my immediate family (minus Chris and Meg who had left Saturday night because Meg had to work), Travis, our girls and I all made it to church. Amazingly, we weren’t even that late. It was a Christmas miracle!
After church, we had our relatives who were still in town over for lunch. My dad’s cousin Brian and his wife Dianne who live in Brainerd came over too with their daughter. We had been talking about seeing them ever since we moved to the area, so it was nice to see them. I didn’t get to chat much between taking care of kids though – such is the life of a nursing mom!
While the family was there for lunch, we celebrated my mom’s and my birthdays, which were on July 13 and July 15 respectively. She turned 62 and I turned 32. Everything that has happened this past year with my mom’s health makes us thankful for one more year of being alive, and being together.
(This was earlier in the week — we celebrated more than once — but you get the idea.)
Sunday evening, Jeremy and Jen headed back out on the road with their boys. They made a short pit stop at my parents’ house in Rochester and then continued on their way to southern Indiana – all in all, a 13.5-hour jaunt! They’re brave souls for making the trek with two little ones and two wiener dogs.
After everyone, except my parents and Noel and Pat, had pulled up stakes and left town, we settled in for some White Collar episodes. We were pooped! But our viewing was interrupted by a crazy storm system that quickly blew in. Travis was watching on the porch and called us to come and look. There was a huge wall of greenish, purple clouds blowing in. The wind picked up so fast that after just a few minutes, we were spooked and decided to head to the basement. About 15 minutes later, we lost power. The trees looked like little rag dolls in the wind. A huge branch fell off a tree in the middle of our yard, and a tree on the side of our yard came crashing down too. I was too freaked out to even watch. Not only is it sad to lose trees, it’s scary to know that one could fall on your house!
The worst of the storm lasted for less than an hour, but we were without power until Wednesday afternoon. That night, we got out all the candles we owned, played music through little speakers connected to my iPod, and the guys went out to survey the damage. We were extremely lucky – a tree fell right next to our shed, but did minimal damage. Another tree next to our house was blown partially over, but not snapped. There are other branches in the middle of our woods that broke off too, but we suffered no structural damage.
Other people were not as lucky. This was one of the worst storms to hit the Brainerd Lakes area in decades. In the woods just 4-5 miles north of us, about half of the trees were either snapped off or completely uprooted. And we’re talking big, 60-year-old trees. One of the resorts right in our area had its entire roof ripped off. It’s just devastating.
When you live in the country, no power means no sewer and no water. So after cleaning up the yard on Monday, my parents headed home and we headed up to Travis’ parents’ house in Nevis until our power came back on.
This post is crazy long already, so I’m going to cover our time in Nevis in a separate post. Coming soon…