The Family Reunion

We had an awesome family reunion this last summer. It took place in Iowa at the end of July. Smack dab in the middle of the heat and humidity. But I loved it! I even loved our drive to Iowa. I miss the Midwest and the gorgeous scenery. I used to think Nebraska was flat and treeless. Then I moved to Utah. Talk about flat! And treeless! Utah has mountains but other than that it's pretty flat. And the trees aren't much taller than a single story home, unless they're cottonwoods along a river.

Once we finished out marathon drive and got to our hotel the boys helped bring up our luggage. When Olaf found this and took it to our car the boys got all kinds of excited! I think Baby even said, "I didn't know these were real! I thought they were only on Suite Life of Zac and Cody!" Apparently we don't take out kids to hotels enough.

The next day we started by having lunch at an old favorite from when I was a kid. Although it was just usually Mom and Dad that went, us kids were left home with a sitter. This place was huge! And they were set up for kids.

While I perused the menu I was shocked at the prices. Probably 90% of the food was under $10! But Middle Child kept choosing items from the 10% expensive menu. He wanted ribs and I wasn't paying that price. Finally we met in the middle with this meal that came with a few ribs, quarter of a chicken and two sides. I even got everyone drinks. We all ate good meals, had an appetizer, and a dessert and after tip only spent $50!

Here's the whole family! All 29 & 1/2 of us! One of my sisters is pregnant.

That evening we had a birthday party for my Mom at Brother Accountant's house. Him and his wonderful wife were hosting this little shin dig. They were so gracious to let some people stay with him and host several dinners and activities at his house. Thankfully he has a large home and there was plenty of room.

Brother Accountant also found these cool glasses depicting the different states. He got my Mom a glass from each state she had ever lived in!

I love how the grandkids are gathered around my Mom to see what's going to be opened next!

The next day Olaf and I took Baby and his Cousin D on a tour of the State Capitol. It's a fantastic building with the largest gold dome. It's beautiful. But the best part? The cannons out front!

The boys thought the steps were pretty impressive. You have to go up all these steps just to get to the second floor.

And to get to the third floor you can ride the elevator or take this iron spiralesque staircase. Baby didn't really like these stairs but we made him walk down them. He was nervous the whole time!

Here are the boys walking along a hall enjoying the grand murals.

The next day we visited John Wayne's birthplace. Olaf and Baby love John Wayne and when I discovered it was so close to Des Moines, it was a must see on our trip.

John Wayne happened to be born in Winterset, Iowa, smack dab in the middle of Madison County. Yes, that same Madison County where the torrid illicit affair happened in the book The Bridges of Madison County. So we decided to visit several of the bridges. There are six but we figured the three closest were good enough for us. Remember, it's hot and humid. And all the bridges kind of look the same.

This bridge had been moved to a park in town, easy to find. It was really pretty and the kids ran through it from one end to the other. Yes, they were little sweatballs by the time they were done.

Here is me, my Mom, Sister Accountant, and Sister-in-Law Farmer posing carefully. None of us wanted to get too close to each other and actually touch cuz we were all sticky!

The next bridge we went to had been burned down by arson several years earlier. But it had been rebuilt and we could drive right on through!

This is what the inside of it looks like when driving through and looking out your bug infested windshield.

This is that same one and it was quite pretty. Middle Child was with us on this whole trip but chose to be a teenager at times and sit in the car and miss valuable photo ops. He thought sitting in the car in the heat was better than standing outside in the heat. Not sure which is worse.

The last one we visited was in it's original spot! Right over a river! At first the kids didn't understand why there were bridges over nothing. But know they know their real purpose, getting over water safely.

On our long trek home we stopped at The Heartland Museum of Military Vehicles. It was a huge museum full of all kinds of vehicles. The kids even got to climb around in a few of them. We got our fill and stayed a while. Got us out of the car for a bit and that was nice.

We had a great family reunion. It was so good to see everyone. We were only missing my Baby Sister and her Hubby, he was away on training. I had looked forward to this reunion all summer and it didn't disappoint. I only wish it could have lasted longer. I was really sad to see about half the family leave Sunday to head back home to jobs and school. But we will do this again in two years and I think people are voting for Denver!

I am missing pictures of our little trip to Pella where we got Dutch Pastries. The best! And then the evening on the Farm. SiL Farmer's family was so gracious to host all 29 of us out at their farm. There was so much fun to be had! But you can catch all of that at SiL Farmer's blog!


Lonita said...

We had so much fun having you guys here - glad you were able to make the long trek! And getting the title "sister-in-law Farmer" makes me laugh. :-)

denverallens said...

I had such a great time and decided we need to always have adjoining rooms in the future. Except maybe next time we can leave the kids home. Can't wait to come see you in October!

Urban Parks said...

It was fun and after everyone left the rest of us were exhausted for a couple of day. I'm already looking forward to Colorado in 2013.

sally said...

I love that the only photo from lunch is when I wasn't there. It must of been the million different trips to the bathroom. I did enjoy that lunch, it was so fun. Plus it is always great getting everyone together to eat.

quilts and quirks said...

Our family reunions are great. It's so much fun seeing almost everyone and just watching how everyone interacts. I loved it. Plus to have a birthday at the same time was a hugh bonus. I made out like a bandit.