Friday, July 31, 2009

One rockin' reunion!

We just had a lovely week long vacation in the Smoky Mountains at our BIG family reunion on my mom's side. This is the place we all stay and man is it pretty. There are lots of really nice homes all around this beautiful lake called Junaluska. We have been going here for quite awhile now and it really does feel like home in the "tall mountains" as Karina would say. We all rent houses and get together for tons of fun.

This the whole clan. We are a good sized bunch and we only keep growing. It really is such a blessing to be a part of this family and enjoy their company even if it's only for a week every other year.

We do so many fun things while we are there and always manage to enjoy some sweet times of fellowship even though we stay quite busy. Karina was only a year old when we were here last so she had a great time seeing all these cousins. Some we had not met yet and others she sees on a weekly basis. The first day we hung out a bit at my mom and dad's place they rent. Is this deck and view to die for or what!

Tuesday after we took the picture above of all of us in our reunion shirts we headed down to the lake to feed the ducks and let the kids run around a bit.

Of course I had to capture some lovely flower pics while the kids had their fun.

That same day we were having a baby shower to celebrate my brother and his wife's new little one on the way. So Karina had a good time helping me whip up some brownies to take.

And here is my sweet sister in law with some of the gifts I enjoyed making for their little boy.

Then later that night we opened up our house for a girls craft/game night. It really was a blast. Some learned how to crochet from my very talented Aunt Deanna. And some of us played a really fun game called Apples to Apples.

Wednesday we headed out to some of the fun little mountain shops down the road and even found a fun little Gem mining place for the kids to sift the sand to find "gems". :)

After lunch and naps that same day we met my brother and his sweet kids down at the dock on the lake and took our kids boating. They couldn't have had a better time. Jon is one GREAT dad!!

I was in the boat with Jeff and Karina but hopped out at the end to take a few pictures.

When we finished with the boats a bunch of the guys had a volleyball game going. So we had fun watching them before heading back to the house to fix some supper.

We shared a house with my dear bro and his wife and enjoyed visiting with them too. They live far from us so it was good to see them and enjoy some nice dinners together. On this night we did steak and veggies on the grill.

Thursday we spent all day at a really cool place called Fun Depot. It had all the fun you can imagine in one place. We bowled, did mini golf, arcade games, and go carts, and the guys did laser tag, and Karina played in the jungle gym. They also had a climbing wall and batting cages.

This was Karina's first time bowling and boy did she love it!! It was mini bowling, so extra nice for the little people.

Then once we wore ourselves out we headed to the snacks and got some of these yummy treats!

After we got in the car we knew Karina would take a nice nap for us so we took a drive around Asheville. It is a really pretty little town with some nice shops and cafe's but we decided to not get out and instead let our little lady sleep. I love that Jeff likes to go exploring even if it's to snap some pictures out the window.

Friday was a nice day to just hang around the lake. I actually got up and took a fast walk to get a little exercise and just enjoy the peaceful beauty of it all. I would have liked to have done it every morning, but we always stayed up too late and then Karina decided to wake up very early every morning. I'm sure it was being in a different house and bed, but man did we need more sleep then she let us have!
My mom, sister in law and I did get out to one of the shops I was wanting to go in on Friday while Jeff and Karina went to hang out with family. We all came back with some nice little treasures that I will show later.
This picture was taken that evening as we took a nice slow walk around the lake. The fire flies were out and Karina had never seen them before so my cousin caught one and let her take a closer look. She thought that was just great, but I'm not sure if she knew what to make of a bug that can light up. :) She will tell you though that he can turn off and on all by himself.

There was also some slip and slide fun at this reunion as in others that have come before because my dad always has a great set up for the kids on the little hill behind their house. I had to include this one of my brother and brother in law. It's just too funny!

And of course one of Karina who would rather watch her crazy uncles instead of trying it herself.

Every reunion on Friday night we have a big dinner together. All the family comes and we bring whatever dishes we desire to share. My mom has made a tradition of bringing a puppet that was so well loved in her days of doing childrens church in Germany and the kids get so excited every time. I would have to say though that my mom's mom, my Nana, might have been this puppet's biggest fan. I couldn't help but think of her, even though she isn't with us, when we were all laughing at his jokes this time.

We also started what I'm sure will become a new tradition and that is this.....

Everyone and anyone was welcome to do an act. Whether it was singing, baton twirling (yes my mom and aunts did just that to the song "We are family" flashing back to their highschool days), or even imitating a silly movie character like my cousin brittany did so well. But the funniest part of it all might have been the judging. And we had some good ones. Maybe even better then Simon and Paula!

If you look very closely in this last shot you will see even my husband boogying down in the red striped shirt in the background!
Our last day there was Saturday and it sure was a pretty one. So we hopped in the car after packing a lunch and headed to one of the lovely waterfalls there in N.C. Karina loved it and even though the water was icy cold she still went wading in and was out to discover!

The morning we left it was a lovely one for driving. Part of me wanted to stay and enjoy this beauty and the company of family just a little more, but then the other part was calling me back home again. And so home we went over the rivers and through the woods. And to encourage Karina on the way home we said to Grandmother's house we go. Well not exactly, but she did get excited about seeing her Nana when we got back into town. So we weren't too far off.

I had to snap one final picture of these gorgeous daylilies that were on the side of the road everywhere up there. And I only just showed you a tiny bit of the amazing flowers I photographed while up there. So there will be many more. I also have a funny beach post coming soon. You didn't think I could stay away too long did you?
I will be back soon and hope you all are having a wonderful weekend and great times with family!