Monday, June 29, 2009

Family Reunion

We made a six hour drive to North Alabama last Friday to join in on the family reunion being held at Joe Wheeler State Park. As we entered the property we spotted deer grazing on the side of the road, as we continued down we even saw a fawn with it's mother.
We were greeted by a majestic Lodge overlooking the Tennessee River, and we were looking forward to spending a weekend there.
Every room has a balcony, complete with rocking chairs overlooking the river.

Denise & Mickey, two of our cousins who put so much effort into planning a fun weekend for all of us, met us at the Lodge and we caravaned down the road to the cabin they had rented.
Denise with one of her granddaughter's, Sala & cousin, Bo.

Sala gave the girls little gift packages and they were excited to open them.
Dad & Leah on the cabin's balcony.
Joe with Mickey.
That night a big group of us headed into town for a delicious dinner at Stanfield's.
The girls got a kick out of the cow that greets you as you enter.
Part of the table enjoying the great dinner.

Our view on Saturday morning.
Laura loved the bubbles she got from Sala.

After a morning swim, it was time to head to another section of the park to meet up with the rest of our family. Here Mary, sitting down is meeting up with my Mom and Mary with her son Ryan.
Laura with Mary
Everywhere Mary goes, so do her two little dogs. The girls can't get enough of them.

The crowd waiting for the dinner bell to ring.

The reunion was also a chance to welcome Luke's fiance, Morgan, into our large family.
Ally leading us in prayer.
Dad got the "kid" chair.
Me with Bobbie.

Mary with her two cuties, Abby & Ryan.
Fred with his boys, Brody & Brent playing a game.

The sign announcing our gathering, the time was a little off, but it might have been a little cooler had it started at 12 AM.
Leah and Ally chilling out on the sidewalk, with Aunt Rosanna's bus in the background. They travel in style.

After a long, fun afternoon in the Alabama heat, Bo led the kids in playing with the kiddie pool that had been the ice cooler for the drinks. I think everyone was ready to cool off.

Bo with his son River, Sala, Leah & Laura.
After the reunion, we all headed back to the Lodge to relax. We managed to have time to take another swim in the wonderful pool. All of us then met up in the dining room for a seafood dinner.
Jason, Bobbie, Cody & Nick
Leah, Sala & Ally
Bo was the pied piper with the kids.
After dinner we took a stroll along the River's edge and watched people fishing and checked out all of the boats.

Mickey with the girls.
Bo with River and his parents Johnny & Carol.
Leah in a rare quiet moment.
Playing with the sunset setting on my camera, made it a very golden sunset.

Laura sneaking up on a deer at the end of the path with fireflies darting all around.
Leah added another interest to her long list of likes, hiking. She went on a couple of hikes with my Dad while we were at the lodge. She decided that she would rather hike than swim on our last morning there. All went well, they saw deer, birds, and my Dad taught her the finer points of carrying a hiking stick.

Joe and I took Laura on another swim in the pool before we had to pack up for our drive home.
This may seem a little odd to include on a blog, but I think it is a perfect end to a weekend all about family. I've made a point to share the memories of my sister, Lynn, who passed away in 1993, with my girls. I bring her into many conversations, tell them about her personality, her passions and most importantly to Leah, her appearance. Leah is unique in our family full of brunettes, but when I show her pictures of Lynn, she realized that she wasn't the lone blonde. When we go up to that part of Alabama, we like to make an effort to go by the cemetary and pay our tributes to Lynn and just make sure everything is okay. The girls were interested in where she was and I thought that they were old enough to start to grasp the whole thing. When we arrived, we pointed out her headstone, and my Mom read the inscription on back and told the girls of Lynn's motto, "Carpe Diem" or sieze the day. It was a special moment in our lives, and I feel it is just another step to teach my girls about their Aunt that they never got to meet.


Jen said...

It looks like you guys had fun. Your sunset picture is incredible!

Jen said...

Your sister's stone is beautiful. I wish I'd had the opportunity to know her.