Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Reunion Delights

Windmill Colony just east of L.A.
Last Wednesday, we woke up early, ate breakfast, loaded all eleven kids, one dog, and two parents in the 15-seater van, (it was prepacked the day before, thank goodness!) and drove over and up to Sacramento, CA. (I have a million and one pictures, but I'll try to be good and not post every single one. Just ALMOST every, single one...)

My AMAZING sister, Gina, welcomed us to her home with open arms. We got to see her sweet husband, Sean, and FINALLY meet her adorable little guy, Will.

Beautiful 8-months-pregnant Gina, with her William and our Miss Eryn

 We laughed, we cried, we took a million pictures, ribbed my dad about anything and everything, laughed some more, and all the cousins played with each other and created mayhem all around. Isn't that what reunions are for?

My Dierdre and Wade's Libby eating breakfast on the first morning.

The Boys!

A couple little girls

Pa cooking scrambled eggs

Granna, his lovely assistant

Everybody eating good ole' grits, hashbrowns, eggs, and bacon. Yum!

Eryn and Will were highchair buddies

We outsmarted Mr. Sun and moved to the front yard for lunch. Ha!

Gina's cute little family!

Beany Wade hamming it up. (Rico... suave...)

It was so fun to see the cousins playing, playing, playing together. Grayse and Isaac had a great time with one another!

Young Keppners

Posin' cousins

Pa's typical after-meal pose... ;-) (Hee! Love you Daddy!)

I have to admit that I was very worried about this reunion. My siblings and I rarely see each other, and have all gone down very different life paths, including spiritually. We are a family made up of very stubborn people with strong opinions, and honestly, I was expecting World War 3 to happen. Instead, we had a beautiful, loving, enjoyable time. *whew!*

Keppners and Libby ready to hit the beach!

Ronan got to ride with Wade and his boys, Isaac and Ethan.

"Here we come, Santa Cruz!"

The beach down in Santa Cruz was AWESOME!!! Below are a TON of pictures, but it's a memory I never want to forget. It was the first time my kids had EVER seen the ocean, and it was the first time Russell ever remembers playing on an actual beach in the rolling waves. (Putting his feet in the ocean in San Fran and getting in the water as a one-year-old just don't count!)

It was cold and misty, but we charged in anyway!

That water is COLD!

Eryn is just delighted to be outside.

Morganne lived up to her name's meaning, "where the foam meets the shore", and rode almost every wave while we were there. She was a vision of joy!

Attempting to build a sea-proof fortress. (It didn't work!)

Gina and Granna helped the little girls be BRAVE!

Liberty, Bonny, and Ethan are happy the sun came out.

The tiny girls tried to help Lliam and Brennan build a water trench.


Morganne the Mermaid

Cutie 'Kenna

Pa was cold and a bit nervous about the powerful waves, but he helped keep little kids dry and blankets and towels clear of sand. (He also was holding almost everyone's cameras at one time or another!)

Morganne and Russell riding wave after wave

Will was not thrilled about the noisy, pushy waves.
After our long day traveling to Santa Cruz, playing on the beach, and eating a picnic lunch, we decided to head back up to Sacramento along the coast, and then across the Golden Gate Bridge. The trip along the coast, seeing the farms of organic crops planted right up to the seashore was breathtaking! I so wished we had been able to take the time to stop and get some produce at the fruit stands!

Seeing the mist envelope the green hills like a blanket made me feel like I was in the UK. We nearly froze to death when we stopped for a BBQ dinner further up along the coast, but it was a beautiful, magical day!

Freezing on a short cliff above a misty, windy beach.

BBQ! Food hot, people chilled...

Some of us who liked the warmth of the van. (Ethan, Eryn, and Morganne)

Sweet Ethan reading Eryn a story. I told him I'd be willing to adopt him!
 On the last day together, we headed over to a park to get family pictures taken. Gina's friend, Sara, was a great photographer and so kind to photograph our large group.

Almost everybody in the Williams clan! (Except Abby-- we sure missed having her with us!)

Granna and Pa with all the grandkids

Gina, Will, and Sean

Granna and Pa

Those cuh-razy Williams!

Sisters with their favorite brother
I have a TON more pictures of my kids playing in the park, but I'll save those for another day. (I think I almost made Blogspot cry with the picture overload...)

FAMILIES CAN BE TOGETHER FOREVER!!! And I want to be with mine that long!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

August Update

Funny Miss Eryn

First of all, I am STILL off sugar. (Yay!) I passed the 2 week mark this past Wednesday, and I am feeling GREAT! I'm still taking just one day at a time, but I have been surprised that it's been easier than I supposed-- especially when I have sweet and amazing teenaged daughters who have been experimenting with honey-sweetened treats. (Thanks, girls!)

Morganne with Mr. Tumnus
 Secondly, we adopted a new little mutt-doggie whom we've named "Mr. Tumnus." Poor little guy came from a family who was never home, and he was suffering from separation anxiety with them. But he has mellowed and settled in with our family, I guess because we're nearly ALWAYS home! LOL! He has been a wonderful addition to our family!

Worn out kids (And I have no idea why Grayse insisted on wearing footie pj's and snuggled under a quilt!)
Summertime always gives us a bit of cabin fever (HOT here!), so the kids have been getting more creative. Which is GOOD and bad. (Depending on the age, really.) We've been pretty busy, and August is no exception. I've been really looking forward to a new study group we are forming, based on "Fourth Turning" principles. Our first meeting is tonight, and I'm STOKED! :-)

A New Block Wall! YAY!!!
 Our wonderful landlord hired a fast crew to put up a new block fence in our backyard. The old fence was wood that had rotten to the point that it would fall down when a strong wind came up. Russell and the boys tried fixing it over and over and over again, but the wood was just too old to stay up. Now we don't have to worry about it any more. Hooray!!!

Three little cuties in a great Goodwill-found office chair

Adorable Miss Grayse Dawn

We are traveling to CA soon for a Williams family reunion at my sister, Gina's house. The kids are sooo excited to go to the beach for the first time! I'm sure I'll have lots of pictures to share when we get back.

Ronan turned eight yesterday, and will baptized on the 20th. (I'm excited to share his special day soon!) Russell and I have our 19th anniversary on the 14th, Lliam turns 15 on the 23rd, and I turn 29 (again) on the 30th. (Wow, that's a lot of numbers in that sentence...)

Happy August, everybody! :-)