(by the way, they've nicknamed it the "Tall Moose" reunion after the last one that was at Yellowstone Park. Thomas = rhymnes with Tall Moose, har har :)
For the past several years, we have all gotten together over Christmas time. For our little family, it involved a 28 hour round trip drive and lots of snow and cold weather. Although we have always loved the time with his family, we have dreaded the roadtrip and nasty ugly Idaho winter.
And even better, it was in our own backyard - the Washington Olympic Peninsula.
So this time, our total driving time was a 5 hour roundtrip and there was no snow involved.
There was lots of seafood to be had, both eating and catching...
There was also a special birthday for a special little boy...
And lots more. So get ready for the trip break down...
A Big Birthday Bash for all the Summer birthdays. There were 14 in all! Including everyone in our little family (Preston was June 13th, I'm June 23rd, and Will is July 1st).
Preston got to open all of his presents at home before we left on vacation, but we never had a "formal" celebration for him. So on Monday night, during the birthday party, he got his own special cupcake with the number 2 candle on it and had a special day all to himself.
Preston had never really figured out that when a camera is pointed at you, you smile. We've tried making funny faces, or singing, or making monkey noises but he just blankly stares at us like dude, what are my parents doing.
And here we all below are singing "Happy Birthday"...which when trying to name 14 people gets quite long and complicated!
The resort had a beach right there and so everyone had a blast playing down by the water. Preston knows exactly what to do at the beach...
Will and I were in charge of the activities, so we made sure that we showed everyone the great things that we love about the Olympic Peninsula.
We went to Fort Warden and climbed all of the 19th century Navy "ruins"...
Let's see how many places we can cram a toddler for a picture!
He got SO good at saying cheese whenever a camera was pointed at him.
And this beautiful creature below...
...Actually stayed with us for a few days before the reunion and wow, all I can say is THANK YOU Tessha. You were such a great help with Preston, housework...and all the other stuff that I've been too lazy (or pregnant) to want to do. You are the bestest!! Hope you can come help out again after we have the baby! Hee hee! :)
The following is what happens when your 2 year old discovers he can climb up a very steep dangerous cement wall out of the grasp of Papa's hands.
On a side note, here was the littlest newest member of our family reunion: Anabelle (2 months old). She was so sweet. I don't think I heard her cry but one time the entire time she was there. I forgot how tiny these newborns are too!
Okay so here is something new Preston discovered that he loves!
He was really nervous about the pool at first, but by the end of the week Will had him jumping from the side of the pool into his arms. He even got dunked one time, though, not sure he enjoyed that too much. Haha - it took him a while to get back in after that.
Jaws movie music here please...
Here is Papa throwing Preston around and him loving it!
Just another family dinner...
We brought our two sea kayaks and pretty much everyone got a turn to take them out for a ride.
On Wednesday, we took everyone up to Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park.
You can be standing on the beach in Port Angeles, and 30 minutes later at the top of Hurricane Ridge a mile high from sea level.
Mr. Cool and his Mommy...
Here is Will with a few of his siblings. Everyone but one sibling (Daniel + Family) was able to make it to the reunion. And not even all are pictured here, obviously, because some are busy chasing their kids.
We tried to get a photo of all the kids, but...uh...as you can see getting a bunch of little ones to sit still didn't work for more than 5 seconds. And this wasn't even everyone....
Preston, Sitani, Spencer, Karly, Marley, Gwenevere, and Noah
Preston is such a funny kid. He loved having tons of cousins around, but always needed his personal space. I tried to get him to scoot over closer, but uh, this was as close as the little guy would get.
A little video from that photo shoot...
After Hurricane Ridge, we convinced everyone that the needed to go to the Olympic Game Park.
On Friday, we all decided to take a trip over to the Western side of the peninsula. This is where some of the more rugged beaches and terrain are.
We had to stop and get a picture of our "family tree".
Get this, Preston who just barely turned 2 last week was the same size as his cousin Noah who will be turning 3 in August. Craaaaaazy! Our kid is super tall.
We made it through the "Twilight" tour of Forks so that everyone could see Bella and Edward's hot spots. Then a few of us took off from the group and went over to La Push and Realto Beach. This is definitely one of my favorite beaches (it's the one in our blog header).
I was really craving some smoked salmon, and the best places to get fresh smoked salmon is from the Indians on the reservations. So we drove into La Push looking for smoked salmon. There was a big sign that said "Smoked Salmon" right as we got into La Push, and got a pound of really yummy salmon from a tiny shabby little smoke-shack on the side of the road. Last year we stopped at one of the Indian stands and got salmon too and it was the best smoked salmon I'd ever had. Kristi's hubby, Haini, also picked up a lot of crab, shrimp, and lobsters from the Indians while we were there. You just can't get stuff like that from the stores....it's all vacuum packed or frozen. And you can't necessarily catch it since it's not in season (at least shellfish), so thank heaven for those heavenly little stands all along the sides of the raods everywhere on the peninsula. :)
Preston was oh so good at giving directions...
Preston and Gwenevere were a total pair this entire trip. They played together so well, and would just make each other giggle. It was way way cute.
Gracie...standing on a huge log. She's leaving on her mission to Tampa, Florida in less than 10 days. We thought it was pretty cool that she got to come to the reunion right before she left for 18 months.
As you can see, since one year ago...our little family has grown.
Will tried to indocterinate Preston into the concept of huge waves, but he wasn't digging it....
The reunion went until Sunday, the 20th, at which point we packed up and parted ways.