Thursday, June 8, 2017

Graduation Party Time - A Family Reunion!

If I seem a little "overly-excited" that our family was together for a special occasion, that's because it was the first time we've all been together in several years. For us, it was the most festive time you can possibly imagine. In other words, it was a "big deal." It is amazing the damage one person can do to a family, and we are all more thankful than words we have been able to recover from the destruction this toxic figure (who thankfully is no longer with us!) caused our family to suffer. However, we are stronger than we knew, and I don't think we could have felt more happiness, love and gratitude for one another. Everyone was relaxed and comfortable, and feeling that way is not a small thing. It was the first time in fifteen years that we were able to feel that way, so yes, I admit it. Frankly, I am ecstatic we all had such a wonderful time. Not only was it a graduation celebration, it was a mini family reunion, and it was absolutely the best of times!
You can see the World Famous antique tractor from our family photo session below behind Shawn. I wanted to get a picture of us dressed up for graduation on the tractor, but walking down that hill on uneven ground in heels just didn't seem wise and the timing was not good. But they would have been amazing pictures! In any case, we managed to get some super cute ones that we will always cherish in our mismatched, "normal" clothes.
Shawn and his beautiful girlfriend, Rici. He has become quite the poser for pictures these days. After I took this, I put my camera down, and he said, "I wasn't ready." So funny!
Uncle Shawn with his brood of kiddos, from oldest to youngest - two daughters, one niece, one nephew and one dog. The dog's name is "Face." He is part "Scandinavian Red Hound." (Inside joke, there.)
The whole crew!
And the two who started it all so many years ago. Almost fifty years in the past, their love story started the adventure.
This tractor has been in the family practically as long as I have. My dad bought it for my grandpa when he and my grandma lived at Sod House. I was a toddler, back then. My grandpa was raising potatoes and needed a tractor, so my dad got him this one. Believe it or not, it still runs! It looks super cute sitting in front of their house in the field below. Great decoration!
These three are quite the family unit. They take care of him and he takes care of them. It gives me great comfort to know they have each other. Love conquers all! 
The two party hosts. They did a great job! It was the best party EVER!
Papa wanted everyone to drive down to the basketball courts so we could play a little game, but it just wasn't the right time. Another day, we plan to have a family scrimmage.
Aunt Sharon, Uncle Jim and their son Jeff came after their golf tournament was over for the day. It was so great to see them! We hadn't seen Jeff for about eight years. It was way too long! Hopefully we will be seeing him more. He and Brady have big plans for golfing in a tournament this fall.
Siblings.
The food was SO GOOD! It was seriously the best hamburger I have eaten in years. Even better than Five Guys Burgers and Fries. And that's hard to beat! YUMMY.
My mom bought a fun little putting machine. If you hit the ball in it, it automatically shoots it back to you. We had a family "Putt Off." Putting on cement is not quite the same as putting on a green. It made for some interesting putts. Cousin Jeff won the contest!
This moment makes me laugh out loud. Uncle Jim is left handed, so he needed to putt left handed. He didn't want to stand in my mom's flower bed, so Shawn told him, "Oh, no. Don't worry about that - those are just weeds." Which our uncle believed! I thought, "Oh dear..." Our mother spends a lot of time on her yard and flowers. I wasn't sure what she would think. But later on, she came by the smooshed plant and said, "Oh, I wonder what happened to that poor little guy." She wasn't even upset! So I told her that her son told everyone it was just a weed, and she laughed. So funny! Hopefully it will bounce back into good health, but if not, it lost it's life for a good cause. Amazing the sacrifices we are willing to make for family fun. Hilarious!
Lexi was so excited to get a fire going. She started it right up! My dad had all the wood perfectly cut and stacked and ready to burn. We were all so full from food, cake and root beer floats, we didn't have any room left for s'mores. But the fire was absolutely delightful!
 At this point, we heard some great family stories. And Uncle Jim made a very important announcement -  that we were all there for one reason, "To celebrate Lexi's graduation from high school." To which we all chanted, "Speech! Speech!" And so Lexi made a little speech and thanked us all for coming. It was a great moment in time.
Brailey is telling Britt he has already had TWO refills on his Root Beer Float. You can see the grin on his face even from this angle.
My mom saved some old lamp shades, took all the glass out and she and my dad turned them into patio lights. They are so darling! They turned out perfectly and gave exactly the right amount of light and added to the festivity of the occasion.
And there she is, the graduate! I am so sad I didn't think to get a picture of all of us with the timer on my camera. I was just taking random pictures and enjoying everyone's stories so much, it didn't cross my mind. But it was a wonderful party and celebration and I think it is safe to say everyone had a great time. Family is everything, and we are all more grateful than ever for ours. It was an answer to many prayers.

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