boy, do we have A LOT to catch up on!
the browne family reunion, which was dubbed "That's Alotta Browne", was july 21-25 in Rogers, AR. before the fun began at the official reunion, we joined up with Bo & Delayna's families in Little Rock on saturday the 19th and then met Grandma and Grandpa Browne back at our house that evening.
look at those cute cousins!
only one missing in this shot was little louie, alli and jacob's little girl.
we were able to meet leilani finally, and also celebrate tony's birthday. that was a special treat since they have been in hawaii and we miss out on their birthday celebrations.
it was a bit crowded at our house (8 adults and 8 kids in a 4 room house) but we had a fantastic time catching fireflies, going for walks, eating yummy foods, and just being together!
on monday, we made the hour drive up to Rogers. Grandpa was in charge of the reunion this time around and he did the best. job. ever. it was the most well organized and fun reunion without being too stressful or overbooked. i think i must get my party-planning skills from him, even though I'm sure he would rather not be known for his party planning skills ;) it truly was a great time catching up with all of our extended browne fam. it was also fun for me to watch chris get to know all of my cousins and aunts and uncles better. he's very good in situations like that, which is something i have always admired about him because i struggle with that.
i think it goes without saying, we have too many pictures and too many stories that we could include, but i'll just try to condense it and tell about our week with pictures and videos.
heres the whole gang!
a day at the park which included a kid's soccer tournament, kite making (a definite highlight!), sand art, badminton, etc.
we found a yummy frozen custard place, Andy's, and visited it on several occasions :)
cousins watching the custard
a day at the lake which included a ride on cousin Zack's boat and tubing.
the best moment at the lake was when lou arrived. she stripped down and took off for the sand, giggling and letting her hair (and buns) bounce and blow in the breeze! so precious.
each evening we met together after dinner for a devotional and an activity like a talent show or a game night, which happened to be my favorite night. alli and my team tore it up!
pioneer day happened to be during the week, so one morning the guys in our family put together a pioneer tournament for all the men and boys in the group (with some not-so-pioneerish games) and the ladies in our family set up a time-out for women and girls activity (with some not-so-pioneerish yogurt and fruit parfaits). afterwards, the ladies joined the men and were able to play some of the games before lunch. probably the funnest thing we did the whole week was a gigantic blow dart game! oh man, just thinking about it makes me laugh! unfortunately, i didn't get any pictures because i was too busy blowin' darts :) no mercy was shown and i had bruises all down my arms for almost a week.
one not-so-fun part of this morning was that little soph fell and smashed her nose. it was very sad and i can't imagine how stressful it was for larissa to be in a new location and taking her kid to the er with a possible broken nose. yikes! for the record, it wasn't broken just very swollen and bruised.
We visited Blowing Springs. This is a beautiful location in the Ozarks with caves and a little stream running through it. It's special to the browne's because this location inspired some of my Grandma's novels that she wrote. we explored, took family pictures, caught crawdads, had a talent show, and then the original browne kids and their spouses told some very touching stories about grandma and grandpa browne. it was very special and a great reminder of the incredible people they are and the legacy they have left for us.
thats jack way up top
thats a pretty good lookin' group!
my dad and all his siblings but one brother.
while here, i was a little worried about jack and ellie falling off a cliff or charlie drowning in the stream. you know, those happy thoughts moms have. well, luckily none of that happened, but we did experience another parent's worst nightmare. we lost charlie. it turned out fine, he was on a little hike with one of my cousins, but we didn't know that. it was one of those experiences that you hope you never go through again.
here are some random things we did throughout the week:
jack, chris, and jacob went out for sushi
we went and watched the Buckyball at Crystal Bridges Art Museum one night and then walked around the park, ate a snow cone treat from grandpa, and danced to the live music.
we went to the fayettville farmers market where we bought some delicious amish jams and watched a cool beehive they had on display at a honey stand.
there were a few different mountain biking trips. alli and larissa each took a turn going with the boys, as well as grandpa and cousin ty.
we had a story telling night, where bo really shined
i love this picture. grandpa and his brother, dale, reminiscing and laughing to the point of tears
all in all, it was such a great week! it wasn't easy saying goodbye to everyone, especially layna and tony since they are being stationed in germany at the beginning of next year and will be gone for 3 years. if we didn't have a trip to florida planned the following week, it would have been really hard to say goodbye to our immediate group. it was wonderful to see the kids getting to know my aunts, uncles, cousins, and all of their kiddos. they had the best time ever. several times they said "this is so much better than disney world!" and we totally agreed.