Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hatch Family Reunion 2008

It was our year to be in charge of the reunion. We love living in the Northwest and wanted a location that would epitomize our territory. Mt. Rainier fit the bill perfectly and I found a lovely lodge to comfortably accommodate all 25 of us. After many hours of preparation, it was great to see it all come together. We had a fabulous time.

As soon as all 14 cousins arrived, we did a treasure hunt. I had written a few rhyming clues and Jon hid them around the lodge. Grandpa read each clue and the kids sprinted from one location to the next.

The treasure baskets, which included the reunion t-shirts and personalized cups, were finally located in the laundry room.

The kids excitedly threw on their matching t-shirts and we hurried and got a picture of all the cousins. Here they are in order by age.

After a BBQ dinner, we turned the dining room into a bingo hall. Grandpa, with the help of Caleb's loud voice, was the caller. The kids had a great time and especially loved choosing from the prize basket.

We concluded the night's festivities with a "winner's ceremony." Back in April, Lucy organized a weight loss challenge based on a point system. It was inspired by a challenge that my sister had done for members of my family. I won the points half of the two-part prize (half was based on points earned, half on percentage of weight loss). We were thrilled for Jim who took home the other half. Jon came in second in both categories.

Losing 22 pounds since February was reward enough but it was pretty darn exciting to have those five one-hundred dollar bills counted into my hand. And I'm so proud of Jon for losing 30 pounds!

The next morning, we made our way to Mt. Rainier National Park, the entrance to which was located just a few minutes from our cabin. The weather could not have been more perfect and we enjoyed that amazing mountain in all its glory.

Unfortunately, Natalie started running a fever during the first night and spent a majority of the reunion being sick. When we stopped at this first viewpoint, she had fallen asleep in the car so she is missing from our pictures.

Here is a picture of the whole crew minus Natalie who was sick in the car and Jay who was busy at home with his new job.

Being with cousins is the best part of any family reunion. The really do love each other.

Natalie woke in time to see the falls. The poor thing was burning up but she was a real trooper. She even managed a cute smile for this next picture.

We picnicked at Paradise and then went on a great little hike. The kids thought it was so fun to see snow. The views and scenery were amazing!

We paused at the end of the hike to take a picture of the six original Hatch siblings and then headed back to the lodge.

While we started preparing for our Mexican dinner, the kids had fun making tin can ice cream.

That evening, we surprised Grandma and Grandpa with a 40th wedding anniversary party. The grandkids each completed a simple tribute and then took turns reading it to their grandparents.

Then we watched a 25 minute slide show that Jon put together. Everyone was glued to the TV as we watched images of the last forty years of the Hatch family pass before us. I feel lucky to have been a part of this great family for the last twelve of those years.

We then made our way to the kitchen for some anniversary cake. After the kids went to bed we were entertained with Lucy's "oldy-wed" game. She had written some very clever questions and it was a fun way to end the evening.

The next day's activity was to visit Northwest Trek. It was a great outing for the kids and again, we had delightful weather. We saw all the animals and got closer to a massive buffalo than I care to get but it's fun to get such close-up views of the various wild creatures.

Caleb's favorite, of course, was the cougar. He was disappointed that he spent the whole day sleeping under a tree but at least he briefly lifted his head to glance in Caleb's direction.

We returned to the lodge and the kids had a pizza birthday party for Jonas, which was a reunion highlight for Caleb. While we prepared the adults' Thai dinner, the kids cooled off in the sprinkler. After dinner we all enjoyed some birthday cake.

Each night I marvelled at how many hands it took to prepare, cook and clean-up each meal. It's quite a feat to feed 25 mouths.

The family talent show was next on the schedule. Caleb and Alyssa dressed as Ryan and Sharpay and performed "Bop to the Top." Caleb likes to boogie and is a real show boater.

Alyssa later did her floor routine...

...but the most entertaining talent of the night was done when Jon followed her with his rendition of the routine. Nice splits and leap, don't you think?

There were other entertaining silly songs, too.

The talent show led into a dance party which included the Hokey Pokey and the Macarena.

It was hard to see it all coming to an end so quickly but we roasted some marshmallows and enjoyed the fire pit before heading off to bed.

We packed as much fun and good memories as possible into three short days. I sure enjoyed planning it and enjoyed experiencing it even more.