Sunday, July 29, 2012

Best Birthday Ever!

I couldn't have dreamed up a better way for Caleb to celebrate his fourteenth birthday and it was a most spectacular way to end our family reunion.

The Helena Brewers provided the perfect party.  The kids got autographs from some of the players while our all-you-can eat burgers and hot dogs were grilling.  The BBQ buffet included chips, potato salad, watermelon and all the fixings.

Shortly after he arrived, Caleb was informed that he would be delivering the game's first pitch.  Just imagine his excitement!  Dad bought him a Brewer's hat for the occasion.

He was a little disappointed that he threw the pitch a bit high, but he loved the honor of throwing it.  Can you find the ball in this photo?

He even tipped his hat to the crowd.  Like he's a big name player thanking them for their support, or something.

We had this whole picnic area, located behind first base, all to ourselves.  His cousins met him with high fives.

All you can drink soda and popcorn and ice cream in a helmet.  Are you kidding me?

Caleb and two cousins also got to go out on the field for a mid-inning promotion.  The boys had to run with these huge tools.  Seth's speedy legs won him the race.

The kids had so much fun together.

Getting to keep the foul balls was exciting.  Having one of them shatter the Johnson's windshield was not.

Just when we thought the surprises where over, the Brewers presented Caleb with this cracked bat from one of the games.

We were positively stuffed but what's a birthday party without a cake?

Seventh inning stretch...Caleb does the dance move that has been dubbed "The Seth."

Only people who really like each other choose to stand this close:

As we walked into the house after such a fun night, Cousin Ansel remarked, "This was the best day of my life."  Yeah, it was that fun.  See what I mean?  Best birthday ever.  What a way to turn fourteen!

Happy Birthday, Caleb!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Mt. Helena

The living room's picture window provides a perfect view of Mt. Helena and the trailhead to the top is a mere two and a half miles from the Hatch family home. It's a hike most of us have done many times, but this was our first time climbing the mountain together.

Here's our little family at the top:

It's not an easy hike.  But it's absolutely beautiful and the views are fabulous!

Since we all hike at different paces, we started in waves so that we'd end up on top close to the same time.

The kids did great!  Caleb and Seth were especially speedy but even Henry and Sadie were great little hikers.

Here's Grandpa looking toward his home where he's lived for over 40 years:

A view of The Sleeping Giant (start on the right and follow the horizon to the left.  Can you see him?):

I ran down the hill with the little boys; Ian, Sam and Owen.  They wanted to stay ahead of me but I ran down after them not wanting them to get lost.  I did make a wrong turn at one point and we ended up going down a trail so steep that it sent all four of us sliding onto our rear ends.  In the end, we were the first ones back to the cars.  That down hill run left me with incredibly sore thighs but it was just so much fun.

When we got back to the car, I wanted to get a bit more of a workout so I decided to run to the Staggering Ox, which was where the family was meeting for lunch.  (It is, by the way, the BEST sandwich place EVER!)

My little hiking buddies (my three, super fun, super cool nephews) decided they wanted to run with me.  They assured me they could make it and you know what?  They kept up pretty well!  Just look at these red faces:

I loved the hike.  I loved that we did it together.  I loved being with Ian, Sam and Owen.  It was certainly a reunion highlight for me.

We've Got Talent

It was a show that had me hooping and hollering and laughing so hard that I had tears streaming down my face. And you know what my favorite part of the traditional Family Reunion Talent Show was? The thought that went into many of the acts. The kids were old enough to put together their own skits and I loved that they performed as cousin groups.

The show started with a bang with Jay and Seth's parody of "I'm Sexy and I Know It."  Their version was called, "I'm Mormon and I Know It."

So very clever.

"Hey look up that scripture!"

Brendan played the piano.  He's a gifted musician.  He also plays the bassoon and the saxophone.

Henry was adorable in his cute act with his dad.

How impressive is Grandma and her 20 push-ups?  That's ten more than she did at the last reunion two years ago.  She's just getting better with age.

The little boys did a skit.  They also did one with the girls.

Natalie and Alyssa performed a dance that they learned from their gymnastics coach.  I know, it's hard to tell who is who from the back.

The big boys did a group skit, too.  I loved it.  It's just so fun to see them working together.  Caleb's the only one that doesn't have a brother of his own and that is probably why I'm so taken by moments like these.  Who needs a brother when you have all of these fabulous cousins, right? :)

Erin played the piano...

...and did a skit with Natalie, too.

Jon showed all the kids exactly why they should keep up with their piano lessons.  Because if you don't, all you'll ever be able to perform is a little bit of Eye of the Tiger.

Then he did his conducting of Brahm's Hungarian Dance.  It'd been about 16 years since I'd seen him do it and our kids had never had the pleasure.  My guffaws had me practically falling out of my chair.

Then came Maureen and Sam's tribute to the 70's.  Will you look that pose from Sam?  A veritable Michael Jackson!

They had us all doing the YMCA.

Little Ian's got some pretty quick footwork.  He and Ansel showed off their dance moves...

...Then all the other cousins joined in.

Grandma and Grandpa taught us the waltz.

And what's this called?  The two-step?

How cute are Sadie and Henry giving it a try?

This gave way to the Bunny Hop, Thriller and lots of other dancing.  Such fun!

On our way out of the church I captured this shot of our "Gluten-free Club."  It's kinda crazy that four members of our family have special dietary needs but it was so very nice for Alyssa to have some company.  I snatched a sliver of their cake and it was delicious!