With working around seven different schedule, some flipping between days and night shifts and rotating of days of the week they work, family get-togethers is a challenge. Add in other events that naturally occur in life and it becomes nearly impossible. It is worth the difficulty and we have decided to set aside those few days months in advance in hopes to bring as many together as possible. In the past it was just holidays that we would gather but we've decided to change that a bit. Seldom does everyone have a holiday off, actually never. So we will make up our own holidays and change some of the traditional ones to different days. I will be mailing out the schedule through December hopefully this weekend and the events planned like visiting the pumpkin patch on Cat Creek in September. We can no longer grow enough pumpkins for our growing family. Nor can we grow strictly for pumpkin carving. Those often don't
make the best pumpkin pie.
This home is the perfect gathering place. Fairly centrally located and far roomer than the last one with a kitchen that ties in with the living room, big deck and lots of area to run. This new schedule includes potluck instead of us hosting the bulk of it. The increase numbers of family members makes it just too expensive and work intensive. For our first potluck we met on the fifth. We aren't too formal. It was basically bring enough meat to grill for your family, a side dish and everyone brought whatever extra they wanted to bring.
Kirk and I planned a little entertainment -holding still for long is not an option.Yet we hate the pressure of an activity schedule so it was more of watching to see if the crowd is growing bored and restless than we will do this at one and this at two and this after that. Instead we set up in the yard games that included water guns, a small pool, slip and slide where the kids could rotate through as they pleased. When the fun of that appeared to wear off, we brought out inexpensive kites and filled the skies. One child learned that just because she wanted the kite to fly in a particular part of the yard didn't mean the wind was going to shift its position just to please her.
We aren't much for competitive games. It makes it hard with the ages ranging from 2 to 56. With not enough people to divide into categories to change the rules for different ages it just doesn't work. Besides there are always winners and losers, something I would rather avoid. It divides rather than unites and someone is always sad and someone has a tendency to boast. With activities, not competitions, we skip the negative. Even things like card games we don't keep score but lavish praise if someone is particularly clever or creative, or just plain entertaining. Fun is paramount in anything we do. No one cares who wins or loses just that each one brings their unique personality along to delight the crowd. Our five year old loves to help others score points even though normally it means a lower score for herself. Who wants to squash that loving trait, not I. It needs fostering as self-centeredness is natural in most of us. It is in me so I watch and learn from her.
The biggest hit was the photo scavenger hunt but while our oldest was compiling the photos onto her computer for us to review, we played a little impromptu butt charades. Never heard of it? You are missing out. It is when you use your behind to spell a word and the rest of the group guesses. We did it in teams with the children as spelling can be difficult. Not that the adults are much better.Our photo scavenger hunt included the following list.
I can't believe we all fit in here
Each member make the shape of the first letter of their name
Something that rhymes with sock
This activity we are definitely doing again next summer with a different list. I can't wait until the September gathering of soups, rolls, pumpkin cookies and pumpkin bars. I am working on a Lego activity. I guess you could call these family gatherings a mini family reunion.