Jul 222015
 

I left off on my last post about the scavenger hunt! It’s a huge part of our family reunion. My uncle Mike has done it for 30+ years and he does a great job! I asked him this weekend how long it takes him and he said about 3 months to make it. That’s so amazing.

It’s evolved over the years and gets bigger and better every time. In the earlier years it was mostly having to find things–worms, ladybugs, spiders, pennies from a certain year, etc. Then he added trivia questions (which is fun). Then he started adding competition based games–like relay races and stuff. Like I said, it’s different every year.

The teams were boys vs. girls. We were Team G3 (Girls 3). It was me, my aunt Linda, my mom, my aunt Maureen, cousins Lea and Melina and Mia and Noa and Di.

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This year the stuff we had to find was hard to figure out at first. He gave us a list of like 6 things we had to find. Except no one knew the words. At first we thought it was a word scramble–unscramble the letters and then you know the words for the items you have to find. It took us a bit to figure out that it was actually just words in other languages–German, French, Portuguese, Spanish, etc. Once we figured that out we could find the items (lady bugs, spider, etc).

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There was a race where you had to run from the starting line to the end of the garden where there were buckets of water balloons in soapy water (which were really hard to hold on to) then run back and tag the next person in your team.

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Then there was the bowling competition. That is always fun! And of course we’re all quoting The Big Lebowski as we play. MARK IT ZERO! Next up was a really funny game! One team member had to run from the starting line to the end of the driveway, fill a skillet with water, then run back and pour the water into a bucket. The team with the most water in the bucket at the end wins that competition. Except–it’s really hard to run with water in a skillet and NOT spill it. AND people from other teams were throwing tennis balls and water balloons at the runner to get them to spill the water (hence the helmet). Here is a video. See below:

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Hahaha! It gets pretty competitive. Next up was throwing a giant rubber boot. The team that throws it furthest gets the points. It is surprisingly hard to throw the boot. Try it sometime. It doesn’t go very far.

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Then the grand finale: there was trivia questions involving the family history (like what year did the family reunion start? 1981. What is Grammy’s birth date? How did the barn burn down? It was a nut drier. Etc…)

Then each team had one final task. The boy teams had to find a girl’s swimsuit, a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, lipstick, a towel and flipflops and then put it on and run back to the judges to get your points. The girls had to get a baseball cap, board shorts, sunscreen and boy flipflops. Check out my uncle who was enjoying it way too much. :)

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And the winning team:

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Our team won! Go G3!!! Girls rule. :) And of course there is a trophy:

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It was so much fun. It was a REALLY hot day, though, nearly 100 degrees, and we were all melting in the sun. A few times I had to go into the house to cool off for a few moments because I was feeling light headed.

After the scavenger hunt we all went down to the river to cool off! I could NOT wait!

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The water felt FANTASTIC in 100 degrees.

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After swimming and cooling off it was time for the potluck dinner. It’s so good. Everyone brings two dishes and there’s so much tasty food. I went a teeny bit overboard. But…..I had to have sweated off and burned off some of those calories during the scavenger hunt, right?? Potluck:

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A few different kind of salads and casseroles, a piece of fried chicken, some meatballs, and my aunt Maureen made grilled cheese sandwiches on the spot which was probably the best thing I’ve ever eaten. LOL So good.

Saturday night there was another bonfire and s’mores and just hanging out. It was so much fun. In the past we used to sit around the campfire and sing and several people brought their guitars. I’m a little sad that we didn’t do that this year. It was almost my favorite part of the weekend. (This is the reason I know ALL THE WORDS to “American Pie”.)

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Sunday morning we woke up and my aunt and uncle made pancakes. It’s pretty much the only time of the year I eat pancakes and they are amazing.

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It was so good to see everyone! And to spend time with my grandma. She was doing great! And she looks great for 93 years old.

We packed up the campsite, hung out a bit and then made the rounds to say goodbye to everyone. Then it was time to hit the road. We had to get home to pick up Bella.

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My cousin Kristin hitched a ride to Portland with us, which was nice. We got to spend some time together, hang out, chat. We all were super excited to shower and get clean clothes after camping all weekend and then we went out to lunch at Laughing Planet. We all were craving vegetables. 😉 We dropped Kristin off at her friend’s house and then went back to the house (where we discovered our AC broke over the weekend and it was HAWT).

What a wonderful weekend. Going back to “reality” and work on Monday was so hard. I could have used one more day to decompress before going back to reality…

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Jul 202015
 

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My weekend was spent with family and friends, good food and drink, and the calm and peaceful world of farm life. Look at those gorgeous horses!

It was my family reunion! It’s been happenin’ since 1981 on my aunt’s farm not far from Salem, Oregon. Out in the country. We packed up our camping gear (which sadly hasn’t been used for a few years) and dropped Bella off at the dog walker’s house for the weekend. Bella was having her own little weekend getaway with her boyfriend Raja! Check out this photo:

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Amy said she caught them smoochin! So adorable. Raja looks pretty proud of himself and Bella looks a little guilty. :)

My aunt’s farm is huge and two families have been meeting there in July for the last 34 years for a weekend of festivities and catching up. Most of my happy childhood memories revolve around this weekend and this place. Running around unsupervised as a kid, swimming in the river, playing flashlight tag in the dark, trying to avoid your parents so they don’t make you go to bed when you just want to stay up and play!

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That tree was planted in 1997 in memory of my grandpa. It’s so huge now! My aunt’s house is an old farmhouse that they’ve been adding on to over the years.

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They recently added on a new section of the house (which is so weird to see) and they uncovered some old newspapers from behind the walls! This one is dated October 1899!!! How cool is that?!

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They also discovered an old letter that someone had written that had somehow fallen between a wall, too. Looks like it was written in 1912.

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And here is the long shot of the newspapers:

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Here is the barn:

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As kids we spent so much time in that barn! Jumping down from the loft into the soft hay. Playing games and hanging out. Aww so many memories!

Everyone camps in the hazelnut orchard. Over the years some people have graduated to RVs, but we’re all still camping together. It’s so much fun.

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Friday afternoon Michael and I arrived and set up our tent next to family that flew up from Texas. The furthest anyone has ever traveled for the reunion is England. Most of the family is from Washington and Oregon, though, and a few from California.

Here is my cousin Adam with his new boot courtesy of Michael! :)

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Friday night my aunt and uncle grilled up brats and burgers. There was potato salad and baked beans for dinner. It just felt so good to be with family and unplug for a weekend, hanging out in nature. Friday night we built a bonfire (very carefully because everything is so dry in Oregon this summer) and hung out drinking and chatting and making s’mores.

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It’s so cool to watch the “next generation” experience the fun. It’s like I get to relive my own childhood watching them running around. I went to bed a little earlier than usual Friday night (11:30). I was really glad that Michael brought our solar-powered tiki torches from our backyard. He set them up around our tent and made it so much easier to find our tent in the dark!

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Saturday morning I woke up a bit early–that tends to happen when camping. I just wake up with the sun. I laced up my shoes and Michael and I went for a run. We’ve got a 5k coming up in a month and I wouldn’t say that I’m actually “ready” for it…the back injury set back my training a month. :(

It was early but already starting to get warm out. We ran down the country road and into the little town nearby and ran by the river.

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We did a little bit more walking than running, honestly. Run a little but, walk a lot, run a bit, walk. We made a loop and ran by some giant cows (longhorns) and then by this old country church:

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Then back to the house. It was a good little run and I was glad I got my butt up to do it while on vacation! Here are our stats:

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Not too shabby. There were muffins and pastries and coffee for breakfast. I had half a muffin and some fruit. I should have brought some more “real” food and was kicking myself all weekend for only bringing snacky stuff. Thankfully my cousin Kristin shared some of her stuff with me! I was dying. I had two mini bagels, one with cream cheese and one with hummus and cucumbers. Delish.

I was sweaty and gross and REALLY HOT. Saturday was going to be a really hot day. Me and a few of my cousins changed into our swimsuits and walked down to the river to go swimming. It felt so good to “wash” the sweat off. :)

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The bad news: our “usual” spot at the river is no longer accessible. The new owners didn’t want us cutting through their field to walk to the river where we’ve swam for 34 years. :( It was such a bummer. But one of my aunt’s friends up the street offered their swimming hole which was so generous! It was an easier walk, too, on the road and not very far. Then just a few rickety, steep staircases down to the river and we were in the secluded spot!

The water felt fantastic. I love swimming. :) We swam for about an hour and then walked back. Soon it was lunchtime and then the SCAVENGER HUNT!

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