reunion

Christmas at the Beach

Over the weekend our family had a nice little getaway. My family is pretty big (on my mom’s side) and we used to do a summer camp out party and then a Christmas party every year. This year my cousin Di organized and coordinated a fantastic new Christmas party!

She found a giant house on the beach in Rockaway, OR. It was a giant house, big enough for the majority of people to stay there. I think there was something like 4 or 5 bedrooms (several rooms had bunk beds) so tons of people could sleep there.

We decided to rent a house in Rockaway with my parents. Our house that we rented was on the north side of town, the other house was south but it was literally 7 minutes to drive to the party, so no big deal.

You can see pictures of the vacation house we rented on my Instagram. It was really cute! It was big with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, the garage was converted to another bedroom/playroom. There was a fenced yard for Bella (fabulous) with a fire pit and picnic bench. The decor was super cute and kind of modern/retro. Check out the photos I took.

Plus, there was a GIANT closet stuffed full of toys for kids of any ages! Logan had SO much fun playing with the toys. What a great surprise!

Our house was one block from the beach, too! We had easy access to the beach. The weather was perfect this week–sunny and not windy and fairly warm. It was in the 30’s in the mornings, though!

We all arrived at the house Friday afternoon and then went for a walk on the beach. It was gorgeous and we basically had the beach all to ourselves.

After Logan went to bed, my Dad and Michael went to pick up pizza and Caesar salad for dinner and the four of us had pizza (Michael and I had beer from Buoy) and we played card games. It was so much fun!

Saturday morning my parents played with Logan and Michael and I went for a run. It was a very cool, cold morning but the sun was out and we warmed up pretty quickly. The sun felt nice! We ran around the neighborhood and by the beach. I ended up running around 2.75 miles. Then while Michael was making his famous mac n’ cheese for the potluck, my dad and I went for a long walk on the beach while Logan napped.

Bella was LOVING the beach! I have some cute videos on my Instagram if you want to see.

After lunch on Saturday we packed up the stuff we needed for the party and went down to the party house.

Here is a video of the BIG house everyone else was staying in! It was huge and right on the beach! It had a hot tub and a fabulous view. Lots of room for a big group.

How nice is that deck?! What a cool place to stay in the summer time. The party was fun. My cousin brought her 14 month old twins so Logan had a BLAST playing with his little cousins! It was so cute!

Logan is all about giving high-5’s and fist bumps. ๐Ÿ˜€

Logan did so good. There were a LOT of people (30? ish?) and he was a bit shy and unsure at first but he warmed up and had so much fun. It was so cool to see him spending time with family we don’t get to see often.

How cute (and hilarious) is the below photo?! HAHA

There was a potluck dinner. After dinner my dad and I took Logan back to the house we rented because he was fading fast. My dad stayed with the baby and I went back to the party for the white elephant gift exchange.

This is the gift I brought for the gift exchange. ๐Ÿ˜€

Have to say, the sweater might be the best gift!

Then a bunch of us went down to the beach for a bonfire. Nothing better than that!

The next morning we had breakfast and packed and then went for one last walk on the empty beach.

I didn’t want to leave. I love the beach. We checked out of the house and headed home. Rockaway is about 2 hours from Portland. Logan slept for a good chunk of it, which was nice.

Home to unpack and I went swimming. It was a great weekend!

Competitive!

I left off on my last post about theย 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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And the winning team:

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Our team won! Go G3!!! Girls rule. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 toย 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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…