Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Big Family Picnic

"And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters 
or father or mother or children or farms 
for My name's sake, will receive many times as much, 
and will inherit eternal life."   
Matthew 19:29 

My sister Nancy comes to town every summer. This year she decided that we should have a big family picnic. She wasn't here for Thanksgiving, so she doesn't get together with everyone at that time. I had thought that maybe we should have the picnic in town, as the cost of gas is so high. But it was decided that we would have the picnic at brother #5's house in Dee Oregon, up around Mount Hood. It is a lovely place. Craig has created something akin to paradise up there.

My mother grew up in that area, and that's about where I lived shortly after I was born. Not that I remember any of that.

For my part of the picnic I made baked beans, Oriental cabbage salad without the chicken, fruity nutty carrot cake, chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing. I made the beans the day before, but the rest took all morning to make. But when it was finally made, we collected Heidi, Emily, and Annie and headed to Dee. It was a lovely day, and a lovely drive. We got there without a hitch before they all started eating. Most people did arrive before we did, but we weren't late. I worry about such things.

Just about everyone came. It's easier to name who didn't come. For starters from my family Corey (who had to work), Christian (who was at camp), and Sarah and Zac and Caleb (since Caleb was only 6 days old) weren't there. From Bill's family only two grandchildren - Ryan and Mackenzie - weren't there. Georges wife Noriko wasn't there - she hates family gatherings. Peter's son Tristan wasn't there, perhaps he had to work. David's whole family was there - which was terrific. The party was at Craig's house, so they were all there. Nancy's family was all there - they came from Los Angeles. That's only nine missing people, and five were from my family.

My brother Craig and his wife Beth have really created a piece of paradise where they live, and since they have recently adopted two boys, they have even added more to their place. They had a trampoline and a basketball court.

All the boys, plus later a girl or two, had a rousing basketball game. This is a picture after the game, when the older and more tired players had gone to sit down.

Emily had a great time on the trampoline. I was so relieved to see that it was enclosed, and really rather safe. She took to it right away.

We all gathered for a picture. My family has been taking group pictures on a fairly regular basis since I was 16. That's when there was finally ten of us. As you can see, there is now 11 of us, with the addition of Hien. Since I am terribly homely I am reluctant to put this picture up, but besides me it's a nice picture. This should be good motivation for me to loose 20 or 30 pounds. I've gained 13 pounds since November and I think a good deal of it is around my middle, which is NOT good. I had given my camera to either Taku or Tatsu and he did a good job.

This is my bother David's little family. His wife has cancer, but the doctors had decided that she needed a rest from her therapy because she was so sick from it, and that is why they were able to come. I certainly hope and pray that she will have a complete recovery.

That is my brother Michael's dog, who was determined to lay there asleep. This is actually David and Lauren and Sophie's dog, whose name I forgot. But it's a cute name.

Heidi and Emily, enjoying themselves.

"You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you."
- Desmond Tutu

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