Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Smoky Mountains Reunion, Part 3: Something to be proud of

Being surrounded by family...children, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, cousins...laughter, chaos, games, food...oh so many blessings...

Being surrounded by all of this is what would often inspire my husband's Grandpa to look at his wife and say, "Look, Ma, just look at what we started!"

I love that story. I love that sentiment. I love that feeling of pride and happiness and fulfillment that comes with saying that.

I've seen it with my husband's side of the family, and I've seen it in my side of the family. We are richly blessed, and I am so grateful for what we've been given.

On my side, two sisters...
...met two handsome men...
Look. Just LOOK at what they started!
One sister, my Aunt Pat, married my Uncle Bob...
...celebrate 60 years of marriage, 4 children,
3 daughters-in-law and 1 son-in-law,
and 12 grandchildren!
The other sister, my mom, married my dad...
...and celebrate 48 years of marriage, 4 children, 3 son-in-laws,

and 9 grandchildren!That's something to be proud of!
All the fun, the laughter, the love, the chaos...everything!
I look at these pictures and I think of all of these people that I love so dearly, all of the holidays, the vacations, the games, the music, the FUN, the support and encouragement, the close bond that's formed over lifetimes of ups and downs shared together.
And my heart swells.
My Aunt, Uncle, Mom, and Dad started all of this, and through the years have encouraged these family bonds. I so appreciate this family they created, and am inspired and hopeful that when Dave and I celebrate our 60th anniversary (we celebrated 14 yesterday!), we can be surrounded by our siblings, kids and grandkids and say, "Look! Just look at what we started!"

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Smoky Mountains Reunion, Part 2: The BIG Surprise!

On the second day of our reunion, my cousin, Mary, had a surprise party for her parents, my Aunt Pat and Uncle Bob. We were celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary, and since they were married on Christmas Day, we outfitted the room with wintery decorations. My aunt and uncle were not able to have a large reception after their wedding, so having this event with their family was such a wonderful idea!

Here we are getting ready to surprise the guests of honor.
My brother-in-law, my husband, and my nephew just before the big moment
My nephew, Will, checked to see if they were coming...
My Aunt Pat walked in...
my uncle too...
WHAT?! (They were definitely surprised! Yay, we pulled it off!)
Tear started flowing between the two sisters, my Aunt Pat and my mom!
A special moment between Aunt Pat, Uncle Bob, and their sweet daughter, Mary.

A gift from their children and grandchildren: a framed collage of wedding and anniversary pictures
Mary made a CD full of my aunt and uncle's favorite music from throughout their married life. We listened to it at the party, and everyone got their own copy of it to take home!

Something Old: A prayer book that my Aunt Pat carried in her wedding
Something New: Aunt Helen's rosary...I think my mom gave it to my aunt
Something Borrowed: My cousin Diana's cake cutter
Something Blue: A Christmas ornament with a blue ribbon
Here's my Aunt Pat taking it all in!
Shedding a few tears, of course!
My mom, my aunt and my cousin...I love these ladies!
My aunt and I shared a few tears as well!
My dad and my aunt...She and my uncle introduced my parents to each other years ago!
A toast to the happy couple, given by my cousin Tom, celebrating 60 years of wedded bliss!
My brother-in-law, Jim, toasted my parents, who celebrate their 50th in just a couple of years. Another reunion, anyone?! Hmmm...might be too long to wait to get this fun group together again. As my mom said, maybe we should celebrate 49. ;)
The "head table"
The Gerrard sisters...SISTER PIC!
Aunt Pat and her girls (daughter, daughter-in-laws, and granddaughter)
All because two people fell in love! Aunt Pat, Uncle Bob and their children, John, Jim, Mary and Tom
Jim and his wife, Marci
Aunt Pat and her daughter-in-law, Diana (I don't have a picture of Tom and Diana.)
Mary, her husband, Patrick, and their daughter, Megan
I don't have a picture of John and Sue together at the party, but these are their children, Andrew, Mary and Caroline Reese.
Uncle Bob with his sweet granddaughter, Caroline
She wore such a beautiful dress to the party!
And because these two fell in love...
they had 4 children too: Karen (not pictured), Lisa, Sarah, and Bill (not pictured). Hopefully Karen and Bill will be able to come to the next reunion!
My sister, Lisa, and her husband, Jim
My husband and me
And...the grandkids, Will, Evie, Henry, Annie, Seth, Callie, Caroline and Evan
And because they are such a handsome group...another picture!
My two oldest boys, Seth and Henry
A special gift: a Shutterfly photo book with pictures over the years of everyone in their family!
Me and one of my favorite cousins, Megan
Father and daughter
A cousin piggyback ride, Evie and Evan!
My dad with one of his favorite nephew-in-laws, Patrick
Caroline and Annie. I LOVE this picture!
John, his wife, Sue, my sister Lisa, me and Dave
My sister, Lisa, and our cousin, John
Wow, Aunt Pat, what a sparkler!
Ooooh, Tommy, you too!
Lisa, Sue and I were able to have a little "girl talk" because...
our kiddos were happily seated at the "girls' table" and
the "boys' table"!
There was a little singing (Jim, Jim and Patrick's Danny Boy was quite something!)...
and a little dancing. (Wow, do those Wilcox boys know how to dance, huh?!)My niece, Callie, and Evan
My dad with two nieces, Mary and Diana
The girls! (Evie, Annie, Megan, Callie and Caroline)
All of this partying really wore Evan out! He crawled into my lap, just in time for dinner, and promptly fell asleep.
My mom happily took Evan so that I could eat too. What a nice grandma!

What a fantastic kick-off to our week together! I love my family!