Monday, July 27, 2015

Smiles From Heaven

I love family reunions. I LOVE them. I'm quite sure I began to love and appreciate them after attending a few Sowby Reunions. (You can read about the last one in 2014 HERE or the one before that in 2012 HERE.) Back in January of this year, one of Mike's cousins on his mother's side suggested we all go camping together one weekend at Yuba Lake! I was thrilled that he was putting forth the effort to gather the family together. There have been some "grand-daughter" events over the years, but nothing for families to gather, and certainly nothing that gives Mike the chance to see the cousins he has so many great memories with.

As I said to one of the cousins on Saturday, I'd LOVE to see this reunion become a tradition. I don't want this side of the family to become a "funeral and wedding" family only. There are some top notch people in this group we spent time with-- I absolutely loved my children having the opportunity to rub shoulders with them in such positive ways.

I wish we had taken a group photo of those in attendance (around 40ish people). I spent the entire weekend knowing without a doubt, that these two people were smiling down from heaven to think that from this young couple came...

A group of descendants having a wonderful time together like this:

Drew, Joshua and Luke with Beau Williams

Beau Williams, Kenzie Prince and Ellie

Robbie Williams, Joshua, Luke, Beau Williams

Natalie Prince, Brittyn Williams, Megan

Luke and Joshua

(So many teenagers! Too many names to remember.)

Luke LOVED the 4-wheelers. I couldn't really spend too much time watching him--that boy is quite fearless and my heart couldn't really take it. ESPECIALLY after the "little incident" with Mike and Joshua; Mike let Joshua sit in front of him and instructed him which button to push. Joshua pushed it full force from a complete stop. Let's just say, they did quite the wheelie. In fact, I'm not sure if  it is still called a wheelie when it is in a completely vertical position! Suffice it to say, while recovering from my near heart-attack, I had to apologize to bystanders for my bad language.

 Beau and Brittyn Williams

Joshua and Megan 
(I incorrectly thought this was Drew for a full day until Drew pointed out to me it is Joshua! Oops-incorrect Instagram post.)

Loved all the time spent just relaxing and visiting with people I don't see often enough.

 Megan and Luke went out one evening just before sunset on a "teenager" ride to "learn how to wake-board." All on the boat came back RAVING about Megan and Luke, and how well they did for their very first attempts!

I don't have a photo of  Luke standing on the wake-board. But apparently he did. Or so I've been told.

It's this guy we owe the weekend to! Love his initiative to make this weekend happen.
Tim Prince

Somebody's child got a little too carried away with the 'spray painting t-shirts' activity.

Mike's grandparents had 4 children: Randy, Robbie, Laurie (Mike's mom) and Paula. Only Laurie and Paula are still alive. With Laurie in NYC on a mission, it left only Paula to represent the original Williams Family at the reunion. (And as much as I love my mother-in-law, I'm not so sure she would have attended even if she were in Utah. She's not what one would call "a camper.")

Aunt Paula and Uncle Randy were great to spend the weekend with! (Even if Uncle Randy thought the leggings I changed into on Saturday night looked like Siberian camouflage.)
Paula and Randy Prince

I'm feeling pretty smug having married this guy... after all, it's because of him my life is blessed with so many wonderful cousins. (I only have a handful on my side of the family and fortunately I get to see them frequently.)

And yes... Mike did get made fun of for wearing a collared, button-up shirt with his swim-suit. Who does that?!

I wish I had taken out my phone more and captured my own photos. Instead, nearly all of these are from dear cousins, Sherrie Wimmer and Jana Williams.

Great weekend!
I can't say enough good about it. It was heartwarming to see so many children and teenagers interacting with each other and so many getting to know each other for the first time. I never had the chance to meet Mike's Grandpa Bob, and I only knew his Grandma Gerry in her later years as her health declined. Friday, July 24th would have been Grandma Gerry's 89th birthday. What better birthday gift could we as her descendants give her?  I have no doubt heaven smiled down on the windy beaches of Yuba Lake this weekend.

PS-We'll skip the part about Joshua after being home 24+ hours say, "Wait. So those were Dad's cousins?" Not sure who he thought we were spending the weekend with?!?


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