Butler Family Meet up – 2013

Butler Family Meet up – 2013

About the beginning of the year, Don and I mentioned that for our 40th anniversary in June, all we really wanted was to have all of our family together.  Well, the kids took notice,  picked a date that worked for all of us,  and early in July made their way by land and by air for a proper Butler family gathering.

Group at dinner
The only group picture – minus the babies who must have been sleeping, Mike who hadn’t yet arrived, and Nikki who was thoughtful enough to document the moment.  But it’s the best we’ve got!

While the kids were all making travel plans, Don and I worked on the back yard.  Knowing our group is large in number – we total 20 now, and the grandkids span a huge number of years – including two one-year-old toddlers and one 17 year old high school senior with a variety of ages in between, we decided that the back yard had to be the attraction.  No house is big enough for all those people – especially one that’s only 2300 square feet with no air conditioning!

We hit up the thrift store on half-price Saturday and found a badminton net for $5.00 and 6 racquets for $.50 each.  We felt like we’d hit the jackpot!

And during the week we spent hours in the back yard.

On a day trip to the mountains we discovered a great multi-generational hiking spot.  The Lily Lake trail, which some of our more experienced hikers were afraid would be just another walk in the park, proved to be easy enough for the littles and interesting enough for the bigs.  Definitely a hike we’d do again.

 

Other highlights of the week included lots of water, crazy jumping and bouncing, and even a little bit of fire.

Slip and sliding through the wall of water
Slip and sliding through the wall of water

 

3-D Shrek in the 5th wheel theater
3-D Shrek in the 5th wheel theater

 

What?  You don’t have a bounce house in your family room?
Thanks to Mark & Kate for supplying the bouncy fun!

Bounce house beginning to take shape
Bounce house beginning to take shape
They loved it!
They loved it!

 

Only one old grill was harmed in the making of these s’mores.

 

And then they all said good bye and took to the road and the sky once again.  And we were left with

The aftermath
The aftermath

which cleaned up very quickly and reminded us of the great week we had spent together.

Thanks, kids, for making it happen.  It was a celebration 40 years in the making, and you did it up splendidly!

 

A huge highlight of the week was the anniversary dinner at an authentic Iranian restaurant.
So memorable for us that it deserves a post of its own.

 

Loving my work

Loving my work

I realize that I am very fortunate to be able to spend my days in projects that are dear to my heart.   Family history in all its forms  – genealogy research, written histories, preserving pictures – can keep my interest for hours and days on end.  And although I quit a part time job to pursue this unpaid work, it doesn’t feel like my JOB.  If it’s fun and fulfilling, it doesn’t really count as work, right?

Sometimes I find my self almost apologetic when stumbling through a response to the question, “Do you work?”

“Well, sort of, but not really.  I do family history.  My husband and I feel that preserving our family history is really important. . . ”  Even to my own ears, my wandering explanations of family history, genealogy and scrapbooks don’t seem convincing.  My job is to scrapbook?

And the casual conversation really turns awkward when the questioner struggles to make sense of what I’ve just said.  I imagine her thoughts, “Your job is to scrapbook?”

As a result of my skewed perspective that work cannot be enjoyable, I put off starting projects that I want to do and need to do, because I keep thinking I should be doing something IMPORTANT.  I have to fill my days with WORK.  Fun activities come after the work is done.

In years past, I have compiled scrapbooks for Emily, Nathan and Peter.  I’ve found the time between obligations of work and family to organize and display their histories.

I started Emily’s book just before she was married, and completed it about a year later.  This month I’ve scanned each page, so I have a digital copy of all that hard work.

7th Birthday - 1982
7th Birthday - 1982

It’s been fun to study those pictures again and laugh at fashion, style, and personality from days gone by.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

I’ve been working on Peter’s pictures for years.  When I first started, an experienced scrapbooker suggested that I start with the youngest child so I wouldn’t have so much catching up to do.

First job at Toddy's
First job at Toddy's

So Pete’s has been a work in progress, and with a couple more pages to document his post high school years, it will be ready for the scanner.  I know Brittney’s anxious to have the finished product.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

Nate’s albums went home at Thanksgiving, 2009.

1981 was a great year for Nate
1981 was a great year for Nate

Nikki’s excitement was very rewarding for me, and I got excited to keep going on this project.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

Mark (but mostly Kate) is still patiently waiting for his personal record to take its place on their bookshelf.  But this week I’m moving forward with the idea that it’s okay to spend my day in activities that I love.  I’ve finally started his albums, and I’m doing it in the middle of the day during prime work time.  Imagine that!

1979 - our third in the series
1979 - the third Butler baby

I love my work!

Will pose for Skittles

Will pose for Skittles

An impromptu Friday afternoon photo shoot of the grandkids unfolds:

Crazy women and cameras just begging for a good shot
Crazy women and cameras just begging for a good shot

At least they're all looking at the same camera!
At least they're all looking at the same camera!

A short break to regroup -note the Skittles at the ready

Grandma works on Sam's hair  - what was I thinking?  He's bald!
Grandma works on Sam's hair - what was I thinking? He's bald!

And another shot

Cute Butler grandchildren
Seven grandchildren to love

Charlie starts getting restless, so Auntie Em comes to the rescue with the bribe

". . . just a couple"
". . . just a couple"

Lucy and Charlie
Lucy and Charlie

Ryan - Jack - Katie - Maddie
Ryan - Jack - Katie - Maddie

Grandchildren are the dots that connect generations
Connecting generations

Grandchildren are to grandparents like sunshine is to the day.

This makes me happy!

This makes me happy!

This week I’m looking forward to the whole family being together for Thanksgiving.  Lucy and Sam have brought our grand total to 17 which is a lot of bodies in this house! That also means a lot of card playing, football watching, loud laughing . . . and a lot of rolls for Thanksgiving dinner, and we’re excited!

What are you thankful for?

I’m thankful for all 17 noisy family members!

Enjoy the holiday