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.
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.
What? You don’t have a bounce house in your family room?
Thanks to Mark & Kate for supplying the bouncy fun!
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
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.
Thank you for the wonderful work you are doing.
I adore our grandchildren, and
I am humbled by your efforts and your successes.
You are heroes to your children.
Thanks for letting me have a supporting role!
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.
It’s been fun to study those pictures again and laugh at fashion, style, and personality from days gone by.
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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.
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.
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Nate’s albums went home at Thanksgiving, 2009.
Nikki’s excitement was very rewarding for me, and I got excited to keep going on this project.
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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!
I love my work!
An impromptu Friday afternoon photo shoot of the grandkids unfolds:
A short break to regroup -note the Skittles at the ready
And another shot
Charlie starts getting restless, so Auntie Em comes to the rescue with the bribe
Grandchildren are to grandparents like sunshine is to the day.
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
Alpha Madalene Roberts Pratt
November 10, 1906 – August 14, 1975
It was a late summer evening in Flint, Michigan, and already dark as Mom and I got in the car for a last minute trip to the store for diapers. It had been a long and exhausting day, and my emotions were extremely fragile. As Mom pulled out onto the very familiar road in front of Gram and Pop’s house, we began to talk about the day’s activities. Suddenly I couldn’t cope with the inevitable, and I began to sob. “But I don’t want her to die. What will we do without her? My children will never know my Gram.” My adored Gram was dying. She was losing her battle against cancer, and her life was quickly slipping away. My sense of loss was overwhelming.
That August of 1975 I was a young mother, just 21 years old. I was delighted to have a darling baby daughter and anxious to show her off to my extended family. Unfortunately, this reunion had come as a result of very difficult circumstances. My Grandmother Pratt was dying of cancer. Knowing that her time was very short, Yvonne and I had taken our new babies – Matthew and Emily – for a visit. We had been to the hospital that day to introduce these newest descendants to their great-grandmother. She was very weak, but had been able to hold each of the babies for a short time. Although she was thrilled at meeting the youngest members of the family, it was probably more important to me for Gram to see my baby, than it was to her. Gram had played a very important part in my life, and my growing up was full of wonderful memories of Gram and Poppie. Because Emily was only three months old, I hadn’t had time to emotionally put my mother in the grandmother role. The grandmother in our family was Gram, and I was devastated to think that my children were going to grow up without her. How would they have special grandparent memories?
l-r: Pop – Lynnette – Gram – Michelle – Mom – Dad – Carolyn
Back: Yvonne – Mike (Peterson) – Gram – Carolyn
Middle: Tom – Poppie – Bryan – Greg (Burgess)
Front: David – Mark (Peterson) – Jeff – Lynnette
Gram died shortly after that trip to Michigan, and none of my children know her except through pictures and stories. But they haven’t missed out on grandparent time. They know “Gram” as my mother, and their lives have been enriched by happy experiences with all of their grandparents. Now it’s my turn to create happy grandmother memories with the next generation – and I gladly accept!
Thanks for all the wonderful memories, Gram.
I hope that I can be the kind of grandmother you were.
Playing with him:
Getting acquainted with her:
Welcome, Lucy Kathryn
October 20, 2009
A few of my favorite memories:
unusual weather- snow in St. George?
competitive card games
The celebration was all I hoped it would be, and I returned home happy, rested, and even more grateful for my family.