Every 5 years, my dad's side of the family has a family reunion. My dad came from a family of 8, 6 boys and 2 girls. They were all born and raised in a small town of Two Rivers, WI, population of about 12,500.
Well, this was the year and it was planned around the 1 year anniversary of the death of my Uncle Allen, my dad's brother, who was killed in a bicycle accident on July 13th, 2009 at the age of 62.
In any case, we decided to travel by road, since my sister and brother-in-law has 6 kids, 2 of which are twins and were a little over 2 years old at the time. And they thought a plane trip would be overwhelming. So we rented a small van. Imagine 5 adults and 6 kids in that van, including luggage. So we set sail, aka the highway, around 9 pm on 8-12-10. We did this hoping that the kids would sleep most of the way. We made it in about 18 hours, a normal trip of about 16 hours.
Here were are, driving by the city of Chicago, at around 11:15 am EST. I didn't set my clock back as of yet. I actually posted this on facebook and people were telling me to blow our horn as we drove by. lol Even found out that some people that I knew back east actually were born or lived in Wisconsin, after I had posted this picture or a few others. The power of the internet. Instant information.
We had rented a lovely beach house right on Lake Michigan. Here is my first morning, 8-13-10, looking out my bedroom porch. It just kind of makes you want to get lost in nothing, peaceful, forgetting about your worries.
The Belonger Reunion - 8-14-10
(I forgot to take a picture of the tents in front of the log cabin-home. Some people slept outside, since this is only a 2 bedroom)
A few of my dad's brothers had helped build this home. They actually had a small saw mill to the left.
It's eating time...
As you can see, we had a good spread. Hot dogs, hamburgers, beans, salads, potato salad, and much more. But no brats.. and we were in the Midwest. If you have never had a brat, they are awesome.
We had a bout 45 to 50 people eating at one point. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, nieces, nephews, siblings.. it was a good time had by all...
It's fun time
As you can see, there is one of the tents in the background. But some just enjoying themselves while playing croquet.
It's time for the family picture
There were a few missing here and there. Kind of hard to be 100% organized. My one cousin didn't even know that we were taking a picture and was inside watching t.v. (can you find me?)
The immediate Belonger family. My grandfather had passed away in 1990. And filling in for my Uncle Allen, was his son and my cousin, Philip Belonger.
(Back - Chris, Brian, Warren, my dad, Ann, Paul... 3 in front - Linda, Grandma, Philip)
Back to the Beach House & activities
My nephew Johnny heading to the beach. The little one in red, my nephew Joey. For most of the week, we had great weather. This was the only day that there were clouds.
Shooting their Uncle Jeff with squirt guns.
(Ava & Joey)
(Andrew, Johnny, Alisha, & Katerina)
We spent a whole week there. Here we were roasting marshmallows and making smores. Ever have one? Yummy...
Took the kids fishing 1 day. 5 minutes into fishing, "hey, are there fish in here? We haven't caught anything.. how much longer." LOL My dad actually grew up right off this waterway. The old house was just torn down to build a boat museum.
My grandfather painted and did carvings on the side as both a hobby and for side income. It's hard to see, but that is one of his carvings at the fishing village in Two River's, WI.
Grandpa (my dad) and my nephew Joey... just hanging by the fire pit one night.
The day before we left, Uncle Jeff was asked to put together a treasure hunt. I actually worked on maps for each kid. I broke it up into 2 different parts, making sure that all the kids would not cross paths, so it took some thinking in the beginning. Each kid had an actual treasure... some candy and a coupon for ice cream. There was fun had by all..
Part 2 - We still had another stop, my mom's side of the family. A small quick family reunion with her sisters & families.