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Sunday, May 28, 2017

august: IZATT extended family reunion extravaganza!


You know how sometimes a ton of work and effort and thought and planning goes into an event and it all just comes together perfectly? That's what happened last summer! Chuck's amazing sister Amanda spearheaded a crazy plan to get as many extended family members together from Chuck's dad's side for a weekend reunion at Lava Hot Sprints AND IT WORKED! 

Not everyone could come, not everyone who came could stay the whole time, but for our first venture into coordinating a million people in like ten different states, it was definitely a success. I think we talked about putting something together every other year? with the hope that even more family can make it to future reunions.
Because there was a lot of coming and going, we took a few different 'group' pictures - this was most of the gang still there on Saturday evening. 

We used the camping trip as a rendezvous point to return the amazing Court to her actual immediate family, meaning we had to get a bit cozy in the truck on the way there - hence four cute Izatt children in back (all buckled! just possibly not separately... which I think is a valuable lesson in sharing and the non-existence of personal space in families with a decent number of kids ;) ).

It was worth it to pull up to the old family homestead and find our people! And the old barn!

The (newer) house and land are rented out, which means there's legit ranchin' paraphernalia for cute cousins to climb all over and play on!
Carma and James and I went for a little walk around the yard and can we all take a moment to appreciate how stinkin' (pun intended) cute this little boy is?!

These pictures kill me. Will found this hat in the old house and promptly declared it his own - doesn't he look like a small town mayor waving to his constituents in the local parade down Main Street?

Second cousins in front of the old Izatt home (built in 1860!!): 

Funny how things get more chaotic when we add in some adults ;). 

Group shot

Pops and two of his sisters (Molly came up on Saturday).


We caravanned around a bit - stopping on the side of the road so Pops could point out the original original homestead (a wee cabin) and share some stories about early Izatt ancestors...

and then stopped at the cemetery. Carma was a very, um, enthusiastic respect-payer so she and I and some other wee ones took ourselves out to the rocks to have some fun:
We made up a little scavenger hunt with the rocks ("everyone find a pink rock! Now a green rock! Now a black and white rock!") - my favorite was finding heart shaped rocks :). I gifted the little one I found to Anna.

So much of the fun on this trip was just catching up with cousins and family that we never see - except on Facebook ;). I love this shot of second cousins Courtney and Emma and first cousins Charles and Chuck all chatting:

Okay, so I guess James has an adorable habit of picking a grownup or older cousin on adventures to be his buddy for the day - and I was thrilled to be chosen for Friday! Carma was less thrilled haha.
But seriously, how sweet and kissable is this boy? Every time he reached his arms out for me, I just melted!

We took the bumpy 'road' up more into the wilderness of Izatt land to find Chuck's grandpa's old sheep cabin and wander around a bit:
Carma loved this little stream!!

As I said, the ranch land is rented and thus in use - hence the cows behind a fence and a bull NOT behind a fence. Will and I were randomly fascinated with the bull and (after Pops assured us we weren't in any danger) got closer and closer and took pictures with it :). It's kind of hidden behind the tall grass, but I promise it's there! With nary a fence or barrier between us!
A few of the kiddos gathered along the fence to moo goodbye to the cows hahahahaha.

At this point the rest of the family headed towards our campground at Lava, but Chuck had promised our boys some time for shooting so we hung back. Carma manned the truck... and ate all the granola bars while the boys adorably helped Chuck set up the targets:
I mean, I think I'll always have a slight heart attack when I see pictures of my BABIES handling firearms, but that hot guy in the hat has taught them so well about safety that I can mostly breathe. 

This is a... rifle? that didn't kick and didn't hurt my finger to pull the trigger, I hit the little pop cans a couple times, AND I think I even mostly kept my eyes open while I shot so I'm basically I kicka$$ markswoman now, no big deal. 

We joined everyone else at the campground - including more who had arrived in the meantime (Lee and his family, cousin Rebecca and her family)
Everyone found a spot to hang out and something fun to do before and after dinner.

Steve was around, so naturally he started the kids doing races - or maybe the kids started and Steve joined? Either way, he and Emma mapped out a course that went up and down the hill. Emma led the whole way and at the end Steve sped up and won - and can we all admire Courtney for bravely serving as a human finish line??

I took advantage of James' snuggliness for a few more pictures... although that night he ditched me pretty handily for Charles ;). It was fun while it lasted, James!! 

One of the neatest features of Nine Square is that it's transportable! Kevin and Co. brought it up and once it got set up, it was used alll weekend long. Hence the million pictures of it to follow - but I can't help it, the facial expressions are SO funny!


We got everyone tucked into tents and RVs and slept soundly - minus the train going by every FIVE MINUTES AND ITS WHISTLE WAKING ME UP. Was it every five minutes? Probably not. Did it feel like every five minutes. Hail yes.

Saturday morning we bid farewell to Charles, Sharity, Azlynn, Emma, Aunt Ruth, and Uncle Ron - they were heading over to Wyoming for a baptism in cousin Scott's family (Ruth and Ron were able to come back that evening). The rest of us started in on the water fun - like tubing down the little river that runs through town and conveniently went right by our campsite! As soon as we saw people coming, we'd plop a couple strong guys in to pull them over to land :).

Some of us preferred to stay on land... and by land, I mean more specifically dirt and/or ash. Girlfriend loves camping, so that's good!

We spent a good portion of the day over at the swimming pools - where we were thrilled to find Molly and C.E. and their gang! Carma and I mostly stuck to the inside kiddie pool area; the boys hit up the water slides and bopped around here and there with cousins and had a great time.
Honestly, one of my favorite parts of the whole weekend was sitting in the shade poolside and talking with cousin Rebecca forever - I'd never gotten to meet her before but it was basically love at first sight :). Our conversation got pretty deep pretty fast and it was so blessed to connect with her about our testimonies and raising kids and marriage philosophies and all that. And my kids ate her kids' French fries so there ya go!

Back at the campsite, a pretty competitive game of Bingo was quickly underway, featuring awesome prizes contributed by various family members. Super cute!
Of course Nine Square was played pretty heavily all evening...

Carma found a soft grassy spot for some coloring and was happily joined by Anna, LeBron, and Lily Rose at various points... 
Speaking of Lily and LeBron, are they not the cutest?? I suckered them into my web of 'selfies with Jana' pretty quick - something Bri knows all about; she's an old pro. Love love all these kiddos!

We had another impromptu race (possibly more of a chase?!?) - this time Anne and Max. I love that LeBron wanted in on the pictures and I also love George photo bombing in the background hahaha!
Lillian took a cue from her aunt and also started chasing a boy - Jackers! Those second cousins are just over a year apart and were so so cute together. And Carma kept running off so Max was recruited to retriever her.

Few more shots of Nine Square: not gonna lie, those Zobell sisters were kinda killin' it in there.... and I love George's stance watching Miles get the ball - you always gotta be ready in that game! (hence my frequent getting out when I play; I get too scared and panic!)

As Saturday was winding down, we started grabbing more pictures. top left: Lily, Lily, and Lillian - such a cute trio of darlingly-named second cousins! top right: all the girl Izatt cousins that were there (minus Alli who had already left) Rebecca, Anne, Melissa, Amanda, (plus James), and Elizabeth (plus Colton)
bottom right: quick Babies of '08 picture on Sunday morning, bottom middle: Anna saw all of the picture takin' and was sure we needed one of her and Minnie. She was correct! And bottom left: Annnnnne! Oh how I love her! Mostly creepily from a distance via fb and Instagram, so it was SO fabulous to hang out in real life. I have big plans to save my nickels and visit her someday in D.C. or wherever she ends up once she's done conquering the world aka getting her Ph.D., no big deal. 

Okay, please enjoy this amazing picture of the three Lily/Lillians:

and join me in a round of applause for our reunion photographer, R-Jay! (aka Elizabeth's husband). The couple pictures on here that look real good (aka the very first group picture, and the last picture) were stolen from his fb .

Some more outtakes/versions of our Saturday evening group shot:
Here's a wacky idea: next year let's do the formal-ish pictures not after we're all been swimming all day and are still water-logged/half in our swimsuits hahaha ;).

The weekend ended all too quickly - everyone headed out late Saturday or early Sunday - but it was SO so amazing to watch these four siblings be reunited. And personally, it was so wonderful to be around Chuck's lovely aunts! I hadn't seen Ruth since Chuck and I got married, and I'd never met LoaDawn or Molly (although Molly and I have been Facebook friends forever!).
David, Molly, LoaDawn, Ruth

I loved looking through the (millions! okay, hundreds) of pictures from our reunion weekend and re-living all of the fun. My kiddos have some pretty amazing branches on their family trees, and the Izatt line is no exception. Such a blessing to have been able to spend this time with aunts and uncles and cousins and second cousins. See everyone in 2018?!?

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