the family reunion of 2012

The family reunion was this past weekend. 

People camped out on the floors and on
sofas and on air mattresses and in beds. We made food and ate food and
washed up the dirty dishes that held the food. We played in the rain and
tracked in grass and  swatted flies. We talked and sang and twanged
strings. Kids had meltdowns and squabbles and dirty diapers and migraine
headaches and fevers and rashes. There were birthday candles and water
balloons and trampoline jumping and basketball games and finger rocket
battles and sewing parties.



My uncle built this little man. It’s actually an instrument. The musician sits on the handle of the wooden paddle and hits it with a fist while holding the wooden man right above it. The paddle strikes the bottom of the man’s feet. The man dances wildly, his feet clicking and clacking merrily along.

Mr. Wooden Man was the hit of the show.

The children loved him.
(Actually, there were two of them. The other one had clothes and hair and was named Titus, I think.)

Singing his heart out.

My mother read us a poem about my Grandfather.
Little Willie bit his fingers. 
Little Rachel chewed her hair. 
Neither one could look at Russell, 
Brother Russell, Russell Baer.
and so on.
“Enlightened,” from Chris Longenecker’s book How Trees Must Feel

Donuts, of course!

My aunt brought me this wire ladle (two of them, actually) for a hostess gift. It’s expressly for making donuts and other deep-fried goodies—the oil runs easily off the wires. It works like a charm.

Right now I want a donut so bad I can taste it!

I did not make enough. We devoured the entire recipe and kids were crying for more. And to think that I had considered not making any because I thought people might not really want to eat them!

Finger rockets—they are now, like the donuts, a new tradition.

Hello, dear brother! 
Why, pray tell, are you taking my children on the roof in the heat of the battle? 
Are you insane?

A bouncing break.

Neigh-eigh-eigh-borly horses. 

Water balloon volleyball. 

I think you should be able to rent four-week-old babies for parties. 
They add so much to the ambiance.


Taking it all in. 

Singing siblings. 


Lunch prep.

Digging in: spaghetti with creamed asparagus, ham, and boiled eggs.
We got a family picture. There were better ones—meaning, there were ones where we were all looking at the camera and smiling. But I like candids better. 

 And then they all went home and I fixed myself a drink (just with the Triple Sec) and put my feet up.


  • julie

    You are creating such a wonderful childhood for your children, and I think you and they are incredibly lucky. All of it looked wonderful and they will have such fond memories to look back on and build their lives on when they get older. It is what family and life should be! Absolutely LOVE it!!!!!


  • KTdid

    @Mavis: Regarding your #1. It is possible. She is so cool.
    @Jennifer: Is it really a MINI-skirt?
    @Anyone reading these comments: Can't somebody get me one of those doughnuts?!

    • Jennifer Jo

      No, not in the 1975 mini-skirt sense, but it is above the knee.

      I'm with you on the donuts. I may have to make another batch to get my cravings under control.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks so much. Loved every minute. Wish that I could live at your house sometimes…mainly I just really love hanging out with you!! You are wonderful, amazing, funny, beautiful…the list goes on. Would it be possible to get a copy of the pic of Shinay and H? It's beautiful.

    • Jennifer Jo

      Thank you! I loved having you (and yours) at my house! (And yes, I'll send you the picture. I LOVE that picture.)

  • Mavis

    #1 I cannot believe your mother is wearing a polka dot mini skirt. She is cooler than I thought she was {if that is even possible}.

    #2 Nice doughnuts.

    #3 Love Nickle Man's toes.

    #4 Nobody drinks just Triple Sec.

    #5 I love the picture of Dr. P and {Zoe's} baby.

    • Jennifer Jo

      #4 I wasn't mixing ALL those liquors, is what I meant, silly! I drank the Triple Sec with lime juice and seltzer. And it was good.

  • KTdid

    I'm trying hard to determine how broad the stretch of DNA…was this a reunion of your mother's sibs and offspring? And did everyone actually sleep AT YOUR HOUSE?! So impressive! It looks like fine and fabulous fun! (Though I can see why you needed a drink when it was all over) kbs

    • Jennifer Jo

      It's my mother's sibs and children, but not all of them. We had about 33 total. One-third slept at my brother's house.

  • dr perfection

    I wish I could have been there longer. I can see what I missed. And I can't believe you thought for one moment that we wouldn't want to eat doughnuts. You must have been on sugar overload when you had that crazy thought.

  • Rachelle

    Ah, this reminds me of some of the big family gatherings I'd be at as a child. My mom had 4 siblings. I had 30 cousins. Our family gatherings were an affair of epic proportions. Even though I'm not the most social of people, I do miss this sort of craziness.

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