The Murch Collision of 2015

That’s the name my husband’s sister gave our gathering, and it’s the name that stuck. It also happens to totally fit.

Photo crookedness is courtesy of a hurried set-up: my camera perched on a metal folding chair with a just-peeled-off-my-foot sock wadded under it for improved angling. Also, because forty-two people almost not being patient makes for slap-dash photography, you’re welcome.
cousin crush

Nine siblings from around the globe—Las Vegas! Oregon! Tennessee! Hong Kong! Etc!—descending upon a large red house in upstate New York with eight spouses (we missed you, Rachel!) and twenty-three grandchildren (we missed you, Mallory!) was bound to have a sort of Kaboom Effect. And it did, but not at all in a bad way. Just in a very loud sort of way, with lots of people, wet swimming suits, dogs, and beer. At mealtimes, watching the hoards descend upon the kitchen, the phrase “a crush of human bodies” kept running through my mind. It was impressive.

Also impressive:

*That nine siblings can gather for a good 48 hours and actually get along! They visited and frolicked the whole time, together. Not once did I witness a single episode of nasty rudeness, and if anyone had to step out for some deep breathing, I didn’t notice. In other words, graciousness reigned. Which is either a tribute to the Parents Supreme or just bountiful good luck.

*An evening out for the 17 adults! The 23 kids holding down the fort! While we feasted on burgers and fish tacos (and then hopped across the street to finish up the evening at a bar), the children made a supper of sloppy Joes, watched a movie, and had secret snack. When we returned, all the littles were in bed, the kitchen was spotless, and a fire was blazing in the fire pit on the deck.

one of the keys to an organized kitchen: cups

*The awesome bartender who stood precariously high on a wobbly stool (chair? table?) and took lots of pictures of us!

Sibs, in order

Spouses added. 
(Thanks, K2, for sharing the photos!)

*The vast quantity of alcohol consumed!

(The first time I visited my husband-then-boyfriend at his parents’ house, I unwisely picked the beer-filled cooler upon which to park my butt. I spent the evening jumping up. Times have not changed, except this year it was my father-in-law who made the unwise seating choice. However, considering that he’s not a drinker and he’s not as limber as a 19-year-old and it was rather rude to ask him to repeatedly stand up, perhaps his seating choice was intentional?)

*Our extravagantly generous hosts!

Think they might be just a wee bit tired?
In a message from Dee this morning: 
“We keep finding things at the house. It’s like we had a party or something.” 

*The lake! The lake! The lake! Several of the brothers had rented a lake house and each afternoon we’d all descend on the little house with a big dock and the entire Seneca Lake for a backyard. It was an all-you-can-swim/boat/fish party.

*Also, lots of other activities! There was hiking at the gorge, a trip to the lake to see fireworks, small-group visits to the grandparents’ new, downsized home, bracelet making, the all-family photo shoot, and daily-life events like shopping, biking, running, and, of course, lots of cooking and eating.

bracelet making…

the fire pit…

the gorge…

just hanging…


*The (almost) zero presence of electronic devices! Instead, the cousins played. And played. And played and played and played. Watching them romp with such abandon, I felt like my children were being granted something extremely rare and precious—sacred, practically—that will be theirs to treasure for life. What a gift.

And then we headed home. On the way, we treated our kids to McDonald’s for breakfast (they were not impressed), my coffee had a face, and a random box of cheerios from Grandma saved the day (and got completely polished off).


This same time, years previous: the quotidian (8.11.14), goodbye, getting my halo on, there’s that, a bout of snarky, sanitation and me, quick, quick, quick, and how to can peaches.


  • Karen

    Thoroughly enjoyed the last two posts. Interesting (to me anyway) that you mention several times how appreciation was expressed and graciousness extended. Good manners are everything, IMO. Kindness feeds the soul.

  • Rebecca

    Exactly what every child needs!

    I'm dying to know the logistics; I want to see the to-do list. How do you ever feed that lot? What do the menus look like? I see lots of middle-to-teen-years kids and if they're like mine, they eat 'round the clock. Do you cook there? Before you go and everybody brings stuff?

    • Jennifer Jo

      One meal was catered (paid for by the GPs), and different families contributed different meals. Like the fam from Hong Kong made bacon, fruit salad, and fab eggs for one breakfast and then I added the sweet rolls I had made ahead of time. I brought veggies from the garden and a chocolate peanut butter cake for whenever. My sis-in-law came loaded with homemade quinoa cakes, scones, etc. Lots of meat and hot dogs and chips and pizza. Nothing super fancy, just basic stuff and lots of it. The brunt of the food burden definitely fell on the host family, and they were INCREDIBLY gracious about everything. COMPLETELY open with their home. AMAZING.

  • Suburban Correspondent

    Oh, the beautiful Finger Lakes! That gorge walk looked like Watkins Glen to me. And yes – PLAY. Our neighbor has her grandchildren visiting, so my youngest has been out playing from morning to night for days. It feels so healthy.

  • Kathy ~ Artful Accents

    Looks like a wonderful time was had by all! Although I'm feeling a tad bit sorry for those 2 sisters with all of those 7 brothers! By the way, we have a new yellow Highland shirt just like that one. 🙂

  • Dan and Diione Murch

    Jen, thank you so much for capturing the weekend with pictures and words. This weekend will hold a special place in my heart. Looking forward to next great collision!

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