Lest I gave the impression that I married into a bunch of inconsiderate ingrates, I'm writing this post to talk about the good and fun parts of the family reunion. His family isn't all bad, it's just that the bad ones tend to stand out so much and overpower the rest of the group. Many of the relatives are well mannered and enjoyable people. It's just the others. . . I'm not sure what happened there.
Biggest surprise was that DH's uncle, who lives in Canada (and, I think has a special place in his heart for DH who looks more and more like this uncle as he ages), showed up. It had been a decade or more since he had made the trip across the border to attend a family reunion. So it was very, very nice to see and talk with him.
DD1 made personalized t-shirts for the 3-10 age group. On the front was "(family surname) Reunion 2014", and on the back "I belong to: ". As each child and their parents arrived, the child was given a shirt in the correct size, their name was written on the front in fabric marker, and then the name of the child's parent was printed on the back in the blank spot after "to:". This was an idea DH had actually come up with, since there are about a dozen little kids of roughly the same age and coloring and it's hard to keep track of whose is whose. Having the kids wear these shirts helped greatly when little ones got misplaced, or into mischief. Very easy to take them by the hand and return them to their parent.
DD2 planned and ran two scavenger hunts. One around the front and back yard for the younger kids with prizes at each stop (stickers, hard candies, bubble solution and wands, little spiral bound notebooks, colorful pencils, small toys, etc) and ice cream bars at the end. The second one was for the teenage crew, which sent them all around the property (well, except for the woods, we decided there was too much poison ivy to send them back there) in search of clues that would tell where the next clue could be found, until they got to the end and also received an ice cream bar.
DH's uncle from Arkansas made it up for the reunion, as well as his aunts from Ohio and Pennsylvania. The only aunt who didn't make it was DH's aunt who lives in Alaska. So of the six living siblings, five were able to attend (of the original nine children DH's grandparents had, one died in the 1970s, and two in the 1990s, all sons). The widowed wife of the uncle who died in the 1970s did show up with her children and grandchildren, so that was a good part too.
The food was awesome. DH roasted a pig that his youngest sister (the one who lives at mother-in-law's house) had raised. I had a ton of green beans ripe in the garden, so went in search of a recipe for those and came up with a really delicious one to use as my dish to pass. Many of the dishes to pass that were brought were homemade and very tasty, especially those brought by the eldest generation.
We had a big bonfire and burned up about half of our pile of stumps from the corner of the property where DH had drug them out of the woods last winter. These were stumps of trees that had been uprooted or broken off during the big wind storm we had last November.
Since the hay had been cut just over a week prior to the reunion, our hayfield was still short. DH told everyone to bring mitts for softball, and we held a softball game out behind the barn, in the hayfield. Participation in that was overwhelming, and two large teams were made. Everyone who wanted to play, got on the field every inning. Have you ever seen a softball game with about six outfielders?? Or a team that included both a twelve year old and a sixty-something player? Have you ever seen a bunch of overweight men in their forties try to run bases? Or a teenage boy who has never played ball get patient batting instruction from a State Champion high school softball player? It was a ball game for anyone and everyone, of all abilities and ages. It was also a very close game, with a final score of 11-10.
See? It wasn't all bad.