My kids and I have just recently returned from a trip to the Boise area from The Christensen Reunion. My mom is a Christensen and has 8 siblings (2 sisters 6 brothers) There are 56 grand children and 111 great grandchildren (with 6 on the way) It is always a GREAT time. I try to make it a priority to get there every time it's held because the experience is like no other. This family is incredible. So accepting, so funny, so dang enjoyable to be around. Being a city dweller it shoves me into a whole new realm and the relaxed work hard/play hard attitude is contagious. As a kid I always enjoyed our trips there each summer. Now that I have my own family, I want them to experience the same thing. I even think that part of Brad's decision to marry me was based upon visiting the Christensen farms. And truthfully they probably like him more than they like me. But this is just the way it is with them, everyone feels important, everyone is accepted and everyone makes an effort (though it doesn't seem like effort) to know and like everyone else. I am truly blessed to be a part of this exceptional family.
Now, before I go on, I need to explain to any non-Christensen readers, a long running tradition at these reunions is poetry. I'm not talking Elizabeth Browning and Ralph Waldo Emmerson. It's more like Dr. Seuss meets Cowboy Poetry. Rules are broken, words mispronounced and many are family jokes are infused throughout. This year was no exception. Each of the siblings wrote a poem plus several of the cousins. I wanted to write a poem before I left, but it never came to the top of my priority list. So, as a tribute to the awesome time I had this year I have written my poem as part of my blog entry. I think it would be fun to insert pictures at particular parts of the poem, but since it may break up the already sketchy continuity I'll save the photos for the end and you'll just have to deal with it :)
What I've Come to Know -- by Stefani Meyer
Although I am happy, and content with my life,
being a city girl, a mother, a wife
There are several things that I've come to know
that I've learned by visiting ol' Idaho.
As if remembering all those names isn't enough
everyone has nicknames with lots extra stuff
You might be confused if you came a bit later
It's pretty f'r sure, you'll need a translator
Lo & Co & Mo & Joe
& Jake & Rach & Johnny H.
Sarah's a Bug and Benny's a Chief
Aunt T. is Bob and if you've got a beef
Like Brady told me, you can't pick your own name
but even the weird ones'll bring family fame
There's Heifer & Hers & Jebba & Marty
& Mavis & Gabe, come on! Join the party.
Don't forget Fog, Fly or the Uncle that's Gary
And a name like Bates is just downright scary
When my kids left this time, Brady was "Tick"
We've got 2 years to practice making it stick.
Nicknames are fun, but only a start
of all the little details that make Christensen's smart
Cuz another thing I've come to know
is, the test of success is, how well you "Pest Control"
It's almost a given those bugs'll go flyin'
With Dennis and Barry and Aaron and Bryan
And before long... though we want them to stay,
others will join them, down in O.K.
And something more I've figured out
is you're never alone when family's about
How to converse, Uncle Grant is the master
And to make you laugh hard, nobody's faster
than Christensen's... to avoid a depression disaster
Their volleyball nets are always up and their guard is always down
Their mood is always accepting, so there's no need to wear a frown
Hannah and Melodie have their hands in the dirt
And a ride on Uncle Mike's boat doesn't hurt
I've learned your never too old and it's never too late
to jump on a wakeboard... or go irrigate
City folks, Canadians, Joe's facial hair...
they're always accepted, all while you are there
Something else that comes to mind
That only in Idaho, you will find
There's really nothing that's more of a treat
than a "Pink Lemon Sour" to beat the big heat
And there's something else I can't refuse
that's the family reunion TDQ's*
As a game it may give you pause
But they also come in handy for questioning potential in-laws.
Those Christensen boys taught me that driving a van
is the only way to show you're a man
Be it mini or full-size, or room for sixteen
Seeing them all in a line's a really cool scene.
Testimony, integrity and really good parents
are a whole lot more than just an appearance
It goes from the tops of their heads all the way to their core.
But wait, that's not all, there's a whole lot more.
Examples of missionary service, hard work, sacrifice
They'd give you the shirt of their backs, without thinking twice
Words can't express it -- especially in rhyme
But I'll be looking forward to next reunion time
Where all of my cousins & uncles & aunts
are living a legacy... and given a chance
would welcome you in, as part of the flock
they don't just pretend - they DO walk the walk
We can thank Grandma & Grandpa who started this show
And their legacy goes on in the things that I know.
*just for clarification, TDQ stands for "Tough Duckhunter Questions" a made up name for any type of trivia that may be asked during a family reunion.
All the patriotic kids on the 4th - just as a side note, someone told me yesterday that it is against "flag rules" to wear a flag on your shirt - I guess 95% of us were illegal
The babies were delicious (this is me and Andrew Hill, the 111 great grandchild)
Dad and Uncle Grant (deep in conversation about cameras, typical)
Brady was the master BBQ sauce maker. Really, I can't stop thinking about it even now!
My daughter, Afton... I'm so proud!
My cousin, Joe... I'm so proud!
Brady, Volleyball extrordinaire
Benny, Bryant and Brady Pyrotechnic Enthusiasts (they put on a great show for us)
Melodie and Darrell were the vigilant life guards, and it's a good thing too...
...with swimmers like this...
... and this!
...awwww, and this.
The 3 Bradys (cutest boys at the reunion)
Shaved Ice (Thanks Garners) My favorite is Pink Lemon Sour!
We had a baby shower for Rachel and Kym (side note: Kym had her baby yesterday. Baby Jaden Elizabeth, congratulations)
We had a princess party for all the little girls. Hannah was their Queen! Gotta love the hair!
I asked Brenna to smile... this was her attempt! Laughing!
Afton helping Tinsley with her makeup
The pretty, pretty princess parade
(elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist, wipe a tear, blow a kiss)
Johnny H., burger flipper (all that schooling was good for something)
Brady's Bunch performed during the talent show (I think I'll go for a walk outside, the summer sun's callin' my name, I hear it now...)
Mark honored us with a stirring rendition of Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" (sniff sniff)
Uncle Darell reading his poem!
The Turney Fance saga
Cute Mommy & Cute Daddy!
Preston struttin' his stuff!
Uncle Mike, boat master
Too many ca-ute kids!
Tour of the pasture complete with muck boots. Thanks Ali
Love my brother, awww, he's so handsome!
We have a large amount of redheads, here's a sampling.
L to R (and youngest to oldest): Uncle Roger, Uncle Larry, Aunt Sharon, Uncle Darell, Uncle Mike, Uncle Virgil, Uncle Todd, Mom, Aunt Ann.
Auntie Sherry! In charge of the whole deal!
I love the view from Uncle Roger's house to Uncle Larry's house! Good memories! Good Times!