This past weekend we made the trip to Michigan that we had been looking forward to all year. It was Natalie's wedding weekend. Natalie is Jeff's sister Cheryl's daughter. Although I hardly even got to see Natalie, or much of the family, for that matter, it was just so awesome to be there. I only wish there were more hours in the day.
I often hear people talking about their in-laws and how horrible they are, or how they wish they lived elsewhere, or just downtalking them. When I hear that, I am just reminded about how incredibly lucky I am to have the "extended family" that I have. I certainly married into the right one, that's for sure! Not only are there SO MANY of them, and they are all incredibly friendly, welcoming and sincere...but they also live in such a BEAUTIFUL state. Michigan is as pretty to me as any vacation we've taken.
Jeff comes from a large family, and his mom and dad had seven children....Kevin, Cheryl, John, Patty, Jeff, James, and Joe. There are over 20 grandchildren at his point, and one great-grandchild. There are always great stories of "remember when" being told. I have been part of this family since I married Jeff in 1996...and I look forward to every single visit we get to make.
This visit was even more special because Gramma June was home! We nearly lost her a few weeks ago...but here she was, as wonderful and as loving as ever! She was still very tired, and obviously she had lost some weight, so the use of a wheelchair helped her to make it through the long wedding day. We love Gramma June so much....and leaving her this time was harder...and I did shed some tears. But...true to Gramma June form, she had Mason's birthday card to give him. She is SUCH a wonderful person, and my husband is lucky to have her as a mom, and I could not have asked for a more perfect mother-in-law.
Ok Ok Ok....so, this wedding. Or weddingS, if you will. Natalie and her beau, Aravind, have known eachother for a very, very long time. Nat is a sweet little catholic girl, and Aravind is hindu. His parents are from India. He has lived in the USA forever, but his heritage is alive and well in his family. So this was quite the cultural event for our family. In the morning was the Hindu ceremony. I believe this usually is a 3 day long event, but they condensed it into a 3 hour event. Jeff, Alena and Julianne went, while I stayed at the hotel with the other kids....because Allison was sick that morning. We went at noon for the brunch of Indian food. It was fun to taste things we had never even heard of. Some things were good. Some, well...weren't. :)
The Catholic ceremony was in the evening, held at the same place, the banquet center. Natalie had on a beautiful white dress....and that is all I know, lol. Audrey and Mason were not being very quite, so I had to take them out into the hall. :( Someday...I will be able to sit through an entire event, won't I?? For the reception, the kids had to go back to the hotel, where my sister in laws sister babysat. The bigger girls were extremely disappointed that they couldn't go, stating that they were not "children"...but rules are rules. It was awesome to mingle with that side of the family that we never get to see. I miss them. Jeff misses them. But a good time was had by all.
So on to the fun part...pictures.
When we first arrived in Michigan, our first stop was Jeff's brother James and his wife, Susan's new home. They JUST moved in. Boxes weren't even unpacked, yet they were having us, and brother John and his family (in from Texas) over. Not only do they have the "biggest house of anybody we know", they also both have the biggest hearts of anybody we know. The kids were in amazement over the "dream home", and all the fun stuff in there. :) I was just soaking in all the goodness from talking with my sister in law Susan, whom I love...and James... There is nothing but good that comes from these two. We love you. And we loved playing with cousins while there as well. Here are some pics:
First thing the kids see...and spent HOURS in there.
The kids also started a band while there. I'll call them the "Upstairs Sensory Overloading" band. Ha! If you can tolerate the loudness...here is a clip of a jam session:
Some from the rest of the night...
On the L O N G trip home...ha ha ha.
And there is nothing better after a long road trip...and seeing the Arch...knowing you are HOME!