Wednesday, July 13, 2011

JWS Family Reunion: Day Two, Part Three - The Luau

Because the theme of our reunion was story telling, we decided to end the event with the story of Grandma and Grandpa Smith's life (Extremely condensed) using Polynesian dances!

We had a little prep work to do first though, such as finding matching costumes and painting all the Uncle's faces.

And while we were prepping, family members enjoyed some AMAZING Polynesian food, as well as some fun games, and photo ops.

Soon we were ready to dance and began the show with the hula Meapa'ani Kinipopo (a sports song) to tell how Grandpa Smith met Grandma because he was looking for some people to play basketball with and found the LDS church. A group of men from the church told him he could play if he started to attend regular meetings. He agreed and it wasn't long before he met Grandma.

The next dance was Ku'u hoa (My Friend), a hula that talks about love and courtship. We used it to tell how Grandma and Grandpa soon fell in love and married in the Temple in Arizona!

The Maori Haka was next on the docket and was performed by all the sons in the family (minus Uncle Jim who was on his mission). The Haka represented the craziness in Grandma's home after she had six sons in a row and no daughters to speak of.

Then ALL the women danced Fakateretere to tell of the grace and femininity that entered the home when Grandma and Grandpa's first and only daughter was born!

Next the younger men danced the Fa'ataupati (slap dance) to tell how Grandpa's life was when he went off to war... hanging out with stinky dudes all day, sleeping in tents, and smacking away the mosquitoes!

After that, I danced E Tui/Terina (Poi balls) to tell how Grandma had to use and learn MANY skills to run her home on her own while Grandpa was off to war.

We ended the story portion of the show with a Sasa done by all the young grandchildren to show what an amazing posterity Grandma and Grandpa Smith have created!

And just for fun, my siblings and I gave a short show after the story telling to allow everyone a moment to relax and unwind after their own performances.

Soon the luau, as well as the ENTIRE reunion, was over! But not before we ended the night with a quick clean and push up competition. (Won by cousin Shawna...what an amazing woman!)

Thank you Smith family for helping us to have such a fun and successful reunion. It was an event to be remembered!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

JWS Family Reunion: Day Two, Part Two - The Carnival

After we all had the chance to shower off our sweat from the 5K, we began once again to gather at the church for some more family fun!

Everyone came wearing their cool new color-coordinated family T-shirts! They were then given carnival tickets that would allow them to play each game and get their yummy food.

It was pretty hot outside, but it didn't take us long to find ways to keep ourselves cool.

We ate in the cool shade underneath the pavilion to keep the sweating to a minimum... unfortunately Dad and Ken got a bit toasty standing at the grill for so long!

Luckily, we had plenty of snow cones to share with our fearless chefs, as well as anyone else who was willing to dye their tongues green for a moment a frozen bliss.

Along with the snow cones, we had a cotton candy machine! I know its nothing more than a giant ball of fluffy sugar, but I really LOVE that stuff! And as it turns out, Brooklyn didn't mind it much either :)

We also had a giant bounce house that kept the kids (and adults) occupied for hours. Brooklyn spent most of the day inside it with her new found friends.

Besides all the treats, food, and playthings, we also had several booths set up with games. Prizes were earned at each booth, including our drink for the day and our chips that went with our lunch! (Playing for our food really helped everyone to feel motivated to participate!)

Although it was warmer than we would have liked, everyone enjoyed playing the multiple games we had available and it was fun to see all the little kids working so hard to get all the tabs on their tickets punched. When all was said and done, we cleaned up and started setting up for our family luau. But you will have to wait a little longer to hear about that! :)

To be continued...

JWS Family Reunion: Day Two, Part One - The 5K

On the 2nd day of our reunion, we all woke up early for the family 5K that was organized by Tyler and Janna. And let me tell expense was spared! They had water stops, a start and finish line, trophies, medals, raffle prizes, and a sweet post-race breakfast!

They started us out with a 100 Meter Dash for all the little kids. It was pretty funny to watch. The older kids had a pretty good handle on things and were out and back in no time! But several of the younger kids got distracted half way through and started to play in the grass, or simply wandered off once they'd forgotten what they were supposed to be doing. Brooklyn got to the turn around point and told the adults that were standing there that she was afraid if she kept running her legs might fall off! This, of course, resulted in Brooklyn crossing the finish line wrapped in the arms of Uncle Phil as he sprinted through to the sound of her yelling, "FASTER! FASTER!"

Once the children had all received their shiny new canning-top-medals, we lined up for the 5K. Many of the older children participated in both races, and one of them even took third place overall in the 5K!

The course went out and back so I was able to see a lot of the runners as they passed me on their way to the finish line :) It was actually kind of neat because I knew who won first, second, and third place long before I finished the race. I even got to see Janna, our incredible event organizer, run pass me in record time, pulling a spectacular race face for the cameras!

Jennie was nice enough to run the whole thing with me despite my dramatic attempts to suck oxygen out of Utah's thin air. I finished in exactly 33 minutes and was pretty pleased that I could still pull that time with my burning lungs! I guess all my time in Chicago has made me soft after all!

One of my favorite parts of the 5K was that almost EVERYONE participated! They didn't care if they'd never run before or not, they just got out and did it. There were runners, walkers, skippers, strollers, and shoulder rides, and they all crossed the finish line to loud shouts and cheers from the rest of the family!

Coming in first place was my crippled husband at 20 minutes and 15 seconds! Not too far behind him was cousin Shawna, and then little Mason Smith took third. Not gonna lie, it was pretty crazy seeing him fly pass me at the midway point :)

All the winners were awarded super cool trophies and medals (complements of DI) and then we finished off the morning with raffle prizes (I won a sweet water bottle) and a pancake breakfast! It was such an awesome morning and a fantastic thing to do as a family, as well as one of my favorite parts of the whole reunion. Thanks Janna and Tyler for all your hard work!

Monday, July 11, 2011

JWS Family Reunion: Day One

On the evening of June 30th, Kevin and I repacked our luau bags and headed out to Utah again for the James and Ruth Smith Family Reunion! (Kevin's Mom's parents.) Despite delays at the airport (when they thought our Maori skirts were bombs and insisted on doing x-ray and chemical testing on EVERYTHING in our bags) we arrived just on time to catch some Z's before all the excitement began.

We started out our first day with some mixers that included thumb wars, rock-paper-scissors, and coin tossing to earn fake money from our relatives and eventually win prizes for the most fake cash. Chocolate bars were also awarded to those who were smart enough to click "like" on the family reunion facebook page before the reunion began. (Yesss! For once my internet addiction paid off!)

After we all got to know each other a little better we went over some family history business and then reenacted a story from our family history archives. Although you can't really tell by this picture, the story was actually quite riveting! There were soldiers and Indians, lawyers and judges, and even a naked lady who got scalped! My favorite part was when the Indians (played by some of the younger boys) were told that their characters were supposed to kill a woman and one of the little boys cocked a fake gun and shot her Halo style! Ha Ha! OK... now that you all think I'm evil, moving on!

When story time was over, we were each given a number from when we joined the family. I was number 91 out of 126 (128 now that 2 more babies were born!) We were also given family T-shirts that had every one's numbers on the back and the reunion logo on the front (that my awesome brother-from-another-mother, Stewart designed for us!)

Once we all had our shirts, we ate lunch and then headed outdoors for some water fun!!!

Most of the adults enjoyed the shade and some great conversation while everyone else got water logged... I would have been one of those marvelously dry individuals had it not been for my husband and his giant Super Soaker!

During our water party, a bunch of the semi-adult family members joined together for an impromptu soccer game in which Kevin earned a humongous hematoma on the front of his shin.

He keeps pretending that he doesn't know where he got it, but secretly I suspect that the Oopsie Club pulled him into a back room and used him as a guinea pig for some crazy stunt they were contemplating doing. Obviously they opted out of the stunt after Kevin's third knee appeared!

While the adults showcased the many unique forms of Smith Competitiveness, the children were off in their own world of water fun. There were swimming pools, slip and slides, wacky sprinklers, water guns, water balloons, sling shots, etc. for them to play with and it kept them busy for hours! I don't even think I spoke to Brooklyn once that day because she was having so much fun!

(Look how cute all the little kiddos are waiting in line for the slip and slide!)

Although I was unable to get a picture of it, at one point in the day we managed to gather everyone together for a stellar game of Human Battleship with water balloon torpedoes. All company considered, it was no surprise when it ended up being an epic water fight fought on either side of a giant tarp. Very funny... Very fun!!!

Once the water games were over, we all got cleaned up, ate dinner, and then started game night. We started with a great family history trivia game, and then ended the night with some Minute to Win It games. We got to watch our family do everything from stacking ding dongs on their foreheads...

to trying to keep multiple balloons in the air simultaneously...

to creating apple towers! It was so much fun and everyone really enjoyed themselves. We also got to watch a really cool video that Brian made before we went off to put the little ones to bed. Eventually I will post it on here when I can get my hands on a copy.

Oh yeah! I musn't forget, we also got to go home with happy bellies! Full of wonderful strawberry and whipped cream goodness! Now stay tuned for postings on day two of the JWS Family Reunion!

To be continued...