Friday, July 29, 2016

Recapping Our 2nd Christmas In July

When Katrina and Brad offered to host our Second Annual Christmas In July at Cutty's Campground near Des Moines, we did not know we weren't going to be the only ones celebrating the holiday - the entire campground was holding Christmas in July. That explains the presence of Santa and Mrs. Clause in this photo with Kari. Kari & Ken were the first to arrive at the building we were using which was just being vacated by children who had been there for a party with the Clause's.

What makes having our Christmas in July a success is that more of our children and grandchildren are able to attend than they could in December. Once again daughter Kari & son-in-law Ken made the long trek across country from Oregon, arriving Tuesday evening. Yes, we still have the sign Bud made for Ken six years ago when he said we live in 'the middle of nowhere'.

Kari may not have been able to convince Ken to come to Iowa two years in a row if our holiday hadn't been the same weekend as his Mom's 80th birthday celebration the next day in Minneapolis. Pictured are Ken, his mom, Lou, and brother, Cal.

Bud's son, Mark, and his partner, Juliet, even flew in from New York City just for the weekend which added to our holiday joy immensely! Let the fun begin.

Somehow I missed getting a picture of my granddaughter, Katrina, our hostess - probably because she was too busy flitting around getting everything ready. But I did get a picture of co-host, Brad (in orange shirt). Their membership at Cutty's made for a lovely, central location for us.
Also in photo from left, grandson, Brock, Bud's shoulder with great-grandsons, Nick & Rodney's heads, grandson, Ki, standing, nephew, Andrew, at the table with Brad. Then at table in foreground, my brother, Ron, (Andrew's dad), son Doug and his wife, Shelly's back.
It was so nice to have Andrew for the second year and my brother Ron for the first time. Younger brother, Les and wife, Susan weren't able to join us this year.

After lunch we played the game - carrying on the tradition of our Christmases at Mom's for so many years. Andrew had the misfortune of having #1 - the first two gifts he chose were immediately stolen. First a hammock, which was re-gifted from last year, along with a cooler and some craft ale.

And the second this guitar made by my son, Douglas. He makes many from cigar boxes, but this one was made from a candy tin.

Close-up of vintage 'Mrs. Steven's Home Made Candies' tin - seasonally appropriate. (One of Doug's most recent guitars features an Iowa license plate.)

Juliet was thrilled when she opened a gift containing skull measuring cups and spoons. Everyone ooh-ed and aah-ed, but no one stole them from her. Possibly because they could see how much she liked them, but, as several told her later, this was her first experience with our extended family and the first time she had ever played the game. They were being nice to her - NEXT YEAR, no quarter! (Remember Lily, Great-grandpa Bud and the squirt gun last year?) [By the way, we really missed Lily and her mom and dad (Alyssa & Evan) this year.] (Granddaughters Dominique, left and Deise, right in the pink shirts in the background.)

While some played the game, others chose the cool of the pool. Great-grandson, Rodney in the blue ring, granddaughter, Dominique with her mom, Shalea and grandson Greyson (our great-grandson).

Me with grandson, Ki, his mom, Shalea, and Ki's boys, Ayden between us and Greyson in Grandma Shalea's arms, leaving the pool.

While the smart ones cooled off in the pool, a number of others thought playing miniature golf in 105 degree heat indices was a good idea. Left to right, Doug, his son, Zach, Juliet (keeping the sun off with an umbrella) and Mark. Also golfing, but not in the picture, were Bud and Andrew.

The day ended with some traveling home while others stayed overnight in rental cabins at the campground.

The next day saw Shelly and Doug, his cousin Andrew and son, Nicholas kayaking the Raccoon River. Andrew's totem, Ted the Buffalo, is a constant in many of his adventures. It looks like a great way to end the family weekend, doesn't it?

A few more of my favorite pics:

With great-grandsons Sawyer and Jack (Brock & Paullina's boys). Their Grandpa Douglas is in background. This is inside one of the rental cabins.

Also like this one of me with great-grandson, Ayden, taken by Kari.

Cousins Sawyer and Rodney on their way to the party.

Aunt Kari, Ki and Greyson apres swim.

Grandpa Doug soothing Jack to sleep by rubbing his back - the same way my Mom put him to sleep when he was Jack's age.

Lastly, a photo I love of me and Great-grandson, Rodney. There was one final gift at the end of our Christmas in July party - Brad and Katrina announced that Rodney is going to become a big brother in March! I'm so excited - and thinking pink!!


  1. Love this write up! It was a great weekend and good family time. I am so glad we were able to make the most of the weekend!

  2. Andrew - I am so glad you have been able to join us both years and that you talked your Dad into it this year. It is always good to see you.