Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Betteridge Family Reunion

Whitefish Lake, Montana. Ever heard of it? I hadn't, before my dad told us that's where we were all going to camp for our reunion because it was about as equidistant as camping goes between Tacoma, Salt Lake and Edmonton. Looking it up on google maps led Chris and I to believe we'd be at po-dunk campground practically in town and we tried to lower our Fun Expectation Meter.  But apparently Whitefish is one of the premier vacation spots for these parts, including southern Albertan's because EVERYONE we mentioned it to around here in Edmonton said things like "we LOVE Whitefish Lake" or "I learned to swim in that lake" or "I went there every year as a kid" or "I'm going there this summer, too!"  Every other car we saw there had an Alberta license plate.

It was SUCH a fun place and the campground was perfect. 4 out of the 5 sites we reserved were all touching and we didn't have to cross any roads to get to the bathrooms/showers or even the lake! There were 31 of us all together: 16 kids from 4 weeks to 9 years old, 14 adults and 1 teenager.

Camp cooking for this specific group size and age pool was daunting but Tiff and I were in charge of meals and tried to plan simple meals, and then simplify them some more. I assigned small groups of adults to be in charge of each meal and clean up. I think it turned out pretty well except I didn't assign Todd enough meals to help with, but he rectified the oversight and helped with every single meal. We had costco pizza; pancakes, eggs, and sausages; cheese, crackers and tuna; hawaiian haystacks and smores; muffins;  PB&J sandwiches; hotdogs, salads and dutch oven cobbler; french toast and bacon; bagels; cheesy shells, salads and berry crisp.

The circle of camp chairs in the picture above extended allllll the way around the fire pit back to Charlie and there were many periods of every chair being used. Ashley and Radene brought some activities for the kids. One was this cute paint and rock turtle mosaic.

Our first full day we just hung out at the lake/beach. We rented two paddle boards and had fun trying them out.  It was amazing how even the little cousins got the hang of it...although they hardly weigh anything and probably couldn't tip the paddle board over if they tried.  There was this 11 year old girl hanging around our group, which was fun at first, but as she vied for and usurped turns on the boards and raft and other toys it got kind of old. It was pretty funny. 

pictures coming soon

The next full day we wore our matching shirts that Todd and Tiff designed, took family pictures and drove 45 min East to Glacier National Park to do a little 1 mile hike. 

Jared and Ashley's family

Justin and Radene's family

Tiffany and Todd's family

Our family

Sarah and German, Hailey, Mom and Dad, Jordan and his gf Stefi

In Glacier National Park we went to Lake McDonald, ate lunch and skipped rocks while we waited for everyone to get there. With such a large group our attempt at a caravan quickly fell apart and at least one car was bound to get lost. We skipped rocks for a long time.

It must be stated the Chris did the MOST AMAZING ROCK SKIP that eyes have ever seen.  It was incredible. The rock seemed to never leave the water's surface for more than an inch and yet traveled at LEAST 100 feet. Seriously. Everyone who saw it was speechless. It was unbelievable.  It inspired a sort of rock skipping competition with categories ranging from longest, most number of skips, longest skip, highest jump, longest pre-skip distance etc.

I love these pictures of my dad, so I had to put them on here.

The less than 1 mile "hike" was a wooden platform  that looped through the forest passing by a waterfall and pretty weeping rocks. It took over an hour with stops for pictures, crying kids, and a bathroom break.  In the middle of it, Charlie says to me, "When are we doing the hike?!" I replied, "This IS the hike, isn't it pretty!" Charlie astutely whines, "This isn't a hike! A hike is a hard thing up big mountain. This is not a hike"  hahaha. Funny boy, he's thinking of the hikes I took the kids on in Jasper the week previous. 

One of my favorite parts of the reunion was getting to spend more time with Jordan and his girlfriend, Stefi. She seems really nice and fun and teases Jordan a lot...which he totally deserves. He also totally deserves a sweet girl and Stefi seems to fit the bill perfectly. Aren't they so cute?

After the hike we drove a bit further through Glacier park on this really pretty road called Going-to-the-Sun-Road. It was such a nice time to have the kids buckled, still and sleeping and it was the perfect chance for Sarah and German to get Gwen to warm up to them! She's shy around people she doesn't know(especially men) and it takes some effort but a good relationship with her is SO rewarding. She can be such a cuddler and is very affectionate. 

We got back to camp in the middle of thunder storm and although we knew it might rain and tried to get camp ready for it as much as possible before we left, it still got some things a little wet.  There was a break in the rain for a half hour or so in which we erected some tarps to provide relief as we made and ate dinner. It was actually a really fun experience and didn't dampen anyone's happy mood. (har har)

The next day we rented a speed boat, tube and wakeboard. We took turns going out in small groups and staying behind at the beach. Charlie was brave enough to try tubing with Chris! This is one thing we can check off our boys too-often-whined-about-list of "We've never ridden in a... -airplane, -helicopter, -train that goes choo choo, -speedy boat"  

(pictures coming..)

Most of the evenings were spent trying to get the kids to sleep! After that happened we maybe had some energy to sit around the fire, or in one of the screen tents to try and keep out the bugs. (They mostly worked but there still were plenty of targets for the electric bug zappers, Jared brought....often the most victims were Daddy Long Leg spiders...those things were everywhere!) We passed around brown paper bags with different kinds of black licorice like some adults would of liquor. "Lemme have another taste of that kind from Denmark..."  We also played games like NINJA DESTRUCTION (so fun), risk, horse shoes and card games.  

It was SUCH a fun reunion, despite the hardships of camping with little ones. I don't think I would've changed anything. I'm such a cheese ball when it comes to being together with family especially siblings.  I don't think I could ever get enough of them. 


Radene said...

Brittney, WONDERFUL update! I loved reading about the reunion in your words. Looking forward to when we can be together more...maybe lets start with the same side of the country or even state! ha! Love you!


merilee said...

It looks so beautiful and what a fun reunion! Your pics are great. I love your tee shirts and the colors are really great! I'm so glad you all had fun!!

Anne said...

This looks like so much fun, it makes me want to copy everything and do it with my family.

Aaron, Cera, Jaylen and Gavin said...

Awesome!! So fun to hear about the reunion. Looked and sounded like a blast! Great pictures- you all are so photogenic. And congrats to Chris on his rock skipping!

Anonymous said...

Such great pics and fun!

Snowcoast Boards said...

Your reunion is fun and love filled. Love those cute photos! Kudos to the organizer. Paddleboarding Red Deer