Thursday, July 5, 2012

Being Dudes

Last Thursday we headed out to a dude ranch for a family reunion with 66 other members of my Mom's side of the family. With our 7 that brought the total up to 73. Not a small gathering by any means. And something like 34 of the number were age 4 and under. Can you say crazy? Sooo much fun, though.

Here we are all loaded up and ready to head out:

I don't really know how to write this post without it becoming overly lengthy. Like, 'Iliad' lengthy. And I'm not sure which pictures to include for the same reason. There was so much to do-- trail rides, a swimming hole, archery, a bucking barrel, pony rides for the kids, a playground, line dancing, tubing down the river (no pictures, but so relaxing-- my favorite part), family lawn games, skits, DBW Memorial Bingo Game, hayrides, a hike, ping pong, a family rodeo including pole bending, barrel racing, roping, horse apple toss, mutton busting and calf riding (This was a whole ton of fun until my brother punctured his lung with a less than graceful dismount from a bucking calf. Spoilsport.)

Not to mention that we had to fit in meals for all and naps for Edith. Craziness. I'm sure I'm forgetting something, too. Maybe it's best if I just dive in...

Pretty much the first thing that happened after we arrived was that Bud got taken out in the gravel parking lot by a goat. A nice long scrape on the elbow helped reinforce his fear of animals. Perfect start. Not to mention that a couple of his most feared animal, dogs, were running around untethered. This should be good. 

The younger kids got a chance to ride ponies not long after we arrived. Even Bud was really looking forward to it. Until he smelled them, that is. When he did that, he decided to bow out. He could be seen doing this every so often while we were at the ranch:

Bud spent a lot of the first few days indoors, playing games with a few of his like-minded cousins. I think that at one point I didn't even see him for 5 hours! I know he had a blast, though, and eventually got over his fears. He participated in the lawn games and even line-danced! Way to go, Bud.

Big and Edith loved every minute of what being at the ranch meant. They are true outdoor kids and loved that they were able to be outside all day, every day. Tiring, but fun. You can tell by the look on her face that Edith wasn't too sure about the whole horse-riding thing at first. And I love how the wind gave her a sweet combover. 

By the end of our stay, Edith absolutely loved riding on the horses (not that her expression changed much) and when asked what her favorite part of the trip is she will reply in her cute little voice, "Ponies!" or "Horhies!" So cute.

Big had been eagerly awaiting riding a horse for weeks. Months, even. No trepidation or uncertainty on his part, that's for sure. He ended up riding the horse up and down the road a total of 15 times while we were there. I'm sure it would have been a lot more if there had been more times available for our family. Big is definitely a born horseman. He even rode a leg in the family rodeo where he had to ride a horse while carrying a ladle full of water and then dump the water into a bucket. What a stud.

Big and Edith went straight from riding the horses to canoeing. Edith wasn't so sure about that one, either. The look she gets on her face when she's uncertain cracks me up.

I didn't get to see the girls much, especially Ginger. They went on a ton of trail rides and hung out with cousins. I did manage to see Pen on the hike (Can I just say I love my new infant carrier?!?) and on one of the tubing runs, which was nice, but they were pretty much on their own for the majority of the time. We crossed paths during meals and skits and bingo games, but I really didn't have time to do more than holler out sunscreen reminders that were answered with big sighs and eye rolls. There was the scary moment when Pen danced with a cowboy, but I have a feeling it won't be the last time. Maybe the last with a cowboy, I guess...

Hmmm... I'm beginning to ramble. Maybe it's best if I just finish out the post with pictures.

Oh, and a cowboy boot is not a good sucker shape to give to a baby.

The only thing clean to wear as we were leaving were my pajamas, so you know some fun was had!

We had such a blast. All of us. I can't wait until the next time!

P.S. The brother who punctured his lung is fine. And hopefully smarter. ; )


mk said...

Looks like so much fun!!

patti's place said...

Glad I got to go. It was great fun!

jww said...

What a great family reunion. Neat place and great activities. I love that about cousins--you don't see your kids much when cousins are together, and you know your kids are in heaven. Sorry about the punctured lung! WOW! What a great reunion. You have some great pictures of it, as usual. Great memories.