Before I start let me tell you about how vast my extended family is so you will understand how special time with any of them are. My daddy comes from a family of 19 children - 12 boys and 7 girls. I haven't recently counted but I think I have 50 or 60 cousins from that side alone. My mom is number 2 of 11 -5 girls and 6 boys and a multitude of cousins numbering more then my Marner side, close to 70 I think.
If there is one thing that has been really close to my heart in the last 8 weeks it is the importance of spending time with those you love. Hence the decision to spend time with family and friends as we work through the pain we are processing.
We decided to spend one night with each aunt and they spoiled us royally. One morning they took me to visit a friend of theirs, Rebecca who lost her 18 year old daughter in a car crash one year ago this week. It was strangely comforting to sit and visit with her and watch how she is walking through her process.
Aunt Rachel organized a balloon release party in honor of Abby's birthday the evening we arrived. My cousin Emily's car was piled full of bright colors, some of which bore the message Happy Birthday.
We counted down like we did at her funeral...11, 10, 9....
We watched till they were nothing but small black dots.
Lester and Rachel made a giant bowl of popcorn over the fire in their very own Henry D "schisel"
Lots of games for the children. My little cousins all somehow grew up and are adults now but how they played with and entertained my children and the rest of the next generation...
Kali took to my cousin Titus' little sweetie who not only happens to be 3 but has so many Abby "traits".
Aunt Rachel took us on a tour of the country side on our way to lunch in Hutchinson. I found the fields of Milo and the old cement grain bins/storage intriguing and beautiful.
We all went for lunch at Freddy's Frozen Custard (similar to our Iowa Culvers)
The girls all wanted to sit with Nathan.
Sweet miss Olivia
You'd think after a few days I could tell which one of the twins are which
Nana Rhoda (my kidos name for her) had one excited boy waiting for an ice cream party on the beautiful back deck area.
Dawdy and his twin Grandsons
My cousin Gideon and his family were able to join us as well. He is from another branch of the Yutzy tree. His mama, Naomi is my mama's sister also.
Marvin and Rhoda's house has so many unique and very beautiful features. Alexia and I loved the different porches.
Aunt Rhoda took me on a 4 wheeler tour of their beautiful spread.
We got up this morning and had a scrumptious breakfast that included my very favorite tomato gravy made in typical Wagler fashion and fresh donuts. Both mornings we woke to smells of baking. The children wished we could stay longer but we needed to make the trek to Nebraska today. We left with lots of hugs and promises of getting to see each other at the Wagler Thanksgiving in a few short months. I am so thankful for my heritage and for the extra special blessing of family who loves me!