So, this year, we ended up centering our family reunion around Jacob and Zita's U.S. reception in Illinois this past weekend. With the exceptions of Eric (for work reasons) and my Uncle Nathan and his family from Idaho (the proud parents of new baby Jackson), everyone was able to make it to Illinois. Naturally, it was a wonderful time and it was so great to see everyone.
I flew into Indianapolis on Friday, arriving around 4:00 p.m. My mom, Gary and Heather were also flying into Indy from Tampa, scheduled to arrive around 4:30. They actually ended up being a bit early, which was nice! I guess after the disaster we had when we tried to meet up in New York before flying to Budapest, we were due for a smooth travel day this time around. We picked up a rental car (free upgrade, YES!) then made the two-hour drive through corn fields to my Uncle Peter's house in Charleston, Illinois.
We arrived at Uncle Peter's at 6:00 p.m. The rest of the family was already there waiting for us. They had ordered pizzas for all of us for dinner, and I went along with my Gramps and cousin Molly to pick them up. Then we all ate our pizza outside under a tent in Uncle Peter's back yard, despite the drizzly rain! It was just so nice to see everyone and catch up.
After dinner, a few of us grandkids (me, Heather, Molly & Arturo, and Jacob & Zita) went to have a quick visit with my Aunt Debbie so that we could toast Molly and Arturo and celebrate their engagement! Aunt Debbie gave them some beautiful toasting flutes as an engagement gift, and they had a cake with a picture of Molly and Arturo in Italy a few days after the proposal. It was nice to celebrate these two - I'm so excited for them! They seem so happy.
embraced her inner bridezilla to get this ring back. I can't say that I blame her! Those Post Office employees are probably still wondering what hit 'em.
Anyway, after about a beer a piece all of us were exhausted, so we headed to bed. We had a busy day coming up!
On Saturday we got up and going by 10:00. Heather went to hang out with the rest of the family, while I went with Molly back to Aunt Debbie's to assemble to flowers for the reception that evening. The flowers were gorgeous - the biggest yellow roses you've ever seen, and pretty purple daisies. We worked hard and actually got the arrangements all put together pretty quickly! Then we went over to the reception hall at the Worthington Inn to drop things off and set up what we could.
Molly also discovered her inner florist this weekend! She did a great job with the flower-arranging.
Jacob setting up the placecards while Zita checks out the photo guestbook Molly surprised them with!
Molly and the photo table, which included albums/scrapbooks of Jacob and Zita's previous wedding ceremonies. Very nice!Around 12:30 p.m. we returned to Uncle Peter's house for lunch. He had cooked out brats (that's bratwurst, not rude children) and hot dogs with German potato salad, watermelon, homemade pickles and chips, etc. Yum! We all ate outside again, which was very nice. And the weather was much better!
After lunch, Molly/Arturo and Jacob/Zita returned to the reception room to finish setting up while the rest of us went for a little pool time at the Worthington Inn. I remember playing at that pool many times at past reunions when I was a kid. Nowadays there is much less splashing about, but it was still very nice!
In case the pictures above do not effectively convey how much fun we were having, I should mention that around midnight (I think) the bar announced that it was last call and Molly played "Closing Time," which was intended as the last song of the night. However, the party was not yet ready to stop, so they ended up keeping the reception hall for another two hours! The bar stayed open after all, the music continued on, and somebody even had the totally genius idea to essentially adopt the Hungarian tradition of a "midnight meal" - they ordered pizza! That pizza was glorious, too. And so the party continued until about 2:30 a.m.
Sunday morning we got up and got checked out of the hotel. Unfortunately, some of my family (my Aunt Rachel, Uncle Mark, cousins Adam and Sarah, and Gramps) had to leave early, so we had to say our good-byes to them at the reception the night before. But, those of us who remained plus some of Jacob's friends went out to breakfast at What's Cookin' (they have excellent strawberry bread). Nothing like a good ol' diner breakfast after a night of drinking and dancing! We were also treated to views of beautiful downtown Charleston as we walked there. I must say, it was a little different than downtown New York!
After breakfast, Molly/Arturo and Jacob/Zita left to say good-bye to Aunt Debbie before she left town. Meanwhile, Uncle Peter took the rest of us of a tour of the Eastern Illinois University campus, where he is a professor. He took us to the new Fine Arts building, which was very cool. We even got to see his office!
We left to drive back to Indianapolis the next morning at 6:00 a.m. Mom/Gary/Heather had a 10:30 a.m. flight back to Tampa, and my flight was scheduled for 11:00 (although it was delayed a half hour). We had breakfast together at the airport then went our separate ways. Farewell, family!
So, another great reunion in our family history. It's so nice that we all make such an effort to get together. Looking forward to seeing everyone again at Christmas!
If you're interested, I'll be posting more pictures of the reunion and reception on my Photo Site. Not sure if anyone that isn't related to me will be interested in seeing more pictures from the weekend, but they're there if you'd like to check them out!
And one last time - CONGRATULATIONS, JACOB AND ZITA! Now it's your turn, Molly and Arturo!