Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Family Reunion, Day 3: Sightseeing

Brace yourselves - a ton of pictures is headed your way!

The Saturday of our family reunion was our big outing: the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo! We usually try to catch an Indians game when we're in town for the reunion, but this year the Indians were away all weekend so we decided on the zoo as a great alternative, especially with all the kiddos in attendance this year.

So, on Saturday we donned our official reunion t-shirts and were off to the zoo. Yes, that's right, we had matching t-shirts. Back in our earlier reunion days, we often had reunion shirts, but that tradition fell by the wayside over time. During my baby shower weekend in January, my cousin Molly and I decided that we should bring the t-shirts back this year. Molly took the lead, came up with the design and did all the research, and she did a great job. The design included all 25 of our names (plus our beloved late Nana) and other words that represent things that are important to our family.

Our t-shirt design!

My favorite part? The fact that even the babies had matching reunion t-shirt onesies!

I wish I had taken a good photo of all of them together in their reunion shirt onesies, but I didn't. So this half-shot of Ellie's onesie is the best I can do.

Personally, I think we all looked quite fetching.

Gramps, Uncle Mark and Eric in the zoo parking lot

Family gathering up, pre-zoo

Funny faces for my cousin Sarah and Eric

Aunt Rachel and Heather are hands-on-the-hips, purse-between-the-feet twinsies!

The last of our clan (my cousin Jacob, his wife Zita and their baby Zazi, from Boston) arrived late Friday and went straight to their hotel that night, so when they joined us at the zoo on Saturday it was our first time seeing all of them and the first time many of us met Zazi.

Zazi and Ellie are quite pleased to make each others' acquaintance.

And so, we were off to the zoo!

Ellie's first trip to a zoo!

I have lots of memories of the Cleveland Zoo from my childhood. My favorite part was always Monkey Island, which I remember as being just overrun with monkeys, all running and jumping and playing everywhere. This time, I was so excited about Monkey Island that it was one of the first stops on our agenda. But it was a total bust! Nary a monkey to be seen, only a couple of goats. I was quite disappointed.

No monkeys on Monkey Island! Rip-off.

But, the rest of the zoo was great. A few highlights: a giraffe up close and personal, a baby rhinoceros, a posing polar bear, a grizzly bear with a stick, and the koalas (because if you don't love koalas you probably don't have a soul).


Baby rhino, eating his food bowl!!!

Polar bear perched atop a rock

Grizzly bear proudly showing off his stick

Koalas! If you could look at both of these pictures and not say "OMG AWWWWWW" I'm not sure we can be friends anymore.

Also great? The elephants, Ellie's reaction to the shark tank, and the fact that my sister and I rode a camel for $4, thus crossing Item #9: Ride A Camel off my bucket list!

Hanging out with the elephants

Ellie checking out the sharks

Camel ride!

Although, of course, seeing and doing all these things with family was the biggest highlight!

My mom and cousins Alex and Sarah filling in for the missing Monkey Island monkeys

With my family

A few of the clan

Post-camel ride laughs

Left: Uncle Mark and Ellie modeling the latest in zoo-appropriate headwear
Right: Ellie and her Auntie Heather in the koala exhibit

All the young families outside the zoo
(L to R: Arturo, Molly, Santiago, Zazi, jacob, Zita, Ellie, Eric, Me)

When we finished at the zoo and got back to the house, everyone was pretty beat. It was a very hot day and we did quite a bit of walking. So, we were pretty casual with our afternoon - many beers were consumed, naps were taken, and the usual activities (eating, talking, admiring babies, sports) resumed.

Zazi and Ellie getting to know each other!

Baby swap! Ellie is being held by her Auntie Molly, and I have sweet Santiago!

Alex, Jacob, Eric and Adam playing wiffle ball while Molly, Zita and Zazi watch

Just a few of the girls (and Arturo and Santiago crashing the party in the background)

Left: Cousin Taylor holding Ellie
Right: Eric up to bat

Left: Molly and her darling niece Zazi
Right: My mom finally got Ellie to nap! That is one challenge she will always accept (and conquer!).

We also had ourselves a delicious ice cream cake in celebration of Gramps's 90th birthday.

Happy birthday, Gramps!

And of course, we had to make time to take our group portrait, as we do every year. This time, we had to move from the living room to the porch in order to fit all of us! How cool is that?

Top Row: Aunt Rachel, Uncle Mark, Gary, Adam, Jacob, Uncle Peter, Rosemary
Second row: Heather, Alex, Aimee
Third row: Eric, my mom, Sarah, Gramps, Taylor, Uncle Nathan, Arturo
Fourth row: Zita and Zazi, Ellie and me, Molly and Santiago
And last but not least: Jackson and Henry

Duh. Of course we had to do a goofy one, too!

We had Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner that night, and the usual suspects stayed up, drank wine and watched some Olympics. Then it was off to bed to rest up for Sunday and my grandfather's big birthday celebration at our church!

Stay tuned, that's coming up next!


Lauren said...

LOVE those reunion tshirts and all the cute animal pictures :-)

Jessica Renee said...

Aww y'all are so cute and happy in your matching shirts! Can I come to your next reunion?? :p