Monday, June 24, 2013

Cleveland: 33rd Annual Hesterman Family Reunion

Warning: this post will most certainly be long and picture-heavy. I know, aren't they all, right? But this may be even more so than usual, because I expect this post will serve as this year's official reunion write-up, so I will try to include details and pictures for that purpose. If you are not a fellow Hesterman, this may get boring, but I can at least promise there will be lots of pictures of cute babies. If that still doesn't sell you, come back tomorrow when we head off to Cincinnati!

Eric, Ellie and I arrived in Cleveland around 6:00 p.m. that Thursday (5/30). We went straight to Gramps's house, where my mom, Gary and Heather were already waiting for us, having arrived that afternoon. We dined on some soup, got Ellie fed and put in bed and then Eric and I went over to my friend Megan's house for some drinks and great conversation with her and her husband Andy. Then, it was back home and off to bed to rest up for a fun, family-filled day (well, after a couple glasses of wine with Heather, of course. It's tradition).

The next to arrive were Molly, Arturo and Santiago (who just turned one year old on that Thursday!). They left Bloomington, IL Thursday evening and drove through the night, arriving at Gramps's house in the wee hours of the morning, and so were there when we woke up.

Ellie and Santiago, getting reacquainted

Hello there, cousin!

While we all hung around the house that morning, Gary, Eric and Gramps went out to do some golfing. From what I hear, they had a lot of fun, with a surprising outcome that may or may not require an asterisk.

Gramps showing off his accomplishments at the golf course

As the day wore on, Jacob, Zita and Zazi arrived from Boston, Aunt Rachel and Uncle Mark arrived from Pittsburgh, and Uncle Peter and Rosemary arrived from Illinois. (Cousin Adam would arrive the next day, and some family members were missed: Uncle Nathan, Aimee, Alex, Taylor, Henry, Jackson and Sarah. We sure were thinking about them, though!) We spent the rest of the day just hanging out around the house (with the exception of occasional shopping trips, including an Indians Shirt Hunt for me, Arturo, Mom and Aunt Rachel). We spent a lot of time admiring babies and watching them play in the yard. Cuteness.

Gramps watching his family visiting in the yard

Jacob, Zita and Zazi

Molly, Arturo and Santiago

Molly was great entertainment for the babies, as was Heather!

Left: Ellie loved climbing up the Stairs of Death by the side door and peeking out through the Wide-Enough-For-Babies-To-Fall-Through Rails of Doom. Good times.
Right: I love this picture of Gramps watching Ellie play!

Gary napped, because, well, Gary naps.

Another of my favorite pictures, of Ellie with her Auntie Heather

The adorable great-grandbabies: Zazi, Ellie and Santiago!

I should mention that not only did we spend some time (okay, lots of time) during the weekend watching real human babies, but we also watched baby robins in the nest under the awning by the side door. We watched mama bird feed them, and before our very eyes they grew up and left the nest. Godspeed, little robins!

Baby robins about to abandon ship!

We had pizza for dinner that night and spent the rest of the evening catching up. Ellie's droopy diaper got some laughs before she made it off to bed, Uncle Peter showed off pictures from a recent trip to South Dakota, the men drank beer and the women wined. Personally, I particularly enjoyed my wine time with the ladies, especially when Molly was able to join us. It was so nice to finally sit, drink and catch up with a couple of my favorite women - something Molly and I haven't even really had much opportunity to do since the little ones came along! Kids, am I right? Always cramping your boozing style. (I kid, I kid, they're darlings.)

The next day was Indians game day! After a leisurely morning around the house, we were off to Progressive Field to see the Tribe beat the Rays. Last to arrive, my cousin Adam got to Gramps's house as we were having lunch before we left for the game. Well, before some left. Those of us with wee ones made a bit of a "fashionable" entrance thanks to unexpectedly long naps (though you won't hear any complaints out of these parents, that's for sure!). But, we all did eventually make it to the game! For our (immediate) family, it was our second MLB stadium of our trip, albeit a repeat. It was rather toasty up in our seats but our view was good and we had a great time. All the babies did especially well, I must say. They're Indians fan naturals! Way to go, babies!

Progressive Field (although I'm firmly in the "It will always be The Jake to me!" camp)

Baseball stadium #2!

Me, Ellie and Heather enjoying the game

Uncle Peter, Molly and Gramps

Zazi and Santiago, looking adorably spirited (though admittedly disinterested in the actual game)

Left: Ellie and Great-Gramps watching the game; Right: Santiago was thirsty!

Mom and Gary

Uncle Mark and Adam

Jacob, Zita and Zazi

Ellie getting kisses from Aunt Heather!

The Hestertribe at the game! (Minus photographer Eric, of course)

After we returned home, it was time for a family photoshoot.

First, a comparison! At the top, Gramps with his great-grandbabies at last year's reunion. On the bottom, this year. My, how they've grown!

Family portraits! Top row: The Peter family; the Becky family. Bottom row: The Jacob family, the Me family, and the Molly family. 

Attendees of the 33rd Annual Hesterman Family Reunion! 

You have to do a silly one. Duh.

Then, it was time for more hanging out in the yard and relaxing. Plus, there was some Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner, followed by an ice cream cake to celebrate: Adam's college graduation, Santiago's first birthday, and all the dads for Father's Day. That's a lot to celebrate!

Top: Family relaxing in the yard.
Bottom: Ellie giving Uncle Mark a thumbs up; Jacob, Zita and Zazi hanging out; Ellie giving Adam a piece of her mind.

Ice cream cake!

Ice cream cake honorees

We spent the rest of the evening, once again, hanging out, drinking and chatting. We are a wild bunch.

Clockwise from left: These are tired people, with the apparent exception of Santiago; Auntie Heather sleeping by Santiago; the ladies looking at pictures from the day.

The next day, Heather was the first to depart the reunion. Boo! She left early Sunday morning. For the rest of us, it was off to church, as usual. We filled up two entire pews and it was so nice to be back in my home church, worshipping with Gramps. Once again, the babies received rave reviews, although Ellie and Zazi did spend a bit of time outside in the courtyard with their daddies (and Gary, who had a negative encounter with a bird).

"Look, Zazi! Our dresses match!"

After church, we once again spent some time waiting for the babies to nap so we could all go to lunch. As we waited, Peter and Rosemary said their good-byes. When the babies awoke, Gramps treated the rest of us to a Chinese food buffet for lunch. Yum!

Back at home, many of the group decided to go for a walk, this time on a different route than usual for the sake of finding a park with baby swings. The park outing was a success, although after all that walking for baby swings it is actually quite possible that the grown-ups had more fun at the park than the babies.

Off to find the park!

Molly and me pushing our respective babies on the swings

Fun on the slide!

Eric helping Ellie explore the jungle gym

And now, the grown-ups get to have some fun. Left: Gary atop the slide; Right: My mom owning the monkey bars.

Mom and Gary on the slide

Uncle Mark and Aunt Rachel tandem swinging!

Molly, Arturo and Santiago on the tire swing

And Gramps just taking it all in!

That evening, things started to wind down. Rachel, Mark and Adam left that night, and Jacob, Zita and Zazi said good-bye as they would leave straight from their hotel early the next morning. The rest of us enjoyed leftovers for dinner and more unwinding with wine before calling it a night (earlier than the past couple of nights - we were beat!).

On Monday morning, Molly, Arturo and Santiago left bright and early, as did my mom and Gary. Eric, Ellie and I were officially the last to leave, and we hit the road after breakfast, en route to Cincinnati. It's always so sad to see these gatherings come to an end!

And that was the 33rd Annual Hesterman Family Reunion! Family, as always, thank you so much for making the effort to get together. It is always so wonderful and refreshing to see you all again and catch up on what is happening in your lives. To those who couldn't be there, we missed you terribly and hope to see you at Christmas and/or the reunion next year, if not before. And to our beloved Gramps, thanks for all you did to make the weekend so wonderful for us, as you do every time. We love being your family and we are lucky to have you as our Dad/Gramps/Great-Gramps!

Coming up tomorrow: Some chili and more baseball in Cincinnati!

To see more pictures from our family reunion in Cleveland (yes, there are more, believe it or not), click here.

1 comment:

Lauren said...

Your family reunions always look so fun! The kids in your family are precious :-)