How are you doing? Hot? Humid? We have the heat but not too much of the humidity. And we started getting hot over a month ago! Yowzers! Fortunately, in this Sacramento area we also often have “delta breezes” that can cool us down a bit and I LOVE those.
I had the special treat of having all my grandkids together at one time for a big family reunion/BBQ this month and LOVED it. Of course, you know me. I also prepared up one side and down the other. I made sure I had plenty of my usual great tools – board games, coloring pages and books, washable markers, etc. Then, at the last minute, I panicked and stocked up on things that, once I got home, I realized might be pretty babyish for most. But guess what… THOSE were the things we used. With so many kids and a not huge house, we were all spread out in front, back, and in-between. The games and coloring books never even got touched that day though they also came in handy at other times. The games with the early arrivers. The coloring books went home in the car with some of the grandkids, helping out mom and dad with a little bit of piece and quiet along their route. But my last minute goodies? They were worth their weight in gold. What were they, you ask?
- Colored sidewalk chalk
- Tiny and cheap Matchbox cars
- Badminton birdies and rackets (badminton and tennis) (no net)
- That’s it.
I was sure I would end up taking them back. But once all the kids were there, I could tell quiet times just weren’t in the cards (pun intended). So off we headed to the back yard with the bubbles and the kids had a blast with them. Just the plain ones, mind you. I’d tried the battery ones in the past and we all enjoyed them. But we’d also had some technical issues and with a big group I didn’t want to run into that. They had so much fun with all the low-tech goodies. The biggest hit (and I wish I had bought more of these) were ones that came in a long tube with a long wand. They made the most delightful and humongous bubbles.
After a bit, one of my youngest grandkids got a bit tired of it and he and I headed up to the front of the house to give my driveway a lovely redecorating job. He thoroughly enjoyed a bit of aloneness with me and the cars. Then it turned into a fun magnet as one by one, more and more grandchildren popped out. I helped a couple of them make a road for the little cars and the others who had joined us just had fun drawing. In the meantime, back in the backyard, the bubbles continued and mini-badminton games had ensued. Nothing serious, just a fun time popping the birdies up in the air to each other as the dads stayed busy with the BBQ, the moms enjoyed visiting, and great-grandparents smiled away in the slightly quieter living room.
In fact, one really nice thing about all this is that we spread out the noise keeping the noise level down a tad for their two great-grandparents. By spreading grandkids in different directions, it was easier to give them quieter visiting time with just one or two grandkids per “session.”
Naturally, I had a great time taking photos, hugging one and all often, and just treasuring the moments as I know it will probably be a long time before we are able to do this again.
If you are going to be enjoying get-togethers with your own grandkids this summer, and especially if your elderly parents will also be coming, planning ahead and having lots of different options can be a huge help. Even though we didn’t use the board games that day, several of my grandkids and I did have fun with them earlier in the week. Nothing was wasted, great family memories were forged, and even though it was still a bit loud for the great-grands, they and we all agreed a terrific time was had by all. Do you have more suggestions and tips for large family get-togethers and reunions? We’d love to hear them – either here in the comments or over at Facebook. 🙂 Happy summer, y’all.
P.P.S. Speaking of board games, check out this cute Chinese Checker board. We have always played with marbles so this was a first. But I have to say, I actually found it easier to use than the marbles. Though my senior mom still likes the marbles better. What do you think?