From two people deciding to make a commitment to each other 43 years ago, their love has grown to a total of 48 individuals. And those individuals comprise one really cool family. 44 of us were able to come together under one roof this past week in Tennessee. It was a sight to see. I'll try to share some of it here...my apologies if you're not a fan of pictures (because there are a lot of them).
First, this is where we were and what we could see from the front and back of our cabin (and when I say cabin - it was three stories with 12 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms).
I thought we were going to be a little more secluded and only a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Appalachian Trail. But the setting did not disappoint.
Now, here's where the real fun begins when you're talking about such a large family: grocery shopping!
Since marrying Karen almost 12 years ago, I've heard the stories of powdered milk and food storage and apple-picking. I've heard about the assignments each child was given regarding mass food preparation. But to see it in action was awe-inspiring. Glen and Cheryl came home with the groceries (for 44 people for 3 days) and within minutes the car was unloaded. Almost as quickly, the counters were clean and everything was in its place. It was a well-oiled machine and no one skipped a beat.
Once the groceries were put away and dinner was prepared, Grandpa attempted to call everyone's attention for prayer. It took a little longer than usual, but eventually the room was quiet and a family prayer was offered. Every family had a responsibility at some point to help prepare dinner and clean-up afterwards (on a different night). It was so nice to just see it come together.
While the ladies went through the dinner line first, the boys played their hand-held electronic toys!
Much of the time we were at the cabin, there were small clusters of people throughout the place. Sometimes they were playing games, sometimes they were just talking, sometimes stories were being told. It was so fun to go from one floor to the next and see different groups of people...sometimes of random ages...just enjoying each other's company.
This next picture will look a little like a repeat. You see, there are 5 Knutti girl cousins who were all born in the year 2002. One of them couldn't make it to the reunion...so a younger girl cousin stepped in. The older girls were very accepting. And I think Brooklyn thoroughly enjoyed being a "big girl" for the week.
Tuesday morning we ventured out for a hike. Not everyone came...but there were still probably over 30 of us. We took this particular picture simply because of Aunt Laurel on the Christensen side. How could we pass up this photo opportunity?
As we were waiting for everyone to gather, we snapped this picture of some of the cousins (and Aunt Nicole).
When we stopped to take breaks, we created traffic jams! We had lots of little people with short legs (which is always a nice excuse for the adults).
At the top, we took a nice long break. Some kids climbed the rocks to get higher on the falls, others took their shoes and socks off to enjoy the refreshing water. There were a lot of people at the falls. Funny how the place seemed empty when we left!
One afternoon or evening (the days kind of blur together), Grandpa shared a slide show with the family. He had pictures of the Knutti siblings as babies and kids...and he wanted the grandkids to raise their hand when they recognized their mom or dad. It was a great activity.
Later that same evening, the adult kids celebrated the 43rd wedding anniversary of John and Gloria Knutti. The Knutti siblings had a conference call prior to the trip and planned several mementos that they would share with their mom and dad to illustrate various memories they had of growing up. There were a lot of laughs!
One afternoon, we held a Knutti family talent show where everyone was both a member of the audience and a participant!
Some played the piano and some performed skits. Mark, on a whim, displayed some art he has drawn recently.
Grandma recited the poem "The Touch of the Master's Hand" that she had memorized years ago.
"The girls" spent hours and hours preparing for their own medley of skits and performances. They sang a little and did some skits they had seen at various activities. It was really cute. I wish these girls lived closer together.
I love families...and I love this family. I gained a greater appreciation for families during this trip. Everyone was helping everyone. There was always an open lap for a child who was sad or tired. The two oldest Knutti cousins (Rachel and Jared) were some of the best parents there. They were always spending time with one of their younger cousins playing a game or reading a book or helping with a meal or just walking a toddler up and down the stairs. And it was sweet to see Grandma and Grandpa spend individual time with various grandchildren.
It was a great reunion and we look forward to the next one!