I just got back from an exhausting weekend trip away to celebrate the marriage of my cousin, Alison and her new husband, Brian. And by exhausting, I mean great. Exhausting meaning so much fun packed into 3 little days. Exhausting because we booked the earliest flight possible to be able to spend every minute of the weekend with our family. (Bonus that we got an extra hour with my aunt, Char and cousins Kurt and Stacey when we coincidentally were placed on the same connecting flight as they were! Not only were we on the same flight but also seated in seats right next to them). Exhausting because we squeezed in every possible minute including sitting on the floor in the hallway of the hotel between our rooms reminiscing and laughing over beers until the wee hours of the morning. Exhausting because we also booked the latest flight possible, for the same reasons and didn’t arrive home until early, early, early Monday morning.
For the majority of my life, all but 4 years of it, we have lived very far away from most of my mom’s family. While that may mean that we should have been distant relatives that don’t really know each other, that is not the case. I have some of the fondest memories of my childhood riding in the back of our car, windows down, playing “the alphabet game” (trying to be the first to spot the entire alphabet on road signs) driving across the most boring parts of Wyoming and Nebraska in anticipation of the annual Hodapp family campout where I would finally get to see my cousins again, having not seen or talked to them in an entire year. With today’s technology it’s easy to stay connected to cousins far away but back then we just had hand-written letters, sometimes written in secret code so our parents or brothers couldn’t read the oh so secret text of “How are you? I am great. I miss you.” Those many miles, lack of Facebook, expensive long distance phone calls and inability to text didn’t seem to phase the closeness of the Hodapp family. Now as an adult, I have the same anticipation whenever there is an event when we get to see everyone. We pick up where we left off, like family around the corner from each other without a long stretch of I-80 in between.
So, anyway, all that to say I was so excited to be able to see my family and see Alison as a beautiful bride.
Alison was married at a beautiful campground owned by her family. She had so many creative and personal touches that tied in perfectly with the fall campground theme. We helped with the decorations that lined the aisle for the ceremony… flowers with pumpkins as the vases. They turned out great, if I do say so myself, although the best ones were those done by my aunt Char and cousin Stacey.
My dad and Kurt added the finishing touches, making each one just perfect (or so THEY thought).
On Friday night we celebrated my aunt Charlene’s birthday. (there were 5 birthdays this weekend in addition to the wedding, my dad’s included.)
On Saturday we witnessed the beautiful wedding. Alison’s entrance began with her dad driving her to the beginning of the aisle in this! Talk about “something blue!”
Hay bales lined the aisle to a gazebo overlooking the water where they spoke the perfect vows. And while it was windy and most could not hear them, I did catch the “Bears” comment, Alison! “I promise to laugh with you in good times and struggle with along side you in bad times, which will be many since you are a Bears fan.”
The happy couple being serenaded to “All you need is love” and loud kazoos by all of the guests. (some of which sang louder than others…ahem, mother!)
Everything around the campground was just beautiful… perfect for capturing some photos for my family.
This was the first time in a long time that all of my mom’s siblings were together. There are eight in total, an even 4 boys and 4 girls.
Of these 4 boys and 4 girls, there is also a pretty even split of boys and girls among their children. But their grandchildren…. something happened to the evenness. We have an overwhelmingly high number of boys in the Hodapp grandchildren. Of the 15 shown here, Samantha is the sole girl. Of the 35 (I think) total, there are only 5 girls among the entire bunch.
The reception was held in an enormous tent and everything was decorated beautifully. The pumpkins, gourds, rustic wood and Smore’s bar! all went perfectly with the theme!
Brian’s mom baked and packaged an individual pie for each and every one of us. 250 or more, I think! They were so cute and delicious.
The maid of honor and best man.
Genes tend to run pretty strong in the family. You’ve already seen that there are mostly boy grandchildren. There are also mostly bald uncles and male cousins. There are a few exceptions. A few do have hair and as you can see those without hair hold a bit of disdain towards those lucky enough to have some.
A few, but only a few have the red hair. Just three of us. Me, the bride, and my cousin’s little cutie, Will.
Another rare occurrence….there’s two sets of boy twins with another set of twins on the way. Can’t wait to hear if they are boys / girls / both! Me and my cousin, Courtney, the mother’s of the twin boys! Do we look tired? Nah!!
And the fun gene… that runs strong through all of us. Whether you were born into or married into the Hodapp clan we all LOVE to have fun. I think that is what keeps us all so close. When we get together we just pick right up where we left off laughing, telling the same joke over and over again and having a blast!
Matthew, Alison’s nephew, came out in this halfway through the night. It was hilarious!
My dad’s birthday was the same day as the wedding, so we sang Happy Birthday to him… do you think he loved it?
Brian, the newest member of the Hodapp clan…. I think he’ll fit right in.
Congratulations Alison and Brian and thank you for an awesome weekend.
Until next time, much love to you all.