Gerig reunion

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I have been meaning to post about the Gerig reunion and our trip to Tennessee/Illinois/Indiana, but haven’t gotten around to it because of everything that happened with Jera. Finally, however, I got all my pictures off my camera and here they are! (You can see all these pictures as well as ones from Carrie’s wedding here.)

Paul and I picked up Bethany at her house in Tennessee, and continued on our way. We had brought Jera with us because our normal pet-sitter was unavailable and we didn’t really know who else to ask. Besides, we wanted to show her off!

Jera does (did) really well in the car. We just put her blankets on the back seat and she slept most of the way. She’s so cute. :-)

The plan was to leave Nashville super early in the morning, drive to the Indiana Dunes, reserve 3 campsites for everyone planning to camp, drop Jera off with Joanna and Brent, and then head to Illinois (about 2 hrs away) for the wedding. This plan worked, for the most part. We were a bit late leaving Nashville, but we made it up to the Dunes by 4. We pulled into the campground and saw a sign that said “Campground Full”. My heart leapt into my throat. Immediately, I started trying to plan in my head, “What am I going to do with 16 people for sleeping tonight if the campground is full?” We drove to the sites and saw a park ranger. We pulled over and asked her if the campground was indeed full.

“There are 3 sites left,” she told us. All I can say is that God was watching over us!! That was exactly what we needed! We were SO grateful, and spent the next hour or two hurriedly unpacking the car and setting up the tent. I probably don’t need to say that the last three sites were quite a ways from the parking lot, so it was a lot of walking, but I am just glad we were able to get them! It was nice because they were all together, and kind of off by themselves so it was really private.

After unpacking we drove to Wheaton and attended Carrie’s beautiful wedding. We partied late into the night, sending the happy couple off with sparklers (fun!) and then returned to the Dunes around 2am. Oh, should I mention that I had been up since 6:15 that morning? Yeah I was tired! But I was so pumped about seeing everyone that I ended up crawling into my tent at 4am.

I got up early the next day (haha… not really…) and we found a pavilion near the campsite for our cookout. A few more people were joining us for the day. We had such a great time!

One of the highlights for me was getting to meet little Benjamin for the first time. I hadn’t seen Beth and her family since our wedding last year.

Joanna taught Olivia all about how to play with puppies. Jera did fine with Olivia most of the day, but towards the end I think she got a little tired of children! I gave Jera a bone that evening, and she tried her best to get as far away from Olivia as she could. It was cute. :-)

It was fun to see everyone.

In order to get Josh to come to a reunion on his birthday, we bribed him with cake! Joanna did a great job of making a rocket ship cake (since Josh is interested in that sort of thing). She also made a planet-cake, decorated with Toy Story aliens. (Note Buzz Lightyear next to the rocket!)

After a fun barbecue, we all decided to head to Mount Baldy and the lakeshore. Most everyone climbed the dune, but I stayed with Beth and children on the beach. I must admit, I was a little surprised by how small the Dunes were, but I guess I’m used to the ones in the Atacama Desert! It seemed that everyone had fun, though.

We returned to the campsite for s’mores and fellowship, and stayed up late that night. We would all be going our separate ways the next day, too bad.

I didn’t take any pictures of the campsite until breakfast the next morning after people had started packing up! Next time I need to get my camera out earlier. It was so much fun, though. I love my friends from Gerig!!

Without a doubt, Indiana has the most beautiful sky ever. I took tons of pictures on the way home. Can you get over the blue, blueness of the sky and the white contrast of the clouds?? It seems to be endless, looking across the flat fields of Indiana. Ah, I really enjoy visiting Indiana – provided I can leave again after a short period. ;-)

We returned to Nashville to drop Bethany off and stay the night before leaving early Monday morning for Atlanta. We had a lot we wanted to do on our day off – call the vet, give Jera a bath (she was FILTHY after that weekend!), clean the house, go grocery shopping, etc. Of course all those plans were cancelled when this happened before we left on Monday. What a sad ending to a great weekend. Fortunately, I don’t associate that sad incident with the Gerig reunion. I am glad – it was SUCH a great weekend, and I really had a special last few days with Jera.

Courtesy of Joanna, here is the whole group! We had 16 people camp and 23 people, 2 kids, and a dog come for the day on Saturday! It was so much fun. I think everyone had a great time, and we’re already talking about next year’s reunion. I am thinking of trying to plan something over 4th of July weekend perhaps, if that time is convenient for everyone. Look for details early 2008. :-)

(You can see all more pictures as well as ones from Carrie’s wedding here.)