Sunday, June 23, 2013

Saying Goodbye to the California Cousins

We crammed a lot in the last couple of days and I'm exhausted. Friday, Bruce and Stephen went golfing with 3 other Nielsen cousins who are here for the big reunion at Lake Okoboji on Sat. Kathy took her GPS and went to Cherokee in search of thrift stores and the kids and I took a 3 mile ride on the horses.

Annie has taken to Spider like a duck to water, she reminds me of niece, Anne's, little Sophia, 'No Fear.' When they came last fall to ride horses, Sophia was the first one on and the last one off.
Sophia and Aunt Christine on Lacey. (Pictures courtesy of niece Anne.)
When we leave the barn the horses walk s-o-o-o-o s-l-o-w-w-w-w, trying to turn in every driveway, certain it will lead back to the barn. I'm in the lead, always turning around to check the riders are still on course. Going home is a different story! Suddenly Lacey and Spider are filled with energy and hot footing it for home, Lacey usually at a jog. Ian is such a soft heart, he is afraid he is going to hurt Lacey so I told him to just turn her in a circle to slow her down.

Then Lacey is disgusted that she isn't in the lead anymore. Both of them have really polished their riding skills in a few short days and it's been so much fun having someone to ride with.

Friday night 'the whole darned family' (well, not quite right but we always love that part of the Boll Weevil song) were home for the big reunion the next day. Bruce's sister, Janet and hubby, Foof, from Paullina, along with all three children and most of their families. Christine and Brian from Paullina, with Jesse, Levi and Nichole. Son Brian from Paullina without Ty and Jacob as they were busy, and Anne and Pete from Rochester with Alex, Sophia and Ben. We were missing 2 other sisters and families from WI.
Whenever the family is home and the weather is conducive, we try to have a cookout at Leo's Pond, the French kids legacy from their father. Bruce and Stephen weren't going to be home till later so that left Kathy, Ian, Annie and I to do the work. We went over early to get it ready, after carrying chairs out of the cabin, I had to laugh when I saw Kathy had them both scrubbing the dirt, it's usually every man for himself over there!
Christine, Sophia and Alex trying to catch a fish.

S'mores face, only a father could love.

Nichole playing a trick on Aunt Anne and Grandma Janet while Kathy is oblivious.
Levi warming up for the 'big rock throw across Leo's Pond...

Ian swimming 'Loch Leo', he's missing his ocean swimming in California.

He must touch dry ground before heading back.


Everyone had a great time at the pond, Bruce and Stephen arrived late but were still able to get a sandwich. We needed to get home and cleaned up because we had another big day Saturday, at the Presbyterian Camp on West Lake Okoboji on Sat for the Nielsen Family Reunion. There was a ton of food, just what you would expect from a Nielsen clan and Brian and Christine took their boat so anyone could go tubing and the kids all had a blast. Most of the adults sat around, digesting the food and catching up with other family members we don't see that often. One memorable moment was when one of the toilets overflowed and Bruce and Foof jumped in to save the day.
We were a nearly comatose group on the ride home, luckily Stephen kept his eyes open since he was driving. Every one snacked for supper and went to bed early, we had a storm in the night, I was up closing windows and Bruce found some damage at the farm this morning.
I hear the whole crew upstairs packing, it will be quiet around here now. There is one member of the household who will be glad things are back to normal, Ghost, our feral house cat.
She's been wondering who these people are and when are they leaving!!!
Edited to add sister Carol, hubby Tom and The Buster, their cute little Pomeranian fuzzball dog that I inadvertently left out, so sorry!! Tom showing off his Frisbee skill.



  1. Poor Ghost! She does like the normal, the abnormal makes her anxious! Especially when they take over her room!!

  2. hey what are we, silly putty?? an exact quote from the husband - Tom and I were actually at the pond Friday night, too. It was a very humid/hot night but the food and especially the company was wonderful, even if we were as quiet and inconspicuous as mouses......CG

    1. So Sorry, CG!! I had you, Tom and The Buster in my first draft then changed things and forgot to put you back. Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa!!

  3. Julie, what great memories you made with your family. I enjoyed reading every story !!