The spark that started our California trip was the fact that my nephew was graduation from my alma mater (and the first grandchild to graduate from college) and my mom has been working for several years on getting as much of the family together as possible for a reunion - a rare and difficult thing to accomplish as my six siblings and I are spread out over four states - only two of which are adjacent to each other (Wisconsin and Minnesota). We did pretty well, with six of seven siblings in attendance and were very creative about getting together without any of our homes as a primary focal point.
We had a lovely visit that included an engagement party for Mike and his fiance, an informal get-together in a hotel lobby, graduation itself, and Mass and brunch at TAC on Mother's Day.
The hotel lobby party was funny. John and I had picked up a few bags of food at Trader Joe's and we all enjoyed some tasty treats that aren't always available in places like Oklahoma and Wisconsin.
The front-desk attendants were very accomodating (especially since my younger brother, who had ordered a very roomy suite wasn't there yet) but asked us a few times to try to keep a little quieter as it was hard for her to talk on the phone. We tried to accomodate, but it was difficult to keep the noise level down with eight adults and eight kids in the bunch.
Feeling a bit guilty as the kids got more wound up, I came up with an idea. I had my middle four (Ria was elsewhere at the time) do some Irish dancing for everyone. The noise level immediately went down by at least half - as people were too busy dancing or watching - and we came up with a quiet hand-waving instead of clapping. The cute thing was that the front-desk attendant who had asked us several times to be quiet, enjoyed the performance so much that she clapped loudly and exclaimed that we had made her entire day.
Ah, how much happiness doth come from the desperate creativity of busy moms. :)
Happy Lawless cousins (from five different families)...
After graduation we enjoyed a brief visit with Willa Ryan and family. It was particularly nice to get Ria together with Willa's daughter for a very nice visit. I believe we'll be seeing a new face on Chesterteens soon!