elisabeth, family, holidays, oregon, stephen

Team Moody~1st Family Reunion

The Moody tribe descended on Portland this past weekend for the first biennial Moody Family Reunion. This reunion idea has been in the works for several years now, and it finally became a reality.

Since Stephen’s family has seven siblings who are spread across the country from South Carolina to Indiana to Colorado to Oregon—we began a new family tradition of creating our own reunion with the siblings, their families, and Mom and Dad every two years.

Here’s the game plan: one sibling/couple plans the reunion (picks the location, plans food and activities, sets the budget, etc.). We started with the eldest (Stephen and me), and we’ll work down in descending age order. We thought doing a reunion every other year would give us all a chance to save up for the trip and allow us to do other things in the “off” years. It’s also pretty cool that we’ll potentially get to vacation all over the country with these gatherings.

I’ve been dreaming of doing a reunion like this for a long while now, and I gleaned most of my ideas from this blogger whose family does an awesome reunion each year at a lake house (see here and here too). Pinterest was helpful (as always) for gathering ideas and taking advantage of the interweb’s creativity–here’s my family reunion board.

For the destination, Stephen chose a beautiful log cabin at Detroit Lake, a little over two hours southeast of here. The cabin housed 15 adults–the exact number of people who attended.

With all the couches, futons, bunk beds, and floor space we could have squeezed in a few more if we had to.

Stephanie and Jason weren’t able to make it since Stephanie had just given birth to little Jameson Randall, the newest family member, on April 29th. We missed them and wished Brooklyn and Jameson could have joined in with the other four cousins.

Almost everyone arrived a day or two in advance of the reunion kickoff. The siblings got to experience a little bit of Portland culture, visit some area sights, watch a little of Silas’s t-ball game,

and see our new house in Beaverton. We got to meet our niece Gracelyn for the first time. She’s ten months old and cute as a button! It was fun to have a sibling game night and share family stories.

Friday, we packed up enough food to feed an army and left for the lake once Mom and Dad arrived.

The Caprino cabin was a winning vacation destination! With three beds, three baths, game room, fire pit, direct access to the lake, well-stocked kitchen and laundry room, family room and a wrap-around porch with a grill—this cabin was amazing! We highly recommend it.

The owner was especially easy to work with and helpfully answered all of our questions. The bulletin board with memorabilia from other guests’ stay at the cabin, combined with the heart-warming stories written in the guest journal, gave the cabin an endearing story all its own. We’re happy our story intersected with it.

One nice touch was that Stephen could hook up his phone to the cabin’s speaker system allowing us to listen to his Spotify playlist. Music always makes things better.

After settling in to our rooms, Stephen and I kicked off the reunion with the t-shirt reveal and intro to the flexible schedule for the weekend.

Making the schedule poster was one of my very favorite parts of planning. I had an idea for a t-shirt design, but it was Stephen who made the shirts come to life. We ordered shirts from this company. The front says, “Team Moody—Oregon 2017” and the back has each of our birth years on them as jersey numbers. With our limited budget, we couldn’t get kid sizes small enough for the littles, but they’ll grow into them. Gracelyn even wore her shirt as a cape. Go Team Moody!

It was incredible that our reunion coincided with Dad’s 60th birthday. We celebrated him with cake and ice cream and a beautiful photo book compiled by David and Tammy.

That night we had a bonfire that sparked (ha!) some good conversations late at night under the stars.

Saturday was lake day. The weather was perfect, and the kids especially enjoyed playing in the sand and water.

Amy had reserved some jet skis for the afternoon, so anyone who wanted could take a turn. It was my first time to ride/pilot a sea-doo, and each of our kids took a turn—even Brynn!

(she hated her life jacket, by the way…)

The group activity for Saturday was a Minute-to-Win-It competition. Everyone was a good sport, and we had a lot of laughs! I divided everyone up into two teams and picked ten games.

We had two or three people from each team try each game. I picked ones that I wouldn’t have minded playing myself and drew on this blog and this one for ideas.

The best performance was by Mom and Dad doing the “Junk in the Trunk” game. They each had 8 ping pong balls in an empty tissue box strapped to their backside. The goal was to get all the balls out of their box before the other person. Mom won! The winning team for the night was awarded gold medals made of Twix bars attached to ribbons and hung around their necks. Second place winners got silver medals (aka York peppermint patties).

Let’s talk food for a moment: I tried to keep our menu yummy, but manageable as far as prep and cooking. Since there were no large grocery stores near the lake, we had to cart an enormous amount of food and supplies. I’m glad so many people rented cars so we had extra luggage space. The cabin had almost all the kitchen utensils, condiments, spices, and dry goods we wanted. Some things I’m glad I brought with me: leftover containers, a large griddle, and the spices/sauces specific to my recipes.

Stephen grilled teriyaki chicken and veggie skewers the first night which we served with rice, kale salad, and rolls. Saturday morning, Tim was our breakfast chef, making pancakes, eggs, and bacon. For lunch we did a make-your-own-sandwich flex meal so people could eat when they were hungry. That night was Cuban Street Tacos with lots of toppings, re-fried beans, and corn. We cooked the meat in crock pots all day, and then shredded and broiled the meat to make it crispy. For Sunday’s brunch I served a French breakfast sandwich, fruit tray, and packaged cinnamon rolls. Lunch was supposed to be a baked potato bar (cooked in the crock pot), but we made that a fend-for-yourself meal and saved the potatoes for dinner. Some people ate leftovers and sandwiches, while others picked up lunch from the quaint eateries in town. The grand finale supper was steak (Worcestershire sauce and Montreal Steak seasoning makes the best marinade), baked potatoes, and roasted brussel sprouts (along with leftover corn and rolls). Our farewell breakfast was a creative gourmet spread by Tim again. He made crepes with cream cheese filling, berries, and lime glaze. I was impressed! He had volunteered to help with food, and he didn’t disappoint. The family was great about pitching in to help with cooking and clean-up, so it really was a team effort and facilitated more family time together.

Sunday morning, we ate brunch and then Stephen led us in family worship. David played the guitar while we sang a few worship songs.

Then Stephen led a short Bible study on Psalm 2—one of his favorites. We ended with prayer and then donned family t-shirts for pictures at the lake shore.

Sunday afternoon, Dad rented a pontoon boat and took us for a ride.

We had quite the exciting ride as the wind whipped the water into some powerful whitecaps. It felt more like a ride on the ocean than a lake. Boating around the island gave us a view of the enormously gorgeous snow-peaked Mt. Jefferson.

Afterwards, we went with part of the family on a wild-goose-chase hike in the woods. Stephen had found a waterfall on a map that had a rough unmarked trail somewhere off a logging road. We found the right logging road, but missed the trailhead. Striking out into the woods with three small kids was an adventure!

Stephen marked blazes on the trees with his Ka-Bar, but it was still tough to find our way back. Thankfully we could hear traffic from the road, so we were never in any real danger of being hopelessly lost, but we didn’t make it to the waterfall after all. At least David, Tammy, and Gracelyn found their own waterfall.

Our plan was to end the reunion with a family meeting around a bonfire and s’mores where we could discuss plans for the next reunion. We wanted to hear things that worked well and that the family liked, as well as things that didn’t work well and could be improved upon. However, events took a different turn when Dad got a call from one of the brothers (who shall remain nameless) that he was hiking up on one of the nearby mountains and having trouble finding his way back. Dad and one brother took off in the right general direction but called in reinforcements after about an hour. All the rest of the guys hopped in the vehicles and took off on a search and rescue mission—some still in their flip-flops—without telling any of us girls exactly where they were going!

As it turned out, the guys had to drive up a logging road, past the snow line, with just a one foot shoulder before a steep drop-off. They drove as far as they could before being stopped by a snow bank. Miraculously, in the providence of God, when they got out of their vehicles and began shouting into the vast wilderness, the brother called back! Talk about God’s grace and mercy! It was after 9 pm at this point, so they were in the dark with some flashlights and lanterns. The guys took off in the several feet of snow (flip-flops notwithstanding), calling into the darkness. They could hear him, but couldn’t get to him. He was sliding down the mountain on his backside, unhurt, but unable to cross the creek without a light. He had been out hiking by himself for almost ten hours. Dad called the sheriff for some help, but before the sheriff started up the mountain, the brothers had helped him cross the creek and he was on his way back down with them. We’re so glad he’s safe and that all the guys were protected on that dangerous road. It was cool to see the guys’ love for their own as they banded together, and we’re incredibly thankful for a happy ending. Next reunion, we’ll have to pack survival supplies and schedule a search and rescue training course!

Monday morning we had our family meeting during Tim’s gourmet breakfast. Then everyone pitched in with cleaning and packing. Several people had to head directly to the airport, but Amy, Cameron, and Tim were off to Seattle for more Pacific Northwest exploration. Ben spent the day with us, endearing himself to the kids by buying them souvenirs and spending quality time with them. We took him to the Bonneville Lock and Dam and the fish hatchery. We saw a few salmon and a lamprey in the fish ladder. The gusty gap winds made the spray of water from the dam even more impressive! We spotted Sasquatch (aka Big Foot) at the fish hatchery,

and the boys got to feed some trout.

Due to an accident on the Oregon side of the Columbia River, we drove upstream to the Cascade Locks, crossed the Bridge of the gods, and returned on the Washington side of the river. That bridge and drive gave us some impressive vistas!

Our adventures didn’t end until Tuesday night when the Seattle crew came back for one last game night of Rummikub, Settlers of Catan, and shared their Seattle snacks and stories.

This reunion is in the books! So many memories made. 1-2-3-Gooooooo MOODYS!

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