4.27.2017

Dad's 50th Birthday Bontrager Reunion Celebration

On Easter weekend, we celebrated the blessing of family, friendship, + my father's 50th birthday celebration, all in a grand reunion at our favorite Iowa camp

All eight of the original children and my grandma,were present. With spouses, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, our numbers keep climbing and climbing! Even with about twenty family members that weren't able to attend, we still had fifty-seven people in attendance.

This tradition of a 50th Birthday Celebration/Reunion was started years ago----a reunion centering around the birthday of the sibling that is turning fifty. This works quite well when one is in a family of eight children that are all somewhat close together in age. =) If there is more than several years gap between the siblings, then we plan a random get together for another reason. (the last one was my grandma's 80th birthday, three years ago)

Ah, what fun was had. Long talks. Ziplining. Trampoline jumping. Walks. Good food. Lots of coffee. Carpet Ball. Canoeing. Holding babies. Pingpong. Basketball. More coffee. Yummy snacks. Late night talks. Dutch Blitz. Singing. Sharing.

Here is the recap!
.
Conversations...
Girl time....
Grandma with her newest grandchild.
Little ladies...
An "aunt against nephew" ping-pong matchup. =)
Also over the weekend we were blessed to have our very own mini basketball tournament of sorts. It really was extremely entertaining. These seven cousins went all out---made teams, designed + bought their own shirts, and lined up the whole deal. It was seriously such a riot!! They've played together quite a bit before, and several of the guys also play on other teams, so it was quite legit. They played two-on-two games, with two of the guys rotating in and out. (since they had an uneven amount of players)
On Saturday morning we all gathered around for a 2hr interview/blessing time for Dad. Carson started things off with reading the Proverb of the day. 
Each of us children shared some things we appreciated about our Dad. It was everything from deep to funny to just special stories. 
It was a great opportunity to publicly bless + thank him for his investment in our lives.
Each of dad's siblings shared as well.
Grandma with her five sons...
and three daughters!
What a production. You'd think pictures would be easy with eight adults! Not so!
Ever the older sister awareness going on...even to the point of inspecting a spot on the baby brother's shirt. =)
Such great cousin moments!
Nails, babies, and chats!
stories...
more good conversations around more good food.
the guy gang
laughter!
deep thoughts.
backrubs...
Babies again! This guy is gonna make a good daddy someday!
Chats with the aunt.
The game was streamed on Facebook live, although there was a slight exaggeration on the numbers report from the announcers. 
"Ladies and gentlemen, this is the final night for our tournament, and we are streaming live on Facebook with"...mom, how many followers?? Two?..."with two thousand followers joining us via the livestream!!" 
Ha!
Saturday night found us back in the gym for the grand finale of the basketball tournament. You can see the two announcers there with their mics. Those guys haven't listened to/watched hours of games for nothing. Their announcer impersonations were epic. =)
There were a lot of "zingers" from these two, resulting in much laughter from the onlookers.
Our dear father was having such a time! We joke that one of his lost callings in life is coaching. =) Back in the day, when he and his brothers were growing up, they loved following + playing sports together. The love has been passed on to their sons, and it was just so much fun to see both generations getting into the game so much and having such a grand time.
When it was time for the "halftime show", the six present aunts were called up.
Above? Their faces after they were told that they would be competing against each other to see who could make the most hoops. =)
It was HIGHLY humorous. =)
Aunt Linda was the grand winner, making a total of ONE hoop!
 (we won't tell you how many the other aunts made, haha)
Poor Denver-this was his expression as the crowd yelled, "Come on, Denver...give us a Linda!" (basically implying that if he didn't make the next hoop he wasn't as good as his aunt!)
These two brother coaches were in their ELEMENT.
Snack time, before bed-time!
This age group preferred to skip bedtime + chat instead. =) Oh, and how about that 2am Dutch Blitz for the hard core? BEST OF TIMES.
carpetball
cornhole
coffee and more chatting...
And of course, continuous big smiles from these two. =) 
Mitchell led us in worship + time in the Word, on Sunday morning.
My grandma is my hero. It was precious to see her surrounded by children + grandchildren as we all joined together in worship that morning.
We also had another informal sharing time in which Grandma shared stories from her childhood/early marriage. Several of the little grandchildren also got to ask grandma some questions. 
What an incredible weekend it was. We are so blessed by these people and their huge hearts. It is always such a privilege to be together + we always come away with gratitude to Jesus for giving us such great extended family. 
People often ask us how we can get along so well, as a whole, since we truly are such a diverse bunch. The answer is that when people truly love Jesus, they are able to see beyond the outside/differences. Take the group of six cousins above. They go to four different churches. They have different circles, different friends, different lots of things. But they all love Jesus and want to live for Him. That is the common bond, and everything else is small and insignificant by comparison. 

"One generation shall praise Thy works to another, and shall declare Thy mighty acts."
Psalm 145:4

10 comments:

  1. Wow. Great pictures. What a reunion. And you're right. When people truly love Jesus and strive to live for Him, those little differences are so dim. Thank you so much for sharing that. It encouraged me.

    ReplyDelete
  2. How precious to see the love of Jesus in all you do. Tis a rare thing to see a large family gettogether and they are all getting along. Praise the Lord for that testimony of his grace in your lives!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for sharing all the pictures!! I know we missed out for sure! :(

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for sharing! It looks like everyone had a wonderful time. =)
    Am I still able to see the basketball game on facebook?
    If so, where can I watch it?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Such a fabulous idea to do it at that epic place. :) And that commentating had to be stellar, haha!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks so much for sharing all these pictures!! We missed out on a lot of fun!! I seriously laughed my way though the live streaming of the last basketball game!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yes, we would love to watch the basketball game, but is it still up? Looks like you had a great time!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Looks like y'all had loads of fun!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hey, I know that place!! Haha! Such a great camp! We also got to meet two of your lovely cousins about a year back. They have their own cake company I believe! They are such sweet souls! We met them at a vendor event in KC. It looks like you all had so much fun! Family is a treasure from God! I hope you all are doing well and are enjoying life!
    May God Bless,
    Mackenzie Werner

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, that's awesome-our cousins mentioned that they met y'all! So cool!
      Can't wait to see y'all again in a few months, at camp!

      Delete

Comments containing lies, hateful/unkind words, or profanity will not be posted.
Anyone is welcome to leave comments stating differing views/opinions to those expressed here, but if you wish to disagree, we request that you do so in honor by listing your first and last name along with your comment. We prefer to dialogue (about disagreements) with real people, instead of those hiding behind anonymous titles. Thank-you!