On Friday, July 4th, my nephew Eric, his wife Tina and their son Derek came to spend the weekend. Tina makes the best carrot cupcakes and she brought us a dozen - YUM!! They set up their tent right behind our rig and we all settled back in our lawn chairs to enjoy the fireworks from across the river in Bellevue Iowa.
|Derek enjoying the sparklers!|
|Tina had as much fun as Derek|
On Saturday we had more visitors - Sue, Sarah Beth, Matthew and his girlfriend Emily came to spend the night. I made the mistake of asking 4 year old Derek what he wanted for dinner and so we had pasta and meatballs inside rather than cooking burgers on the grill. Oh well, now we know we can feed 9 people inside the rig. We did sit outside and toast marshmallows for dessert - life is good!
Our campground was filled due to the holiday and we had a very interesting neighbor - Hamilton, a pot-bellied pig.
|Emily and Matt were quite amused by the pig|
|Derek and I convinced Sarah to give us a ride.|
|Derek and his daddy, Eric|
On Sunday morning, after eating bacon (sorry, Hamilton) and pancakes for breakfast we drove west into Iowa and headed to the reunion.
Every five years the Merkes branch of my family meets in Dyersville, Iowa for a reunion. Back when it started in 1984 there were 600 +/- direct descendants of my great grand-parents Thomas and Catharina who had ten children. Thirty years later we number in the thousands! The reunion is always held on the Sunday closest to July 4th and even though the turnout was less than in previous years we still had a great time catching up with our Iowa and Wisconsin cousins. My parents are gone as are many of my dad's first cousins. The ones that are left are mostly in their 80's or older so this may have been the last reunion.
|One small branch of our family|
|Eric holding Derek, Tina, Sue, Sarah, Emily, Matt, Mary, Marty and Maddie|
|Children of the Corn - Oops, wrong movie :)|
|5 little turtles sitting on a log. . .|
|Sue and Sarah taking pictures for the blog|
Hi Sarah here - in Platteville, Wisconsin we went to go visit my second cousin, twice removed - Tom. He's my grandma's 2nd cousin. We stopped at DQ (he owns it). Then we talked for a while. He introduced us to his daughters Katie and Debbie then we went to Country Kitchen (he owns that too) to meet his wife Renee and my favorite of his SEVEN daughters - Sarah Beth.
Tom showed us the houses that were destroyed by a tornado on June 16th. Then he wanted to show us Payton's Hill but when we entered there was a little sign that we didn't see! (no trespassing) So we went down there and we saw a police car (and a bunch of broken trees) we pulled over and Officer Reg told us this road was closed and we could not be there. Then he said he could give us each, even me, a $205.00 citation. I STARTED TO FREAK OUT!!!!!!!
but luckily he just gave a citation to uncle Marty. GOOD NIGHT PEOPLE!!!!!!
|Marty, Mary, Tom, Sue and Sarah Beth|