Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Reunion wrap up

Our official reunion has come to an end. Saturday night was John, Mike and Leandro's night to host. The food they choose to serve was a fancy Argentina BBQ. It all tasted so good. They also had homemade humus and spam. I really love the "everyone hosts" tradition. It was a great way to share the work, and get to try new foods. After the BBQ we played cards...and we picked the card game that Emmanuel loves to play. It has many names. It is played very similar to spades. There is bidding and tricks..and it is set up so that each round someone cannot make their bid. It gets very tense and somewhat silly. Of course, I lost.

Monday we hit the beach. We went to Antler's beach in Lakeville. We like this beach because there is no sea weed, plenty of sun/shade and the playground is right on the beach. Everyone is happy.

It was fun to dig in the sand. Emily brought along her friend Nicole. Emily and Leo worked hard on building a tide pool.
Everybody worked together to bury Nicole.

The water was super fun too. Nico pretended he was an electric eel. He was swimming just like one, and even figured out a way to send out electric shocks with tiny bubbles.

Of course, Ryan was constantly bopping around in the water. Give the kid some goggles and he is gone.
This is the view we mostly saw of Ryan. Kind-of reminds me of the Loc Ness Monster.
Nico and Andrew were chasing Grandma Ginger all around the lake.

After the beach and dinner, everyone came over to our house. Nico got to hold Alice and watch her eat some gourmet rodents.
Totally studying all aspects of Alice One of Nico's favorite pass times is watching BBC Nature documentaries. This cute French/American kid that lives in Switzerland speaks with British accent when discussing nature. It is so funny to hear. It was great for him to get to handle Alice and I think he enjoyed to whole eating a mouse thing.
Today we said our good-byes to our French cousins..and we are off to our Tennant reunion. Maybe we should pack or something.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Dinner and Game Night

After swimming, we met up with the rest of the family for dinner and game night at our house. As some of you know, this usually means Papa Murphey's pizza will be served. We had pizza, chips and dip, chocolates and of course brownies. Before the games started, we played outside with the kids. Nico and Leo learned the game "crack the egg" on the trampoline. They caught on really fast and Leo liked being a "good egg." We then hit the park across the street until it started getting dark. When we got home the kids got to watch movies downstairs.

Have you ever played the game Mafia? It also is known as "Werewolf." It is such a funny game. I am not sure I can explain it but I will try. In the group there are the townspeople, a few mafia and a spy. A narrator helps the game along. Nobody knows who the mafia is and with each round the mafia slowly kills off the townspeople. The group then has to try to find the mafia and kill them off before they get all the townspeople. Each round the townspeople has to vote and decide who they think the mafia is, kill them and then find out if they were right. Sadly, the townspeople are usually wrong and they kill one of their own instead. Basically, you have to accuse people without drawing attention to yourself. The spy has some real information and can try to help the townspeople, but cannot really let anyone know they are the spy..or the mafia will get them. If that doesn't make sense (which I know it doesn't) come over and we can play together. You will catch on quickly. . Anyway the game is hilarious and highly addictive. We played it until 1 am.
Seriously, who would you trust? Here were some of my choices..sadly, the sneakiest mafia members got away without a mug shot.
Everyone's friend, John or was he REALLY a friend?The talkative ones that usually got killed off right away?

The highly suspicious Carol?Was Dad really just learning the game or was it a ploy to trick us?Mafia Mamma herself?Mom who kept innocently asking, "Could I really be Mafia 2, 3, 4 times in a row?" We learned that yes you can.Honestly, I think Fiona was the ring leader!
Louise put it best..."I cannot trust any of you people!"

Apple Valley Night and day

Like I said earlier, we each get to host one night of the family reunion. Friday night was our night, so we thought it would be fun to have kids swim at the Apple Valley water park in the afternoon. Emily got to bring her friend Maria. They had a game going where they were creatures that were born in the water and could only come up for air for a minute. As you see, they also had fun jumping in the water.
Nico loved the waterslide. He was going down by himself which was great because Carol got to take Leo down the slide.
Andrew and I got to go down together too.
I think Ryan and his friend Jacob spent the most time on the diving boards.
Jacob has a turn. They were just running off the edge of the board, trying to see what it was like to run in the air.
There is always time for treat breaks..Andrew is showing his cousin Leo the wonderful ways of Fun Dip.

Valley Fair

This is the 2nd reunion in which we have found a night to go to Valley Fair. It was the perfect time to go have some fun. There was a threat of rain which seemed to scare off the crowds, but no rain came. At one point, our arms were linked and we were skipping through the park. Seriously, seven Hamers in an amusement park is a wonderful thing! (Dad, John, Carol, Cathy, Ben, Louise and Laurie all went. The others were either babysitting or too scared to go, you decide who was what!) I cannot wait for our next trip. We were able to jump off the The Wild Thing have a quick stop to laugh at the pictures the ride took of us and get back on without a wait. I think we rode it 4 times in a row.
We were all loving the Xtreme Swing. It was new to all of us and a fun scary ride. I guess at one point in the ride you are lifted 125' off the ground. We rode this a bunch of times too.
Right next to the Xtreme swing is the Power Tower. It is still to me the most terrifying ride. The scariest part is the anticipation. You slowly ride up the tower and then just sit there for a while just waiting to be dropped to your death. Once you drop all is good, but that wait is so scary. Ben was threatening to try to take a picture from the top of the tower (about 250 feet high). Seriously just typing that makes my hands sweat and my legs tingle. I have a serious fear of dropping things from super high places. Luckily, he was caught with his camera and was not allowed to bring it on the ride.
Steel Venom is still my favorite ride at the park. I love sitting toward the front of the ride. You get to go crazy fast and crazy high. Ben and Laurie took pictures which I will try to add later. I was to much of a wimp to bring my camera.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Nickelodean Universe

We live about 15 minutes from the Mall of America. Inside it has a fun amusement park. It used to be called Camp Snoopy. We went all the time. We had annual passes. Then they switched it to Nickelodeon Universe. They added a bunch of rides, repainted/renamed the rest and charge a bunch more. So, today was amusement park day for our family reunion and our first trip to Nickelodean Universe. We spent the day with the kids at MOA and then some of the adults went to Valley Fair. (That trip will be its own post..good times.)

Nickelodeon Universe is a great place to take the kids. Ryan and Emily's definite favorite ride was the Splat-O-Sphere. It goes many stories up into the ceiling of the MOA and then free falls down super fast. They got Andrew and Nico to try it too. Andrew said he was terrified, but he loved it. I asked him if he wanted to do it again. He QUICKLY said, "No." He went back to having fun with Grandpa, and left the big rides for us. Ry also LOVED the Avatar ride. We are big Avator fans. Both Emily and Ry enjoyed the SpongeBob Rock Bottom ride. The hill on that ride literally went straight up and then straight down. I tried this one and thought it was pretty scary, but I loved it too. I also tried the Avatar ride. It was really a great ride. Not sure if it is worth $6, but hey all in the name of fun, right? Just so you know, if you drag your mouse over the slide show it shows a caption for the picture.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Zoo Trip

I am climbing over laundry piles and stepping over spilt cereal to find the computer in order to blog today. I have my priorities! After all, I am the self-appointed family reunion photographer/blogger.

Yesterday, we decided that it would be fun to take the kiddos to the zoo.Carol and her family sitting near the grizzly bears
He has the same wing-span as a great horned owl.
It is always fun to see the dolphin show. They even played Shrek music.
The butterfly garden is so peaceful and cool.
Leo found a turtle statue to play on...this reminds me of a children's book. The turtle is named Leo...I will find the book.
The sharks were Nico's favorite animal seen today. I think he could have watched them forever.
But close second was finding the carnivorous pitcher plant in the butterfly garden.
Laurie tries to keep Ryan in a good mood, because his mom "forced" him to come today. It's so hard to have a mom like me...poor guy.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Ben and Louise night

We have decided that it would be cool if we each get a night to host a dinner. Tonight was Ben and Louise's night. As I said before, they live right by Minnehaha Falls. We took the kids there before dinner for some water fun.
Emily and Ryan enjoyed floating down the river.
Emily and Leo had fun throwing rocks.
The boys and Grandma Ginger worked hard on making a wall of rocks
Then we went to eat at Ben and Louise's place. As you see, it is a lot of people. It was a perfect evening to eat outside. Louise cooked a yummy meal. Good job. It is going to be a tough act to follow.
After dinner we played a little wii Guitar Hero, wii Tennis and visited.

PS it was our 12 year anniversary

This past weekend was our 12 year anniversary. Maybe we will go and do something fun next year. (I feel like I have heard/said that before) I want to put something up in honor of the day. Enjoy. Here is our fun wedding video.

We're all here

We are all here together this week. We haven't all been together for years. Here are all the names..left to right starting with the back row. Louise, Ryan, Andrew, Erik, Emmanuel, Louie (the dog), Laurie, John, Mike, Leandro, Carol. Front row: Cathy, Ben, Emily, Fiona, Nico, Grandma Hamer, Gail, Ginger, Leo, Bill. We started our family reunion with a picnic at grandma's place. This week is going to be filled with fun activities and lots of visiting and probably a bunch of surprises. Here are the six cousins together. Nico, Andrew, Ryan, Emily holding Fiona, and Leo. What a group! We all have a great appreciation for child photographers now.
Laurie has fun playing Connect Four with the kids The girls..Fiona and Emily The oldest grandchild and the youngest.