Monday, August 13, 2012

Keddington Olympics 2012

Once in a blue moon I bemoan the fact that we don't have cable. Not often. But the last two weeks I pined for the Olympics. Little blips of glory on nbcolympics.com just didn't cut it. It was anticlimactic every time we had to wait mid-kick, mid-stroke, or mid-sprint for the video to load. We missed a lot.

But as the closing ceremonies wound down last night, I remembered what we did see. Phelps' 22nd medal, Pistorius off the blocks, Wiggins for the win, Gabby Douglas humbly taking the all-around. The Olympics inspire me, choke me up. All those years of devotion, precise training, and pushing the human body to its farthest limits. It's remarkable that with each Olympic games new world records are set.

Citius, Altius, Fortius.

So in the spirit of Olympic greatness, I bring you a few other gold medal winners. And for these events, we had a front seat.

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My sister Sarah and her husband Lance planned our very own Olympic games for the Keddington reunion this year. They did an amazing amount of work and pulled off the whole shebang without a hitch.

Every family was asked to create a team flag. I thought we'd knock ours out one evening with a handful of permanent markers. So we drew the Olympic rings, plus two extras to represent our family of seven, then signed our names. Pretty simple.

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I should have known the rest of my sisters (and Mom) would pull out their sewing machines and come up with something grand.

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My Mom and Dad with their flag.

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The rest of the flags. I know. They put ours to shame.

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My sister-in-law, Shirlee, ironed on a skyline from every place she and my brother have lived. New Orleans, Boston, Houston, Switzerland, Egypt, Malaysia (can you make out the twin towers in Kuala Lumpur?) and finally back to the states. Impressive. But even more impressive, was her ability to set up home in each of those places.

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Lighting the Olympic flame was a preliminary must. So Sarah, our Master of Ceremonies, wisely crafted a hazard-free torch.

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Here's Lizzie, preparing to run the first torch leg.

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She passed the torch to Sami, who passed it on, and on, until every cousin had a chance to run paper fire across the grass.

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Then we lit the Olympic flame (a stack of kindling and newspaper in the fire pit), where it burned all night long.

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A perfect back drop for the evening's events. And when the coals were just right we made s'mores!

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Earlier that day we hiked to Cecret Lake.

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No kelty packs for these guys anymore.

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Years ago, when I was in high school, my Grandpa challenged the grandkids to carry fifty dollars in pennies to the top of Table Rock Mountain. He was quite the athlete. Played basketball for Berkley, won medals in the Senior Olympics for speed walking (see pictures above), gave us a dollar for every pull-up we could do, and moved pipe year after year on his Idaho potato farm. He was always encouraging us to do hard things.

So in memory of Grandpa, we introduced a scaled down version of the penny challenge. If the kids could carry five dollars of pennies up to Cecret Lake by themselves, they could keep every cent.

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And they all did it! (Minus the boys.)

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This is the only picture I have of Lance. It looks like he's reprimanding the kids, but he's actually telling them to walk quietly.

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Because just around the corner we found this fellow munching leaves off the trail.

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Pennies, pennies, pennies!

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Albion Basin is the place for wildflowers.

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My brother, Dave, with his son Ethen.

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Sisters.

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And Liza. If there's water nearby, she'll be in it.

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That afternoon we gathered for the triathalon. Check out Ty's toyota jump on the right.

Let the games begin!

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The "swim" was a trip down the water slide.

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Followed by a bike/wiggle car ride across the driveway.

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Then a final sprint up the hill to the finish line.

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My sister Bec ran our team to victory in the adult relay. I should have taken more pics of us older peeps racing, but we were laughing (and breathing) so hard I forgot to pick up the camera.

Have you ever tried to ride a wiggle car as fast as you can? Without using your feet? Hilarious.

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At one point I noticed Sam stop to help her cousin Michael. He was doing more sticking than scooting on the water slide so she took him by the hand and gently pulled him along.

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At the bottom he blew me bubble kisses. (FYI: water slides with dish soap are much faster!)

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I couldn't resist the photos.

That night we played "Guess Whose Tune." Each family submitted three songs for a Reunion CD (an idea I got from the Eyre family). We listened to the playlist and tried to guess whose song was whose. This ended up being one of the favorite events of the weekend. We learned a lot about each other, and what's not to love about getting a new CD full of fabulous tunes?

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Before the talent show we had a donut-eating contest.

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Hands behind the back, please.

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Sami won. That tongue of hers gave her a huge advantage. It worked like a spoon. She's quite proud of how easily she can touch her nose with her tongue.

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And Deb - don't kill me for including this shot. But that is awesome form, with some serious neck extension!

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Or... there's always this tactic.

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I posted our number for the talent show earlier. But here are a few others.

Lizzie drew pictures of all the planets in the solar system, then set up each of the cousins (as one of the planets) in proportional distance from each other.

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It was a very cool presentation.

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Becca and family performed a hand-puppet number to Van Halen.


And my Dad told the story of Brer Rabbit and the Laughing Place. I'm including this video for your siblings Dad. No one tells a story like you do. It is your gift. I should have panned the crowd to take in the kids' faces. You had them totally captivated. (This really is worth watching. His impersonation of Brer Bear is my favorite.)

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No one thought to take a family picture during the reunion (we're a little slow). But a week later at another gathering I snagged these photos with my sisters. Whenever we smile for the camera we complain that all of us were cursed with the gum-smile. Do you know the gum-smile? It's when you show way more gum than teeth.

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So here we are trying to smile without showing any gum. A true Olympic feat. Looks painful, doesn't it? Well, that just cracked us up and before we knew it, we lost all composure and this happened.

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I win the gold-medal, don't you think, for most frightening silly face?


The final event was speed-walking. A tribute to Grandpa Wray.

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Followed by the medal ceremony.

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Darling Sarah doled out the gold.

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Eliza for best cart-wheels.

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Lizzie, who is no stranger to the medal podium, for best astronomer.

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Ty for fastest dash with the wiggle car. "I had that one in the bag."

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Maya for the 50M sprint up the hill.

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Sami for best form on the water slide. She looked like that scene from Titanic - arms stretched wide on the bow of the ship. (Ali won gold for her leaps, but was too shy to take her place on the podium.)

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I can't remember Gus's award, but I'm pretty sure he's saying, "Hey Ma! This one's for you!"

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Ethen. "Look how shiny it is!"

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Gordon for best hiker. He did the Cecret lake hike all on his own. Up and down.

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And Spencer? Gold for best hula-hoop runner.

Sarah made each of them feel like a million bucks as they stood there on the podium. The whole weekend was full of priceless memories with family. Something I do not take for granted. I know it is a tremendous blessing to be cared for by this many good individuals. We may not be breaking world records, but we are strengthening family ties, giving our children an extended team of support, and teaching them that family relationships matter. And that inspires me too.

Wow, this post was Olympic in length. Thanks for enduring.

Did you watch much of the Olympics? What were your favorite moments?

13 comments:

  1. Looks like so much fun and I LOVE your flag..it is an exact reflection of your life right now and you will treasure that always! Colorful, a little messy, but "get it done" and fun!

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  2. You captured some great moments Cath! Thanks for putting this post together in organized fashion! Might have to borrow a picture or two...

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  3. I'm totally with Sarah about the flag and all of it!
    I saw a lot of the olympics and besides all the great moments with the swedish athlets I most enjoyed seeing Michael Phelps taking gold. That "boy" pulls at all my maternal strings!

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  4. kara - sure love you.

    sarah - "get it done" - i laughed. yes, that, by necessity, is the motto around here much of the time. and you're right. that flag is a precise reflection of our life right now. thinking of you often and that sweet baby you are waiting for. xoxo

    shir - of course, borrow! and i'm sorry i dont' have better pics of you and dave together. the adults really got neglected when it came to photo ops this year.

    monica - i saw phelps' interview with his mom and sisters. yes, they are a sweet family. it was indeed exciting seeing him snag that last gold! thanks for your comment friend.

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  5. Ronda: What a wonderful record of our reunion! You captured the fun moments and took great pictures of each of the children

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  6. Wow! That looks like so much fun. Those Olympics are a great idea for a family reunion!

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  7. You have such a great way of expressing things. And often it is just how I feel...but I can't say it so beautifully. That last paragraph captures my thoughts exactly. I love your blog. And you!!
    Jen Hribar

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  8. I love the reunion ideas! I am always inspired by your blog...keep writing.

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  9. Mom - thanks. it was so fun taking you to lunch and visiting. i love you.

    Caryn - appreciate your comment. fascinating bio. would love to know more about your books.

    Bec - you look pretty muscle-y in that relay shot. thanks for the cobbler recipe! xo

    Jen - thinking of you so often. let's get together next time you're up north. sending prayers for your mom.

    Candice - such a kind bit of encouragement. thank you!

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  10. This post was fun to read and remember what a great time we all had!! Loved it!

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  11. What a fun idea!
    (And ALL of the family flags were impressive--including yours, which was the only one I could see which incorporated the Olympic rings. :-)

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