Mama had always been the glue that held our family together. But now that our glue was gone, the four of us decided to make it a priority to gather together at least one a year to keep our family bond strong.
We decided to call it our annual House Glue Renew.
Our last name is "House," the "Glue" part is obvious, and "Renew" just seemed to rhyme and fit well with our annual agenda.
The cast of characters:
Mark (the "baby" of the family) was our gracious host for the inaugural HGR, at his wonderful compound in the Texas hill country outside of New Braunfels, which is just a short ways from San Antonio.
Mark and Alli have 3 kiddos...Ethan (high school senior), Blaise (a sophomore), and Scout (6th grade). Scout is a competitive swimmer and had a meet that weekend, so we didn't see much of her smiling face. And she was invisible for the family photo shoot...
Oh yes, and we must not forget Taffy.
Our little swimmer-extraordinaire, Scout...
Next to Mark in age is Maria, who flew in from Florida with her two teenagers Wyatt (a sophomore at University of Florida) and Seanna (a high school junior).
Number two in the birth order is my sister Barb. She and John drove down from Indiana. Their grandson Austin lives in Arizona now, and he drove to Texas for a quick visit.
And the Number One House sibling is Yours Truly. Kim and I flew down as well.
My sisters are always SO THOUGHTFUL! They knew how much I missed Lovey (NOT!) and even more so the mechanical cat "Lovey" that they gave Mama (even more NOT!!!). So Lovey-on-a-Stick seemed to show up a lot during the weekend.
Ugh. I just can't get away from that cat...
Kim and I arrived at the San Antonio airport first, so we got our rental car and hung around to pick up Maria and her entourage.
Awaiting their arrival from the cell phone lot, God graced us with this beautiful rainbow! I'm sure Mama and Dad were smiling down on us!
Yet another evidence of the House presence...after Maria arrived, the 5 of us went out to dinner together before driving to Mark's. Wouldn't you know, they had the perfect ketchup brand!
Maria and Barb surprised us with matching HGR t-shirts, perfectly modeled by Ethan.
Even Taffy had her own kerchief!
NOOO...not Lovey too!!!
Alli was the hostess-with-the-mostess! She dug out all the water bottles, planning for our excursions.
Texas in July is HOT...and Alli intended for us to stay hydrated!
Not for sure what Barb is doing here (you can always count on Barb for a big dose of craziness), but I do think she might have been doing her Lovey imitation...
Mark and Alli's big, comfortable home is the perfect place to gather. Their kids gave up their bedrooms so we all had a comfy bed.
My brother is very handy and can do just about anything. He designed and welded trellises for his home. The unusual Texas spring freeze this year killed back their climbing vines, but they are making a comeback.
Mark loves his menagerie of animals. This is Goliath, the Guard Goose...
He's got 6 very spoiled goats now...
...and during the daytime the chickens (each one has its own unique name!) have their run of the place.
It's a sure bet that whenever the four of us are together, there will be lots of laughter! That's one thing we all inherited from Dad and Mama...a little zaniness and sense of humor are essential to making it through this life.
And you can be sure zaniness was not in short supply...
...at our inaugural HGR.