So I packed the amazing silk long johns I bought when we were living in Nome. (Being true Nomeites, my coworkers at Nome's outpatient clinic got much amusement out of my complaints that I was wearing long underwear all summer--and was still cold. Meanwhile, they were celebrating 22 hours of daylight and 55 degree weather with tee shirts, shorts, and lots of fishing.) And my thickest socks, gloves, hats, scarves, and as many layers of other clothing as I could still fit my pregnant body into.
And I still was cold! The worst part was at the graveside service, where it was snowing and the wind was driving it in our faces. My teeth were chattering too hard to hear Pastor Dennis' kind words. (As I've never known any minister to complete a graveside service in under fifteen minutes before, I take comfort in the fact that I was not the only human Popsicle at Winona Cemetery.)
Brian finally got to meet almost all of my first cousins on Mom's side. (The only one who's missing from the pictures is Rachel, who gave birth three weeks earlier.)
(And my cousin Larry (in the Hawaiian shirt) wins this trip's award for what not to say to a pregnant woman: "I know I shouldn't pat your belly, but you're like my sister--it's so weird to see you fat!" He's fortunate that potlucks always put me in a good mood.)
I also got to see my friend Renell, who I hadn't seen since high school.
Grandma said that since we were all together, she wanted to make sure that family pictures got taken, so we took lots of family pictures. Have you ever considered how hard it is to get sixteen people to all look at the camera at the same time, let alone "smile naturally"?
Here's Mom and her sisters and brother:
EJ got back from Iraq less than two weeks earlier, so he was able to make it. Since we were there for less than 48 hours, I didn't get to spend much time with him, but he and Brian were able to squeeze in a round or two of pool. This might not be the most flattering family portrait we've ever done, but the matching shifty expressions are true-to-life.