We went to the Stoll reunion over the weekend. Kirby's grandparents on his dad's side were Joe & Anna Stoll (isn't that great? So, we don't have the original Joe & Anna Stoll pair). Kirby's dad is #15 of 17 kids. 11 boys. 6 girls. His mom (Anna) died pretty young, while pregnant with #18 who was a girl. Joe remarried "Grandma Fanny" who had never had kids before that . . . she was one brave woman if you ask me! The Stoll's have a reunion every 3 years. This year it was in Conrath, Wisconsin. Less than a 3 hour drive from our home. Splendid! The 2012 one won't be too long a drive either. Whoo Hoo! . . . although hopefully by then our kids will fight a tad less in the car! They'll be 13, 11, 10, 7 and 4. And, hopefully we'll have a bigger vehicle to give them a little more space and make the punching and slapping and shoving, while buckled in their seats, slightly more challenging . . . thus less frequent! (A girl can dream, right?)
We had a wonderful weekend. All 23 of Kirby's immediate family members were there (parents, 3 sibings, spouses and all 13 grandkids) and over 200 Stoll's total! It was great to all be together! What a great bunch they are. So many different people who make a great (and large) family. Stoll's came from as far as Florida, Virginia and Alberta, Canada . . . and some came from just down the road. We kicked off the weekend with a big dinner at a beautiful dairy farm that belongs to Kirb's cousin, Karen, and her family. The kids loved all the cows, the calves, farm cats and the 1/2 dozen or so tiny kittens that they would snatch up the second they emerged from their hiding place under the deck. From there we took over the Flambeau school for Saturday and Sunday. Saturday went like this: breakfast, family picture, lunch, free time (we went back to the hotel and the cousins had a blast in the pool), supper, talent show (there is a talent show at every reunion. Some of the acts show more "talent" than others, but it's always a hoot, that's for sure!) and then back to the pool for night #2 of swimming until the pool closed at 10:30 and trying to get 7 people all to sleep . . . comfortably . . . in one smallish hotel room. It went like this: Anna in her pack 'n play, Jacob on the rollaway, Kirby and Rebekah in one bed, me, Joe and Lydia in the other. Leftover floor space to step on if you needed to use the bathroom in the middle of the night: NONE!
Joe checking out the cattle on the Stutzman's dairy farm:
The school where we had the reunion:
The playground where the kids hung out:
Sunday there was breakfast and a church service (churches all over the Midwest were missing pastors and worship leaders and pianists and ushers and guitarists and nursery workers. . . the Stoll's are a pretty involved and church-oriented bunch! I think it was my week to be in the nursery at our church, but since I also took a few of their "customers", I figured they did alright without me!). Then we all had lunch together and took off on our seperate ways! It was great to see so many wonderful people . . . a few I know, a lot a don't. But, I know more people today than I did when I got there on Friday. You always make a few new "friends" at each reunion. Next time, though, I'm gonna suggest we all wear name tags . . . there are just too many people to keep track of and I, for one, always feel bad when someone knows who I am and I don't know them. They would need to have little mini family trees on them so that we could place people in this vast sea of Stolls. You know, like, "Shana: married to Kirby, son of Roger". Somethin' like that!
Here are just a few more of the many pictures we took of our wonderful Stoll-full weekend:
Margaret & Roger (Kirby's parents):
The first cousins (there are between 80 & 90 of them in total -- Kirb and his siblings are among the youngest -- but these are the ones that were able to make it to the reunion):
The 23 of us immediate family members:On the left is most of our clan (Lydia, it would seem, would rather be a Warkentin!), then Kirb's brother, Tracey, his wife, Stephanie and their boys Caleb (on daddy's lap) and Tommy, then there's Kirby's sister, Annie and her husband, Darren and their 4 girls: Andrea (top right), Jillian (right of Rebekah), Bethany (by Lydia) and Katrina (on mommy's lap) and Kirby's sister, Kristy, her husband David and their kiddos Katie (mostly blocked by grandpa's head) and Evan (bottom right) with Kirby's parents in the front. Man, that's a big family!
It's tough to get 23 people to all cooperate for a picture, that's for sure. Caleb is happier in this one than he was in the rest, Katie is mostly blocked by Grandpa's head, Joe is mad and Tommy looks like he would prefer to be done with the pictures (wouldn't we all, buddy! Wouldn't we all!)
One tired boy and his Grandma:
Waiting in line for lunch (and that's just one of the 2 lines!):
The talent show: (at this moment Matthew was playing his sax . . . now that guys got some serious talent!!!)
The moon on Saturday night:
Our Sunday morning worship team:
Here's a little video of Joe chattin' with the cows on Friday night when we were all at the Stutzman's dairy farm. He's such a funny boy!! Enjoy: