We just returned from the LeafBlad Family Reunion in Green Lake, Wisconsin. They have these reunions every 5 years and it includes the descendants from Jason’s Grandmother’s side. Jason’s Grandma; Linnea is 91 and her husband Bert and her have been married 70 years this summer. The original 11 siblings and all their offspring attend and each family has a different color shirt (as you can see we were what Joel dubbed “goldfish orange”). This year there were over 350 people there including 70 kids under the age of 5. Needless to say, it was a great time full of chaos, craziness, and heartfelt bonding.

Last time the reunion was held Jason and I missed it as we were in Africa so this was my first time ever (although I had heard many stories from past reunions) and Jason had not been since he was in high school.

Highlights from this year included:

The volleyball tournament (our team made it to the final but then lost and Jason sprained his ankle but said it was worth it)

The cardboard boat race where each family had to build a water vessel with only cardboard and duct tape and then have someone over 30 and someone under 30 paddle in it for a race. Ours was not really what you would call “sea worthy” but Mike (just married J’s cousin Erica one month ago) and Lisa (another cousin) bravely took one for the team and raced it to its sad but hilarious demise.

We also had “cool kid” parties in various family members rooms after all the kids were asleep and it was so funny to see everyone reminiscing and remembering stories from part years and of growing up.

A huge highlight for Annikah was getting to swim in the lake and having her too fun cousins Joel & Silas around to amuse almost every second for 3 days. She is just enthralled with their every move and especially loves Silas.
The feeling is apparently mutual as all weekend Anni and Silas would kiss each other every chance they got. Their kissing was of course spurned on by crowds of adoring adults saying “awww, so cute, so sweet.” As Mark (Silas’ Dad) pointed out at some age we may have to stop this but for now it is too adorable. Annikah also got to meet 2 other of her namesake (both spelled differently)- those Swedes love the Swedish names!

On skit night I think it is safe to say the Engstrom clan took the cake with a fabulous skit written by Erica and Mike (of cardboard boat fame). It was a ditty about Bert and Linnea being married 70 years and we danced and sang to the tune of Oklahoma. I ran the PowerPoint and video’ed Jason’s grandparents reaction to our number. It was so special as I looked over at then and Bert started to tear up at his family honoring their life and marriage.

It was a blessing to see the rich heritage that Jason comes from and be welcomed into his family. All in all it was an exhausting and wonderful time.