I will fully admit, I am a wee bit addicted to Facebook. It has become a fascinating connection for me of friends and family, and I love seeing all the updates and photos. Something I have especially enjoyed is finding old friends, that I know I would never find any other way.

One such friend is Dina, who taught first grade with me in my first year of teaching. I remember feeling frenzied, overwhelmed and exhausted that first week, daunted by the task of eighteen little six year olds raring to go. And I also remember a very supportive team that I was on. Dina was a part of that team and during the week's preparations beforehand, she copied lesson plans for me, dropped off handmade games and activities, and slid piles of photocopied activities for me to use on my table. I even remember laying on my floor at the end of that first week, exhausted and exhilarated that I had actually made it, and Dina walked in with a basket stuffed with teacher goodies, chocolate and books. An instant friend who just helped me along.

After that year, she got married and moved and we lost contact until...ta-da...Facebook! When she was making plans to come visit her in-laws this summer in WA, she asked if I might be available to come and do some family pictures. I was happy to do so and pleased to meet a family who is as warm and kind as she is.

They meet up each summer at the grandparents' home, which is everything a grandparents' home could be, with lots of beautiful land, a playground, horses, bridges and ponds, dogs, kid-sized four wheelers, and a crowd that is happy to be together. Each of the sons brings their families home and they cook massive meals, make s'mores outside and play hard together. On this morning, the family was truly great, despite the challenges of impending rain which was to drop at any time so we got things moving.

Here's the whole group.

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Then here are a couple of favorites of each family.

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The grandparents with the grandkids.

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Sweet little Troy was not at the top of his game this morning (but looks oh-so-cute). I have a very similar picture to the next one of Ruby, when she was about his age, wailing on her Papa's lap in the cousins picture. I later asked her who was that little girl crying and she seriously responded, "Oh, I don't know who she is." I love how the older cousins are trying to hold it together and keep smiling while the grandparents are laughing. That is life, isn't it?

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Finally, a little sugar and bribery to calm the crowd, though Troy preferred his own fruit snacks. Such a great bunch of cousins.

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Finally a couple of my favorites of Bill and Kitty.

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It was very obvious to me how much you value your family. Thank you so much for having me out to document this gathering!

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