Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Heiss Family Gathering (June 14; a guest post by Rachel)

On June 14th, we planned to have a family gathering outside at the neighborhood park after a brief organ recital at the church. Unfortunately, that day it decided to rain at the exact time we’d planned to have it (it was quite stormy the whole time we were in Utah, which was strange). This complicated our plans. We hadn’t reserved the gym in the church, but we decided we’d try to gather there anyway and leave if anyone else needed it right then, which was unlikely. 

While we waited for people to show up, we played duck duck goose, Simon Says, and parachute games with the kids (resulting in only minimal tears!). It took some of them a while to actually understand how Simon Says works; when Ben was it we told him that he had to try to get people out and he gasped and went, “But why would I want to trick them?!” I think all the little cousins had a lot of fun together, though! 

Here we are playing Simon Says:

Auntie Em also taught us a new game called "Don't look at me!" where you stand in a circle with your heads down and count to three. On the count of three everyone in the circle has to look at someone else. If you make eye contact with someone (that is, if two people chose to look at each other), those people are out and everyone else keeps playing until there are only two people left.

And here we are playing "Don't look at me!"

And here's Alexander giving Logan a hug:

This was our whole party (hopefully I haven’t left anyone off): 

  • Mom

  • Dad

  • Rachel

  • Miriam

  • Ben

  • Zoë

  • Alex

  • Phoebe

  • Emily

  • Gavin

  • Maren

  • Logan

  • Arwyn

  • Jacob

  • Carter

  • Dean

  • Katharine

  • Matt

  • Nicki

  • Grandpa Frank

  • Grandma Pat

  • Kelli

  • Allen 

After everyone arrived, we headed to the chapel to see Miriam’s organ performance. She played Sortie by Franck, Little Fugue in G Minor, Rondo by Joseph Moray, and Toccata in Fugue in G Minor. [Miriam can expound on this later if she wishes; and I think we have video somewhere...maybe Auntie Josie took some?] We invited people to go up and watch her play the pedals, and I think everyone really enjoyed hearing her play–she’s improved so much since the last time most of our family saw her perform.

When Miriam was done with her recital, we checked the forecast/weather again to see if we could head to the park, but it was, alas, still raining. We went back to the gym instead and rather anxiously (we weren’t technically given permission, after all) set up tables and chairs and set out all of our food. We had sandwiches and chips and things for lunch/dinner (linner? dunch?), and just sat around and talked for a while. There isn’t much to say about that, but it was good to catch up with family members we haven’t seen in years! 

Evidently we only got pictures of the little kid table:

Uncle Jacob brought cupcakes with very blue frosting, which was a bold choice that resulted in all the kids’ mouths being stained bright blue. Ever the rule follower (even though no one had actually told him that he had to wait to have dessert), Alexander finished everything on his plate before going up to Mom, gulping back tears, and explaining that everyone had eaten a cupcake before him—and they hadn’t even finished their food—so could he please have one! He got his cupcake and was much happier after that. 

You can see a few blue tongues and mouths in these goofy pictures with Great-Grandpa Frank and Great-Grandma Pat:

Upon checking the forecast once again when everyone was done eating, we discovered that it was finally done raining! We decided that we should probably take some family pictures before going outside, which was done somewhat reluctantly. Heisses are notorious picture-taking haters, but we managed.

While we took pictures without the kids, we sent them outside to have a Nerf war. Many of the adults soon joined in on this, because what’s a better family reunion activity than shooting at each other? 

Here are pictures of Grandpa with four of his kids Andrew (Dad), Katharine, Emily, and Jacob (Aunt Sarah wasn't able to make it):

And here are some pictures from our Nerf battle:

Auntie K was so nice to loan us all of her equipment (the Nerf guns and parachute were all hers).

After our Nerf battle, we packed the food into cars, left the church, and headed to the park with everyone who hadn’t left yet, which includes our family, Grandpa, Jacob and his kids, and Emily and her kids.

Here's how Grandpa felt about having to clean up the church when we were finished (just kidding; he usually ends up doing most of the work...but cleaning up at the park would have been much easier):

We tossed a frisbee around and the kids played at the park, and we decided to take a picture with Grandpa and all the grandkids who were there before Jacob and Emily left (Dean wasn’t feeling well). It’s crazy how big all the grandkids have gotten since the last time we saw each other...which was...I can't even remember when...

But here's a picture from February 2019 (at Grandpa Frank's 90th birthday party):

And here we are looking a lot bigger!

Of course, this is only 12 of the 14 grandkids, but we did pretty well to even get that many together!

Here we are with Grandpa:

And with our dad and his siblings thrown in there, too:

We played at the park together for a while and had a great time!

Here's Alexander pushing Phoebe while Gavin watches:

Here's Zoë, Arwyn, and Logan riding his teeter totter together:

Here's Carter and Gavin swinging:

Here's Uncle Jacob pushing a bunch of cousins in the spinny thing:

I'm not really sure what's going on here...

Here's Daddy pushing Phoebe so high:

After a while, Auntie Emily and Uncle Jacob left, so we had to say some goodbyes. Here's Grandpa giving Logan a hug:

I'm not really sure why they left, precisely. We all stayed and played at the park longer. 

Here are a few more takes from the kids on the hill, just in case their faces are better or something:

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