Saturday, July 04, 2009

Aune Family Reunion 2009: Day 2

Happy Independence Day! Yesterday as we drove, we listened to National Public Radio and enjoyed hearing what has become an annual feature on NPR this time of year: the reading of the Declaration of Independence by NPR's hosts, commentators, reporters, and newscasters. It was so stirring to hear the words read aloud with meaningful expression and with awesome music in the background. You can hear it yourself (as well as read along) here.

Okay, on to my reunion recap (recall Day 1 of this reunion?): The Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites of Eagan, MN serves the best complimentary breakfast of any hotel I've ever stayed at, so far as I can recall. This morning Susan, the girls, and I joined the hordes of other Aunes staying at the hotel in over-running the dining area just off the lobby for cheese omelets, waffles, English muffins, biscuits and gravy, doughnuts, fruits, cereal, juice, coffee, etc. It was delicious and another fine opportunity to visit with relatives. (Interesting tidbit: We also saw and visited with a family from our church in Dickinson! They're here for a little vacation this weekend and just happened to select the same hotel that we did. What are the odds?!)

Eagan is having its annual 4th of July Funfest this weekend, and we could have attended the parade this morning. However, that would have meant cutting short the visiting, so we skipped the parade. Bea's family had arranged several daytime options for the Aunes today: those interested in golfing did so early this morning; the female first cousins or wives of first cousins (that's my dad's generation) met in the hotel's Magnolia Room for a catered dinner at noon (this is a tradition carried over from past Aune reunions); and those interested in swimming met at noon at Cascade Bay Waterpark (not far from the park where last night's festivities were held) for splashing, sunburning, and dining on hot dogs, chips, and soda. Here are some highlights:

Susan and I elected not to swim, instead keeping a watchful eye on the children and manning the cameras (Susan had ours, and I took photos using the camera of my sister Sandy, who frolicked in the water with the others). I don't know what's going on in this photo, but isn't that a weird facial expression that I'm rockin'?

Here are my sisters Sandy and Cathy, chatting poolside between trips down the waterslides with their nieces.

Here are Suzanna (in the orange), Abigail (green), and Hillary (turquoise) shooting out one of the waterslides.

And here they are in a more serene moment, floating down the "lazy river."

Here's Sandy with some of the slides in the background. The next few pics are more shots of the waterpark's slides. It's a great facility, and the kids had a blast playing in the water this afternoon.


All the Aunes gathered back at Blackhawk Park again for tonight's supper: a pig roast catered by Divine Swine Catering. While we waited for the food to be set out, the girls led Susan and me on a short walk to Blackhawk Lake, which looked just lovely beneath the setting sun. (The lake is kinda swampy--less of a lake in which one might want to swim and more of a slough at which one might want to gaze from the safety of the bridge or the shore. But legitimately pretty nevertheless, tucked as it is amongst the trees.) A short while later, the caterers served tangy coleslaw and potato salad alongside both pork and turkey with a delicious barbecue sauce on the side, and we ate and drank and visited. Here are some highlights:

See? Isn't Blackhawk Lake pretty when one cannot see the algae up close? That bridge is picturesque, too. We stood in the middle of it awhile and watched fishes and frogs moving around in the lake, darting between fronds of underwater vegetation.

This swine tasted divine but looks a bit gruesome. Notice the apple lying on the aluminum foil near the pig's snout--nice touch!

For dessert, Bea's family served Norwegian baking, including these kransekaker ["wreath cakes"], also called Norwegian wedding cakes. They're made of ground almonds, powdered sugar, and egg whites. We may not have been home for me to cook for Scandinavian Saturday, but we got our Scandinavian cuisine just the same!

Hillary got a bit too much sun this afternoon and started feeling unwell at suppertime. Although last night we took the shuttle from the hotel to the park, this evening we drove ourselves; so I had a vehicle at the park and was able to take Hillary to a store to buy some children's pain reliever and a bottle of aloe vera gel. She and I returned to the hotel so that she could take the medicine and I could cover her face and shoulders in aloe vera. She grabbed her blankie and stuffed animal, and we got back in the vehicle. On the way back to the park, she asked if she could take a nap, so I purposely drove around Eagan to pass some time so that she could rest.

By the time we got back to the park, she was alert and feeling much better. However, we had totally missed tonight's program! People had been asked beforehand to provide entertainment, so those willing had signed up to sing and play musical instruments. Our family decided to do something a little different and planned to teach everybody some of the Norwegian folk dances that we learned at
Camp Trollfjorden. Susan, Suzanna, and Abigail were able to do that without Hillary and me, and they said that it went well; and many people afterward reported that they'd had a blast learning and dancing those dances, so it seems to have been a hit. Here are some highlights from the entertainment (that Hillary and I missed):

My stepmom asked Suzanna, Abigail, and Hillary to sing their a capella version of "Amazing Grace," which became a duet after I bolted with Hillary. I think Suzanna and Abigail got in on some more singing with my sisters, too.

Here are some Aunes doing one of the Norwegian folk dances that Susan, Suzanna, and Abigail taught them. We're all used to dancing at wedding dances, street dances, and similar events, so I'm not surprised that people were willing to get onto their feet and try out some new dances. In fact, my cousin's daughter, whose wedding is this upcoming weekend back in ND, asked us to bring the music to her wedding dance so that we can teach people there these dances!

Here is my dad (farthest left) playing accordion with his sister Rose's four children, who are great accordion players and who often treat us to performances at Moberg get-togethers (see this, this, and this). They were just putting away their instruments when Hillary and I returned, but I'm assuming they were all terrific, as usual.

My sister Sandy brought a tripod and used her camera's timer to capture a photo of the whole group. This looks like a bunch of people, but it's only those who were in attendance this weekend--there are still other Aunes who did not attend!

Bea's kids knew a location nearby from which one could view the fireworks displays of all the surrounding cities, but we five were amongst those who decided to skip it, avoiding a battle with traffic and mosquitoes by returning to the hotel instead. The hotel let us use the Magnolia Room as a gathering spot, and we packed ourselves in for more drinking, eating, and visiting. We couldn't ask for a better central meeting place than what our hotel has turned out to be. It was another great day!

1 comment:

  1. The fold dances that we learned were so fun! They require teaming up with others so you have to have some sort of coordination. I believe all my partners had as much fun as I did!

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