It’s that time of the year! The time for the annual Cousin’s Party!
It’s THE event of the summer for our big family. The adults plan for it months in advance, the kids look forward to it all year, and once all is said and done, we all sleep really well!
Today, I’d like to share a bit about our family, how this party came to be, and of course, a lot of fun party photos and videos with you too!
Fun Family Traditions
Our whole family is… well, big. At least, bigger than the average size family. On top of that, we’re close.
Yes, we like each other. We all get along. Most of us live within 5-10 minutes of each other. We hang out together all the time. We’re great friends, and our kids are too. Life is good!
Being an only child and coming from a rather large extended family that only got together on holidays and special occasions, one of the things that really sealed the deal for me when it came to falling for Dean and wanting to marry him, was his family. They were big, loved each other, and were good people through and through. I mean, when you marry someone, you kind of marry their family too. Extended family can make life enjoyable or miserable for you. Thankfully, mine makes my life enjoyable. Yes, even my mother-in-law… no horror stories here!
Because our family is big (2 parents + 9 siblings + 5 spouses + 18 grandkids = lots of people) there are lots of birthdays. Now, we adults don’t really need birthday parties anymore, but the kids really like having their own day, and when you’re a part of a big family… having anything that’s your own is a big deal.
When birthdays arrive throughout the year, each grandchild gets to pick their “birthday meal” and party decorations for our traditional Sunday lunches after church. Each kid celebrates their birthday with their cousins, they get their birthday gifts from parents and Mom-mom and Pop-pop, and they each get a special birthday dessert. These parties are just for them, but they’re minimal. We don’t plan big games, invite friends, or give extravagant gifts. We keep it simple.
But, once a year, we all get together for a BIG birthday party for all the cousins at the same time, and this is what we refer to as “The Cousin’s Party.”
Cousin’s Party Planning
The Cousin’s Party is always held at Uncle Forrest and Auntie Brittany’s house because they have a big fenced in yard and a pool. It’s a perfect place for our whole family to gather for a day of fun.
Months before The Cousin’s Party takes place, Forrest and Brittany start working to make sure the pool and hot tub are working, the deck is in good shape (no hidden bee’s nests), and the house is ready for lots of people.
In the meantime, Mom-mom is buying birthday gifts and packing healthy treat bags for each grandchild (with help from us parents if needed), and we parents are planning the food menu and games.
Our menu is a mix of convenience and health. We normally do pizza (regular and gluten-free), chips and dip, salad, fruit salad, and a dessert of some sort (herbal popsicles and gluten-free freezer date cookies this year).
Games range from egg tosses, to foot races (three-legged and pillow sack), to dart-throwing and bee-bee gun shooting contests, to pinatas, and more.
We also have a big time swimming in the pool and playing pool games as well.
It’s always held after church on a Sunday, and by the time it’s over, we’re all ready for a nap!
Below are some photos and videos of this year’s party!
It’s Cousin’s Party Time!!
Playing in the pool is one of the things that the kids look forward to most! We mamas soak up the sun on the side while the dads and younger aunties get in the pool with the little ones. They play crazy games, make whirlpools, have (painful) water balloon fights, and randomly throw the kids in. They have a blast!
While the big kids are in the big pool, the babies and toddlers (and sometimes bigger cousins) play in the kiddie pool. They had so much fun with these water squirters this year! It kept them busy the whole time!
And this year, Uriah was determined to swim with the big cousins. He bravely put on his arm floats, and with Daddy’s help and encouragement, learned to tread and keep his head above water. I’m sure he’ll really be swimming with everyone by next year!
Once everyone was done swimming, we headed out into the yard to play some games. We started off with a foot race between the babies and toddlers which was a lot of fun for them. Check out the video below!
Next up, the kiddos played balloon darts. Each balloon had a good chunk of money in it, and if the kid popped the balloon, they got to keep it. However, there’s a price to pay. If you pop a balloon, you get to keep the money, but you have to have a big water balloon popped over your head! They love every minute of it… especially the balloons!
And while the big kids were throwing darts and getting water balloons popped on their heads, Ezrah and Joshy ventured out to the driveway and decided to take their cousin’s car for a spin. Believe it or not, Ezrah figured out which pedals did which all on his own!
Next up was the pillow sack race, only this year, Auntie Brooklynn decided she was gonna join in and beat all the little cousins so she could pick a prize from Mom-mom’s prize basket. That is until Uncle Forrest got ahold of her. I wish I had recorded this because it. was. hilarious! I could not stop laughing when Brook face-planted in the ground. She couldn’t even get up she was laughing so hard.
Next, the kids played tug-of-war, but before I show you that video, let me tell you about the adult tug-of-war match.
You see, the guys are always wanting to challenge us girls to games and competitions only they want to team up against us girls so they can smash us. (They still seem to have so much testosterone, even after all these years.) So this year, we ladies came up with a plan. We knew that the guys were going to immediately give it their all when “go” was yelled so we decided we were going to let go of the rope so that the guys would fall down as soon as they pulled. So, “go” was yelled, we let go, and they all yanked hard on the rope but found no resistance and stumbled backward, tripping over one another. We all had a good laugh, and then we played for real. And guess what? We smashed them! Take that… boys!
Okay, on to the cousin’s game of tug-of-war.
The last game of the evening was a game of shooting bee-bee guns at targets. All the bigger cousins love this game! Those that hit their targets get money, and those that don’t have to run laps up and down the length of the yard. They’re all really competitive, but they do it all in good fun! Everyone has a good time, and they always look forward to The Cousin’s Party games!
Lastly, it’s time to open Mom-mom and Pop-pop’s birthday presents. The kids each get one big gift, and they all open them individually so we can all enjoy them, enjoying their gifts from their grandparents!
And that’s it. A fun family tradition that we all love and celebrate every year!