When I married my husband eight years ago, I married into a very large family, as my father-in-law is the seventh of eleven siblings, all of whom live in the area and maintain strong bonds. Which is why, when it comes to the traditional seasonal celebrations, a 30 to 50-person crowd is nothing out of the ordinary.
Below are a few snapshots from the recent Labor Day celebration over at the so-called Hundt Trust Farm (which my kids call “the Christmas farm”) – formerly the residence of my father’s-in-law late parents.
Singing for their supper is a big part of the tradition. This is only a small part of the crowd present.
My sister-in-law, Julia, with her doppelganger daugther Penny and my girls. The newest generation of Hundt women!
The other day Penny came over to play with Cyrus. At first, they competed for my attention, so instead of reading to them I took them with me into the garden to pick tomatoes, where they cooperated nicely. I then had the kids help me core them, and working together made them the best of friends. Really, they totally bonded over it. Jobs, however small, take kids out of their own selves and make them focus outwards on the task at hand rather than worrying about their place on the totem pole. I highly recommend this approach!
Julia is currently expecting her second child, and I think it’s a boy (although they haven’t found out). Baby envy on my end!!!!!!!
Boys in trees! This is James, the fourth child of Jacob’s first cousin Mike and my friend LaVonne. Mike and LaVonne have five kids all together, and have for years been a model family for us. Love them.
This is my father’s-in-law sister, Connie – the de facto matriarch of our branch of the Hundt clan, at least where the gatherings are concerned. She is the central planning force behind these awe-inspiring spectacles of extreme cooking and eating – and an extraordinary cook herself.
When my husband was born 32 years ago, Connie came over for a week to be with Jacob’s mom, Dawn, as he was Dawn’s first baby. Unsurprisingly, she became my husband’s godmother.
When I first came to America, Connie and her family welcomed me for dinner at their beautiful home in Madison, Wisconsin, and I will never forget the divine taste of the smothered chicken Connie served to me that day – possibly the most recognized of her mom’s recipes.
Evie – currently the youngest Hundt baby in our branch.
This striking young beauty is Mike and LaVonne’s second child, Sarah. Funny story – when I first came to America nearly a decade ago, Sarah was just four years old – two years younger than my oldest. Now that says a lot about my age, doesn’t it?