Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Monday, September 5, 2011

On man caves and quilting parties

I have 14 first cousins, and that's just on my dad's side. There are even more on my mom's side. I never realized that this was all that unusual until I met John. He has a grand total of 4 first cousins. And my Bauman first cousins and I have been busy. Between us (so far) we have added 29 members of the next generation.

You should see the crowd when the aunts, uncles, first cousins, and second cousins get together.

And that just might be the most notable aspect of our family; the fact that we see each other on a fairly regular basis. Most of us see each other at least once a year and for many of us, it's two or more times a year. Of course Christmas always includes a family reunion but quite possibly more popular is the annual Labor Day Camp-out in Uncle Carl's backyard.

Every year we have the same discussion about how many years this has been going on and every year we come to the same conclusion - no one knows. We do know that it started with just Uncle Carl, Aunt Betty Lou, and their four children. Some time after that, Aunt Mim and Uncle Joe joined in with their clan. Eventually it grew to where it is now so that any of the Bauman siblings and their children and grandchildren are invited.

Each year comes with the traditional camping activities (Bauman style): battery-operated cars, playing with fire, intergenerational games,

sleeping in the backyard, homemade root beer, and ribs on the grill.

But every year there are surprises.

Like the grill used this year.

Last year Aunt Ellen came with a box full of quilt squares that my grandmother had cut out and in some cases, had started to sew together. Being a very thrifty person, no scrap of material was thrown away in her home but was instead cut into as many pieces as possible. We had fun going through these boxes, recognizing scraps of fabric from a blouse or a jumper that had been made for us as children. Uncle Wilbur and Aunt Dolores took these scraps home to make into quilts to donate to Mennonite Central Committee to be sent to countries that they serve. As we drove to the camp-out this year, I wondered if those scraps had been used yet and whether or not we'd get to see the results. The anwer to that question became the biggest surprise of this year's camp-out.

Before our arrival, one of the quilts made with the fabric scraps had been placed into a quilt frame. But it wasn't just haphazardly placed around the house. No, Uncle Carl sacrificially gave up his man cave for the quilting frame and knotting party. You have to understand that he probably spends more time in this garage than in his own home and that the floor is probably cleaner in there than in most of our kitchens. What a perfect location! He started out supervising to make sure that our needles didn't touch his prized posessions but he did get in on the fun himself. Although he did say that there were to be no pictures and word was not to get out that he allowed the women to use the garage for a quilting party.

We thought it was so perfect that we just might have found a new annual Labor Day tradition. What says "family" more than a quilting party of three generations knotting a quilt started by the great-grandmother of the group?

There was much talk about how Mother/Grandma/MomMom/Grandmom/Great-Grandmom Bauman would have enjoyed being a part of the circle. I found it interesting to learn, however, that she would not have joined us on Sunday, believing that quilting was not to be done on the Lord's day of rest.

Thanks, Carl, for sharing your man cave and I promise not to show these pictures to anyone nor to allow word to get out that you shared your space with us.

Til next year, ladies.

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