Our Fourth of July Family Reunion

Thankfully these days traveling from North Carolina to Florida isn’t awful. I mean it’s super tight with the 4 kiddos, Uncle Jimmy and Phoebe but overall the trip with pretty smooth. But this trip was a must! We haven’t had a family reunion since 2008. Unfortunately Joey didn’t make it down but hopefully after this trip the We got in super late, dropped Jimmy off at “Homebase” and we headed to where we were staying. Amy the oldest sister the sexy and savvy leader of the 11 Bissonnette originals, is a badass realtor and let us crash in her cute new house for the week

Boat & Island Fun

The next day we head out for boat day with Papa Chip. Anytime he can, seriously. He came up to help us back in June and between the two traveling dates he HAD to rent a boat and take the grandkids out. A few of Johnny’s sibling and their families we able to join us and it was such a relaxing (after the gator scare) day out on the island.

We had 18 kids, 9 adults and 4 dogs running wild on this tiny island. Johnny, of course, had a fire pit going and our kids start finding clams. Johnny threw a rock onto the fire so the kids can cook the clams and most of the kids tried a fresh, fire roasted clam for their first times! After the river we headed back to ‘home base’ to spend some quality time and just enjoyed hanging with family we haven’t seen in years!

 

Fourth of July!

Thankfully Johnny and I came from the same hometown and

our parents are still local. This makes our holiday visits SO much easier. My mom & brother brought donuts and coffee early and helped me rally the exhausted brood. Finally, we were off to meet up at the “Bissonnette spot” for the 4th of July parade in Sebastian Fl. After that muggy hot mess we headed back to “Homebase” to PARTAAAY… and by party I mean we let the kids eat all the sugars, the moms chill and drink and have girl time and the dad’s toss the sugar-crazed kids on these Water Bounce houses! Perfect right!? A seriously genius idea goes to Janet for renting these for 28+ kids running around, I don’t know why we never did it before!

 

As it started getting darker we started to prepare and set up for fireworks. Funny how over time things change. The fourth has always been this HUGE production that Johnny was usually in charge of. He’d procure all the fireworks and then set up, fire off, wow and amaze the crowd and then clean up. This year, with all the hustle bustle and life changes we forgoed the expensive South Carolina firework haul and bought a multi-pack from Walmart. I know… WHAT.

It was perfect.

There were just enough sparklers for every kid to do a couple and enjoy it, enough fireworks that everyone was able to watch, “ooohs and aaahs” and not get eaten alive by mosquitoes. It truly was about the quality time together. Honestly, there are so many people running around no ones really ever alone and there’s always someone to play/talk to.

Off to hang with Po Po and Uncle David

Day morning we slowly headed over to my moms. We have this weird “tradition” of always going out to eat at Chinese buffets. I know I know how ironic but we’d both rather have someone else cook for us… especially when we are visiting.After a few days of late nights already, the Chinese food filled Johnny and me up like a  Thanksgiving turkey and when we got back to my moms and sat down… both of us were OUT. So my mom and brother packed out the kids and took them down the road to swim at my aunt’s house. As you can see in the videos, they had a great time! While I kind of wish I got some pool time with them, I am very grateful that they were able to spend quality time with them without us there.

Last Day River Day & Arcade Night!

Every time we come into town Janet requests a River Day. Seriously, it’s a thing and a given so it was perfect for our last day in town.

  • First to arrive is our ‘scout’ – the first one out to secure 
    our spot, clean it up (no glass or oyster shells within the shallow area etc).
  • Then someone must assume the grill and become the designated food flipper.
  • On river day, you’d be a fool to forget floatation devices and a medical bag, oysters are a PITA.
  • There’s always at least 2 injuries
  • Janet will start off floating with the kids/group and then she slowly ditches the group and floats out so far (on purpose) that she turns into a blip in the distance

The river was warm, shallow and another great experience for the kids; we also got the family photo of mostly everyone which hasn’t happened in 10 years. After the river, we decided to all head over the newest hotspot in town, the arcade. Our last group outing and spending time together.

It’s something truly “full circle” when you are able to sit with your husband and his grown siblings and watch remnants of ourselves in our children. A certain body shape or stature, maybe the look in their eyes as they try to deceive someone, their belly giggles or their cries. It’s amazing to see the lineage continue and a legacy set forth.

At 14 I entered into the world of the Bissonnette’s. I met and started dating Johnny in my freshmen year so I hung out at his house ALL the time. It was endless, never-ending movement, chaos, and laughter. But I loved it there, they were my kind of crazy and I’ve loved joining and adding to their ever-growing family.

Of course, as you grow up and out of your parents care and start your own family, time flies and all of our lives gradually separate. You don’t truly realize how long it’s been since some of them have seen each other. We were fortunate that we were able to visit and have others visit us, but due to deployments, and different duty stations, some siblings just haven’t been able to each other.

Honestly, though, this reunion was more about getting all 28 cousins together. To provide our kids with the opportunity to meet, get to know and continue to grow relationships with parts of their family they haven’t had the chance to.

I thoroughly enjoyed spending so much quality time with everyone and seeing them all interact care and fight with each other like family!