Monday, May 17, 2010

Meet the Family {Beach Edition}

We've come here every year together since 1997. There were only seven of us since I was the only one married then. Now we've swelled to a whopping nineteen, nine of whom are kids. Seven of those nine are ages four and under.

When we all get down to the beach, it looks like somebody dumped a day care out onto the sand. {Just imagine 14 more people.}

Gone are the days of beach novels and sun-drenched naps. As much as I miss that life of leisure, I wouldn't have things any other way now.

Our week together is the best kind of crazy.

As the oldest of four kids, I was the typical firstborn, responsible and bossy. Had I known then about the future invention of the internet and how any one of them could publish tons of junk about me, I would have been much nicer.

Want to meet everyone? Of course you do. {See, I'm still bossy.}

Here's my first younger brother and his family. As a child he was bookish and introspective and passionate about justice in the world. He still is. Last year he and his family moved to Colorado and we miss them terribly. He goes to bars and has meaningful conversation with people. Often they end up talking about God. He and his wife are passionate about loving people who are lost and struggling.

Here's my next brother and his gang. He was a Tazmanian devil. Not much has changed. For his 30th birthday he invited his best friends in for the weekend and did stuff like cage fighting and eating contests. But don't let his bullying ways fool you. He is tender-hearted as can be. He and his wife spend their weekends building community among hurting people.

Eighteen months after the cage-fighter was born, this happy little girl came into the world. Thoughtful and cheerful, she has always loved others something fierce. Thirty years later, she is just the same. In addition to raising their own children, she and her husband are amazing house-parents to at-risk teenage boys. They are saints.

And last but certainly not least, the dynamic duo who started it all. Meet the parentals. They have sacrificed a lot to give us all this week together every year. They feel blessed beyond measure by all the mayhem they began nearly 37 years ago when their first one was born.

And because I've already subjected you to the bloggy equivalent of my family history, what's a few more pictures? Here are some of my faves along with totally unnecessary commentary.

Cupcake's curls are on steroids with all that beach humidity. I love it.

I found this guy while combing the beach for treasure. I think I'll take him home.

There are no words.

She planned her outfit around the colors of the sky.

Because if you can't wear a tutu at the beach, where can you wear one?

Speaking of outfits, Nana gets matching suits for the boys every year. This will likely be a short-lived tradition as boys will only be suckered into this matchy-matchy scheme for a few more years at best.

I could have followed this ruffled cutie around for the day with my camera. She knows she looks good.

Tutu's mama was two weeks away from her due date last year. Obviously this year was much more pleasant. And we got to celebrate baby girl's first birthday!

If eating birthday cake was an Olympic event, this girl would take home gold.

Don't let them fool you.

One of these darlings is the daughter of the cage-fighter. The other is the daughter of a former college basketball player. We witnessed some epic battles over the course of the week, one of which came to an ugly end as Girl #2 flipped Girl #1 backward over a baby-doll high chair.

Clearly, they take after their fathers.

The dads are serious about their moats and sand castles, not to be outdone by the college students down the beach building replica Egyptian sand pyramids.

A highlight is the Man of the Year competition. Contestants battle it out in bocce ball, shuffleboard, mini golf, corn hole, and the famed Oreo Blast competition.

The winner takes home the ghastliest trophy you have ever seen and has to display it prominently in his living room for the year.

The ladies are the judges for the Oreo Blast contest, so we're the real winners.

Meet this year's blast champion. A dreamy blend of rich vanilla ice cream, cinnamon, whipped cream, and golden vanilla Oreo's.

And finally, a rare moment of stillness {brought to you by the makers of M & M's, the best form of child bribery ever.}


It's easy to paint a picture of familial bliss with pretty photos of cute kids and good times. We're a far from perfect lot. We've had disagreements and hurt feelings. We don't see eye to eye on everything. We are as varied now as we were as kids.

But I'm convinced that love and loyalty and Jesus bind us together.

That and the alluring incentive of a complimentary beach trip every year.


  1. LOL!!!!!!! Lots!!!! What a phenomenal recap! Thanks for gifting us all with your stellar use of your gifts!

    Love you forever,

  2. Okay, Scooper, I loved reading this post. The photos! How wonderful! And the commentary? Not at all useless--on the contrary!

    I found myself a little bit jealous of y'all for this awesome trip and at the same time taking notes for what I'd like to do with my boys when they're grown up (which will, I'm afraid, be sooner rather than later).

    But it was the comment from your mom that made me cry.

    You are blessed indeed.

  3. I was wondering, how does one apply for the job of Oreo blaster judge?

  4. Just precious!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a wonderful, memorable, bonding tradition. I love all the photos!!! Blessings!

  5. I have three sisters and a brother and we never make the time to get together. I miss our childhood beach vacations. How wonderful that you have this tradition. It looks so fun.

  6. Aw Marian..great pics!! Your family looks like so much fun!! I love the blast competition. That's such a great idea! The sand covered bottom picture was my favorite though...priceless. My youngest cousin used to run around the beach with a massive wedgie, completely clueless. Her buttcheeks were tan by the end of the week. :) that age is so funny!
    Welcome home!

    love, Amy

  7. Scooper, you have a lovely family and I thoroughly enjoyed both pictures and commentary. How blessed you all are! Thanks so much for giving us a peek at your vacation and your sweet family. I feel like I know you better now.

  8. Thank you for sharing your beach photos! I love seeing the whole family and love that my two grandkiddos have so many wonderful aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins. What a delight to have a photo of CJ's ruffly bottom every summer. Am I mistaken, or is I starting to resemble E a bit?
    Thank you from the bottom of the basketball players heart.

  9. Excellent! A perfect amount of crazy to make life interesting, with a liberal dose of cute!
    I love the running with the pants down pictures. It reminds me of someone...

  10. Looks like a wonderful time and now I really want an Oreo

  11. ok, this is so great marian!!! no wonder #2 cried his first day back to reality!! i would still be crying! the pics are so beautiful!!! i love your family pic! the all have halos! :-) girl, you are SO blessed!!!!

  12. Wow, that looks like an awesome trip. My favorite photo: the curly boy! That is the sweetest.

    Thanks for visiting Graceful today!

  13. awesome trip! phenominal pics! add a couple more wee ones in and you have my family get togethers. Except- theres 10 girls and only 2 boys. I have yet to get a picture of all of them in one place!

    (I ended up here completely by accident following bloggy trails... and I think Ill stay!)

  14. you said it all so perfectly! we miss you guys already! hope all is well in your neck of the woods...The kids loved looking at the pics with me. We're ready to go back NOW, TODAY.
    we love you all!
    auntie liz

  15. awww... miss all you Rampey's soooo much!!! you guys are the best!!! :)

  16. WOW!! I am sooo Happy I tapped into your Blog!! I'm soooo blown away by your family (they've Always been the Greatest from all those years ago... ) but WOW!!! I had nooo idea they were all doing and living such Spectacular Wonderful LIVES!! I didn't know Matt was in Colorado either.... this is soooo crazy!! Thanks for sharing!! You have ALWAYS had the most AMAZING family.... but it just keeps getting GREATER!! Your parents are soooo Awesome and they Look Spectacular!!!

    Thanks for SHARING!!!!!!!!

  17. Marion,
    This was such a neat way to "meet" the other members of your family. I can certainly vouch for Matt & Emily and confirm their "sainthood." They are a joy to live and work with. I love your blog! You have such a lovely way with words and a great message too.

    Jenny Graber


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