Thursday, April 28, 2011

Annual Easter Picnic/60th Raney Family Reunion

I can’t believe Easter has already come and gone. This year has just flew by waaaaaaaaaaay to quickly. Why is it that when you a kid time takes for-ever to pass. And when you’re an adult time goes by too quickly? I don’t know but wanna go back to being a kid again.

The past few years we’ve had our annual Raney Easter Picnic at my aunt and uncle’s ranch in Cistern, Texas. About an hour outside of Austin and about 3 hours outside of Houston. Before that it was at my Dad’s cousin and her husband’s place in Tomball. And before that it was at my parents house in Humble, {just north of Houston}. This “little” shin dig has been going on for 60 years! Can you believe that?! 60 years of Raney’s getting together to eat, play games and visit. And what used to be an afternoon of fun has now turned into a 4 day extravaganza!

First we started off last Thursday night at my Dad’s cousin’s restaurant Sam Bet’s here in Austin. It’s a kick ass cajun food place and serves damn good food and is BYOB. What’s better than good food and cheap beer? The company you share it with of course! Now, my entire family was not there of course, because some were traveling in and some had to work on Friday, but there were a good showing of people and we had a great time. Aunt Catherine hired a band for the night and man were they good. I wish I remembered their name. Anyhoo, I took a picture of just 1 of the 2 walls lined with hundreds of bottles of hot sauce that she sells there.

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Mom and Dad stayed with us Thursday night. I had to work on Good Friday, {just in the morning}, but Griff didn’t so he went to pick up the pop up trailer we rented for the weekend and Mom headed the grocery store to get supplies. Dad had a little too much fun the night before so he slept. And napped. And slept. And napped. Just kidding Dad, you helped chop veggies, cleaned out our cooler & loaded the car. Mom got so many groceries {she was shopping for the both of us}, that I just had to get a picture of the tornado that came through my kitchen.

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We made bacon wrapped pineapple, pasta salad, cupcakes, deviled eggs, and Aunt Frannie’s baked beans with bacon! {I forgot to take a picture of the eggs and pasta salad. But you’ve seen them before so you know what they look like.}

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Once all the cooking was done, we loaded up the cars and headed East. {that sounds like a line from a country western song.}

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When we got to the ranch David and Aaron helped us set up the trailer. I love my family. We arrive and literally within minutes someone has come over to help you unload your car. Or in this case, set up your trailer. We usually have a bed at the ranch to sleep in but this was our 60th reunion so we got booted for the older folks.

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Friday night we had crawfish for dinner, courtesy of my Aunt Catherine {which is technically my Dad’s cousin, but with a family this large everyone becomes an aunt or uncle at some point.} Catholics can’t eat meat on Friday during Lent. However, fish is acceptable. And as far as I can tell crawfish has the word “fish” in it, so we were good to go! Griff, being the token Coon Ass was told asked to cook the crawfish and man what a job he did! I swear I wasn’t a crawfish snob until I met Griff. His crawfish are legendary!

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Saturday was met with more cooking and more eating. Oh, and more drinking. There’s no law against drinking during Lent. Thank you Jesus.

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In the midst of all the cooking/cleaning Mom lost her sunglasses. She told everyone to be on the lookout for a pair of Raybans. For about 30 minutes we looked for the darn things and couldn’t find them anywhere. That is… until I opened the oven and found this. I believe my exact words were, “Mom. I think I found your sunglasses.” They had been hooked to the front of her shirt and when she bent over to put the beans in the oven they must have fallen out. And there they sat. Baking up nice and crisp. Well first they melted. Then they were crisp.

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Saturday evening, {while Griff was fishing}, me, Mom and Dad all went for a ride in the old mail truck my Uncle Steve bought. Dad decided it was too dusty to ride in the back so he rode up top. Well, he first started out on the hood, then moved to the roof.

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Saturday night my cousin Christopher and I were in a dancin’ mood and decided to remedy that urge with some serious 2 steppin’! We must have dance around the pool table for 2 hours. He flipped me in the air and away we went. I had SO much fun. My right food paid the consequences though. She’s a bit bruised and battered. But that only because I kept getting my foot caught under his steal toe boot.

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On Sunday we all woke up had a great breakfast and then had church in the main house. It was awesome to look around the room and think about all we all are related. By marriage or by blood, we are all a family. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful, loving, sweet, kind hearted family. I love that we still all get together for times like these and I love that the below picture is all 69 of us. All 69 people I am related to and hold so close to my heart. Well 65 of us are pictured here. There were 4 MIA relatives that were at the ranch but for some reason did not make it into the picture.

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter with the ones they love.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ranch Clean Up

In preparation for Easter Griff and I , { and a bunch of our family}, went out to the ranch to help give her a good scrub down. Easter weekend my entire family, {all 70+ if us}, are heading to the ranch, and as much fun as we have out there she was da-her-tee!

Griff and the boys cut a TON of fire wood so we would have plenty on hand for bon fires.


My Dad and my Uncle Brad mowed the lawn. Not all 500 acres but a lot no the less.


Me and the girls cleaned the inside. Washed windows, screens, dusted, ya know, the usual.


We had to move the chicken coop into the shade. This is no ordinary chicken coop mind you. My Uncle Jim, {who owns the ranch}, also owns a steal & metal company, which means this chicken coop is made from steal and is hev-ee! So we had to use the tracker to move it.


Me and my Daddy.


Another of my Uncles, Uncle Alan, is building his house on 10 acres of land on the same 500 acre property as the main house.  I took a few pictures of the progress. {The first 2 pictures are looking at this house while standing in his shop}


This is his view from his master bedroom and what he will see every morning when he wakes. Nice.


Griff and I tried to go fishing but Charley wouldn’t stay on the shore. She swam out to the middle of the lake and we had no choice but to put her the boat.  The motor go caught in some weeds so Griff had to paddle us out of it.


Look at this girl… staring at her ball. Always staring at her ball. Wondering why the people around her are not ALWAYS throwing her ball.


When we were finished cleaning we feasted on steaks and all kinds of sides and fixin’s. Then partied into the night.  At 5:30 in the morning after everyone had gone to sleep LONG AGO, me, 2 of my Uncles, Alan and Brad, and my Cousin David decided to leave a little present for the early risers the next morning. We made a food obstacle course. {Notice my Uncles making the “who us?” faces.}


Dear Lord was this fun. My checks hurt the next day from laughing so hard. And to be honest, when I finally woke up, {at 10am}, I forgot about our present until I was reminded by my Aunts.

I love my crazy family!