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A Bender Reunion Part 1

This past weekend the Bender clan all made our way up to Oregon for a family reunion years in the making. One of my Aunts on my Dad’s side was celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary and hosted all of the siblings, kids and grandkids out on the coast to celebrate. I hadn’t been out there to visit in nearly 10 years so it was wonderful to see everyone again.

First the parents and I took off Friday morning from the airport. Note our luggage.. mama bear, papa bear and me, in the little princess bag.

We met up with these handsome boys in the airport! My nephew did great on the plane ride, then proceeded with making me chase him in circles around baggage claim.

After collecting ourselves and getting some rental cars we did as any good tourists would do and went straight to the Tillamook Cheese Factory. MMMMMM Cheese!

Although my nephew was a trooper long car rides are not his favorite. So he was a bit restless once we got there. We did get to walk around and sample the cheese but I did not get the ice cream I was pining over. Alas probably for the best diet wise.

Side note, I will probably never be seen in this beloved Banff sweatshirt again. It went missing on this trip 🙁 I guess I will just have to go back to Banff for another one!

Friday night after we got settled in the house we were sharing with one of my other Aunts and her family we went to eat at a place called Mo’s by the beach. Bender party of 18 please! Of course there was a wait for a party of 18…. shocking… so this little guy got to run around by the beach for a while.

The next morning I hit road for my long run. After all there is no break in marathon training while on vacation. Dad joined me for the first few miles and I gave my brother a high 5 (literally) as he flew past me several times.

But 11 miles done, terrible pace, far too many hills, but beautiful views.

Obligatory shoes in sand pic. But no, I did not run directly on the sand… I’m not that crazy!

Then it was time to go see the rest of the Bender family. We had a picnic at a pavilion on the beach in Lincoln City, where they were coincidentally having a sandcastle contest the same day.

My favorite:

And the Loch Ness monster?

Anyways, here are the ‘newlyweds’ 50 years in the making! Talk about life goals… 50 years, 2 kids and 4 grandkids and these two are still very much in love! My Uncle even gave her a ring and asked her to join him for the next 50 ♥♥♥

Of course it isn’t a family reunion without the family pictures! First up was the first generation, my Dad on the right with his four sisters and my Uncle and his sister on the left.

Then all the next generation: myself, my brother and our cousins. Unfortunately 4 couldn’t make it this go around but this is almost all of them on my Dad’s side.

My Aunt and Uncle also brought out some old family pictures to admire while we were there. I found this beauty of most of this same crowd from about 22 years ago. I’m third from the right and my brother is on the far left. We’ve changed a bit!

Lastly, the third generation. My brother had to console the little guy over on the right, it’s tough being 2 you know! Also I can’t believe how much these kids have grown! This was my first time meeting some of them, and others I hadn’t seen since they were babies.

In the midst of the family bonding, Dad and I hit the beach with the aerobie and made each other run around even more. I love that we can do this together. We used to play all the time when I was a kid and I found one at a store right in time for Father’s Day this year. More good memory making to come!

To wrap up Saturday, most of my cousins hit the beach for a bonfire. I was definitely not drinking wine out of a water bottle (again)…

More to come in a part 2, too much fun on this trip to put it all in one post!