Our family enjoys a wonderful weekend of fun for the women each year. Sisters, sister-in-laws and adult nieces are all invited to attend a weekend of fun and reconnection. Since our family no longer resides in the same state, and with distance becoming greater each year, the women of our family decided to begin the tradition of a Sister Weekend several years ago. This tradition has become one of the most anticipated get-togethers of the year!
The planning for this event usually starts about six months ahead of time. The major decisions are: deciding the location and dates of the event. St Louis has been the destination several times as this was a central location for many years. Other locations have included Hot Springs, AR, Branson, MO, Eureka Springs, AR, and Estes Park, CO. With one sister and her family moving to Tulsa, OK, recently, this was the place chosen for the 2010 get-together from June 19-22. This sister chose the hotel and planned some of the activities and restaurant choices for the group.
The most important ingredient of a successful Girls’ Weekend is to leave your problems at home. It is essential to put a smile on your face and come to have fun with the group. Our youngest sister turned 40 during the weekend this year, so birthday cake and “Over the Hill” gifts were in order. She was also recently married and wedding gifts were given during the weekend. Since we are all related by blood or marriage, we often think alike. The gifts for each other were all scent- related items this year such as candles for the home and fragrances for the car and the house.
Family visitation was a big part of the weekend. Local cousins joined us for two of the meals and joined in the many giggles and laughs. One uncle lives in nearby Bartlesville, OK, so one morning was spent visiting with him. We were treated to a meal at TallGrass Estates, the independent living facility where he lives. This was a fine meal with a menu and we enjoyed an excellent lunch of salad, tilapia or a fruit plate, and smores cheesecake. It was definitely fine dining!
Since family history and genealogy are a passion for several members of the family, we visited with a cousin in Stroud, OK one evening at the Route 66 café located there. She has written a book on genealogy and provided insights into new family connections. I bought her 2010 book Family Stories-An Anthology. The Oklahoma Genealogical society sponsors a Family Story Contest each year with the winning family stories compiled into a yearly book. Family members may submit a story for this contest in 2011.
Shopping is always one of the highlights of our weekend getaways and Tulsa has many malls located throughout the city. One of the favorite stores was the ½ of ½ Price Store which was having an extra discount on the day we were there. So, brand name clothing was found by everyone and for family members at home as well!
Another highlight was a trip to the Oklahoma Aquarium located in Jenks, OK. The best memory was petting the stingrays (their stingers were removed) and watching the feeding of the beavers and river otters. This facility has a fresh water aquarium with the fish of the nearby Ozark Rivers along with river sharks and fish and creatures of the oceans. This took place on Father’s Day afternoon followed by a meal at Los Cabos in the nearby River-Walk Shops overlooking the Arkansas River. Three cousins, a husband and father-in-law all joined the group for this meal.
The final highlight was enjoying the Michael Buble concert held in the BOK Center in Tulsa on June 22, with the acapella group Naturally 7 as the opening act. One of the nieces is a beautician and hair stylist, so she spent several hours that afternoon providing hair styling, some hair trims and hair color streaks. Providing manicures and pedicures for each other had all of us looking chic and ready for this concert! We had each independently brought a turquoise colored blouse to wear to this event. We posed with a poster of Michael Buble for pictures in the BOK Center! Pictures of the entire weekend were captured for everyone in the family to enjoy.
Our Sister Weekend of four days was over much too soon, but the wonderful memories of this family get-together remain. Each sister and niece who attended this year is planning to attend the event in 2011, as well as nieces who could not attend this time! In addition, planning is underway for a Family Weekend near Branson, MO and Eureka Springs, AR over Labor Day weekend 2010, so that the whole family can get together for a fun weekend with the children and husbands also invited this time.
Leonard, Carolyn B. (Editor) (2010) Family Stories: An Anthology. Buffalo Industries: Oklahoma City, OK