My sisters and I started life out as rivals with the Anderson kids…friendly rivals of course, but there was always the unspoken air of competition seeing as we attended rival country school, were members of rival 4-H clubs and competed against each other at the Kiwanis Music Festival every year. However, over the years we all graduated on to the same highschool, we all decided that perhaps careers of a musical nature weren’t for us and our 4-H clubs amalgamated to create the Perth South East Dairy Club…a dominating force on the Perth Dairy 4-H scene! As each of the barriers came down, we all got to know each other, and instead of competing against each other for everything, we joined forces and competed WITH each other.
Amber and I are the same age and started 4-H together, and while Amber has a passion for the agricultural industry as only a farm kid can, the cows were not particularly Amber’s thing and I actually got to know Amber through our time with Rotary Youth Exchange. I headed to Germany, while she headed to Denmark the year after, but following our respective years abroad, we bonded over our love the RYE program, our love of all things European and of course a shared habit of spouting things off randomly in our new languages. There are some things that only another exchange student can understand!
Heather and I, on the other hand, had cows in common. We both lived and breathed for the 4-H show season, what was happening in the barn, the latest industry gossip and the best time of the year…the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair! As two of the eldest in the 4-H club, we bonded over the freezing cold Stratford Fair wash rack at 4am, 6am McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches, nights out at the Ranch and our eventual similar jobs with rival…umm..cattle genetics companies.
And Alex? Well, Alex was always like the annoying little brother I never had! He always kept things entertaining and like my sister Mandy, when everyone else was getting all stressed and nervous about showing, the two of them remained cool as cucumbers, laughing and joking until they got into the ring and then a lot of the time, ended up on the winning end of the class while the rest of us stress cases wondered how in the world they made it look so easy!
However, I truly got to know the WHOLE Anderson clan the year I worked for them following their horrible barn fire in 2004. There were a lot of ups and downs throughout the year and I am amazed at how positive the whole family stayed through everything! By the end of the year, the new barn was built, everything was back on track, and we all joked that they were my adopted family. The Athlone ranch had become a second home and its whole cast of characters were like extended family.
We have stayed close ever since. Heather stood up as my maid of honour at our wedding, while Amber took on the role of MC and I stood up for Heather at her and Dennis’ wedding as her maid of honour (that’s right Heather…MAID! Hahaha). Our first-borns are the same age and we already talk about when they are in 4-H together, and when they go of to be Aggies at Guelph together…maybe we’re a little ahead of ourselves, but I can only hope that Maddie can have as good of a friend in Hailey as I do in Heather and Amber and their whole fam!
Now on to the photos! Grandma Helen was having a BIRTHDAY!!! So they thought it would be nice to get the whole family together for some extended family photos! I was very excited to be asked to help out with this!! I met up with them at Heather and Dennis’ on Canada Day and we had a blast with party hats, noisemakers, birthday banners, sunglasses, wheat fields, corn fields, Hailey’s toys and jungle gym, and of course, it couldn’t be a true Dairy birthday without a Milk Toast!! Hailey is going to be a big sister soon, so we even took a few minutes to take a couple baby bump photos! I had a lot of fun and it was good to see the whole crew again…even if my mommy-brain failed me and I forgot a name…Sorry Aunt Vicky!!
Anyways, enjoy the sneak peek of our extended family fun and, of course, Happy Birthday Grandma Helen!