Since their friends are cool, and we are cool (Is it even cool to say "cool" anymore?), naturally, we continued to hang out with them any time they were in town. Eventually, we even traveled with the Konickis to see some of them as they all graduated from college and started spreading out geographically. In August 2004, we caravanned with the Konickis to New Port Richey, FL (near Tampa) to the Gallers house to escape the wrath of Hurricane Francis. That weekend the Gallers had actually already planned a "G-lympics" party, but Francis brought us there a little early. Throughout the weekend, we bonded and laughed (and played lots of LOUD music) with our new friends... and even made some more friends (that was our first weekend to meet the Wests... future Hive-adopted members). :)
Later that year was the first official "Hive" reunion at the Konicki's house. The Konickis and friends decided they wanted to start an annual gathering of friends to assure that they keep in touch despite their geographical differences (remember, this was before blogs and stuff too, and maybe even before free long distance on cell phones... so visiting was the best economical way to see what everyone was up to... and it's just cool to get to hang out with your friends). Many of those friends are big fans of 311, whose fan club is apparently called "The Hive". They liked the name so our version of "The Hive" was born. In 2004, there wasn't really a "Hive: Generation Deuce" (the kids) yet, so the weekend involved a bunch of staying up late, hanging out at the beach, and just doing whatever we felt like doing whenever we felt like doing it. During the first Hive, we began the tradition of making an official cd of music for the event. The first cd consisted of both songs that reminded the group of one another (from their high school and college days) and songs that each person just liked and wanted to share with the others. Because we lived close and we knew many of the Konickis' friends, we got invited to attend and participate in the cd too. Thus, solidifying our friendships with "Hivers" even more and officially making us members of the group. :)
In 2005, the Hive travelled to South Florida. Leah and Zach, the first of the regular Generation Deuce attendees, were just infants then. This is also the Hive where Nikki and I "outed" our pregnancies to this group of friends. The next year, we made the trek to South Florida again... this time with even more kids. That year our "Generation Deuce" had grown to 6 kids (with another on the way) so we began the tradition of having official kids' shirts for the event. The next year, about 15 of us headed up to North Carolina for "Hive 07- NC Heaven" at the Gallers'. We had an overflowing full house, but all enjoyed staying and playing together. By the time "Hive 08- Bringing it Back to Brevard" rolled around, we had grown to 11 kids so we had to spread out among a few houses in Brevard (the Konickis', Erica, and our house pre-addition). Hive 08 also included a couple of nights at a large rental house in Orlando (as opposed to the 3 bedroom condos that we used to rent for Orlando parties pre-kids) and a day trip to Disney. We added the "bee hunt" tradition (large Easter eggs dressed up to look like bees for the kids to find and store in their "bug nets"), and because it was in October, we also had a Halloween dress-up parade for the kids. (My pictures of 08 here.)
We really enjoyed keeping everyone together at the rental house in Orlando, so for Hive 09, we were hoping to rent a house in the mountains or on the beach where everyone could stay together again. Unfortunately, we waited too late to start planning so the choices were limited, and because of the economy, the few choices that we had were a bit too expensive. Since we had FINALLY finished our addition and had the room to squish a few families in, we decided on "Hive 09- What Happens at the Barn, Stays at the Barn" at the Donald Barn. More on Hive 09 coming soon...
On a final note, one really interesting thing about the Hive group is that even though I've only hung out with many of the Hive members less times than I can count on both hands over the course of 6 years, I still feel like they're some of my best friends. Thanks to the blog-world (and now facebook too), it seems like we are all a part of each others' daily lives and "talk" on a regular basis. When we get together, we don't go through that normal "getting comfortable" period that you go through when you see someone you haven't seen for months. It truly feels like we see each other all of the time so we're comfortable right from the first hug hello. One interesting thing that I observed this past weekend is that we're all so comfortable with one another and knowing the personalities of our kids so well, that we even chastise, help, or play with each others' kids without even thinking about it and no one (even the kids) even flinches like it's odd at all. It's so great to have a group like that! I honestly think that even the kids feel this way. With as young as they are and how long some of them go between visits with the rest of "Generation Deuce", some of them don't even remember meeting one another in the past, yet thanks to the internet, they get excited about seeing each other and play together so easily! Ella (the movie star of the group thanks to all of her youtube videos) was greatly missed this year because the kids know her from the internet. Technology rules!