Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Family Reunion Day 1

It's time! It's time!  Our much anticipated Weber Family Reunion is here!  I love my Weber Family.  So.Much.So.Much.  My parents, plus their legacy:  10 kids.  8 spouses (one couldn't make it due to military training).  32 grandkids.  1 foreign exchange student.  This makes for a total of 53 people that came together this week.  We decided to go camping as a family, and back in January, we all made our campsite reservations at a local gem called The Mudhole.  It was a place that we went camping/swimming growing up, and we thought it'd be fun to do it again.  We paired up as many families as we could, at the tent sites, planned for sharing food, snacks, equipment and kids (lol).  We had 3-4 nights reserved. Weber Family Reunion will now begin!!

 Before we went to The Mudhole, those of us who wanted to met at a family friend's house to go target shooting.  We all brought our chosen weapons (safely stored in lockboxes and all with valid permits) and ammo, and we set up a target area.  We had ear protection and cold water refreshments for the hot and dusty day.   Here is a picture of our area, with some of the brothers (and inlaws) getting targets set up.



 I was waiting my turn to shoot, while talking with my oldest brother.  I had my gun in one hand and the magazine clip in the other.  We didn't load until the signal was given and everyone was ready and stationary.  It was all very organized and safe, with two shooters at a time.


When it was the kids' turns, we all had helpers to keep everything safe.  They were able to shoot rifles, pistols, and other types of guns.  The kids were all excited to practice shooting and were very attentive to the rules of the activity.


Kimble did not shoot, and he didn't really enjoy the time there (understandably).





After a few hours at the range, we all made our way to set up camp...but our family took a slight detour.  There was another place I wanted to visit in our little town, and that was Golden China...the very best Chinese food restaurant I've ever eaten at.   It was a favorite of ours growing up, and throughout the upcoming week, many of us snuck over to Golden China to partake of it's noodle goodness.  Yum.  We ordered some rice, noodles, and two meat platters, and we ate buffet style.  The kids all loved it.



After we were sufficiently stuffed, we continued on to the campsite.  This is the little road that leads to the campsites.  So densely covered in trees.  We love The Mudhole!

The next few hours were spent welcoming every family as they pulled in...helping each other get all the tents and canopies set up...visiting with everyone and letting the cousins play...and basically getting everything ready for our first night camping.  After all the families were finished with dinner (most of us paired up with another family to share meals during the week, and we had paired up with Sharon and Nancy), we all gathered together in one central campsite.  We had a surprise for our parents!


Kimble was exhausted from the day's activities, and he fell asleep on my lap...a theme that would be reaccurring throughout the week.


Years ago, my mom's wedding ring broke, and the diamond fell out and was lost.  She was saddened by this, and at the time, couldn't afford the extra costs associated with fixing it.  So, she took the pieces of the ring and put it away in a special place.  Fast forward to earlier this year...one of my siblings had the idea to get her ring fixed.  We wanted it to be a surprise, so we didn't let my parents know what we were planning.  For months, the sibling secret op mission was underway, but  one major thing limited our progress:  We couldn't find the ring!  We had local siblings looking through her jewelry box and other places in my parent's bedroom (trying not to get caught!) but the ring could not be found. Finally, we brought my dad in on the secret, to see if he could help us locate the broken ring.

He couldn't find it either, but we did get some clues.  After a lot of searching, one sibling got lucky and found the ring!  It was imediately express mailed to my brother Ian, who brought it to a jewelry store that his wife had previously worked at.  Using her work discount, and all the money that each of us had previously put in a special "ring" account, we were able to fix my mom's wedding ring AND have a new (upgraded) diamond put in it.  The ring was completed just days before the reunion, and on this night, we planned to surprise her with it.

So after welcoming everyone officially to the start of the reunion, we had my dad get up and begin the process of building up to the end result, which was presenting my mom with her new (old) wedding ring!




She was so surprised and so happy and so amazed at our secret mission!  It was a fabulous way to begin our reuion!

Before The Reunion

The day is here!  However, before our reunion begins, we had a visit we needed to make.  Because both The Husband and I grew up here, we wanted to make a special stop at his childhood home before we joined up with my family.  We will see his family (mom, sister, brother, cousins and aunt) next week, but this stop was to see his old property; the place where he spent his days wandering and exploring and working and living.

On the way there, we stopped and took a picture with an old friend.  This giraffe statue is midway between Spokane and Newport (where we grew up) and my siblings and I used to watch for it every time we passed along this particular stretch of highway...which was often.  Sometimes we'd say "I'm not going to look at the giraffe this time!" but when we'd get to it, it was like our eyes  couldn't help but sneak a peek.  "Giraffe!" someone would say, and we would all look to him, forever displayed in a lonely field by the highway.  Hello old friend!  It's good to see you again.


 Not long after the giraffe visit, we turned down another highway and then again down an old country road, to get to The Husband's old property.  Nothing is there anymore. The doublewide trailers and equipment, satellite dishes and fencing, have all been removed.  It's just a lot of old overgrown property.  Heath walked around with the kids, showing them where different trails used to be and where he played "hoops" by a tree with an old steel hoop nailed to it's trunk.  He showed them where he used to practice baseball by throwing rocks in the air and swinging sticks to hit a homer.  It was a bit sad for him, to see the old property.  In this next picture, they are standing where his grandmother's trailer used to be, and where he lived most of the time, to help his Grandmother out.


This was part of the trail between his Grandmother's place and his mother's place.  It is well-overgrown now.


The boys found some flowers to pick.


This is the field where their family garden used to be, and behind it, by the trees, where his mother's trailer was.
 Lots of memories.  I'm glad we were able to take the time to see it again.  Someone else owns it now, or maybe the government owns it. We don't really know, but in order to not get caught trespassing (even though we told the neighboring family what we were doing) we didn't wander around long.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Silverwood!

Yay!!  One more theme park!  Growing up, Silverwood was a small theme park about an hour from our house.  We watched it grow over the years to become quite a large park, and in recent years, they have included a water park as well.  So a few of my siblings decided they wanted to join us at Silverwood, before our family reunion officially began.

The park didn't open up until 10am, so we had some time to enjoy the morning.  I love this moment that I caputred with Heath and Kimble, lounging in bed and talking about being a daddy and getting whiskers.   So adorable.


I borrowed this little bow clip from Nancy, to wear, and I loved it so much I took a picture of it so I could recreate it at some point.


We had Courtney and Sharon's families with us, and my sister Shavonne met us there, to spend the day with us.  
 Nancy and I...waiting in line for a ride.


I love to dress my boys alike, especially Keaton and Kolby.  They look alike, and it's easier to keep track of them.  Keaton said "Mom, I think I'm getting too old for you to dress me the same as Kolby.  Ha.

 After we rode some rides for a few hours, we watched a magic show.  It wasn't nearly as good as the one we saw the week before at Elitch Gardens, but it was fun.  Here's a picture of just my sisters, at the stage before the show.


 After the magic show, we all ate lunch (again we brought a picnic lunch) and then we transitioned over to the water park area of Silverwood, where we spent  a few hours going down slides, enjoying the lazy river, getting splashed in the splash zone, and playing in the wave pools.  No pictures were taken, because I had my camera locked up in the lockers, not wanting it to get stolen!

After we were done swimming, we got dressed and went back to the other end of the park to ride some more roller coasters!  Just before we did that, however, we had to honor another tradition. At Silverwood, in the ice cream parlor, we all got a scoop of huckleberry ice cream.  However, what they call "one scoop" is crazy big. Here's a picture of the kids with their ice cream cones.  The one scoop ice cream cones!


 Yum. We all had a hard time finishing them!  We let our stomachs settle after that, by roaming around the kid section of the park, and letting the little ones ride some low-key rides.



Before we knew it, the park was closed. We were actually sad, because there were more rides (and more rollercoasters!) that I really wanted to ride, but there wasn't time. When you are with the whole family and have little kids, it's more important to show them a good day, so that is what happened, and that is just fine.  We had a great day, and as the last amusement park in a line of recent fun-filled days, we were almost happy to see it come to an end. It's exhausting!

We drove back to Rebekah's house to stay the night, and our family reunion would officially begin the next day!

Monday, July 15, 2013

IdahoMontanaIdahoWashington

We woke up early and planned our traveling caravan to drive the familiar route from Idaho Falls to Spokane Washington.  We start in Idaho, go through Montana, hit Idaho again, and then cross over to Washington.  This leg of the trip would be long already, but we anticipated it to be even longer because we had four vehicles all traveling together.  My sister Sharon and her family, my sister Courtney and her family, my sister Nancy, and our family.  So, we shuffled kids around so everyone had playmates.  Kamy and Keaton took turns driving with Aunt Nancy to keep her company, and with lunches packed and gas tanks full, we set off down the road!

Not much happened throughout the trip that was photoworthy.  We drove. We gassed up.  We made many potty stops.  We drove some more.  We celebrated every state border and every freeway transition that got us closer to our destination.


About 3 hours before arriving, we all stopped at a familiar freeway exit that is in the middle of nowhere, and we all got ourselves huckleberry shakes. A tradition.  This refueled us and we were ready for the last leg of our journey.

About dinnertime, we arrived at my sister Rebekah's house, where Sharon, Nan, and I (and our families) stayed the night, and Courtney's family stayed with a friend.  We were excited about the next day:  Silverwood Theme Park!  Our last amusement park courtesy of our Make-A-Wish trip.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Lagoon

Thanks to our Make-A-Wish trip, we were able to have tickets to Lagoon, an amusement park in northern Utah.  so after we left Bethany's house, we went to the grocery store and bought things we would need for a picnic lunch (chicken salad sandwiches, chips, drinks, fruit, and cookies) and then we drove just over an hour to Lagoon.

Once there, we didn't take a lot of pictures.  I don't know why.  Perhaps I was too busy controlling kids while standing in line, or chasing after Kimble, or waiting by the sidelines while Heath and the rest of the kids rode a ride that Kimble was too small for, or perhaps because I didn't bring in my big camera and I just had my little cell phone camera.  Even with that, however, I'm still surprised at how few pictures there are. I'm almost positive I took more, but they are nowhere to be found. So here are the pictures I have.






We left Lagoon relatively early for the day, in terms of when the park closes, because from there, we were driving up to Idaho Falls to stay the night with one of my sisters.  We got there just after dinner, and were able to re-group for our long journey the next day!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Temple Square

We had a few things we wanted to do in Utah, before we continued up to Idaho and Washington.  First up, we went to my brother's house and the kids hung out and played with each other while my sister-in-law Melissa added color and highlights to my hair.  I wanted it a dark auburn.  It ended up being a lot darker than both of us realized it would be, but it was fun, and I've never had my hair colored and highlighted before by someone other than myself, and Mel does a great job with hair.  She also gave me a trim!  We had a great time talking and catching up.  After my hair was complete, we ran a few errands pertaining to groceries, then the family headed to Temple Square in SLC to walk around and enjoy the beautiful day.


If anyone has questions on what we (LDS or Mormons) believe, then please go to LDS.org to get your questions answered!  Likewise, if you find yourself in Salt Lake, you can walk around Temple Square and visit many buildings and visitor's centers to learn more.


 We didn't have any plans. We just walked around and took pictures.  We showed the kids the old Tabernacle (where The Husband sang for General Conference the weekend we got engaged!) and the new Tabernacle (which they walked through a few years ago during a similar afternoon visit).  We went to a few visitor's centers and enjoyed the beautiful trees/grass/flowers/plants/fountains that make the area so gorgeous.









Then we left and drove to Tooele to stay the night with my childhood bestie, Bethany.   Although we have stayed with her before, it seems like this year, the kids all connected with each other. It was great to see them becoming friends. I hope they are lifelong, just like what I have with Bethany, who coincidentally, never got a picture with me!

Just before bedtime, we walked downstairs to find Kolby with his arm around Claire. They were enjoying a movie and were innocent enough. It was sweet to see them enjoying time together.  They both suffer  from the 3rd child syndrome, so I'm sure they had plenty to share.
 The next morning, we took the standard "kid cousin" pictures, then a few more with Kamy and Amelia, who instantly connected and vowed to have Kamy fly to Utah to stay sometime next summer.  The Husband was a "creeper" in one of the pictures, peering through the doorway crack!


I'm so glad we can get our families together every few years. I sure love Bethany and her family!  After we left them, we headed out onto our next adventure!