While we normally meet up in AZ, this year we changed it up and met in UT. It was FANTASTIC! The first two nights we were there we stayed with my sister Julie in Lehi. The next 3 nights all of my family stayed out in Hobble Creek Canyon at my BIL's parent's house, the Flake Ranch. It was gorgeous.
It took us about 21+ hours to drive each way. I was very, very grateful to Matt who drove every minute of the 42+ hours round trip. I am fairly narcoleptic when I am in a car, so I don't generally drive long distances. I'll add more photos of the whole group when I get them from the more official photographers of the group, Cannon and Molly.
Saturday:Matt and I got up at 4:30 and were out of the house by 5. Matt got a ticket for speeding. I was a little ticked because he had his speed set at what the speedometer said was 9 miles over. But the cop insisted he was going 11 miles over and gave him a ticket. Boo. We drove to Albequerque and stayed the night in a hotel. We ate at Cracker Barrel for the first time and were a little underwhelmed by their food. We took the boys swimming in the pool and hot tub at the hotel and then we all crashed. I think I was asleep by 9 pm!
Sunday:We woke up at 5:30 and were out by 6. We drove another 11 hours. It was so gorgeous once we started getting to the UT mountains and rock formations. Walt kept wanting to climb up the "Weally big wocks." We actually did stop at Wilson's arch and let the boys hike up to the top! I didn't think they'd make it up, but I'm glad they were able to with Matt's help. I climbed to the top after Matt climbed down and took Edward. We also passed a lot of "truck graveyards" on the way, and Walt said, "Mom, I want weally, weally, weally, weally, WEALLY, weally, (etc. for nearly a minute) big dump twuck for my birthday." Walter had a much harder trip than the previous day and cried the last hour of the trip. We were all so happy to get to Julie's. We had dinner with them and played some games while the kids ran around and played with her toys and kids.
Dean woke up at 6:08 even though he went to bed super late. I got up and ran before we left for the day.
We toured Sweets Candy Factory and stuffed our faces with yummy candy samples. We were nearly late for the tour and it's by appointment only. We took my niece Emily with us so we had to go in my sister's mini van. Matt was hauling! I am so glad we didn't get a ticket on the way there!
We headed back to Julie's to meet up with the majority of the Waterman clan for lunch. After we finished we headed out to SLC and Temple Square with Julie, Amanda, and Suzie's families. The boys both fell asleep on the way there from staying up late and getting up early, so they were a little grouchy at first, but they warmed up and had good attitudes. David, Julie's 6 yo forgot to bring shoes, so he ended up wearing my flip flops I luckily had in the car. =) We saw the Christus in the visitor's center, it started raining on us as we walked to the other visitor's center, and then we ended up in the Joseph Smith building to see the new Joseph Smith movie. We had to leave about half way through since we were meeting up with Matt's brother Neil who lives in SLC. We got to eat some yummy Cafe Rio and have a good visit with him.
After dinner we headed back to Julie's for ice cream and more visits and some games.
We kind of took our time getting ready and headed out to the Flake ranch. On our way there we stopped at Burger Supreme for Matt's obligatory pastrami burger. We also decided to get some Krispy Kreme doughnuts on our way since all of the Krispy Kremes here are closed.
Once at the ranch, we played down by the creek, swung on their super high rope swing, took our huge family picture that included my parents, all 7 kids, 21 grandkids, and 4 of the 5 in-laws. We also rode horses and slid on the giant redneck slip-and-slide we made out of tarps, a hill side, a hose, and soap.
Dean jumped on the trampoline for probably 2 hours with his cousin Boston who is also 4. They were instant friends! He usually doesn't play super well with boys his own age, but they played SO WELL together. Boston is legally blind, so I told Dean that Boston's eyes don't work very well so he might get a little close to him so he could see him. Right after I told him this, he went back to play with Boston and said, "Boston, I know your eyes don't work very well." and Boston replied nonchalantly, "yeah, it's because I'm blind." And then they kept jumping and having a blast.
That morning we hung out at the ranch and played there. We had lunch and then headed to the Spanish Oaks reservoir. We had a canoe and blow up boat and then just kind of hung out on the "beach". The water was FREEZING so I didn't get in past my knees. I missed a family pic on the beach while I was attempting to row Dean across the reservoir in the blow up boat. I stink at rowing. =)
After the water fun, we stopped at Macy's for some ice cream. Dang it was cheap!! Matt got a Kong Cone which, I swear had a 1/4 gallon of ice cream. He ate it all and paid for it later! It really did a number on his stomach.
For dinner we headed back to the ranch and had some yummy Mexican food. Walter fell asleep on the way back and had a late nap. When he woke up he played (and ate dinner) out on a tractor in their driveway. He was in heaven.
Amanda brought their wii to the ranch and we played some fun Just Dance for a couple hours and visited on their deck. Oh how beautiful it was!! The fresh mountain air was so cool and refreshing.
After most of the kids and half of the adults went to bed, my BIL Cannon led the teenage grandkids and the younger adults in some fun traditional Flake games like Up Jenkins down and 3 on a couch. We also played mafia. I went to bed about midnight and Matt came down around 12:30. He told me that Cannon dared the girls to go down to the rope swing (not actually swing though) in the dark. He decided to wait a few minutes and go down and scare them! Typical Matt. When he got back at 1am and came to bed, he said that he scared the daylights out of them and my niece Ali took off running when he jumped out and scared them!
The boys slept in again until 8! I went running again with Bryan and we ran up the road from the Flake house. The most expensive houses in UT are up that canyon. It was a gorgeous run and was nice to come downhill the last 2 miles!
That afternoon we went to Provo to take some pictures of our old houses/apts. We went to BYU and walked around the Wilk and the Erying Science center. I loved being on campus, but with 3 little kids running around with us, I can honestly say I felt like I had closed that chapter of my life and have moved on.
We met with my family at the Veteran's Park for Pizza and water fun at the Veteran's pool. It has some awesome tube slides and splash pads. It was kind of overcast so it made it a little chilly, but we had a lot of fun. Dean and Walt went down the big slides on our laps. Dean was too cold after doing both slides once and played with Boston in the pool and went home early with Amanda. Walter, on the other hand, went down the slides probably 20 times! He only stopped when there was a mandatory break for a pool check! Normally pool checks are only 10 min. but this one lasted probably 30 min. because a little girl about 2 had some major allergy problem and the life guards had to give her an epi pen and called the paramedics. The ambulance came and everything.
It started sprinkling on us, but we stuck it out and went on the slides awhile longer until we were all shivering and Walter's lips were purple. I kept saying, "ok Walt. This is our last time down." and he'd say, "Last time for the fast slide and then we'll go down the slow slide!"
For dinner my SIL Stephanie headed up some Lemon Chicken Pasta, Kale Salad, and grilled zucchini. Yum.We let the kids play while we started to pack up and we got them to bed fairly early. Boston was going to bed pretty early too, and since we were leaving in the morning Dean told me he wanted to "tell my so-much-fun-friend-cousin Boston goodnight and goodbye. He's my so-much-fun-friend because it was so much fun playing with him this week!" They were so cute. Dean said, "Good night Boston. I love you." And Boston told him he loved him too and then they gave each other a cute 4-year-old hug.
After we got all packed up, we played some more Cannon games like liar's dice and visited. It was our last night and we were leaving early, so we gave ourselves an 11pm curfew and said our goodbyes. It was so awesome to get together with my family. I am so glad we just have fun together. We all get along really well and we didn't have any awkward/tense moments that can come from having so many people in a close space. I just love my family and wish we could get together more frequently than every other year! This may be our last reunion with all of the grandkids since Anna just graduated high school and will be going to college. She'll be in France this next year and who knows where in 2 years...hopefully she'll be able to make it still...
FridayWe set off for Albequerque and I swear my boys watched 10 straight hours of Curious George. We stayed at a hotel and we crashed. The boys, and consequently I, slept horribly! One of our neighbors in the hotel watched some very loud TV till the wee hours of the morning. Walter also woke up twice and rolled over on top of Dean. I am so glad they don't normally share a bed!
SaturdayPhew. It was a long and very fun week, but by this point, we were all pretty tired. I was in-and-out of sleep a lot. The boys watched a lot of videos, and ended up taking a nap, and Matt drove and drove. Poor guy. It's a LOT of driving. But we made it home after 11 hours on day 2.
And now, it's getting late and I am needing to head to bed.