It wasn't until I was in the MTC that I finally figured out the double meaning in the Church commercials that said at the end, "Family: Isn't it about time?" Well, we made the time this last month, to attend TWO family reunions/vacations. The first, with the Jewkes, was in Breckenridge, CO, and the second, with the Bells, was at Wolf Creek, UT.
It all started with some buddy passes, given us so generously by a friend, and then we were on our way to The Mile High City. We rented a car and made the almost 2-hour drive to Breckenridge where a beautiful, impossibly huge cabin, parked right at the intersection of two rapid rivers awaited us. The name of the lodge, aptly so, was Two River Ranch. As we spent the afternoon waiting for all the Jewkes families to converge on this place (Keep in mind that there's 11 kids and we were coming from all around the U.S.- Florida, Georgia, Texas, Colorado, California, Nevada, Utah, and New Mexico), we played in the rivers, chose which of the 10 rooms we wanted to sleep in, and unloaded a huge trailer full of food for the week. We started the festivities out right: with an "animated" production to introduce us to the weeks' activities, including rules to the "candy shop" overseen by Jake which basically meant that there was free reign to whatever candy was left over after Jake got his hands on it. I'm not going to go on about every little thing we did, but just to give you an idea: We shopped the quaint little town of Breckenridge, went on an amazing bike ride from Vail to Breckenridge, Christian made his way down the rapid river by our cabin on a deflated raft from Wal-Mart, we held a "world cafe" at one of our nightly discussions (if you'd like to know what that is, well, you'll have to hire Gary Jewkes as your consultant and he will gladly take you through the process), and last, but not least, we went on a short, but sweet hike on a cliff with 20 kids in tow, overlooking a picturesque lake, surrounded by mountains, (who ever said anything about scared of heights???), stopping off to feed an enclave of chipmunks living there. WOW!!! Does it get any more action-packed??!! The only bummer of the whole reunion was that Christian and I had to leave a few days early. So, we made our way back to the Denver airport, dropped off our rental car, and listed ourselves on the buddy pass standby list. Only AFTER we checked our bags did they mention that we were seventeenth on a list of standby passengers on a flight was oversold and would be for 2 days! After contemplating a couple night stay at the cushy Denver airport, we called and amazingly got a ticket on a flight out that night. Whew!
Christian decided it would be a good idea to carry Oliver across the ragin' river. This was after all the kids had been thoroughly instructed by their parents not to get within 3 feet of the river.
Story time with the kiddos- Dave was telling them the story of David and Goliath.
And guess who Goliath was???
On the bike ride from Vail to Breckenridge.
Oliver got to ride with his cousin, Jonah, and they dozed off together.
Thus starts the Bell Vacation (I've been instructed to call it such, as it was not a full-blown reunion). After a few days to relax in Farmington with the fam, including an obligatory trip to Cafe Rio, we headed up to Wolf Creek (That's up the Ogden Canyon and for those of you that have never been, it's probably one of the most beautiful places west of the Mississippi.). We rented condos up there and Christian and I got the privilege of bunking with two of my favorite people, Greg and JoLynn (Christian's parents). As soon as dinner was over, we headed straight to the pool where Christian showed off some of his amazing high-jump tricks for the kids. We ended each night at Wolf Creek with the traditional stay-up-as-late-as-humanly-possible Bell family discussions. The next day, we headed out to Pineview Dam for the much, much-anticipated boat/lake/wakeboard/ski/tubing day. And yes, even with 29 people, we all got a chance to do all that. It was seriously one of the funnest days I've had in a long time (and that's a big deal since there was sand and a baby involved). Oliver loved the boat, though, and he LOVED playing with JoLynn in the sand (Thanks for taking that duty off my hands, JoLynn!). We headed back to Farmington the next day, but not without a stop at a local park to play a mean game of soccer. The rest of the weekend was filled with chatting, chatting, and more chatting with each other. Oh, and we took some family pictures.