We arrived Wednesday night and had dinner with Maren, Noah, James, Melissa, Tatiana, and Asher. Brandon set up our tent and we moved all our belongings in. We were excited to use our tent again. We purchased it last year and have only had one other opportunity to use it. So this was going to be fun. Brandon filled the air mattress and we placed it inside the tent on our side. The kids, Adam, Ford, and Makinley, slept in their sleeping bags while Kennidy slept in the cabin with Tatiana. Brandon was also excited to bring his new mountain bike and kayak up for the week. We have some fun new toys to play with and we are really enjoying them, a lot.
We ate dinner and caught up with the happenings of Maren’s and Melissa’s family. Maren and Dallin live in Boise, Idaho, currently. Dallin is looking for a new job as his time as a Judicial Clerk will come to a close in July. Noah is a typical 2 yr. old. Trying the patience of his mother and father. James was born at the end of March and just loves to be held. Being the mother of two little boys is both tiring and rewarding and Maren is doing a great job. I remember being a new mom of 2. I had such a time with Kennidy. I remember one day in particular when my views of motherhood broadened I was able to see the bigger picture. I wrapped a naked Kennidy in my arms and just held her. We were both crying but in that moment I could feel my Heavenly Father holding both of us, too. It’s not easy raising kids but in quiet moments I know it is worth it.
Melissa and Roman live in Valencia, California. They love it there. Last Christmas they got a dog named Tonka. Roman will be flying in from FBI training in Chicago for this weekend. He loves his job. When he’s around we love hearing all his stories of people he comes in contact with. His children love hearing him read from ‘Scary Stories’. Melissa is teaching dance and boot camp classes at 3 local gyms. She keeps busy with those classes, Activity Days, and hanging out with her family. Tatiana is taking hip hop dance classes from Melissa and gymnastics where she is excelling. She is 6 months older than Adam and so mature. She is a sweet and caring young lady. Tatiana and Kennidy are best cousins. They do everything together. I am so glad that they have each other to hang out with at family functions. Asher is a hoot. Always making others laugh with his fun and energetic personality. He has a runway walk most models would kill for. He should be a runway coach. I love taking pictures of this little boy. His black hair and fair skin are just so attractive...I even saw freckles on his nose in one picture I took this weekend.
Rachel and Lyn arrived late Wednesday night. We had just gotten settled in our tent when we heard them pull up.
Thursday. The first day of the Creswell Family Reunion. Thursday morning came way too early. Because we were in the tent...I was up with the sun. Brandon is always up early so this wasn’t too early for him. I got out of bed at 5:15, Nevada time, to take a warm shower. I wanted to shower in the early mornings before anyone else was awake so I had plenty of hot water. Each morning as I finished my shower a knock came at the door to the bathroom. It was Tatiana needing to use the bathroom. Every morning but Sunday...when I chose to sleep in. I’m gonna miss hearing that little knock and seeing her smiling face.
Lyn made Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes, bacon, and cheesy eggs. They were ‘tasty’, at least that’s what I heard. Our first family reunion craft was to put together a family reunion scrapbook. We were each asked to bring a 4x6 picture of each family member. Grandma had prepared some slips of paper with words on them, like family, church, work, school, favorite things, etc. for us to fill out and attach to our page. When we were finished writing we placed the slips of paper and our pictures to finish the pages. We put them in sleeves and placed them in a binder. Grandma said she would find a nice album to keep at the cabin and every family reunion we would add to it. I thought this was a great idea. This way every couple of years we can update the happenings and going ons of each of our families.
Our next craft was Cucumber Sailboats. Grandpa Creswell cut 5 cucumbers in half length wise. Then he scooped out the middles. Each child was given a cucumber to scoop out the ‘guts’. Then they colored their sails and stuck them into the cucumbers with toothpicks. When all the kids were finished with their cucumber boats Grandpa put them all in a tub and we carried them up the mountain. We followed the water up the side of the mountain so we could race the sailboats down the water flume. The kids were so excited. The 3 oldest put their boats in the water as soon as we said, ‘Put your boats in the water.’ And they ran down the mountain. The rest of us were a bit more laid back. We made our way back down the mountain at a leisurely pace. Melissa and I helped Maren carry James...he’s only 3 months but is super chubby. And Grandma and Brandon walked with Noah. By the time we were back down the mountain, Asher’s cucumber had gone into the lake but everyone else had theirs. It was fun to hear their stories of how their cucumbers tipped, got stuck, or the sails fell off. What a fun craft!
Our next activity was more planned than we thought. We ate lunch then we were off to Idaho City for ice cream. Our orders were as follows: Maren - Pralines and Cream, Grandpa - Huckleberry, Brandon - one scoop Vanilla and one scoop Huckleberry, Grandma - Pralines and Cream, Makinley, Asher, and Tatiana - Cookie Dough , Kennidy - Huckleberry Heaven, Melissa - Huckleberry Heaven, Ford - Birthday Cake, and I got Rocky Road. Every cone had a Jelly Belly at the bottom and Ford was probably more excited about finding that jelly bean than the actual ice cream.
As we drove into Idaho City, we saw a lot of cars. Normally, Idaho City is empty. So this was unusual. The young lady who helped us with our ice cream asked us if we were here for the ‘Quick Draw’ gun competition. We weren’t but made our way over to watch. Everyone was dressed in cowboy hats, boots, and wranglers. I felt like ‘city folk’ because all of us were dressed in shorts/capris and flip-flops. Some of the older kids were really interested in the competition. Four cowboys would line up with their hands on their guns. The announcer would say, ‘Line ready... Line set...’ Then the targets would light up and the quickest, most accurate gun would win. It was kind of neat to see this type of competition. Grandpa said he’d never seen anything like this and he grew up in this part of Idaho. It was fun. 3 of our kids got little goodie bags from a sweet lady. She said it was for watching the quick draw in the hot sun. There were fun little items in each bag.
We went into Donna’s Place for souvenirs. Kennidy and Tatiana each got a pair of earrings. Makinley and Asher bought Beanie Baby Dogs. Adam got a flashlight that makes many sounds like rattlesnakes, coyotes, owls, etc. Ford got a red cowboy hat and I got 2 magnets, of course. One said, ‘I love Idaho City’ and was in the shape of a license plate. The other one is the word Idaho with nature pics as the background.
Before leaving Idaho City, Grandma, Grandpa, Brandon, Kennidy, Tatiana, Adam, and I stopped at the Flea Market. I couldn’t believe how much junk these people had. I think the only booth I was even remotely interested in was a booth with all kinds of photography. Of course that would interest me. But seriously everything else was...junk.
Dinner was delicious. Grandpa bar-b-qued pork and Grandma made yummy mashed potatoes with a garden salad. So good. Dallin came up for dinner and he and Maren planned one of our evening activities. A Scavenger Hunt. The kids would gather a clue, very well done by Maren and Dallin, and run off to the new spot to look for another clue. Ford brought a shovel so he could help dig for treasure. He was certain that he would need it. Our final clue led us to the top of one hill that over looked the valley below. It was very pretty up there. In all the years Brandon and I have been to the cabin, we’d never been up here before. It was kind of cool to go somewhere on the property that we’d never been. The kids found their treasure. A huge bag of Smarties and Let’s Go Fishing. They were all so excited.
To end our Thursday, Grandma had asked all the kids to prepare a favorite story, song, and scripture. Kennidy and Adam read from the Friend Magazine, Ford and Makinley read their favorite parts from a library book, Tatiana told of an experience she had giving service to an elderly man in their neighborhood, Asher told a story from his favorite book, and Noah shared his favorite book. After sharing our scriptures, we sang ‘I Love to See the Temple’, ‘A Child’s Prayer’, ‘I’ll Seek the Lord Early’, ‘Book of Mormon Stories’, and ‘I Am a Child of God’. And then we all hummed, trumpeted, bummed the Star Wars Theme Song. That was fun. We had family prayer and the kids were off to bed. It was very late.
Friday. The second day of the Creswell Family Reunion. Water Park Day! I think everyone was excited about this day. I was anyway. I enjoy water parks...even though I don’t like getting my head wet. The first ride we went on...not really a ride...but the little kids, Ford, Asher, and Makinley, wanted to go on the Lazy River. So Brandon and I went round and round and round and round. Finally catching up with Asher, who is a fish in the water, we decided to try something else.
I found Kathryn, Joe, and Shadrach in the kiddie pool area. I asked Ford if he wanted to go down the slide and he said, ‘Not right now.’ So I told Kathryn and Joe to go play. Ford and I watched Shadrach and took lots of pictures of him, Grandma and Grandpa were watching Noah go back and forth in the shallow end of the kiddie pool, while Asher went up and down the slides with Makinley. All the adults traded off watching babies and going on the rides. Shadrach had fun playing with the bright pink inner tubes and walking in the water. He was so content to just sit there in the water no higher than his waste. What a good little boy.
Asher and Makinley took me on my first ride. I don’t know what it was called but we had to lay on our tummies on a flat raft. It was fun. On our way up we passed Grandpa taking a nap in the shade and Leah, Adam, Kennidy, and Tatiana were on their way to a ride nearby. It was exciting to see Makinley and Asher go down...they seem so little to me and here they were riding a big person’s ride. These two are so fun. They could have spent all day in the Lazy River. We use to take inner tubes out on the Lazy River in Utah...but these two didn’t even want to use inner tubes. They just wanted to be carried away by the current. One time going around with Leah and the kids the current caught be off guard and I almost went under. It was pretty strong.
Brandon, Adam, Kennidy, Tatiana, and I got Grandma and Grandpa to go on the ‘Half Pipe’ slide. I don’t actually know the correct name of the slide but it looked like a skateboarding half pipe. Two people sit in a raft across from each other. Starting at the top, with the first person’s back toward the slide...the attendant pushed you down the steepest slide you’ve ever been on. Tatiana and I went together and I screamed! Grandma screamed, too. I love these rides because they get your adrenaline pumping and you don’t know whether to be scared or excited. So you end up being both. I asked Tatiana if she liked that ride and she said, ‘No.’ I laughed. We took Grandma and Grandpa on some other rides too that they loved...Grandma is getting really brave these days. Now we need to get her on a plane. I was so proud of her.
One of the things we took advantage of was ‘All You Can Drink’ Wristbands. I think each of us got 2 drinks each. The 32 oz fountain drinks. Totally worth $2.99. We ate funnel cakes, fries, and strawberry lemonade. I don’t know what it is about ‘park’ food but it’s all delicious. I now have the itch to make funnel cakes when I get home. That would be so yummy in the mornings or just for desserts. I could add strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries. Peaches, whip cream, ice cream, honey butter...oh I’m making myself hungry.
We had such a great time at the Water Park. We will definitely have to keep this place in mind for next summer. Maybe by then Ford will be tall enough to ride some of the other rides.
Leah, Brandon, and I were in charge of dinner. Leah made some delicious 5 Cheese Ziti. A recipe she got from Olive Garden. It was really tasty. We had Ziti, garlic bread, salad, and for dessert...strawberry shortcake. We also had small loaves of Amish Friendship Bread. Oh that was tasty. I have to remember to thank Heather for the starter.
Roman and Dallin arrived late that night. Now the whole family was here...well except Emilie, who just moved to Newport, California. She got a new job at Marriott’s Newport Beach Vacation Club. We were all there about 3 years ago and just fell in love with the resort. It’s so beautiful.
Saturday. The third day of the Creswell Family Reunion. Today we went to the temple to perform sealings for ancestors. Rachel, Lyn, Joe, Kathryn, Maren, and I got breakfast and headed out about 10:00 am. Roman, Melissa, Leah, and Dallin stayed behind to watch the kids. Rachel had prepared crafts for the kids while we were at the temple. They decorated socks with paint, went on a short hike, and by the time we got home...Kennidy, Tatiana, and Roman had headed down to the creek with the inner tubes.
We had a wonderful time at the Boise Temple. This is the second time Brandon and I have been invited to do family sealings. And each time I get an overwhelming feeling of love and appreciation for this Creswell family. I have loved having spiritual experiences with them. It has been such a blessing in my life. This is what family is all about. And I am so grateful that I have married into such a wonderful, obedient family who have strong testimonies of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We got home to hear our kids had cinnamon rolls for lunch and were getting sherbet. Brandon had words with Melissa about this. I was out on the deck and just heard arguing. I thought about a previous discussion we had just had in the car on the way back to the cabin of Brandon making us his mind to control his temper and not argue. I have to admit that I couldn’t blame him for being upset.
Over the Line was our next activity and for this activity we needed special raglan t-shirts. I used iron-on transfer to make reunion shirts. On the front they said ‘Creswell Family Reunion 2009’. And on the back it said ‘Creswell’ with a number. Brandon came up with the numbers. Rachel and Lyn were double zero. Being the start of their family. Brandon was the first child in his family so his number was 10. Melissa was second, 20. Dallin third, 30 and so on until Leah who was the sixth child, 60. Now, Brandon’s children are also numbered in order of birth. So Kennidy was 11 because she is the first child of the firstborn to Lyn and Rachel. Adam was 12 because he is the second born of the firstborn to Lyn and Rachel and so on until Brandon’s family done. Tatiana, 21, is the first child of the second born, Melissa, to Lyn and Rachel. And this numbering continues for each grandchild. Noah, 31, is the first child born to Dallin, 30, who is the third child born to Lyn and Rachel. Shadrach, 51, is the first child born to Joe, 50, who is the fifth child born to Lyn and Rachel. So everyone had a number, spouses share the same number. So I am 10 like Brandon, Roman is 20 like Melissa, and so on and so on. Over the Line is a fun game of accuracy. There are many rules that I can’t remember. I think the adults had more fun than the kids. But our kids did so well that we tied with Lyn and Rachel’s team in the end. It was fun. Thanks for sharing this game, Lyn.
Maren and Dallin taught us how to play ‘Hodgy Podgy’ while we waited for babies to be fed before our group picture with all of us in our ‘Creswell’ shirts. It’s a story game that Roman won. Super cute. Then it was picture time. And it didn’t take long at all! We made sure we had the cabin in the background.
Melissa, Roman, Dallin, and Maren were in charge of dinner. They made yummy tacos. Melissa fried corn tortillas so they took taco shapes. It really made tacos fun and different for us. Maren made S’more Brownies which we could eat after a presentation from Lyn. Roman and Melissa pulled them out of the oven when all of a sudden the glass casserole dish exploded. It just burst into pieces. And sadly we had to throw out all the brownies. We were all very sad.
To end our festivities, Lyn had prepared some closing remarks about the history of the Idaho Cabin. He talked about his grandparents and his parents. He talked about growing up at the cabin. It was all very interesting. He has a lot of memories of this cabin that are near and dear to him. I enjoyed hearing him share them with us.
Before bed, Grandma had prizes for all the grandkids. She cut some paper into small pieces and wrote numbers 1-10 on each one. Each grandchild picked a piece of paper. Then Grandma got her stash of prizes out. She had 10 boxes of different kinds of treats. Gummie Bears, Pop Tarts, Starbursts, Tooties Rolls, Twizzlers, Tootsie Pops, Ding Dongs, Twinkies, Foot Long Fruit Roll-ups, and Donnets. Grandma put numbers on each box to trick the kids into thinking that the number they picked and the number on the box coordinated. But she fooled them. They got to pick any treat they wanted in the order of their numbers. Ford got to go first and chose Gummie Bears. Asher was second and picked Fruit Roll-ups. Noah went third and picked Tootsie Rolls, much to Dallin’s dismay. I think Leah went next, choosing Starburst. Then Shadrach, who’s parents chose Pop Tarts for him. Adam was sixth and chose Twizzlers. James was in there somewhere and Dallin picked Twinkies for him. Makinley was number eight. She chose Tootsie Pops. Kennidy was ninth choosing Ding Dongs. And Tatiana was tenth and she got the powdered Donnets. This was exciting for them because they had never received an entire box of treats. After everyone had picked, there was a good amount of sharing and trading going on. I was very impressed that they all wanted to share with everyone. Makinley and Leah split their goodies so each had some of the other. Ford traded his Gummie Bears for Pop Tarts because he heard Joe say he wanted them. And Asher gave one of his Fruit Roll-ups to Kennidy w/o wanting anything in return. I was so proud of these kids.
Sunday morning Lyn, Rachel, Leah, Melissa, and Roman packed up to head home. Joe, Kathryn, Brandon, and I got our families ready for church. We were going to the Idaho City Ward’s sacrament services. When we got everyone settled in the pew, Joe came over and sat next to Brandon. He turned to us and asked if we would be responsible for Shadrach, second to Kathryn’s brother, in the event of their death. That was an overwhelming compliment. To know that Joe trusts us as parents to put his child in our care, second to Kathryn’s brother. Thanks, Joe. I hope nothing happens to you and Kathryn, though, for your children’s sake. It made me think that we should put our ‘Will’ in order.
What a great family reunion. In the next couple of years, Brandon and I will be in charge of organizing the next family reunion. It was difficult to decide if we were going to have the family reunions every 2 or 3 years because the Creswell family does get together so often. Every year at Thanksgiving, Easter, New Year’s, or Christmas...it seems like we’re together quite a bit. And then there are the ‘other’ activities that everyone is always invited to...Grand Canyon hike, cabin weekends, National park visits, etc. We voted with Lyn and Dallin for every 3 years. But everyone else wanted 2 years. Then Rachel said it would be up to Brandon and I since we are in charge for the next one. It will be in 3 years. Regardless of what we’re doing. And if I were to guess, I’d say we will plan something around where we live. Hopefully, that won’t be Tahoe in 3 years but you never know.
So much went into making this a great reunion. And being our first we really didn’t know what to expect. Rachel did an amazing job. I am sure there was endless planning on her part. She research craft projects for the kids, called the Idaho Temple for sealing reservations, collected lots of information of activities to keep us busy and happy, emailed updates on changes, delegated and organized meals, games, and family home evening responsibilities. She planned dates and times for our reunion and worked around everyone’s busy schedules. Thank you, Rachel for all your hard work. You really made this first family reunion wonderful. I am grateful for your example and you testimony. We had a great time and can’t wait for many more family reunions to come.
Creswell Family Reunion 2009
*We took so many pictures it would have taken three days just to upload them to blogger.