Thursday, August 27, 2009

New addition

After the conclusion of the family reunion in Cascade, we were able to stop in Burley, Idaho to visit with my sister Megi and her family for a few hours. And it was even more special because Megi had just had her 3rd child, a perfect little girl whom they named Atley Jacille Jones.

Here she is (although she doesn't do much).
We love all our nephews and nieces and we were glad that Atley arrived healthy and that Megi was recovering well. They have a great family and we always enjoy the time we get to spend with them. We miss having them close by but we know they enjoy being close to Ty's family in Burley. We were only able to stay a couple hours but it was fun to visit with them and see where they live.

Goodbye Jones family - we love you!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Idaho reunion (6/20/09 - 6/27/09)

Earlier this summer we participated in a fabulous reunion in Cascade, Idaho. My Dad's brother Roger lives in Cascade and he had planned a reunion with all 8 of his children. He invited his 2 brothers and their children to also attend. We jumped at the opportunity to spend time with family and to get away from the summer heat of Mesa.

We left on Friday (June 19th) after work and figured we would drive until we got tired. This was an exceptionally long trip (18 hours) and the reunion activities started with dinner on Saturday evening. Fortunately, we have been blessed with children that travel really well and we rarely have to stop except when it is time to get gas. The trip was fairly uneventful with a couple exceptions. We had just crossed the Hoover Dam and Trevor woke up and started to whimper a bit because he had gotten tangled in his seat belt. Jordan and Chase attempted to help him but they concluded he was stuck. Camille and I were both wondering "how hard can this be" so I pulled over and tried to free Trevor. He was STUCK! We tried several things but the seat belt had retracted and was too tight to get him out. I ended up having to cut the seat belt ($$$) in order to release him. I guess when we have prayer before leaving on vacation we need to be a little more specific, "Help us not get tangled in our seat belt"!

We drove to St. George, Utah and decided to get a room and sleep for a few hours. It was 3 or 4 in the morning and there was an Amway convention in town (people still sell that stuff?) so we had to search a little to find a room in a Camille approved hotel. We slept for about 4 hours, had breakfast provided by the hotel and continued on our journey. We arrived in Cascade around 9 pm and went to Roger's home for dinner before checking into the Ashley Inn which would be our home for the next week. Most of those attending the reunion stayed at this hotel. Cascade is a small town with a population of 1,000 people located about an hour or so north of Boise. It sits at an elevation of 4,800 feet on the east side of Lake Cascade and along the north fork of the Payette River. When we arrived on Saturday, it was cold and raining. This weather continued until Tuesday when it turned sunny and warm for the rest of the week.

On Sunday, we attended the local branch (my uncle is the branch president). The surrounding area has about 250 members but many are less active so attendance is often boosted by visitors to the area. Our family reunion significantly added to the numbers as did a couple other family reunions that were taking place. We spent the afternoon just hanging out in the hotel and relaxing. We also took some family pictures at Roger's home. Sunday evening we gathered at the church building for dinner and a family home evening. Rolland spent a few minutes showing us pictures of some of our ancestors and relating stories about their lives beginning with Vernon and Juniata. It was very interesting and we were all reminded of the legacy our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. have left for us. We then spent some time looking at scrapbooks and photo albums documenting our lives and the lives of our ancestors. It was fun to remember past times and to see some photos that I hadn't seen before. There was even a photo of my grandpa Vernon's motorcycle - perhaps that's where I get the bug to ride.
Roger had planned for us to spend most of Monday at the lake. He had reserved a great location with good access to the shoreline but the weather was not cooperating. It was windy, raining, and very cold. However, we thought we'd give it a try and hope for the best. We headed to the lake around noon and the car thermometer said the temperature was 46 degrees. We brought our jet ski and my cousin also brought his jet ski so we put them in the water and headed to the beach that Roger had reserved. Roger put his boat in the water too but had a dead battery and was unable to get it started. We spend about an hour or so trying to stay warm and hoping the weather would break. We ate lunch and then decided to call it a day.
Some went back to the hotel and swam in the indoor pool and others went to one of the local hot springs to warm up. Dinner was at Roger's home again.

Tuesday was a much better day as far as the weather went. The adults and older kids went on a rafting trip down the Payette river for several hours. The rapids were fun but nothing crazy. It was a relaxing time with the occasional water fight between rafts. The younger kids were taken to a friend of Roger's who had some horses. He took them on a buggy ride and then a few of them (led by Camille) went tubing down a calm part of the Payette River. For dinner that night, we gathered at a local diner called the Whistle Stop Cafe where we had pizza.
The weather was great on Wednesday so much of the day was spent on the lake. Several of us took some time in the morning to play a round of golf on the local public course. The course left much to be desired but the views of the lake and surrounding mountains were spectacular! We had a great time on the lake. Roger used his boat to pull a large tube for the kids. We had both jet skis on the water all day too with everyone taking turns. The church branch had scheduled a get together at the lake at 5 pm so we welcomed many members of the branch and enjoyed a great dinner with them.
Almost all of Thursday was spent traveling to the Salmon River, enjoying a jet boat ride up the river, eating lunch, riding the jet boats back down the river, and traveling back to Cascade. During the course of our trip on the river, we saw several mountain goats and other wildlife. Again, the weather was perfect and we had a great time. On the ride back down the river, Chase, Tanner, Trevor, and Aaron (Grant's) were riding on the front of the boat. A huge rapid hit the front of the boat completely engulfing it. All four of the boys were wearing life jackets and for good cause. The water lifted them all off the boat and they started to wash to the side. Chase was able to grab Trevor and Aaron to prevent them from going overboard but he was unable to get to Tanner before Tanner slipped off the side of the boat. Fortunately, Tanner was pushed back along the boat where I was able to reach out, grab him and pull him back into the boat. He was pretty wide-eyed when I saw him floating in the river but otherwise he was unharmed. He was excited to tell everyone about how he survived the mighty Salmon River! We missed Camille on this trip since her doctor had advised her to avoid the bumpy river ride. She stayed back at the hotel and enjoyed a quiet, peaceful day reading and relaxing.

Friday was another beautiful day. We spent some time at a local park playing horseshoes and volleyball before going to the lake for a couple hours. Today also brought about the conclusion of our week-long basketball tournament. The church building had a small (half) basketball court and it became a very popular place during the week. Teams of 3 were formed and Matt put together some brackets for a tournament. Games took place after breakfast and after dinner with a round robin portion followed by a single elimination tournament (Alan's team ended up taking home the championship). We had a great time and worked off some of the calories we consumed during the week. In addition to basketball, a few of us also went running in the mornings. On Friday evening, we ate dinner at Roger's home again and made plans for the next reunion.
It was a great week full of fun memories with family. We love spending time together which seems to be somewhat abnormal in this world we live in.