After the McKay family reunion, the kids went down to Orem with Grandma/pa Anderson and spent two weeks at their house—without parents. I only know a fraction of what went on there, so here is what I’ve been made privy to:
7/6/15 – Day 1 at Grandma and Grandpa’s house
Raine built a block tower with Carter, Annie, and Uncle Jed
Carter met Cousin Dixon for the first time
Carter was still tired from the weekend
7/8/15 Cousin Annie’s birthday party
7/8/15 the Bean Museum at BYU
Uncle Ryan demonstrating the size of a hippo’s mouth
This girl has never met a life-form she wouldn’t touch, I don’t doubt her for a minute when she says that she is going to be a veterinarian. Both kids said they touched a ball python too.
7/12/15 Carter’s birthday
Aunt Sara and her family stayed at Grandma’s house for a few days, including Carter’s birthday. I believe this was the first family birthday party that either of my kids has ever had on their actual birth day. Daddy and I tried to participate via Skype, but it was difficult.
7/15/15 Camping in the Uintah Mountains
Grandma/pa loaded up their camp trailer and took the kids up into the mountains for a few nights of camping. They said it was cold, but they had fun.
Grandma/pa Dewey flew the kids home to Texas on Monday, July 20. We couldn’t wait for them to get back!
Fourth-of-July weekend was the McKay family reunion in Meridian, Idaho — this was the first gathering in about eight years for the McKay family. The kids and Daddy had been visiting Grandma and Grandpa Dewey in Woods Cross the week before the reunion so they rode up with Grandma and Grandpa Anderson while I caught an early morning flight from Texas.
Thursday, July 2
The first thing we did was test the pool. It was FREEZING! Raine didn’t mind the cold but Carter only ventured in for a minute or two.
That night, the family met up at the hotel for an ice cream social. It was fun to spent a couple hours re-acquainting with cousins that I haven’t seen in years.
Friday, July 3
We started the day by driving about 50 miles to Christensen’s Pond in Parma, ID. The family had it reserved for most of the day and it was a fantastic way to beat the heat of an historic heatwave baking the entire mountain west. The pond had a zip-line stretching across it as well as a big water slide, diving boards, paddle boats, canoes, and soft sandy beaches.
Daddy convinced Raine to do the zip-line with him. He went down first to show her how it was done.
Then Raine did it! She wasn’t too sure at first. The first few times Uncle Jed lifted her up to the handlebars, she immediately let go. Eventually though, she held on tight and zipped down. She also jumped off the low diving board (I think that’s the first time she’s ever jumped off a diving board).
I took the kids around the lake in one of the paddle boats and wasn’t sure that we were going to make it back to shore. Raine was more interested in looking for frogs than pedaling and Carter insisted on steering but couldn’t keep us going in a straight line! Eventually we zigzagged our way back to the shallow water before my legs gave out.
Grandpa caught this little frog for the kids.
Carter and I swam out to the floating dock in the middle of the lake so that he could look for more frogs.
That evening we all met at Idaho Pizza Co. for dinner and a little presentation by Grandma Anderson on the work that she is doing indexing Grandma McKay’s journals.
There were 104 descendants of Grandma and Grandpa McKay at that restaurant. All 6 of their children were present with their spouses, as well as a lot of the 28 grandchildren with their spouses and children. That’s a lot of posterity!
Addy and Raine are several years apart in age, but are best buddies when they get together.
After dinner, several of us went out for shaved ice at a little roadside stand. It was well after 10:00 pm before we made it back to the hotel with our very tired kids!
Saturday, July 4th
Aunt Sarah and her family stayed at the same hotel we did Friday night and the kids braved the only-slightly-warmer water in the hotel pool Saturday morning.
Raine, Carter, Daddy, Logan, Carson, and Addy
Carter laid down his water gun and Addy took advantage of the opportunity to give back to him what he’d been dishing out!
After the swim, we headed over to the Meridian Temple construction site where Aunt Mary Ann and Uncle Keith are serving as temple construction missionaries. We learned all about the construction that had taken place so far and were impressed with how well-built the temple is.
Aunt Mary Ann told us a faith-building story about the man who designed the baptistry. He was a master carpenter, not a member of the church, and felt that his life had been preserved for this very purpose. He designed the forms for the font but passed away before they were removed from the concrete. Prior to passing, he was meeting with the missionaries and his wife called asking if he could be baptized, but it wasn’t possible. He will likely be one of the first people to have his work done in the very font that he built.
Our family, Uncle Jed and Aunt Katie, Grandpa holding baby Amelia, Aunt Sara and Uncle Daryn, Grandma Anderson, and the rest of the Hicks cousins.
Our next stop was the Meridian Cemetery, where Grandma and Grandpa McKay are buried.
Addy, Raine, Carson, Logan, and Carter
Raine was named after Grandma McKay, who passed away just two months before Raine was born.
We stopped for some more shaved ice on our way to the picnic. (I think Aunt Sara is addicted!)
The Fourth-of-July picnic was held at the church building where Grandma and Grandpa attended.
Cousin Will and his super-talented wife Kalli set up a carnival for the kids. I didn’t get photos of the games, but the kids loved it and walked away with a bag full of candy and prizes. This is Carter doing the balloon walk.
They also had a bounce house with water slide for the kids — apparently the water was pretty cold.
Kalli painted all the kids’ faces. (This is the first time that either of the kids allowed someone to paint their face. On other occasions, they wouldn’t have anything to do with it.)
Carter loved his ninja-turtle face. I can’t even begin to describe the hysteria that ensued late that night, after fireworks, when we broke it to the kids that their faces had to be washed before they went to bed. I’m pretty sure Carter doesn’t remember, but he made me promise to buy some face paints and learn how to paint a ninja-turtle face so that I can do it for him when he gets home.
It just wouldn’t be a McKay family reunion without a volleyball game.
As it started to get dark, we migrated up the road to Grandpa’s farm for fireworks. The farm is just a shell of what it was when I was a kid. The cows are gone, the farmhouse was torn down a few years ago, the barn is dilapidated, and the grass is dead. The farm was central to so many childhood memories for my cousins and me.
Carter on an old tractor that was sitting in the corral.
The kids have never really liked fireworks. Raine really hates them but Carter warmed up to them a bit this year and even waved around a few sparklers after he finished the last bag of poppers. Raine stayed as far away as possible and couldn’t wait to get back in the car!
Sunday, July 5
Aunt Pat and Uncle Ben happen to attend church in the building that was built about eight years ago on 10 acres of of land that Grandpa donated to the church. Aunt Sara decided to bless her new baby, Amelia, in that ward so that all the family could be there. (Uncle Daryn has several family members in the area who were able to come as well.) Uncle Ben serves in the bishopric, so he took care of the arrangements. I was very glad we could be present for the blessing; they live so far away that we don’t normally get to attend the milestones in their lives.
As soon as the last photo was taken I rushed to the airport to catch my flight home. Carter wasn’t happy about me leaving. He had big ‘ole crocodile tears in his eyes as I said goodbye at the airport — I just wanted to pack him into my carry-on bag and take him with me. Raine, on the other hand, was having too much fun with cousins to even come to the airport! It’s funny just how opposite these two can be.
DJ and the kids rode back to Utah with Grandma/pa Anderson and dropped off Daddy at Grandma/pa Dewey’s house so he could fly home early Tuesday morning. Raine and Carter will spend the next two weeks in Utah with Grandma/pa Anderson!