Saturday: woke up at 7ish with a goal to leave by 8am. We all knew it probably wouldn't happen. Miraculously, Nathan and I were ready at 8, but the van wasn't packed completely, nor were all the kids totally ready. (We rode with my brother's family. The ride itself merits a post of its own.) We ended up heading out around 8:45 am - not too bad, really. We only stopped twice on the drive to Longmont, CO, and made it in 8.5 hours. T&G fed us dinner, we talked a bit, and then we all crashed for the night. My other brother arrived earlier that day, meaning there were 17 of the 20 that were coming to this shindig gathered at that point.
Sunday: Church at T&G's ward (including a Sunday School lesson by my brother T - we all sat on the back row and tried not to be too disruptive :P) followed by lunch. Then we had a rather uneventful afternoon of talking, game playing, and children only getting a little bit hurt as they played in the backyard. We also went for a walk.
Us on a walk.
My niece E1 made tasty Norwegian pancakes for us to eat for dinner (and I definitely want to get her recipe!). They're similar to crepes but somehow more delicious.
Monday: Nathan and I decided we both needed haircuts badly. We actually meant to get them before leaving, but 1) ran out of time and 2) didn't know of any good places in our area that were not expensive. My brother recommended a place that was decent.
Taken Tuesday on our hike. I got mine cut super short in an A line and Nathan just got a few inches off the back and cleaned up the sides a bit.
We packed up and left around 2:30 to drive to Estes Park, a YMCA park in the Rockies where we were staying. Monday evening was spent settling in to our hotel rooms, playing on the playground, eating dinner, and having Family Home Evening in the small cabin we rented as a gathering place. (I made some of those yummy granola bars as the treat, and helped G make some gluten free brownies too as an alternative. Both were a hit!) Some of the adults stayed up late playing Poohead in the lobby of the hotel as well.
The view outside our balcony.
The cabin. And some people, too.
Tuesday: Tuesday started with breakfast in the mess hall (yes, they fed us 3 meals a day as part of our package, and yes, I ate too much every single meal) followed by a hike in the mountains. First we hiked up the service road on accident (past the manure dumping ground from the stables), then half the group peeled off to head back while the rest of us hiked Bible Trail.
My dad took the picture.
On the service road we saw a garter snake, which elicited many screams from my nieces (something I found vastly amusing). On the actual hike, we didn't see much in the way of wildlife, but I did get a good workout hiking up the relatively steep trail.
After lunch, some of the kids went to participate in some activities/classes that the YMCA people were doing. Nathan took a nap, and I read in the hotel room and watched the ground squirrels tussling and running around on the grass below our balcony.
Pictured: one ground squirrel.
Dinner was followed by a brief respite (and an elk sighting!) before heading over to the campfire pit we rented to build a fire and roast some marshmallows (and make s'mores). While we were getting the fire going, it began to storm (well, it had actually been raining off and on all afternoon, but now it started to thunder and lightning). Then it started to pour, and hail, and we all looked at each other and laughed at our bad timing. Fortunately, the rain/hail stopped after 15 minutes or so, and the weather cooperated after that. (No pictures of the campfire though.)
We played more Poohead that evening in the lobby of the hotel, rounding out the day quite nicely.
And that concludes the first half of the family reunion. More to follow.