Sunday, June 26, 2016

Epic Smith Family Reunion 2016

Our little traveler ready to go!

Our long day of airplane travel started out with an emergency root canal for Tyson at 7:45am :( After enduring pain...and lots of it...he got the problem fixed! It was nothing to laugh at either- my goodness. It was such a stressful 48 hours before that I gave myself a cold sore, and I wasn't even the one in pain!!!!!!
Tyson said he was so completely relaxed in the dental chair with all the numbing medicine after not sleeping for 48 hours that they had to keep checking on him to make sure he was ok. 
He made it through and we made it to our flight on time. The girls had their little backpacks and we were on our way to sunny (and super hot) Arizona! 

When we arrived in Phoenix, it was 118 degrees. No. Joke. My favorite quote today came from Taryn when she turned to Tyson, being completely serious, asked him randomly, "Dad, how did you survive as a kid in Arizona?!!" referring to how hot it is there. Tyson and I laughed for awhile about that one. It's true could you survive!!!!! (without pools and A/C)

Passed out on Grandpa's couch after a long day of travel and some swimming at Aunt Janette's house.

Haddie hated the heat with a passion. She let everyone know that she did not want to go outside at all! Grandpa Smith keeps his car in the garage so when we had to go for an errand, we thought all would be ok because his car wasn't that bad at all. But ohhhhh noooo..... Haddie wouldn't have it. She threw one of the biggest toddler tantrums I've ever seen her give. But really, who could blame her. It was 118 degrees. We somehow got her in the car, kicking and screaming, and only the promise of a gumball at Fiiz calmed her down. I'm not above bribery at all. 

Taryn & Caleb with their special drinks. 

I can't believe that in the two years since we've been in Arizona, Janalee and Andrew have grown WAY taller than me and it's just crazy! They aren't supposed to grow up that fast.

Fizz was really good and I would totally go again. 

Sleeping with cousins in the front room before we took off for the Heber, AZ cabin trip. These kids loved being together!

During Haddie's time at Grandma's, this little lady bug followed her around everywhere! And grandma's ponies! Those ponies saved us at church and at the cabin from lots of travel related meltdowns. 

Foozeball! Taryn loved it, so did Caleb, Tyson remained undefeated, and I clocked Haddie in-between the eyes with the end of one of my sticks. We won't be getting a football table until Haddie grows taller than the sticks at her head level. :/

One of the two corn monsters I gave birth to. 

Said ponies in Haddie's hands and also, baby turtles!
She loved them so. We visited with Sandy and Cortney Skousen, one of Tyson's best friends from high school and their cute kids Tyson and Charly. They have a ton of desert tortoises! The girls loved them even though they got scared and dropped them once. Sorry!

Wearing her Sunday best while visiting Grandma & Grandpa's ward, where Tyson grew up going. It was so fun to visit and recognize lots of familiar faces.

We headed up to the Cabin in Heber. I was totally amazed at how big it was. And the weather was great compared to the 118 degree Mesa area temperatures. 

We got to the cabin a day early to check everything out and make a grocery run before everyone arrived. As we walked around the grounds, we caught a fun moment while the sun was setting just over the mountains. It was so gorgeous and I love this picture of us. 
Getting to the cabin wasn't easy for everyone. There were car troubles, trouble figuring out how to get everything up to the cabin with little car space amongst everyone, broken home appliances before departure and more. UGH! But thankfully everyone made it. 

And when everyone arrived,  the fun really started!!!!!!

Some of the back porch swings

Amazing sunsets and beautiful views all around. 

The zipline in the back of the cabin was a favorite for all. Taryn loved it! Haddie screamed the whole time during the first time Tyson took her on it. She came off saying, "The's not fun!"  but she was willing to go on it again and warmed up to it a bit. 

Bailey with Janette

Harper's turn!

That's Caleb flying past!

And Tyson gave it a whirl. I liked it, I was just worried I was going to scrape my bum on the rocks or dirt while getting towards the end. It was super fun though, and I never hit my bum!

This swing set was such a huge hit with the little ones. For a majority of the time that Haddie, Harper and Bailey were at the cabin, they were outside on the swing set, which was great! 

Also, notice Haddie & Harper's matching dresses!! They came out wearing them on the same day just by chance. It was pretty cute! 

We watched Zootopia outside using a sheet as the screen. It was awesome, though I spent half the movie trying to get the popcorn to pop in the non-functioning microwave to make the kids happy. I gave up after about 45 min. :( But Whiteny & Trevor brought lots of yummy treats for each family and the kids loved the movie. 

We found this little kiddie pool in the sports closet on the side of the cabin. It saved the day for the kids who were needing some fun and a way to cool off! The kiddie pool water was chilly but it didn't stop the girls from playing and having fun together.  Grandpa Smith pointed out that this was the first time all three girlies had been in the same room together ever! They were almost always together. 

~Meal Time~

Everyone prepared such great food and it was so fun to sit on the porch with everyone and chat. It reminded me of all the great meals at Lake Powell on the boat. If you look closely, you can spot a napping Haddie.

Yup, that's right. That little girl with the floral hat was drifting off to dream land. After a few minutes of chuckles from me and the surrounding adults, I took her to take a nap. 

I spy Taryn and the start of a great sun set. I was proud of Taryn was eating so much of the different foods each night. She played hard and had a hungry belly so I'm guessing that helped. She had gradually become more adventurous with food and I love it. 

Fun little creatures we spotted. There were two deer the first day we arrived, woodpeckers, a butterfly that loved the front yard, and lots of little bunnies. The kids loved trying to scare them each morning. 

Each family was in charge of two activities for a day. We chose to do Crazy Kickball which ended up being truly crazy because we couldn't play it! We wanted to mix things up and go to a local park but when we arrived, the sprinklers were on so everyone played on the playground equipment ( see above picture) for a bit before heading to Dairy Queen. 

We were excited that tiny little Heber city had a Dairy Queen because our friend back home, Melanie, was celebrating her late husband Nate on his birthday later that week by gathering friends together at Nate's favorite location to take his boys for a treat, Dairy Queen. 
Melanie asked that those who were not able to meet at the Virginia location take a picture of themselves eating at various locations (and just having a treat in general!) and post it to Facebook so she could share them with her boys. She was hoping to make Nate's first birthday after his passing 6 months ago a happy day of good memories and smiles. Well it worked! We were happy to be apart of remembering our friend, Nate, while in Arizona.

Tyson directing the other family activity we picked to put on. Frisbee Golf. 

 I was a little anxious about this working out with the small kids and people keeping interest but I think it worked out very well! 
The kids loved chucking the frisbees and you would only take the lowest score like golf so they could have fun without the adults caring about their full out efforts to hit the targets. Tyson did a fanatic job setting up the coarse and getting everything ready. 

Team Travis Smith

Team Booth

Team Todd Smith

Team Tyson & Trevor Smith

After the throwing was done, I was a bit dustier than before but we had fun! 

Some other family activities included fun Minute to Win it games like the sucking game (Taryn rocked at sucking M&M's with a straw), the stacking game (Nuts & Bolts), one handed threading of fruit loops on pipe cleaners, Cookie face, removing a penny from nylons and more. It was really fun to split up into teams using the youngest kids as the team captains. Taryn picked all boy cousins for her team mates :)

The kids got ring pops at the end- a big favorite!

Tyson and I challenged Ken & Janette to corn hole. Then we did boys against girls. We all got a bit sun burned but it was worth the fun!

Some kids made boondoggles. We made and played the button string game like the Pioneers. I guess I spined mine so fast and strong that I broke my sting several times! We also had a day of swimming at the local YMCA's indoor pool. The kids had a blast going down the waterslide
 and the zero entry pool as perfect for the little kids. Taryn is slowly getting back into her swimming mode. I'm thankful swim lessons start soon!

Guess Who? was a favorite for the little kids. I loved floating between card games and board games.There was always some kind of game going on. We learned how to play Exploding Kittens, almost all the little kids rolled a Yachtzee, and this fun dice game I can't remember the name of! 
We also played the Newly Wed Game. Tyson and I came in dead last (yikes!) but it was still fun to hear the answers from others. 

Grandma helped the girls make necklaces

Most of the girl cousins. We were just missing Skye & Amanda. I think this was taken on the day Skye got sick and Amanda hadn't arrived yet.

We also did Karaoke which was really fun to watch everyone's personalities shine through their songs. 

The girls singing Frozen. Yes- that's Haddie, singing her little heart out. She knew every. single. word. It was awesome! 

The boys of the family sang "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" because it's the 30th anniversary of Top Gun. 

The girls sang Taylor Swift's "Shake it off"

Tyson and Todd gave it their all while singing "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen

Mike and Janis sang Soni & Cher's "Ive Got You Babe" which was super cute!

It ended in a crazy fun black light dance party when Grandma pulled out her glow sticks & neon glowing ballots. So much fun!

This sweet girl had so much fun with her cousins.She was crying one night because we told her to come in and switch out her sandals for tennis shoes with socks so she could continue playing outside without hurting her feet. She told us she was sad and mad because we were "distracting" her from her cousins. It was actually quite adorable. I'm glad she likes being with them so much. 

Haddie was happy to wonder around,  play with the little girls and be on the swings. 
I learned I need to listen to small promoting no matter what. 

Follow This Small Promptings!
I had a feeling on Friday in the middle of the day while I was half asleep that I needed to stop Haddie from going on the zipline. I could hear the kids outside talking and heard Haddie say something about "my mommy" so I dismissed the thought once the chatter from the kids outside had stopped, thinking they had moved on because Haddie didn't want to go without me there and I thought the kids had gone to the front of the cabin. About 2 minutes  later I heard the zing of the Zipline and then I cringed when I heard Haddie start screaming  seconds later- a painful scream. I shot right up from my little nap in the front room and headed right outside to gather her up. Her foot had gotten caught between the zipline platform and the zipline swing with the pressure of a teenager on top of it. After a few hours of her not walking on it and endless crying, we finally made the decision that with all those small bones in a foot, we would need to get it checked out. By that time we had finished our Smith family photos and had headed into Show Low for our Cattlemen's Ranch dinner. Thankfully it's a small town and the Urgent Care was down the block. My SIL called and they told us the X-ray tech was packing up so we raced even faster there. It was the fastest Urgent Care visit we've ever had and thankfully nothing was broken. 
I've learned that even the smallest promptings shouldn't be brushed off.

Taryn, Haddie and Caleb

Haddie & Harper

Taryn & Alyssa

Taryn & Haddie asleep

These are the sweet moments  with cousins (and the last between sisters) that I love the most about being with family. I love watching the kids connect. 

Tyson went exploring with some others in Heber and he found Sparky. 

We spent Saturday morning cleaning the cabin- leaving it cleaner than we had found it for sure! 

Then it was back in Mesa, AZ after a fantastic Smith family vacation. But not without trouble! The trailer that was being pulled with much of everyone's stuff blew a tire, thankfully not too far from home. It took help from Grandpa and Travis to get most of the Booth's back home in Mesa and to get the new tire from the store and bring it to the trailer for the grand rescue. We were excited that we made it all in time to shower and change for the bridal shower of our nephew's future bride, Natalie. I was so happy I could be there! We're excited to return to Arizona in a few weeks for their wedding. 

Taryn & Haddie played at Janette and Ken's before we headed back to Grandma and Grandpa's and then the airport the next morning bright and early. 

A great sendoff to our time in Arizona! Mexican food! We loved eating at Backyard Taco. We will definitely be going back when we are there again. It's so fun to have spent so much time with Tyson's siblings and their spouses, nieces, nephews and parents. We were long overdue on an AZ vacation.

We went back to Grandma & Grandpa's to get ready for our flights the next morning. Taryn and Haddie loved that Bennet, Grandma's turtle came out to say hi before they had to leave. They  thought he was awesome. Haddie and Taryn helped feed him and move him around the yard a bit. 

We saw so many animals and reptiles on this trip!

Ready for our flights back home (and I look SO tired!) The girls did really well on all the flights. Taryn was about to break each time we were about an hour from landing but we made it through! The cabin trip was so much fun and gave us the opportunity to reconnect with family we have been missing. It's hard to live across the country but I'm thankful for planes, cars, face time, emails, texts and phone calls that make it possible for us to keep in contact.