*I know, Eric does a MUCH better job of writing nice concise blog posts and mine go on for eternity. I’m sorry! I write as much so that I can remember things as to keep people updated, and I want the details for myself. Plus, I like sharing the stories. So, sorry if my posts are too long for your taste. Stay tuned for Eric’s if you enjoy the shorter variety :) *
Last week was the Lyon Family Reunion (Eric’s mom’s side of the family). It was SO much fun! We got home and kicked ourselves for not taking any pictures while we were there but if we can round some up from family members we’ll definitely be sure to post them here.
The reunion was up in Fruitland, Utah at a little place called Reid Ranch. It is WAAAY out there. We drove for 12 miles on a dirt road just to get to the ranch. We were very glad to have our Corolla as we know that our awesome 1994 Cadillac would have just started losing pieces as we went along. It was totally worth it though. The ranch was tucked away in the mountains and just far away from everything so that we could just enjoy being with family without the distractions of having a city close by. We didn’t have cell phone service or Internet the entire time we were there, but I was pleasantly surprised at how little I missed it! It was really relaxing to not have to worry about keeping up with emails and phone calls.
So, here are some highlights of the reunion (in no particular order):
- Three days of not having to cook, clean or go to work! Three days spent in the sunshine doing fun things with family to boot! Does it get any better than that?
- Our nieces were really cute and insisted on giving me flowers practically every time I turned around. I swear I got more flowers in those three days than in the rest of my life combined! Adelaide (4), told me that I should take them and put them in my vase (because, obviously I brought a vase camping with me…) I felt bad when they’d ask me where my flowers were, but I honestly had nowhere to put them! Plus, a day or so into the reunion we realized that I was decidedly allergic to those flowers, so I got even better at quickly “misplacing” them. But it was so cute. We have the cutest nieces EVER! I’m really lucky because Eric has been the favorite uncle for a long time (obviously, how could anyone not love Eric?) and I think I get to basically be cool by association. In fact, it was one of the first things that really made me fall in love with Eric was when we went to his sister’s house and I got to watch how his nieces and nephews adore him. Plus, our younger nieces still mostly remember me from our wedding where they thought I looked like a princess, and when you’re a little girl who’s cooler than a princess?
- Our nieces and nephews in general were a blast to be with. Since we don’t have any kids of our own yet we can spend time just spoiling them and being a fun uncle and aunt to be around. It was really fun to watch Natalie (2) find books and bring the longest books possible back to her mom over and over to read… then being sent back to find a more reasonable book (like Curious George). Our niece Emily was also hysterical to watch. She’s extraordinarily articulate and easy to understand. And she’s very particular about how she wants things done. She’s just hysterical to watch, but kinda difficult to accurately describe if you haven’t met her before.
- I finally got to meet Danielle Eaton – our oldest niece, the last person in the Hansen family (meaning Eric’s siblings and their families) that I had yet to meet! Of course, there are two more additions coming this summer so I won’t be able to maintain that status for very long, but it still feels good to be able to say that I’ve at least met everyone in the family that Eric has met.
- On Friday night there was a Lyon family dance that Eric DJ-ed for. For those of you who didn’t know, Eric used to DJ professionally for stake dances and such in high school and freshman year of college – so he knows what he’s doing. He had put together a really great mix of music that any DJ could be proud of. I then came in and dumbed down the playlist to include things like, the Hokey Pokey, the Bunny Hop, Cha Cha Slide etc. that all the little kids could enjoy too. The dance was a total success. Eric did a fabulous job of taking his really great songs that he had picked out (from all different eras too, since we had ALL age groups from 0-70 years old included) and successfully mixing them in with the dorky songs I made him add. The kids loved it, the adults loved it and at 10:30pm when we were supposed to be stopping the dance Auntie Mo insisted that we continue on to 11pm. The dance actually ended up dying not too long afterwards, since we’d played all of the music that Eric had prepared for and then some. But I think it ended really well. Eric was a bit frustrated that the end of the dance was a little anti-climatic but in a way it was good. At 10:30, people were getting tired but still having way too much fun to wind down and go. After a few requests kinda flopped most people were trying to get their kids to bed but still had the high of a great dance. If nothing else, I had a blast just watching Eric. He did an awesome job with the playlist and really got into getting out there and dancing when he was able to just let the playlist run. He’s an awesome dancer — I love watching him dance, and even more so, dancing with him. Dancing together is something that we just don’t get the opportunity to do as much as we would like, but it makes it so much sweeter when we can. For me, the highlight of the dance was just as we were getting ready to pack up and most people had left, Eric turned the speakers down way low and put on our song (“Everything” by Lifehouse) and we danced all by ourselves. You’d think that after a year of being married we’d be a little less into each other, but I love that man SO much. In all honesty, that was my favorite moment of the entire reunion. Eric is the most wonderful man I’ve ever met and I’m so grateful every day to be married to him.
- We had a chance to do archery and found out that I am not the best archer – surprise! We had a blast though. I think the funnest part was watching our little nephew Bruce (3) trying to shoot arrows and get really excited about it. He’s just adorable in general so it was fun to watch. I also enjoyed his comment to his older brother, “Nico looks like Link!” (can you tell we have some gamers in our family?)
- Playing Dunkball with some of our nieces and nephews. Ok, so maybe it’s not the most Christlike game, but it’s a ton of fun. The rules are pretty simple. All you need is a pool and a ball. The players are split into two teams with each team having a side of the pool as their goal (we play in the shallow end and play the width of the pool for fairness). The object of the game is to have a member of your team touch your goal side of the pool with the ball. This particular game was a little difficult since the ball we were playing with was much larger than the normal dunkball ball (the normal ball is a splash bomb, about the size of a baseball, but super squishy so you can essentially hide it in your fist. The ball we were playing with was a little kids squishy basketball, so it was at least double the size). Since the ball was so large we could practically have all 8 players holding on to a piece of the ball at the same time. With no “jump ball” rules this just made for a lot of pushing, pulling and grabbing. Most of the time we had the entirety of both teams as part of the skirmish for the ball. At the end of the game we were exhausted but it was a lot of fun.
- Camping! There weren’t enough rooms in the lodge for us to have a room so Eric and I brought our tent and camped outside. It was really funny to us how many people felt bad for us and commented on it, but we really enjoyed it! We really like camping, and we have a great tent and air mattress so it wasn’t even like we were roughing it too bad. Plus, it was awesome to be the envy of some of our nephews who thought it was THE coolest thing ever that we got to sleep in a tent. How do you compete with that?
- Trick night. The family had an evening where anyone who had something fun they could do to share could participate. They call it trick night because what you have to share doesn’t have to be quite to the “talent” level, just something fun to share. For example, Dad Hansen got up and “cleaned his eyeballs” (pretended to pop them out of his head and clean them in his mouth, then put them back in his head). We had lots of displays of double-jointedness and eyeball tricks. We also had acts like our niece Natalie (2) getting up and singing “I am a Child of God” or doing somersaults. Bruce (3) got up and showed off a picture of dinosaurs he had colored. Our nephews Jonathan and Derek (both 12) got up and did a skit. All of the acts were really fun to watch. It was especially fun because participants didn’t feel like they had to have a super talent to share, just a trick of some sort.
- We had a campfire one night and just sat around for a long time singing songs and having fun. Pat, one of Eric’s aunts, had her 70th birthday earlier in the month and her kids had put together a tribute to her. They’d written a song about her, made a little scrapbook and gotten a cake. There’s also a family song that Mom Hansen and one of the women from Eric’s home ward had written years and years ago. The parents (Eric’s parents generation) loved it and insisted on singing it. Their kids decided when they were younger that they hated the song and have sorta formed a tradition of loving to hate it. I guess it still promotes family bonding… just maybe not in the way they’d intended :) One of the aunts had carried around her copy of the song in her purse for the past who knows how many years and so Dad Hansen used some music composing software on Eric’s computer to transcribe it and print out copies for the family to have for the future. Leave it to Eric and Dad Hansen to find an excuse to play on the computer during the family reunion ;)
- While Eric and his dad were playing with their computers I got to go help out with some crafts that they had put together for the kids. For whatever reason I feel totally in my element helping out kids and working on projects like that. They had aprons for the kids to puffy paint which I helped out with the whole time. We miraculously got done with relatively few kids with paint on themselves, but those aprons were piled high! Some of the aprons had such huge globs of paint on them we couldn’t even hang them up without the paint running off of them! The other craft I thought was pretty creative. They used mens’ dress socks and filled them with dirt and grass seed. Then using rubber bands the kids could make heads, arms and bodies on their creatures and glue googly eyes on it. The idea is that it’s like a Chia pet. They go home and water this little creature they’ve made and hair will grow out of it! I thought it was a really cute idea.
- Family Jeapordy. Dad Hansen and Eric’s sister Diane had put together a Jeapordy game that was all about their family history. Somehow, all of the parents had ended up on the same team so they had a MASSIVE advantage. One of the really fun parts was that they had some questions that were based on the Lyon family newsletter that goes out every 6 months so we got to hear trivia about the people who were actually there as well as the cool facts about ancestors. I’m really glad that I’ve really gotten to know a lot of the family in real life now so that the Lyon Times will have more context and be even more interesting to read in the future (it was fun to read before, but it was updates on people who I didn’t really know yet… except from the updates).
Of course, the real highlight of the reunion was just being with family. Really, there’s nothing in the world as great as being with people who you love and who love you too. We are so blessed to have such wonderful supporting family on both sides.