This will be one of those blog posts that leans more to the side of journal entry. I am hoping because I'm a scrapbooker eager to promote personal and family stories I can get away with this — but, by all means … skim or skip this all together if it has no interest for you. It will be quite long.
As soon as we arrived at Reid Ranch, Darci (in her Einstein wig) introduced our 2009 theme, of It's HALL Relative. She conjured up a very cool "special law of Hall relativity" that was captured in the equation …
conveniently printed on the back of our T-shirts and this poster.
The E is for eternal families, the BC squared is the two people (Briggs + Connie) that fell in love and founded our family. The 3 cubed over "GL" represents the 27 offspring doing their best to live the gospel of Jesus Christ (gospel living) and the 2P is the priesthood power that will provide the necessary ordinances of salvation and family binding to strengthen us and keep us together.
After each person was highlighted in our morning and evening gatherings (we called this "Name that Relative" and we used a fun quiz from the SS special issue, Quizzes and Questions) then they had to stand up and sign the poster signifying their commitment to the equation. Very clever!
We kicked off the afternoon with a rousing game of Kick Ball, and then enjoyed all kinds of other ranch amenities including …
horse back riding and pony rides (for the little ones)
There were several competitions, including family Olympics. Pictured here is the RED team (The Hot Tamales) who took away the GOLD.
Competition was tough — we have some serious athletes in our family, but Trey will tell you that it was his perfect score in the basketball shoot-off that sealed the deal for the Tamales. He was awared MVP.
We played other crazy games. This one required goggles and garden gloves and eventually led to a box full of squirt guns.
We enjoyed a hilarious and very entertaining talent show.
Here, the older girl cousins are leading the youngest girl cousins in a dance with tu-tus. These are the moments that I can never seem to adequately capture with my camera — luckily, uncle Jon got this dance on video!
We did so much in three days! We enjoyed a hot hike to the top of a near by peak. These are the boys that made it ALL the way!
Grandma even held a bake-off for the grandchildren in the mess hall.
As well-planned and executed as all of the activities were, the highlights for me were the quieter times when I observed …
My brothers and their wives and …
our children, interacting and helping and enjoying each other.
I especially love to see one generation influencing the next. To me, that is what family is all about. I'm sure part of my nostalgia in all of this is the fact that I'm getting older. Part of my appreciation is the fact that my children are entering their teenage years and are therefore naturally less enamored with their parents. They look to and need the influence of my siblings, who are much cooler!
Raising a "big" family is exhausting. It takes lots of time and sacrifice. There is very little down time and what seems like endless laundry and food preparation. I loved growing up in a big family, but there were times that I resented being the oldest of five children. I didn't get the same amount of attention from my parents that my friends with one sibling got. I had to help my mom a LOT. I did more than my fair share of "babysitting" and I sometimes wondered if it was all worth it. And yet here I am the mother of five children — go figure. This past week was a HUGE reward and reminder that it is most definitely worth it. There is nothing in this world, no amount of money or prestige or any other accolade that could compensate for the absolute joy of being together and seeing our children develop friendships that will strengthen and encourage them. LIFE is very good.
Perhaps I should have shared these photos first? Oh well … as a recap, this is the Parley Briggs Hall family, consisting of my father and mother (Briggs and Connie) and from L2R, Chanda, me, Darci, Theron (directly above my dad) mom, and Cougar. It's hard to believe that I am now the age my parents were when I thought "they are getting so old." My brothers are bald and even my sisters are both 30-something now — Wow! Thanks to the example of my parents, we all enjoy generally good health and lead an active lifestyle. It was an absolute delight to be with ALL of these people I love so much and mingle with their individual families.
It is crazy that my boys are so grown up. We do reunions every other summer … Clark will be 18 and headed off to college at our next reunion (yikes!)
I'm not sure which of these pictures I like best. Tafty refused to smile in all of the pictures we took, which of course I didn't realize until the whole photo shoot was over — Addie tended to make up for his lack of enthusiasm however!
Theron and Kristin live in West Jordan, UT with their kids: Nika (13), Skye (12) and Dayne, who turned 9 at the reunion!
Cougar (and Hillary) are next. Their oldest is Payton, born just 10 days after my Trey. They also have Julian who is Taft's age, Parley (heads off to kindergarten this year) and little Delaney who is 14 months old.
Darci and Kevin live in Lehi, UT and have three children: Ty (6), Brooklyn (almost 4) and the cute little man on Kevin's lap is Cache (18 mos)
And last (but NOT least) this is Jon and Chanda's adorable little family. The Seiters live in Gilbert, Arizona. Lucy is almost four and Liberty is 14 months. Chanda announced that she is expecting a baby next March — we are so happy for Chanda because she has only a small window of childbearing years due to some pretty serious health issues. She is such a good mom and we like to boast that her girls are the smartest of all the cousins!
We are still buzzing with stories and funny family moments at our house and we LOVED having everyone together. We are so THANKFUL to Darci (and Kevin) for all the hours of preparation and hard work in bringing us all together. It was AWESOME and we can't wait until 2011.
PS. Family, don't forget I'm in the process of building and refining our photo sharing website, where we can upload, share and print our reunion photos. Here's the link hallreunions.shutterfly.com
NOTE: if you hav
e a reunion or other summer event that involves lots of people and several cameras, you should seriously look into setting up a share site — they are very cool!